Pasadena Mayor Names Rick Cole as Special Housing Advisor

We haven’t seen the last of Rick Cole. The former Santa Monica city manager was named as a special housing advisor to Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo last week. Along with a 17-member task force, he’ll help implement revisions to Pasadena's Housing Element.

Cole knows the city well. He previously served 12 years on the Pasadena City Council, including a stint as mayor. That good will may come in handy. With the task force divided between pro-growth and anti-development factions, there’s sure to be a fight.

Cole’s urbanist philosophy could also rattle some slow-growth advocates. He believes the city should focus on ways to comply with the state housing mandate to plan for 9,049 new units. The city has called that mandate impossible. It tried unsuccessfully to appeal. Fortunately, Cole has been around a long time. If there’s anyone who can help muster the political will necessary to get the job done, it’s him.

With Cole at his side, Mayor Gordo can also expect to hear a lot about smart growth, which Cole has championed for more than a decade. That means not just building more housing, but building it right — in a way that compliments the city and its various needs.

Cole’s appointment comes one year after his abrupt resignation from Santa Monica, where his plan to rescue the city faced substantial resistance. After his departure, he gave an interview to The Planning Report about the future of cities and how they can best align themselves with the needs of the 21st century. You can read that interview here.


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