Pasadena Sued by City Directors Candidate

Times Staff Writer

Board of City Directors candidate Chris Holden has sued the city, alleging that it discriminated against him in his current effort to unseat incumbent Loretta Thompson-Glickman.

Holden, 24, who is challenging Glickman in District 3, filed his suit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. In the suit, he claims that distribution of a city newsletter and the consolidation of voting precincts benefit his opponent and discriminate against him as a candidate.

The suit alleges that a glowing tribute to incumbent Loretta Thompson-Glickman, which was authored by fellow Director Rick Cole and appeared in a city sponsored newsletter in January, constitutes an endorsement of Glickman's candidacy by the city.

Such an endorsement, Holden said, is prohibited by Senate Bill 1273, added to the state elections code in 1976. The bill was written by Holden's father, former state Sen. Nate Holden (D-Culver City).

Seeks Precincts' Reopening

Holden's suit asks that all of the consolidated precincts be reopened and that the city reimburse itself for the costs of printing, mailing and producing the eight-page newsletter.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge John L. Cole denied Holden's request for a temporary restraining order against the city based on City Atty. Vic Kaleta's assurances that the January issue of the newsletter was no longer being circulated. Cole postponed until Friday a decision on whether to order the city to reopen the consolidated precincts.

The second allegation concerns the city's decision to consolidate voting precincts for the upcoming March 5 primary election. According to Holden, the consolidation, which cut the number of polling places in District 3 from 13 in the November general election to six for the upcoming municipal election, is a clear attempt to make voting difficult in his district.

City Director Cole said his tribute to Glickman "was completely innocent" and was written in November, months before Glickman declared her candidacy for reelection. "I think he's exploiting it," Cole said of Holden. "It's a perfect way to get his name in the paper."

Allegation Denied

City Clerk Pamela Swift, who consolidated the precincts, said that Holden's allegation that the consolidation is discriminatory is untrue. "It is done in every (municipal) election," Swift said, to cut city expenses by combining polling places that had low voter turnouts in the last muncipal election.

Last month Holden filed a complaint with City Atty. Kaleta over one of the charges. Kaleta, citing a possible conflict of interest, has referred the matter to the district attorney's office for investigation. Glickman, who was Pasadena's first black mayor, made a last-minute decision to seek reelection after publicly saying she would not do so.

She changed her mind, she said, to try to preserve the council majority that has recently voted for several redevelopment projects in the crime-plagued northwest area, which includes her district.

About Holden's allegations, Glickman said, "I think that, well, at election time people reach for anything they can. I think that it would have been much wiser to make an effort to see that people go out and vote, instead of wasting so much time on where the polling places are."

Glickman also faces write-in candidate Michael Zinzun, a former member of the Black Panthers and a community activist.

The City of Pasadena is divided into seven election districts. Members of the Board of City Directors are elected by district.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World