How does local government relate to you?
That question seemed to be the theme of Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action's (WISPPA) first cocktail party last Wednesday night.
"Welcome, welcome, welcome," WISPPA's first vice president Barbara Sinclair said among 40 local women Wednesday. "We want to tell you who we are, what we stand for, and why we invited you."
The group's goal can be summed up in three words: transparency in government. It was formed in March 2010 after residents became concerned that the city did not automatically renew former Police Chief Dan Watson's contract.
This is when the original WISPPA members noticed "there really is a place for women in all this," Sinclair explained.
"So has there been a change in transparency since the group started?" one attendee asked.
"Minimal," responded Sinclair. "I think they are hearing us."
In addition to November elections (there are three seats up), other discussion topics Wednesday included construction on Fair Oaks, massage businesses and redistricting.
Resident and WISPPA member Mary Urquhart explained that there are always at least two representatives of the group present at each Fair Oaks Construction Corridor community meeting, which takes place every two weeks at a business in town.
She added that the group has been instrumental in the City adding signage along Fair Oaks, as well as having store its equipment off-site.
This, in turn, led to conversations about and on Fair Oaks, as well as an overall concern about lack of communication between the city and public.
"Now do you see why we formed?" laughed WISPPA president Gretchen Robinette.
NOVEMBER ELECTIONS & JILL FOSSELMAN
Former Pasadena District 4 City Council candidate Jill Fosselman, who lost in a runoff to Gene Masuda, was also in attendance Wednesday to encourage attendees to run in the November City council elections.
"No one tapped me on the shoulder," explained Fosselman on her decision to run. "I wanted to clean up some of the things that really needed to be cleaned up."
While a main objective of Wednesday's meeting was to encourage attendees to run for City Council, as well as in November, WISPPA will not directly sponsor a candidate.
"As a group, we will not sponsor, per se," explained Sinclair. "We are here to encourage candidacy and be a base. Not the supporter."
Fosselman offered advice to attendees and highlighted some of the hurdles she faced throughout her campaign explaining that women have to be more concerned than men with public perception.
She also said it's important that residents understand why local government is important to them. As the night concluded, one women expressed interest in running but has since changed her mind.
According to Robinette, WISPPA isn't giving up just yet. She says she will continue to reach out to local women in hopes of someone stepping up to the plate.
Check back next week to meet the male candidates who have decided to run.