Sunday, September 16, 2012

Information, please

Yesterday Ann Erdman, current Lady of Leisure, former PIO for the City of Pasadena led a group of us  bloggers on a tour of City Hall.  Ann is in the back row in the colorful blouse.
Photo-Matt Scauzillo
We learned a bit about the history of the 4 Pasadena City Halls that preceded our current iteration.  We also learned about the icons that are hidden until you know where to fine them.  Next time you're at City Hall find the Chinese lions...they're there.  As are symbols reflecting knowledge, abundance and royalty.

We also had a chance to hear about the architectural heritage of our icon.  Ann shared that the style of City Hall is, and she let us know she relished this unique phrase, California Mediterranean.  Think elements of California Mission and elements of Mediterranean design.  The Central Courtyard is a great example of this elegant hybrid.

Ann shared a lot of stories.  Perhaps my favorite was her story that connected with her first days as Public Information Officer for the City of Pasadena.  A job that was filled with an overwehlming number of hours per week.

Ann like many of the rest of us had an experience that made a deep and lasting imprint.  Despite careful planning, she arrived for her job interview and was close to being late because she didn't know where was supposed to go.  She knew the room number, but there was no point of information on site to help her find that room.  Despite this she made it on time and got the job.

Among the first things she hoped to do on the job was to find a means to get one on one information to those who might visit City Hall.  A booth was the suggestion Ann made.  Because of the city's passion for historical preservation no booth could be developed in the Great Entry.  Ann, ended up doing some research and discovered in original blueprints a space and a design that was clearly included to allow for information for the public.  I can just imagine the smile spreading across her face when she saw the design for an information booth.  It turns out that the design of the current information booth, with small modifications for greater access for those with physical challenges, looks like the booth on the design.

Due to Ann's influence it was built and to this day is a point where many go for guidance and information.  Members of the community had clearer access to the governing body.  The opportunity for increased participation was encouraged.  And folks are less likely to get lost when they come for job interviews.
Thanks, Ann.

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