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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Bogaard Takes a Bow, Tornek Takes the Spotlight

Bogaard Takes a Bow, Tornek Takes the Spotlight

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Pasadena’s new mayor and councilmembers were sworn in Monday. From left: Councilman Tyron Hampton, Mayor Terry Tornek, Councilwoman Margaret McAustin and Mayor Pro Tem Gene Masuda. - Photo by Terry Miller

Pasadena’s new mayor and councilmembers were sworn in Monday. From left: Councilman Tyron Hampton, Mayor Terry Tornek, Councilwoman Margaret McAustin and Mayor Pro Tem Gene Masuda. – Photo by Terry Miller

By Nick Kipley

On Monday, the Pasadena City Council chamber had filled up by approximately 4 p.m. with interested citizens and the family members of those sitting on the dais, who had gathered that afternoon to witness what was to be an historic civic event.

After having sat since May 4th, 1999—exactly 16 years to the day—in the center seat of the Council dais, Mayor Bill Bogaard officially retired, ceding both his luxurious, executive swivel chair, and his position as Pasadena’s longtime leader to District 7 Councilmember Terry Tornek.

“Now I’ve said this before,” said Bogaard at beginning the ceremony, “If I look nervous before giving a speech, it’s because I am. Now today…” after the briefest pause for effect, the Mayor continued his statement in his trademark droll delivery, “If I look relaxed …” and the room filled with laughter.

There were many more jokes like this throughout the ceremony—it was the perfect storm of Bogaardian humor: as his colleagues assailed him with accolade upon accolade (which he had to naturally deflect somehow), his duty as Pasadena’s most beloved leader and public official gradually became less and less about official leadership, and more of a synechdochial function. What was discussed in this meeting was not so much Bill Bogaard’s accomplishments as mayor as it was repurposing the public’s perception of his role.

The change that he and his wife Claire had enacted in their over-40 years of Public Service to the City were discussed in great length—the Rose Bowl, the convention center, the revitalization of Old Pasadena, the refurbishment of City Hall, the Paseo Colorado, the Gold Line—but that, it seemed, wasn’t the point.

Alluding to a scene from Shakespeare’s Henry V, in which the king goes from tent to tent the night before battle and lightly touches the heads of his sleeping troops in order to fully consider the weight of each decision made the next day as their leader, quoth Councilmember Steve Madison of Pasadena’s 6th District: “A largess universal, like the sun/His liberal eye doth give to everyone/Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all/Behold, as may unworthiness define/A little touch of Bogaard in the night.”

Each member of the Council then, in turn, kept coming up with something to say about these achievements, but then fell back from merely discussing the political logistics of a big-scale project to say that the achievements wouldn’t have been anything were it not for the “Bogaard touch” itself.

The Mayor’s indelible style of leadership was described in terms of kindness which, “shone through,” as Councilmember Margaret McAustin said, and always seemed to come from a deep and selfless desire to see Pasadena become the best city in the world—not for his own personal acclaim—but for those people who called it home.

Tyron Hampton and Terry Tornek at the reception. –Photo by Terry Miller

Tyron Hampton and Terry Tornek at the reception. –Photo by Terry Miller

Councilmember John J. Kennedy of Pasadena’s 3rd district urged Mayor Bogaard to stay politically active on behalf of the community, “We’ve found a number of roles for you to stay active in the community. To name a few …” here Kennedy paused, appearing to sort through notes, referring to the expository and sometimes lengthy way he usually speaks on an issue he is passionate about, “… I’ll defer.” That got a laugh. Seizing the opportunity, Mayor Bogaard said, “What are you doing May 2018?” referencing the remaining length of Kennedy’s term which, too, got a laugh.

City Clerk Mark Jomsky read off the results of the election and the council voted to officiate the results.

“We could have a long debate on it?” Mayor Bogaard said, lightening the mood with more laughter from the room. When the motion passed unanimously he was no longer Mayor.

What followed was a reception in the courtyard of City Hall where huge hunks of Roquefort cheese were made available to those confident enough to attempt conversation afterwards.

After some milling about, Terry Tornek, Pasadena’s new Mayor, gave a speech from a small podium in the archway near the fountain detailing the challenges he was now to face as the City’s leader: “We have the embezzlement scandal everyone is asking about, public safety and public education; there are tremendous financial demands that are confronting us; there’s a tremendous gap between rich and poor that’s growing in our city that a lot of people talk about; we have homelessness issues, affordable housing issues; we have disagreements over the scale and the pace and the appearance of the new development that we have all over our city, we have water shortages—you name it, we’ve got it. The list is very long and it’s very daunting. It’s so daunting that some of my family has asked me whether or not I’m making a mistake in terms of taking this job on. But as Bill Bogaard and some of my colleagues on the council have pointed out: we remain confident that we’ve got what it takes to solve these problems and really get after them in short order.”

Following this speech, Tornek, as well as the existing councilmembers who had won re-election–Madison, McAustin and Masuda, along with District 1’s new Councilmember, newcomer Tyron Hampton–all took the oath of office before City Clerk Jomsky.

The center chair of the council dais now bearing a placard reading, ‘Terry Tornek, Mayor.” The first order of business was to elect a new Vice-Mayor. Gene Masuda was elected unanimously and the first meeting of Pasadena’s new council was adjourned for official photos.

Former Mayor Bill Bogaard and his wife Claire leave city hall after the swearing–in ceremony. - Photo by Terry Miller

Former Mayor Bill Bogaard and his wife Claire leave city hall after the swearing–in ceremony. – Photo by Terry Miller

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