After two hours of lively debate, the Board of City Directors voted against putting a controversial initiative on the June ballot before verifying the initiative petitions' 7,203 signatures.
Citizens for Representative Government, a grass-roots group that collected the signatures calling for sweeping changes in Pasadena's government, asked the board last week to forgo the signature verification process and directly place the initiative on the ballot. In a special hearing Monday, the board voted 4 to 2 against the request and decided instead to wait for the Los Angeles County registrar to verify the signatures. Directors Jess Hughston and Rick Cole voted in favor of putting the initiative on the ballot. Director Jo Heckman was absent.
The measure calls for a directly elected mayor, city clerk and city attorney, positions now appointed, and elimination of the city manager's job.
During the sometimes raucous hearing, Cole was ribbed by fellow directors for his claims that he is not involved in the group's petition drive. Two longtime friends of Cole, attorneys Chris Sutton and Dale Gronemeier, are representing the group, and several City Hall sources have said that Cole is interested in running for mayor if the initiative passes in the June election. Cole said recently, however, that he has no such plans and is not involved with the group, despite claims by a member of Citizens for Representative Government that Cole has attended their meetings and is a supporter.