On Thursday, October 24, Mayor Khubesrian launched her social media campaign in a private Facebook group, 91030. I was one of a handful of citizens who could access her message regarding “Facts Matter”. She opened her post with “As your mayor and Councilmember, I work hard to make sure that we base our council decisions on facts and not emotions and to keep a civil and respectful tone toward one another.”
She proceeds to describe a “… rising mob mentality of looking for a scapegoat to blame when emotions and fears are stirred up.”
Facts matter, indeed, but only when they are accurate. The Mayor did not cite any facts. While preaching civility, the mayor used some very alarming language in her post, which given the events that followed, now reads like a warning shot.
While offended by Mayor Khubesrian’s characterization of residents who have taken up grievances with our city government, I take solace in that her audience was limited to 626 people. The Mayor chose not to make her message available to all South Pasadenans, just to a select few.
I have to wonder if the Mayor gave any thought to how her words might resonate with our children had they seen her post. Over the past three years, South Pasadena’s young people have been passionately working to combat climate change, champion sane gun laws, fight for LBTQA rights, women’s rights and social justice. It’s sad that Mayor Marina did not stop to think how our youth activists might be influenced by her use of the term “mob mentality”. Is she suggesting that they should equate speaking out with some sort of violence?
If supporting seniors, renters and workers and demanding a transparent City Hall is deemed a “mob mentality” by our city government, then what shall we call the governments’ efforts to demonize our voices? We see what transpires when governments seek to suppress voices of dissent. We see it every time we open Twitter.
The remainder of this letter is addressed to our city workers’ union membership.
Mayor Marina stated that “dangerous discourse” is the reason for city employees wanting to leave their jobs. If the words of the many taking to social media to shine a light on the iniquities at City Hall, have upset city workers, I apologize. Please do not leave. We value and need you.
As the proud daughter of a union family, I stand with workers. I’m hard pressed to believe that the current City Council does. This past Spring, at the advice of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor and Council voted against putting a minimum wage ordinance on the Council agenda. They unapologetically rejected the pleas of local students, workers, residents and churches in favor of large business owners.
I’m saddened that the City chose to weaponize your pensions to sway voters into taking on the burden of their failure to balance a budget. Our city workers, our police, firefighters, paramedics and emergency workers are worthy of better pay and, like all workers, worthy of a fair and adequate pension. Our city workers are worthy of better working conditions not the absurd half-measures being floated: “a meditation room” and a picnic table.
We all deserve more from our elected officials: transparency, honesty and a place for South Pasadenans, not just a chosen few, to meet at the table.
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