Trump’s Win Divides Neighbors; Some Rattle, Others Rally


As the shockwaves of Donald Trump’s presidential upset win continue to reverberate in California, Pasadena residents this past week expressed the full gambit of emotion, from bitter disappointment and fear to joyous elation.
Of the total 40,466 ballots cast in the city of Pasadena, 18.7% of the votes were for Trump, while 72.9% were for Hillary Clinton. Support for Trump was wider across the state with 33.2% of the votes, versus the 61.5% for Clinton.
Despite political leanings, residents came together to support the troops and those who served the country at the city’s Veterans Day tribute at City Hall last Friday.
Marine Staff Sgt. Montae Willis, stationed in Pasadena with the 2nd Battalion 23rd Regiment, stood tall next to his fellow soldiers, saying, “It’s time to move together and get behind the new president-elect.”
Although Willis said he did not vote for Trump, he thinks that the political outsider could make some interesting changes for the country. He is looking forward to Trump’s promises to help fix the struggling VA hospitals and strengthen the military.
“I do think he’ll be an incredible president for the troops. He has won many veterans over already, and has promised to bolster the military. I hope it comes to fruition,” he noted.
For others, they said Trump’s victory will boil down to meaning very little for Pasadena residents.
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said the most important bills affecting residents did pass, such as Measure M, the tax to improve and expand public transportation lines, and Measure A, which promises to increase and fix county parks.
“We don’t get much from Washington anymore as it is — we’ve learned to be pretty self-reliant,” Tornek said.
Motioning out beyond the City Hall steps, Tornek said he is concerned with the unknowns of a Trump presidency. With an election campaign so rife with rhetoric, Trump often glossed over details of his larger agenda, he noted.
Former Pasadena councilwoman Ann-Marie Villicana, meanwhile, is thrilled with the election results and excited about the future under a Trump presidency. Villicana co-founded the L.A. Trump group and was crucial to the Real Women 4 Trump movement in California, acting as a GOP leadership liaison in the Trump campaign.
Villicana says she supported Trump from the beginning of the GOP nomination, noting that as a Realtor she was drawn to his mega-success as a developer. To see Trump run his company in a successful family dynamic along with three of his children was also a tribute to his character; but the real bonus was his being on the outside of Washington’s established political circle, she said.
As far as his agenda, “I would say jobs, reduction of bureaucracy, improved immigration controls and elimination of terrorist infiltration are at the top — along with just providing more opportunities for more people,” she said.
While much of the criticism surrounding Trump’s past focused on the derogatory language toward women and minorities, Villicana pointed out that she herself is Hispanic and a mother.
“That commentary was a sideshow. That is not who Donald Trump is — he will be a remarkable president. He puts women in positions of authority and leadership,” she said. “I always told the Trump team that I believed women and Hispanics would vote for him … and they did!”
Some 29% of Hispanics nationwide voted for Trump, according to exit polling by Edison Research, while 42% of women voted for him and 54% voted for Clinton.
Those numbers stunned Democrats and led in part to the historic defeat, defying the polls in the days leading up to the election.
“I was shocked at how many Latinos were for him,” said Maximiliano Hernandez, who came to watch his son Diego play in the Blair High School band performance for Veterans Day. “I’m completely distraught. I cried the next day at her concession speech … I’m just left wondering how this all fell apart.”
Other locals said some news in the final days swayed the election.
Sandra Siriganian, of Women for Trump and the Pasadena Republican Club, said she thinks news surrounding an increase of some 25% in healthcare premiums under Obamacare impacted many.
“A lot of people who run their own businesses are just so sick of the rising costs,” she noted. “When news of how all these premiums went up drastically, I think it really pushed them over.”
Meanwhile, the local business community should take a “wait-and-see” attitude regarding Trump’s forthcoming tax and funding policies, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President Paul Little said.
“Look, I’m pretty stunned, just like the rest of the country,” he noted. “But I hope everyone is patient. People are reacting to what might happen as opposed to what will really happen.”
Personally, Little said he does not support the tax ideas Trump spoke of during the campaign cycle.
“Potentially, his tax policies are reminiscent of the 1980s, and it was not good for the economy of the country or the deficit,” Little said. “Cutting taxes for the wealthy did not help then, and it won’t help now.”
The first issues in a Trump administration that could affect Pasadena include policies on NASA funding, as it will impact one of Pasadena’s largest employers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Little said. JPL’s employees and research also goes hand-in-hand with the California Institute for Technology.
“Will he support exploration and scientific discovery? What is his general support of education funding?” Little said, noting the many questions surrounding Trump’s views on education, including that he said he would do away with Common Core curriculum.
Leaders at local schools were hesitant to comment on the atmosphere at campuses, even as thousands of students staged protests and marched in downtown Los Angeles. Several schools issued a “no comment,” saying only that the priority is to unite students and help qualm emotional sentiment.
Pasadena’s Westridge School, however, said its goal was to talk about and process the election in the context of the school’s core values, including integrity, respect and inclusion.
“Naturally, as a girls’ school, the historic nature of the first female nominee from a major party and the potential of a female president was significant to many in our community,” Headmaster Elizabeth McGregor said in a statement. “Separate from political ideology, seeing women working at this level is important, demonstrating for all girls the expansion of leadership positions within their reach and the importance of additional female voices in our public political conversation.”