Altadena, like other areas in the Pasadena Unified School District, is in the midst of a districting process that could determine whether future board members are chosen in individual sub-districts or continue to be elected at-large by residents across the district.
However, interest from Altadena residents in the process may be lacking at this point: at Tuesday's Altadena Town Council meeting, Council member Tecumseh Shackleford remarked that he had attended part of an Altadena-based meeting of the task force charged with examining the districting process and noted that very few people were in attendance.
That meeting, which was at the Mountain View Cemetery, was in fact attended by very few people at all, according to Ken Chawkins, the chair of the Pasadena Unified Districting Task Force. He said there were just a couple of meeting there, compared to 30 to 40 who showed up at a Pasadena meeting last weekend.
At the same time, Chawkins said, some of the people who showed up to last weekend's meeting and others in Pasadena have identified themselves as Altadena residents, so the task force has heard at least some input from residents. He is hoping there will be better turnout at the next Altadena meeting on January 28 at the , so the task force can get more input from residents.
About the Task Force
The task force was created in January of 2011 to investigate the possibility of converting the Pasadena Unified board into seven sub-regional districts, each with its own elected representative. Voters would then vote on just one board member representing their district rather than voting on all seven members of the board as they currently do.
The task force is composed of nine members with two from Altadena, appointed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich. The remaining members were appointed by Sierra Madre City council (one member), Pasadena City Council (three members), and PUSD (three members).
The plan would have to be put before PUSD voters in a special election slated for June 5, 2012, and its passage by voters is in no way guaranteed. A similar measure seeking to establish sub-districts failed in 2000 when Measure BB was rejected by a slim margin.
Altadena is in an interesting position as one of the two smaller cities in the district: it is too large to be contained in one district, and will wind up divided into multiple districts.
Chawkins said each district will have about 29,000 people in it - since Altadena has approximately 42,000 residents, that will mean the city could be in the position of dominating one district and being a significant player in another, he said. It could also be divided into multiple districts and have a smaller, but still possibly significant influence across a larger number of districts, Chawkins said.
Figuring out which option would better benefit Altadena residents is an important part of the process, he added, and he is hoping to get more input from residents who want to have a say in the make-up of the new district.
Chawkins said his own view is that different parts of Altadena might have more common interests with areas of Pasadena located close by, so simply dividing districts in a north to south kind of manner might not make sense.
"The key for me is to recognize this: while city and county boundaries matter, when we are looking at communities of interest you and I both know when you are driving down the street the community does not stop at the border line," Chawkins said.
Richard Moon, the vice chair of the task force, said from what he has heard from Altadena residents, they would like to have influence in a couple of districts.
"Mostly there is sort of a general concern about Altadena being kind of shoved off into their own district and forgotten," Moon said.
The next meeting of the group is on Saturday January 28 at 1 p.m. at the