Thursday, June 27, 2013

It Is Hard To Beat City Hall In Pasadena

They say 'you can't fight city hall.'

Of course, I grew up in Chicago when the first Richard Daley was ruler--oops, I mean, mayor, and where his powerful Democratic political machine got things done. Sometimes the politics got dirty;

some might even say kinda shady, too.

 I don't know anything about the politics in Pasadena, California. But when it comes to beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture, a courtyard garden with pink roses and the kind of shade provided by California live oak trees

--oh, and a Baroque-style fountain by the way--

then the beauty of this city hall might be tough to beat.

Showing up to work here to manage government or even paying a parking ticket could put me in a better mood just seeing this place.

 And, as noted on a Pasadena visitor website, residents here do take pride in their city hall, which was completed in 1927 by the San Francisco architectural firm of Blakewell and Brown. The building is on the national register of historic places.

Today I came across a book, The Gardens of Democracy, by Eric Liu and Nicholas Hanauer (2011). The title caught my interest right away. Briefly, the authors of this book want to change the way both liberal and conservative Americans view how their government works. Specifically, they would like to get rid of the government machine metaphor.
On their website, the authors write: "We believe instead that the right way to see things is through the metaphor of a garden: that we live and govern ourselves in complex systems that require tending; that the role of government and citizens alike is to seed, feed, and weed the gardens of our democracy." 

Cultivating democracy vs. machine politics. Hmm.
Something to consider this week as we celebrate independence day and the birth of our democratic nation. 

Meanwhile, I will be in my garden on July 4th, cultivating a variety of burgers on the grill. I hope you will be in a garden, too. Happy Independence Day!

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