Thank you very much. I want to first and foremost thank you for having me at your annual meeting. And as I say every year, the work that WPRA does is so very important to what happens in City Hall, what happens at the City Council. You know, WPRA really is the granddaddy of them all, if you will, in terms of neighborhood associations. The last time I checked, there were 96 active neighborhood associations in Pasadena. So we're a community that cares deeply about civic involvement. And these are real working, functioning groups. But still, with that the WPRA really is at the top of the class and we’re grateful for all the work. I know you have some outgoing board members and want to extend gratitude to them and congratulate any new board members that are coming on. This is really important, outstanding work.
As the mayor mentioned, it's been a busy year at City Hall and I agree completely that we've hopefully extracted ourselves from the pandemic, from COVID. I’m so grateful as I know my colleagues were that we had a Public Health Department to help us navigate that.
I just want to mention two or three other big things from the last year since the last annual meeting that I think WPRA can celebrate and we all share credit for. First, the mayor mentioned it earlier and that is the repatriation of the 710 trench. This is something that many of us have worked for decades on, and it came to fruition last August when the state gave us the deed to the property along with a check for $5 million. How often do you acquire a piece of property along with multimillion dollar check? Now, as the mayor described, we have the work ahead of us of revisioning and planning. We've established a 710 working group. They've now renamed themselves in one of their very first meetings, the Reconnecting Communities 710 Advisory Group. I want to share with you that in our district in West Pasadena, unsurprisingly, we had as many applicants to that working group as there were from the entire rest of the city. We have such a special interest and longtime investment in the 710. When I made the one appointment that each district councilmember received, I made one friend for two weeks and 24 enemies for life, because I wasn't able to appoint everyone. But what we have decided to do is form a West Pasadena 710 Working Group, and we're inviting all of the other applicants, each of whom was really supremely qualified and would be a great member to participate. And you'll be hearing more about that as we roll out that announcement of our West Pasadena Working Group.
I also want to echo the recognition for Bill and Claire Bogaard. Since your last annual meeting, we were so honored and proud, the mayor and I and our colleagues, to rename the beautiful courtyard at City Hall the Bill and Claire Bogaard Courtyard. I want to just recognize our friends Bill and Claire again for that.
And finally, to continue the mayor's theme of change. We have seen a great deal of change at City Hall in terms of the staff, with our new city manager and so many new city department heads. But with that change comes great opportunity and I think you'll witness firsthand the dynamism and creativity and intellect and dedication of some of these great new city officials that we have.
I will also tell you that if you look at our political infrastructure—the mayor and I are the the old timers on the city council. If you add up Victor’s and my service on the council, I think we have a longer tenure between the two of us than the other six members on the city council combined. And because of a quirk but also because sadly we unexpectedly lost our dear friend John Kennedy last year, in next year’s elections, six of the eight positions on the council will be up for election. So it'll be a very important time for us. I know WPRA does play a role in terms of sponsoring forums and spreading information about the elections and of course every other seat seems to be up as well. Our state Assembly seat and our state Senate seat are both coming up soon. Our county supervisor seat is coming up. Our Congressman Adam Schiff is moving on to the U.S. Senate. It's a busy, busy time. And we need you more than ever. So thank you WPRA so much, and thanks for having me.
Watch the full WPRA Annual Meeting below: