Larry Wilson: Bill Bogaard calmed the Pasadena political storm – Pasadena Star-News

The following article appeared in the Pasadena Star-News on September 2, 2014.

Larry Wilson: Bill Bogaard calmed the Pasadena political storm – Pasadena Star-News

By Larry Wilson

September 2, 2014

You’ll sometimes hear Pasadenans with a perverse view of the reasons we have a local politics lamenting the tranquility that reigns — as it has for 15 years — in City Hall.

They’re recalling a time when quite literally the most exciting show on TV most Monday nights was the Pasadena City Council cablecast on KPAS. Mayor Rick Cole was rallying the populace to create a populist General Plan and wearing a “Tournament of Racists” T-shirt underneath his dress shirt as he rode in the Rose Parade. Councilman and former Mayor Bill Paparian, who represented Armenian patriots (sometimes more than that) in their violent fights with the Turkish government, got a concealed weapon permit for his own protection, and his seatmate Councilman Isaac Richard howled about that fact on the air, saying he wasn’t going to be sitting next to the dude who was packing.

One headline 22 years ago this month in the Star-News: “Mayor calls in police as councilmen argue: Paparian says Richard challenged him to a fight,” Those are just random highlights; dozens of other stories would do as well.

Sixteen years ago, after serving a very well-regarded two years as rotating mayor while a councilman in the 1980s, into the fray came Bill Bogaard, running for the newly created position of citywide elected mayor on a platform of calming the waters and bringing peace and respect back to City Hall.

He won in a landslide. Every landslide since then has gotten bigger. Last time around, no one — not even the token candidates who had stood up the past two elections just to make a race of it — took the bait. He is so respected and so beloved that the local joke has been for years now that voters, given the chance, would elect Bill Bogaard mayor of Pasadena for life.

With his announcement Tuesday that next spring he won’t run for a fifth term — sixth if you count the ‘80s — Bogaard won’t give voters the chance at that coronation. At a lunch meeting Tuesday with three prominent Pasadenans just before the news was announced, the subject of whether Bill would run again came up, as well as a principal reason for the enormous respect he is accorded: As he chairs a meeting, you can never tell, whether in words or body language, what his stand on the issue is until the very last minute. His job is to make all his colleagues’ views known, as well as the views of the public.

Bill Bogaard is not only the great calmer of the troubled Pasadena waters; he’s also the great facilitator of the common good. He will be forever remembered as the mayor who gave boring a very good name indeed.

Not that he hasn’t passions, and he brought his considerable legal and political skills to promoting preservation, vital neighborhoods, education and a fiscally strong Pasadena in his decades of public service. And those who have only seen the public man in the pin-striped suit might be surprised to know he can tell a bawdy joke and swear like a sailor. Well, like an admiral. An admiral of the fleet.

Thanks, mayor, for all of that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *