Over a stretch of about a year and a half, John Pope created the City of South Pasadena’s first crisis communications plan, produced a promotional video, developed a new city logo, a brochure to promote the Arroyo Seco recreation area and worked daily with media among his many accomplishments.
As the city’s public information officer, one of the projects he’s most proud of is a video highlighting South Pasadena’s best features, noting: “We set out to capture the beauty and community spirit of South Pasadena and I think the final project does that. I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback on the video,” said Hope, well-liked, hardworking, and now headed for the City of Newport Beach to assume a similar position as its public information manager. “I’ve even heard from business owners who are using it in their own marketing efforts, which is great to hear.”
Pope, whose final day working for the City of South Pasadena was Thursday, will spend some personal time over the next month before launching into his new position. Although his time was short, Pope is grateful for the opportunity to weave his way into the community and gain from the experience.
“I very much enjoyed my work in South Pasadena and wasn’t looking to leave, but an opportunity came up in the City of Newport Beach that seemed like it would be a good next step in my career,” said Pope about his departure. “As I moved through the application process and met with members of the Newport Beach team, I felt the new position would be a good fit both personally and professionally. I’ve really enjoyed working with my colleagues in South Pasadena and they are some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my career.”
In his move to the Orange County beach town of approximately 90,000 residents, far more than South Pasadena’s estimated 26,000, Pope will be managing and coordinating the city’s communications functions, including media relations, web, speechwriting, social media, community relations, crisis communications and more.
Pope, who makes his home in Long Beach, leaves with a positive impression of South Pasadena, recognizing an abundance of “wonderful assets,” explaining “the Arroyo, the gorgeous Craftsman homes, the historic library all come to mind,” as some of the city’s best. “But I think the strongest and most unique asset is the walkable historic business district. So many cities and developments try with varying success to create that. South Pasadena already has it. I think the key to building an even more vibrant business district will be to strategically fill in some of the gaps, like the school district property, to maintain a high level of energy throughout the historic core. Some of the projects already in the pipeline, like the Mission-Bell development and the Citizen’s Bank project, will be a great step in that direction. I look forward to coming back and seeing how those are progressing, along with some others that are in the discussion phases.”
As he signs off, saying goodbye, Pope will always remember South Pasadena as “great community with very engaged residents” who live in a special place.
“There’s a history of activism and involvement, because of the 710, that is very impressive,” he said. “Part of my role was to help gather community input on ideas that would help staff formulate recommendations to the City Council, and I saw high levels of participation by residents in community surveys, workshops, etc. I appreciated that input and I felt like it led to better outcomes and direction for future decisions.
A person who has roots in the newspaper business, Pope acknowledged the work of the local media.
“You all kept me busy!” he said, “But seriously, I think it’s wonderful that South Pasadena has thriving media outlets in an age when so many local outlets are disappearing. As a former journalist I highly value the fourth estate and I’m glad to have helped facilitate the flow of information between the city and the press. It’s been a real pleasure getting to know South Pasadena and I will look back fondly on my time here.”