Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thank You, Ann

If you've been visiting Pasadena Daily Photo this week you may have wondered, "who is this illustrious Public Information Officer, this Ann Erdman person, and why is she in Palm Springs?" (The question I've been asking myself is, where's Linda Centell? She's my neighbor and I haven't seen her all week.)

I should have coordinated with Ann; it's not her fault I chose the week of her vacation to post my City Hall photos. She has every right to take a vacation, and Linda is perfectly capable of serving as Acting PIO for a week.

Here's a list of a few of the things Ann does as Pasadena's Public Information Officer (and what Linda's been doing in her absence):

--writes Pasadena In Focus, the newsletter received in every Pasadena household, telling us what's going on in town. (A joint effort. Ann tells me Linda is the "world's greatest editor.")
--prepares and distributes news releases and answers media inquiries.
--oversees all programming on 55KPAS, Pasadena's local cable TV station.
--develops and sells City Hall souvenirs. (I have the tote bag.)

The rest I quote from Ann's job description: The Public Information Office "...produces brochures, leaflets, flyers, posters, ads and other literature; plans press conferences; promotes special events; provides media relations and public relations counsel to city departments; and oversees the information kiosk at Pasadena City Hall..."

As if that weren't enough, Ann has received accolades and awards for putting together The Pasadena Follies, where city officials have a chance to make fun of themselves for a good cause.

She's won the hearts and minds of the local blogging community (and there are a lot of us) not just by answering our questions, which is part of her job description, but by being our friend, which is not.

Ann is also a blogger. Check her out at Pasadena PIO. And you can follow her on Twitter. She even found time to give me a friendly tour of the "inner sanctum" at City Hall.

I think a vacation is allowed.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Pasadena's Public Information Officer, Ann Erdman, showed me around what she calls "the inner sanctum" of City Hall. That includes the mayor's office. (By the way, Mayor Bogaard, Ann said she'd take the heat for this photo.)

Merriam-Webster Online defines "sanctum" as 1) a sacred place; and 2) a place where one is free from intrusion.

I wonder if that's the case here. I suppose the mayor can say, "hold my calls!" and close the door if he has to, but how often does he actually get a minute to himself?

At least he has a nice office. It has good light. The woodwork is original to the 1927 structure. At first glance, the room looks tidy. But click on the photo to enlarge it and you'll see stacks of notebooks beside the desk. The shelves, desk and conference table are covered with papers. The mayor's suit jacket hangs over a chair as though he might be working in his shirt-sleeves. I doubt there's much time for snoozing in that comfy chair behind the desk.

Here's a challenge for you: find a one-word antonym for "sanctum."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

No One is Incognito

You'll find Linda Centell in the City Hall Public Affairs office. I took several pictures of her and I think this one's interesting. Unfortunately, you can't see Linda in it. If you want to see a cute picture of Linda, scroll down in this post on the Pasadena PIO's blog. You'll find Linda and her handsome husband, Ed Washatka, in their party duds.

Something I love about Pasadena is that people here are connected. It's not just me. I've never been this connected in any other place. See, things work sort of like this: Linda and Ed are my neighbors, and, say, Linda introduces me to a friend who's interested in a cause I care about, and that friend happens to know a professor who wrote an article about a subject I'm interested in, so the professor hooks me up with some people he knows who belong to an organization I belong to, and it turns out one of them is a blogger I had already met online, and through her I meet Ann Erdman who is the Public Information Officer, and wouldn't you know it? Ann is Linda's boss.

I don't think I've made myself clear. What I mean is it's a big circle. Not everyone knows everyone, but sooner or later everyone seems to be connected to everyone somehow, and if you want to meet someone you probably know someone who can introduce you. Somehow.

And no, I didn't uncover any secrets at City Hall. As far as I know, nobody there is incognito.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Honcho Hallway

Of the many treasures in the inner sanctum of City Hall, this is one of my favorites. Along the wall outside the mayor's office are three rows of portraits, in black & white, of all the men and women who have served as mayor of Pasadena. They're in order, left to right, top to bottom, so if Wikipedia has it right that's Pasadena's first mayor, H.J. Holmes, on the upper left.

Pasadena has had 54 mayors but they've only been 52 different people. Our current mayor, Bill Bogaard, is a popular guy. Do you know who else was popular enough to be elected two different times?

You can't see it in this picture but two blank frames hang at the opposite end, bottom row. Ann Erdman, our Public Information Officer and my guide through City Hall, told me a frame is filled only when a mayor leaves office. So one of those frames will be filled when Mayor Bogaard leaves, and the last will be filled by the mayor after him. After that, what next?

I don't know, but there's a big future and a blank wall across the way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Power Playroom

Every Tuesday, Pasadena's Public Information Officer holds a Mystery History contest on her blog. So before you do anything else, go on over there and enter. Go on, there's a time factor. I'll wait.

Okay. So you see how it works. PIO Ann Erdman posts a historical Pasadena photo and you guess what the photo's about. If you're the first one to guess correctly you win a prize.

Three weeks ago, I won. When I went to City Hall to collect my attractive City Hall tote bag, Ann allowed me to take photos inside the city government offices. Oh yes she did. I sneaked around behind the reception desk. I saw the secret documents. I poked my camera into the deep, dark playrooms of Pasadena's power politics.

Not really. Actually, the lighting was decent.

I got some fun shots to post this week, so stick around.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Zen Monday: #50

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about.

As I post each new Zen Monday photo, I'll add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary (and if I know what it is).

Update 6/1/09: As Anonymous notes in the comments, this is a storage facility on
Locust just west of Allen on the north side of the street.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stef's Fame

FINAL UPDATE: Here's the post on the ABC NEWS website, and here's Stef's post on his blog.
The interview looks great. Check out the video!

Another update: Stef is learning how actors feel when we're pre-empted: his segment will not be on ABC World News Wednesday 5/27. Maybe Thursday, 5/28. Fingers crossed.

Update: Stef's appearance on ABC has tenatively been rescheduled for Wednesday 5/27.

A lot of people around here are artists of one sort or another. It's why we live here. We can ply our trades. We can act, write, paint, draw, create music and do the things artists do (you know, like wear distressed clothing, wring our hands and drink coffee).

So it's no big deal for me to say I know an artist. Who doesn't? But I know a famous artist. Or I'm about to.

If you've been around this blog for a while you've occasionally seen my links to Stephane Kardos. (My apologies, Stef. How do you get an accent aigu into blogger?) Here's Stef outside his Altadena studio. Stef's from France by way of London but I'm sorry, they let him go and now he's ours. Sure, sure, he's known for his fluid sketch work. He's got that coveted Disney job, blah blah blah. Small potatoes. I think Stef's prices are about to go up because he's going to be on ABC World News with Charles Gibson this Monday at 6:30PM. The crew was at his place for five hours Friday, so there ought to be a good thirty or forty seconds' worth of material.

Stef is often inspired by a photograph on a local blog (the second iPhone painting was "after" one of mine).

Oh Laurie, I have something of yours. I think it might be valuable. It looks nice above my mantel, don't you think?