City Council Comes to Terms With Panel

The art of the deal: Pasadena Councilman Isaac Richard, whose anger two weeks ago persuaded the council to shorten the terms of the Northwest Commission to create an opening he could fill, withdrew that request Tuesday.

Instead, he got the council to increase membership from seven to 11 on the commission, which oversees development and city services in the largely minority areas of Northwest Pasadena. The move allows him to make an appointment to the commission, while avoiding the political fallout of shortening existing terms.

Two weeks ago, Richard angrily denounced the council for what he interpreted as a political move in approving a measure on March 19--a month before his election April 16--that extended the commission members' terms. It seems that the ordinance meant longer terms for commissioners Audrey Brantley and Jon Fuhrman, supporters of Richard's District 1 election opponent, Nick Conway.

Commission members' terms were staggered for one to three years when the body was created in 1990. The extension would have given all of the commission members another year.

Despite council members Kathryn Nack's and Chris Holden's outraged protests that politics wasn't involved, Richard called the extension a "slap in the face" to him, District 1 and Northwest Pasadena. The council voted 4 to 3 to repeal the ordinance, with Nack, Holden and Councilman William Thomson opposed.

But after public outcry arose last week over Brantley's loss of her post, Richard came up with the alternate move, saying he was wrong about political motives.

This time, Nack and Holden abstained. Thomson was absent.

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