- Q&A: Tammy Silver. Heat Wave Retail Politics
- Q&A: Sasha Renée Pérez. Looking At and Beyond the Immediate
- Q&A: Rick Cole. Aspiration / Inspiration
- Q&A: Ryan Liu. From PCC to Yale, Oxford & Back Again
- Q&A: Kathryn Barger. Making Progress on Homelessness Despite Legal Handcuffs
- Q&A: Elizabeth Wong Ahlers. Sacramento can Keep Families in California
- Q&A: Judy Chu. Best Intentions, Meet Political Reality
- Q&A: John Doyle. Energy, Housing & the PPD
- Q&A: Ben Savage. Real Consequences, Close to Home
- Q&A: Jonathan Horton. All About Community
- Q&A: Jed Leano. Social Change, at Scale
- Q&A: Phlunté Riddle. Perspective is Everything
- Q&A: Brandon Lamar. Build-in Diversity Through City Processes
- Q&A: Laura Friedman. Reject Polarization, Hold Government Accountable
Jonathan Horton is a candidate for Pasadena City Council representing District 4.
Q– How has your experience on the Human Relations Commission helped you?
A– It’s a catch-all commission intended to help residents have better relations with each other in city government. Much of our recent work has included recommending new ways for residents to help report hate crimes or incidents. We also did some voter registration outreach. Our major goal is to look toward the upcoming year to combat myths and disinformation. With the election season, we hope it doesn’t happen, and we’re trying to prepare ourselves to address it as best as possible.
Q– What do you think about all our strikes in Southern California this summer?
A– I have mixed feelings about it. Part of me is very pained that it comes to this for our workers.
However, it brings me great joy to see this collective bargaining come to fruition and see people use their power against large corporations and companies that have abused their rights and taken advantage of them for decades. My father was just able to go back to work now that the WGA strike has ended. He’s an IATSE Local 600 member. He’s a camera operator for television, but his show was put on hiatus. I’m hoping the other strikes end amicably with the workers getting what they’ve earned over the years.
Q– As a federal caseworker for Congresswoman Judy Chu, you had firsthand knowledge about community issues. What reforms are needed?
A– I started as a staff assistant and was a caseworker and field representative. I did a ton of different cases – immigration, housing, veterans’ affairs issues. During COVID-19 we had a ton of passport issues and small business cases with people trying to get their PPP loans. Whatever crisis popped up at the time, we would work it.
One of the biggest things I learned is that there’s just a severe lack of information. People generally do not know that they can reach out to their Congressmember, Assemblymember, or State Senator and resolve some of their government issues. Go to your local representative and see if they can assist you. When I get elected, I want to spread the word that when you have issues with your government, your elected representative is there to help you. That is their job.
“I want to spread the word that when you have issues with your government, your elected representative is there to help you. That is their job.”Jonathan Horton
Immigration was the bulk of our casework and legal immigration is incredibly difficult. It consumes an enormous amount of time and money and emotion. We’re a nation of immigrants and are better and more powerful because of that. We want people to come here legally. But the process can be discouraging.
One of the biggest reforms we need is to make the process more streamlined. We need to increase the number of work visas that we offer. Just opening up the process to make it easier for people to come here legally is one of the biggest reforms we need for immigration.
Lawyer fees and the application fees are insane. The financial cost is completely on the immigrant. This is supposed to be the land of opportunity. People come here to build a better life for themselves. But the way we have it set up, you better already have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank before even considering it.
Q– Do you have any new programs, laws or policies that you want to implement?
A– There are a couple of things I want to look into. One is bringing back and expanding the tenant-based eviction prevention programs. Basically, that is a program that helps people stay in their homes if they’re facing eviction. Instead of letting people go homeless, and then the city spends a bunch of money on the back end, trying to find a place for them to live, or offer subsidized housing to help people stay in the homes they’re already in.
I want to make it a more permanent program. I want to raise the minimum income eligibility for that program, increase the number of applications accepted, and possibly expand the program to cover other expenses like water and electricity costs. I think one of the biggest ways to help fight homelessness is to keep people in their homes in the first place.
“I think one of the biggest ways to help fight homelessness is to keep people in their homes in the first place.”Jonathan Horton
Secondly, I would like to see a program about shared housing. People who have extra space in their homes or they build an ADU, these homeowners enroll in the program, and the city matches them with a person in need of housing. It’s a way we can help two different parties at once. We can help people who have high mortgage or electricity payments by offering space that they have to provide housing for those who desperately need it.
Some other cities are already doing this and it’s getting great results. It is a voluntary program. It’s a win-win situation that we should absolutely explore.
Q– What do you think is the importance of having local news
A– I think local news is incredibly important. Local government is where all the action is. The day-to-day things local news provides is absolutely necessary. It’s vital to stay connected to the policies and the happenings that affect your life most directly. Any way we can support our local media outlets, we should follow those.
Q– When you’re out in the community, what are people telling you is the most important thing for them?
A– The biggest issue is homelessness. That’s just number one. I’d say the second is public safety.
Homelessness is largely a housing issue. It’s an income issue. It’s a supply and demand issue. We need to encourage responsibly building more housing across the city and the county.
Homelessness is not a local issue. It’s a regional issue. You can’t solve it within just one city. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s so important to partner with local governments and local organizations throughout the county to make sure we’re trying to solve things on all levels and in all areas.
“Homelessness is not a local issue. It’s a regional issue”Jonathan Horton
Q– If you have an unhoused situation in your community, you can’t walk on your sidewalk or walk your kids safely to school because the sidewalks are blocked. Do you think those two tie together as well? Safety and the unhoused?
A– I think one of the things is definitely the perception of safety. As I’ve been knocking on doors, people say homelessness is by far the biggest issue on their minds. People feel a bit less safe when there are people they don’t know out on the street.
One of the biggest things you can do is support policies that help people with jobs and housing.
The idea of community is one of the main reasons I wanted to run for office, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to stay right here in Pasadena. I really care about the community that I grew up in. I grew up right here in District Four. That sense of community makes people safer.
Right now, in the country, people do not feel they’re able to discuss anything with their neighbors and with strangers or even with family.
One of the reasons why we’re so disconnected is because there aren’t as many common spaces that we can use and utilize and be close to people. We spend so much time in our cars, occupied with our jobs, trying to make ends meet.
A lot of our issues with division and the lack of community can be addressed on a policy level by doing things like encouraging investment into public transportation, or common spaces, things like mixed use where you have housing above businesses, different hubs throughout the city that people can do all their shopping and just walk around instead of driving everywhere and interact with their neighbors.
Q– What do you want to tell your constituents about your campaign and your mission?
A– I would like the constituents here in District 4 to know is there are a lot of issues we’re facing. It is not suitable for someone in a position of power, someone in the City Council, to just sit there and wait for change to happen. You’re in a position of power. We seek power and responsibility so that we can actively change things for the betterment of the district, for the community and all of our residents.
“It is not suitable for someone in a position of power, someone in the City Council, to just sit there and wait for change to happen.”Jonathan Horton
My goal for this campaign, my goal for the City Council, is that we actively work to fix these issues, the ones that we’re facing right now and the potential ones in the future.
One of the main things I want the residents to know is that we’re facing all these issues, but it’s going to take an active hand, not a passive one, to face them. I want to be able to grow old here and be in the next generation of caretakers for the city.