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Directors Jet Far and Wide for Pasadena

March 24, 1991|VICKI TORRES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PASADENA — City directors vary widely in their travel habits, Finance Department records show.

For example, Director John Crowley, a 12-year incumbent who leaves office in April, took 10 trips in 1989 at a cost of nearly $6,000. Meanwhile, Director William Paparian, who just started his second four-year term, has yet to step on an airplane with a city-issued ticket in his hands.

An examination of records on file from 1988 through January, 1991, reveal more travel tidbits. For example:

A $4,036 trip to Italy in June last year by Director William Thomson came as part of the city's effort to lobby for the 1994 World Cup soccer championships. With a weak dollar, Thomson's expenses were high: $1,116 for air fare and $2,192 for lodging at two hotels, the $315-per-night Plaza Hotel Lucchesi and the $325 per night Hotel Raphael. Soccer tickets cost the city $185.

Thomson, who also traveled last week to Hawaii to lobby for the 1993 Super Bowl, was out of town on a private business trip and could not be reached. But Mayor Jess Hughston said the travel to Italy, like the Super Bowl travel, is part of the city's effort to secure money-generating events at the Rose Bowl.

During a $1,507 trip to Washington, D.C., last year for a conference sponsored by the International City Managers Assn., Crowley treated--at city expense--City Manager Philip Hawkey and three others at the conference to a $256 dinner at the Adirondacks. It is a two-year-old restaurant in restored Union Station opened by Michael McCarty, owner of the fashionable Michael's restaurant in Santa Monica.

The city officials dined well, receipts show. They enjoyed crab appetizers and $23-$25 entrees of tuna, duck, pork and lamb chops, washed down with two bottles of Sauvignon blanc. The wine was Californian.

Crowley called the dinner "unusual but not unreasonable." He pointed out that he is an unpaid elected official and that the dinner came at the end of a day of unpaid work.

The conference focused on how to deal with public controversies. It was an apt subject, because the board and Hawkey had been embroiled a month earlier in a controversy after Hawkey, who is white, was selected by the board over two black finalists for the city manager's job. Crowley said he attended at Hawkey's request.

Hughston spent $1,658 to attend a National League of Cities Conference last Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 in Houston. He also approved spending an additional $1,743 of board travel money to allow staff assistant Judy Kent to attend. The trip was the third for Kent, who previously had traveled to Atlanta and Boston.

Hughston said Kent was needed to coordinate meetings for the two board members who attended the conference. In addition, the conference also had sessions specifically tailored for staff members, he said. Kent said she probably won't be traveling in the future because of budget cutbacks.

The city spent $4,222 to send Hughston and Director Chris Holden to Tampa in January for the 1991 Super Bowl game. Expenses included game tickets at $150 each and a four-day stay (the required minimum) at the Holiday Inn Surfside in Clearwater Beach.

Last week, the two--along with Thomson, Hawkey, Rose Bowl Manager Greg Asbury and Gail Thompson, of the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau--flew to the Kona Coast of Hawaii, where National Football League owners picked the Rose Bowl as the site of the 1993 Super Bowl.

Paparian said Holden and Hughston were not essential to the lobbying effort. But both said they learned about Super Bowl operations in Tampa and, in Hawaii, played a key part in lobbying the 28 NFL team owners who voted for Pasadena.

Director Rick Cole spent $1,805 last September to attend a United Nations-sponsored Local Environmental Initiatives Conference in New York City. Elected officials from 40 countries met to discuss ways of preserving the environment, Cole said. He called the meeting "very much on the cutting edge," and one of the most useful things he's done in his eight years on the board.

As a result of attending the meeting, Cole said he returned with the idea that Pasadena should keep track of its environmental and human resources, just as it does its money. The idea translates into actions such as using recycled paper to send out city utility bills, which the city is studying, he said.

ON THE GO Pasadena City Directors' Travel Expenditures, 1988-1990

Jess Hughston

$22,050 for 24 trips including St. Paul, Minn.; Vancouver, Canada; Orlando, Fla., and Seattle

William Thomson

$21,523 for 23 trips including Charlottesville, Va.; Portland, Ore.; San Jose and a $4,036 trip to Italy in 1990

John Crowley

$16,831 for 27 trips including Denver, Chicago, Phoenix and a 1990 trip to Washington that featured a $256 dinner for five at the Adirondacks restaurant

Rick Cole

$15,336 for 13 trips including Washington, New York, San Antonio and Boston

Kathryn Nack

$12,115 for 22 trips including New Haven, Conn.; Houston and Monterey

Chris Holden

$4,754 for six trips including Washington, Atlanta and San Francisco

William Paparian

No trips

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