Pasadena forums address recent homicides

Pasadena forums address recent homicides

Pasadena City Councilman John Kennedy hosted a forum on Friday Jan. 13, 2017 to discuss a recent spate of violence.

A community forum Friday brought 80 residents to the Woman’s City Club to discuss a recent spate of violence in the community that resulted in three deaths.

The meeting was called by City Councilman John Kennedy and the non-profit Flintridge Foundation. Members of the media, including representatives of Pasadena Now and this publication, were asked to leave before discussions began at noon Friday.

Speakers included Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez. Sanchez reiterated his belief that more policing and community cooperation is needed to end the violence.

Whether the City Council agrees with Sanchez is subject to some debate. At a meeting on Monday, members of the council expressed varied opinions about the recent uptick in violence in the community.

Councilman Tyron Hampton said that better policing wouldn’t solve the underlying issue.

“I think, a lot of the times, from a lot of the young people I speak to daily, I hear that they feel lost. They feel like there’s no opportunity.”

Members of the public agreed, citing the lack of economic opportunity as the root cause of the violence.

“There’s no jobs, no resources and nothing to do,” community activist Jasmine Richards-Abdullah said. “And I blame you guys, because these are the same kids who said ‘Keep me safe, give me resources, give us something in Northwest Pasadena.’ But y’all denied it.”

Pasadena police spokesman Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said that gang violence is on the rise throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Police have been pushing back by putting additional resources on the street.

Some councilmembers suggested that the police department should hire more officers to deal with the increase in violence.

City Councilman Victor Gordo asked the city examine ways to pay for increased overtime for officers.

Councilman Steve Madison suggested such a study might not be necessary
“I’m all for the study, but you don’t need a weatherman to say which way the wind is blowing,” he said, quoting Bob Dylan. “I think we do need more resources.”

Another community forum will take place Saturday, at Perry’s Joint, 2051 N. Lincoln Ave. from 4 to 6 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

–By Hugo Guzman, correspondent