Councilman Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, still condemning his predecessorfor losing touch with the people, has begun organizing a "community council" to keep him close to his constituency.
Holland, R-Pasadena, sent out letters to about 100 community associations last week, asking each to choose a representative to attend monthly community council meetings. Some recreation councils also were invited.
The idea, Holland said, is to keep a grass-roots connection with the District 3 by letting community leaders discuss concerns with himon a regular basis.
He also said community leaders may be able tohelp solve each other's problems if they "network."
"This is going to be like a town meeting once a month," Holland said. "Instead of me going from committee to committee to committee, we can do it in one organized meeting."
The community council will have no voting power or any officers. "There'll be no president, vice president or minute-takers," Holland said.
"It's not going to be a club. It's onlygoing to be a round-table discussion. It's an opportunity for me to brief them on what's going on at the county level that pertains to the 3rd District."
The new councilman, who tentatively plans to holdhis first meeting in March, is hoping 90 percent of the 100-plus organizations in District 3 will respond. "After this was first reportedin the newspapers, the phone was ringing off the hook with people who wanted to join," he said.
Before and since the November election, Holland has accused his predecessor, four-term councilman Edward C."Buddy" Ahern, of catering only to specific community groups. He said the community council is a sign of his determination to avoid Ahern's alleged pitfalls.
Darlene Schepleng, a Rock Creek activist who will represent the Water Oak Point community on Holland's group, praised the councilman's idea. "I think other councilmen ought to be doing the same thing," she said.
"The entire district needs to be heard, and the councilman needs to listen to everyone, not just a chosen few, as Mr. Ahern tended to do," Schepleng said.
"Mr. Ahern tendedto listen to the Greater Pasadena Council (which includes community associations in the Lake Shore and Mountain Road areas). The Greater Pasadena Council is fine, but not all community associations belong to it."
Schepleng said many District 3 activists not associated with a specific community association are hoping Holland will let them participate in his monthly session.