By Sally Kilby
Special to the Review
The city presented former Mayor Robert “Bob” Joe with the gift of a tree to thank him for his service as mayor during 2020. He posed at the official tree dedication Jan. 13 in front of the South Pasadena Senior Center accompanied by Dr. Richard Schneider, former councilmember and mayor; Garrett Crawford, acting deputy public works director; and Diana Mahmud, current mayor.
“I am honored to have a tree planted on behalf of my mayorship,” he said after the event. “I picked an olive tree because it symbolizes peace and reconciliation, which are so important at this time.”
Mahmud said that it is fitting that the tree is planted in front of the Senior Center. “It’s no secret,” she said, “that former Mayor Bob Joe loved the seniors.”
Appropriately, a wooden bench will be installed in the courtyard of the Senior Center in honor of his nine years on the City Council.
Presenting a tree to an outgoing mayor was Schneider’s idea, and he was the first recipient of a tree as he ended his 2018 term as mayor, his third. Schneider’s tree is adjacent to the Library Community Room on El Centro Street.
In prior years, gifts to outgoing mayors included wooden gavel plaques and personal items.
“It seemed kind of wasteful to give outgoing mayors a wooden gavel that just sits on the shelf,” Joe said at the ceremony. “Trees are long-lived, and your family can see that this tree … is growing nicely and is a remembrance of your time on the council.”
“It’s a living present,” Joe added, “which adds to the beauty of the city.”
Mahmud agreed. Because the city is old, she said, its tree inventory is mature. This tree planting is a reminder of “how important it is to replenish the existing tree stock,” she said.
“Just as prior generations planted for us, we need to do the same for future generations.”
Plaques to identify the former mayors’ trees will be added to the sites, said the Public Works Department’s Crawford.