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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Pasadena : Repeal of Ordinance Sought

February 04, 1988

Director William Paparian has taken the Board of Directors to court to void an ordinance he claims was approved in violation of the state's open meeting law.

Paparian said the ordinance, which established a new process to appoint members of various city commissions, was illegally discussed at a private meeting by Directors William Thomson, Rick Cole and Kathryn Nack in December and in subsequent phone calls with other directors. City Atty. Victor Kaleta has denied any impropriety.

The new process, aimed at bringing more minorities and residents of low-income neighborhoods into the civic decision-making process, allows each director to nominate one member for each city commission. But during the first round of appointments, directors had to reappoint any commissioner who wanted to continue serving. There were only 16 vacancies among 139 positions on 17 commissions. A director could nominate a new member only if there was a vacancy.

Only one of the new members selected belonged to a minority group. In addition, the number of black, Asian and Latino members on 12 major commissions dropped from 38 to 35. And the number of commissions that have no minority members increased from one to two.

"It was just a plan to maintain the status quo," Paparian complained last week, adding that the process denied directors the freedom to nominate candidates of their own choice. "I think everyone lost sight of the original goal."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Miriam Vogel last week rejected Paparian's request for a temporary restraining order to void the ordinance and block the new appointments to the commissions. The court will consider Paparian's request for a permanent injunction on March 30.

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