Three local residents have thrown their hats into the ring for the District 3 seat on the City Council, which won’t be contested by its incumbent in this year’s election.
Alan Ehrlich, Michelle Hammond and Jon Primuth will vie amongst themselves to succeed Dr. Richard Schneider on the City Council. Schneider, a three-term councilman, is not planning to seek re-election this year.
Ehrlich, the current vice chair for the city’s Public Safety Commission, touted his professional experience working the finance and planning side of companies with revenue streams of up to $250 million, having at times managed reorganizations and
bankruptcy turnarounds. This background, he contended in his election announcement, will come in handy as the city emerges from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is especially important to ask the right questions and know where to look in order to solve budget and spending problems,” Ehrlich wrote in his announcement. “To make informed decisions, the community needs to see the complete picture, not snippets of doom and gloom.”
Ehrlich said he began to follow city politics after what he deemed a poor response to the 2011 windstorms that downed trees and
caused traffic blockages and power outages citywide. He said now, especially, was a time for city government to work alongside community stakeholders to plan for this critical time in a global pandemic.
Ehrlich, a 20-year resident of South Pasadena, has locally been involved in Relay for Life, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Little League and American Youth Soccer Organization. He previously penned a column, “Hometown Heroes,” for The Review.
Hammond, who recently began a term on the city’s new Mobility and Transportation Infrastructure Commission, said she aims to bring the small business perspective to the City Council. After buying the local eatery Munch Company more than three years ago, Hammond recently sold it to concentrate on her political bid.
“We’re at such a crucial point right now with our city and our local businesses and our community at large, and I think it’s kind of all-hands-on-deck,” Hammond said. “We have a small city and we have a small staff that needs to accomplish a lot with the challenges we’re facing. As a small business owner, you have to be so nimble in these situations and quick to pivot, which helped me with Munch and COVID.”
Having lived in South Pasadena for more than a decade, Hammond previously managed two production companies. Since living here, she has been involved in environmental groups such as Transition South Pasadena, South Pasadena Homegrown Exchange and Green Power Alliance. She also served on the committee that helped bring the South Pasadena Community Garden to fruition and helped secure a grant for the city to add bike parking spaces.
Being a business owner accelerated her involvement in local civic causes, Hammond added.
Primuth, who is wrapping up his first term on the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education, said his experience managing a $40 million budget for the district gives him familiarity with planning in the public sector.
“I love this community and want to preserve our small-town character as we grapple with many challenging trends,” Primuth wrote in his candidate statement. “The fiscal and social impacts of the pandemic on the city will be unprecedented and it requires us to pull together as a team to make smart decisions on behalf of our community.”
An attorney specializing in estate and trust planning, Primuth has lived in South Pasadena since 1988. He is currently a member of the South Pasadena Senior Citizens Foundation, South Pasadena Chinese American Club, South Pasadena Prayer Breakfast and Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Activism, or WISPPA.
As a city councilman, Primuth said he would endeavor to foster a collaborative spirit, rather than a fractured one, to move the city forward and lead it through the pandemic. He said his skill sets allow him to make “timely, critical” decisions and not get hung up on red tape.
The election, which will be Nov. 3, also will include City Council seats in Districts 1 and 2, occupied by Bob Joe and Dr. Marina Khubesrian, respectively.