Mayor Bogaard, 15 years in Pasadena

photo credit City of Pasadena
photo credit City of Pasadena

by Justine Dodgen

While Pasadena City Hall may be best known for its appearances on the hit show Parks and Recreation, it is also home to one of the longest-governing mayors in LA County. Bill Bogaard, Mayor of Pasadena, has been elected four times, having first taken office in 1999. On February 24, the Bedrosian Center will host Bogaard at our monthly Lunch with a Leader to discuss his experiences and the many changes to Pasadena that have occurred under his leadership.

Bogaard, who graduated from Loyola Marymount University and Michigan Law School, also served in the Air Force and as a private business attorney before entering public service. In addition to mayor, he serves on numerous boards, including the Pasadena Educational Foundation, Pasadena YMCA, Pasadena Bioscience Collaboration, and as a founding member of Pasadena Heritage, the city’s historic preservation group. He is also the city’s first directly elected mayor (previously, the city council appointed the mayor.)

Pasadena is a challenging city to govern, with a large and diverse community. Known for its popular downtown area of Colorado Boulevard, historic Bungalow Heaven neighborhood, and annual Rose Parade, Pasadena is also the seventh-largest city in the county and struggles to provide affordable housing and improve its public schools’ low performance records.

photo credit: La Casita del Arroyo- Grand Reopening via photopin (license)
photo credit: La Casita del Arroyo- Grand Reopening via photopin (license)

Notable city projects completed during Bogaard’s tenure include the expansion of the Gold Line train through the city, development of the city’s first Public Art Master Plan, construction and rehabilitation of the Pasadena Convention Center, and several new housing developments. Many attribute Bogaard’s success to his humble and graceful demeanor. After winning his third term, he joked that his success was due to his efforts to be “boring but effective,” standing in stark contrast to his opponent. In his latest mayoral bid, he ran unopposed.

Bogaard announced last fall that he does not intend to seek another term. When asked about Bogaard’s legacy for the city, City Manager Michael Beck said, “You cannot overstate the profound impact that Mayor Bogaard has had in virtually every major accomplishment in Pasadena over the past 15 years. Pasadena would not be recognized as a national role model city without Mayor Bogaard’s leadership. [He] embodies the best qualities that people want in an elected official.”

Bogaard’s time in office has not been without challenges. For the past several months Pasadena has been dealing with a large embezzlement case, which has brought public scrutiny to the city’s internal systems for accountability. In his last year in office, Bogaard will likely be focused on maintaining the trust of his constituents and improving systems for accountability and transparency.

Seats for the Bedrosian Center’s Lunch with a Leader event are limited. To request an invitation, email Donnajean Ward or call (213) 740-0155.