Altadena Town Council Member Profile: Justin Chapman

By David Crockett, Mountain Views News Magazine, 3/15/2007

Altadena Town Councilman Justin Chapman is 21 years old and has been living in Altadena since the age of 6. A lifelong resident of the Foothills Region, education and development are the two issues that interest and motivate him the most.

Chapman was elected to the council in June of 2005, and his two-year term will expire this coming summer. On the issue of development in Altadena, Chapman, like many of his colleagues, seeks to continue spurring economic growth in the area without overdeveloping the community. Finding the right balance is a difficult task, and at times, a contentious one as well.

Chapman is most passionate about education, and feels that the needs of Altadena's residents are often neglected and overlooked by the Pasadena Unified School District, which includes Altadena in its jurisdiction. After PUSD made the decision in December of 2005 to close down three public schools in Altadena, Chapman proposed the creation of an education committee to "look in and investigate the possibility of seceding from PUSD." The district is currently exploring options on what to do with the closed sites, though Chapman wants to ensure that they continue being used for educational purposes and that they not be sold to real estate or retail developers.

Though the idea to study secession from PUSD has additional support from other members of the Altadena Town Council, the effort has been stonewalled because there are disagreements on how exactly to go about with such an ambitious plan. In order to jumpstart the process, the council needs to procure signatures from 25% of the community, and once the petition is submitted to the County, they will conduct a feasibility study. The process includes more bureaucratic hurdles after that; in order for Altadena to have its own school district, additional studies must be completed and approval from both the County and State will be necessary.

In addition to serving on the Altadena Town Council, Chapman writes for the Pasadena Weekly and works at the Huntington Library. He has an AA degree from Pasadena City College and is considering the possibility of continuing his education at UCLA; he is uncertain as to whether he'll seek a second term with the council. He is also an experienced actor, having appeared in numerous TV shows and commercials.