Behind the looming stands of the Rose Bowl lives a high-powered and respected group of homeowners who may have lost a major battle last week but who still wield considerable influence over what happens there.
City officials say the Linda Vista-Annandale Assn. is probably the most influential neighborhood organization in Pasadena even though it lost its fight last week over a planned rock concert at the bowl.
The association, which represents about 1,400 homeowners on the west side of the Rose Bowl, is a politically savvy organization that knows what it takes to get City Hall to listen, Pasadena officials said.
"They know how to do it and they therefore succeed," said City Director John Crowley, whose district includes the Rose Bowl. "They don't use up their welcome. They are forceful. They're well-received, they're well-prepared and they're organized."
Vocal and Organized
The group makes frequent appearances at Board of City Directors meetings and is vocal and organized in efforts to retain the scenic atmosphere of its affluent neighborhood.
Run by a 21-member board of directors that oversees a number of committees ranging from zoning to public safety, the association has successfully influenced city decisions on such matters as traffic control and maintenance of the Arroyo Seco parkland next to its neighborhood.
The board meets monthly and Director Crowley, a supporter of the group, frequently attends.
According to Cordie Ennis, president of the association, the group has 500 to 600 paid members, publishes a periodic newsletter and is involved in civic activities ranging from planting trees to monitoring new real estate developments that could change the look of its neighborhood.
Mayor Bill Bogaard, whose district also encompasses some of the area near the Rose Bowl, said he agrees with Ennis' group on most issues but that the majority of the board does not always share his views.
Most Motocross Fight
"The board has not accepted their views on several occasions," Bogaard said. Most notable, he added, was the board's decision to allow motocross racing at the Rose Bowl despite the association's objections.
"They're a strong organization," he said. "They have a lot of wins. But on the Rose Bowl, they're probably batting less than .500. I know the facility was created for football; however, I think we have to recognize that the residents have some rights, too."
The group's influence is often controversial, especially when it comes to rock concerts.
The most recent example came last week when the board voted in a hastily called public hearing to allow the stadium to be used on April 26 for the Concert That Counts, a major anti-drug benefit that is said to have the support of First Lady Nancy Reagan.
Nearby residents are incensed over the event and have accused the board of trying to conceal the rock concert plans, which were announced in newspaper articles last weekend. The board decided on Tuesday to hold a public hearing on the matter that evening.
Members of the Linda Vista-Annandale Assn. who attended the meeting complained that past patrons of rock concerts at the bowl had exhibited "uncivilized behavior," littered their yards, parked in front of their driveways and created massive traffic jams that made them prisoners in their neighborhood.
Proponents of the event said that the anti-drug concert was an opportunity to "shine a spotlight on Pasadena" for a worthy cause and that labeling concert-goers an unsavory group was a "myopic thought so narrow it's just ridiculous."
It is not the first time the group has been involved in a heated and controversial battle over rock music. In October, 1984, the group played a role in barring the Victory Tour of the Jacksons rock group from appearing at the Rose Bowl.
Allegations of Racism
City directors were forced to briefly recess after a shouting match erupted between black community leaders and residents who live around the Rose Bowl over the alleged racism of banning the group from the stadium.
Promoters of the rock group had negotiated for eight months to use the Rose Bowl for the three final concerts of the Jacksons' 20-city U. S. tour. The board voted 6 to 1 against having the group perform in Pasadena after hearing several angry protests from association members and other nearby residents who were concerned about the adverse impact the concerts might have on their neighborhood.
The board and residents were accused by several audience members of opposing the concerts because the Jacksons are black.
"It's nothing but a racial issue," the Rev. David Scott, an outspoken black activist who often criticizes the city board, shouted during that meeting. "Three years ago, at the Stevie Wonder concert, you all complained about chicken bones and watermelon rinds left on the (nearby) golf course. It is a racial issue, and that's all it is."
'Don't Want Any Concerts'
"That's not true," shouted back one resident. "We wouldn't want the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We don't want any concerts there."