We Get (More) Letters

 The Kids Are Alright

Letter to the editor:

I strongly support the Sunrise Sequoyah movement for a habitable planet. We need a People’s Bailout and Green New Deal and common sense protective measures for the climate and health of all humans. Our government says thanks to the essential food delivery workers yet they continually neglect to protect them. The workers must be provided with a living wage, healthcare/ mental care services paid for with our taxes from cradle to grave, and protective gear ( face masks washable, gloves, cell phones costs, delivery electric or hybrid vehicles). We already know about the crisis at hospitals with a lack of testing, PPE, and long hours. Shame on elected officials for their cuts leaving us unprepared. Start now at the local level by demanding action and funding from Senator Diane Feinstein. Demand that she vote for and endorse a Green New Deal so that we can implement a just transition to renewable energy. I ask that we all collectively demand
action of local and county public leaders.

Outraged in Altadena,

Julie McKune
2426 New York Drive
Altadena CA 91001

Public School Teacher
Assembly District 41 Delegate
Member LWV

Note: I wish that Pasadena Now had better coverage of our future public leaders (students, young climate activists) and all their virtual activities and actions occurring in Pasadena.

Thank you.

Summerkids and Steve Madison

Members of the Council, First and foremost, we wish you and your families the very best during these unprecedented times.

Pasadena’s medical and first responder communities have been heroes of ours since we relocated to the Crown City nearly a decade ago. However, like their brothers and sisters nationwide, these public servants currently illustrate a level of valor that, we can all agree, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Unprecedented times often cultivate unprecedented courage in every corridor of community. In fact, such times customarily produce increased compassion, empathy and humility.

And while our city suffers, it is reasonable to expect that every elected official affords similar comportment. After all, we citizens are your employer—our votes come with the expectation that you will do nothing less than your very best for and by the people. Cronyism and disaster capitalism have no place during grave events.
Therefore, it is our recommendation that Steve Madison’s recent acts be publicly admonished and perhaps further explored for additional consequences. Mr. Madison has exhibited a stunning lack of compassion, empathy, humility, morality, judgment and ethics at a time that demands the polar opposite.

Madison represents our family in Pasadena’s 6th District. He has also chosen to represent Summerkids— an Altadena-based child care facility—as defense counsel in an action served by the state’s attorney general. Madison is personal friends with Summerkids owner-operator Cara Di Massa and her husband Shawn Nelson, a Department of Justice attorney, both of whom live in Altadena.

On June 28 of last year, our daughter Roxie drowned in Di Massa’s Summerkids pool. All medical and first responder documents prove the cause of death to be drowning, nothing else. Every Summerkids counselor and even Di Massa herself admitted to neglect. Ultimately, those charged with Roxie’s care did not pay attention to her, and she died. Although Di Massa covered up critical facts surrounding the death and advanced a wholly disturbing narrative to the greater Los Angeles community, publicly available documents evidence the truth.

The Department of Social Services subsequently determined that Di Massa had been operating an illegal child care facility. She defied their determinations and continued to operate illegally. This is why the attorney general is currently seeking an injunction against her. Publicly available documents illustrate the facts.

We do not in any way dispute that Di Massa has a right to defense counsel. What we do dispute is Madison’s utter lack of humaneness, let alone his unbridled disregard for professional ethics. Clearly, this is not his first illustration of such behavior. Madison represented the Los Angeles County sheriff—against the county—at a billable rate of $1,100 per hour to be paid by county taxpayers.

Madison publicly claimed he was unaware we were his constituents. At the very least, it is insulting, if not shameless, that he would think we and our fellow constituents are naïve enough to believe such a statement. Lawyers like Steve Madison are paid handsomely to know every last detail about the players and the circumstances surrounding a lawsuit, especially a suit filed by the state’s top law official.

Also, Roxie’s story has been in every newspaper and on broadcast news for ten months. The community honored her at San Rafael Park in October. Our foundation has been very public about its efforts to both introduce a camp safety bill that will protect millions of California children and develop the state’s first end-to-end drowning prevention solution. Does Madison care so little about constituents that he failed to acknowledge a little girl’s preventable death—one that impacts his own district and others?

At the very least, Madison had every opportunity to hand the attorney general’s case over to a colleague at his Quinn Emmanuel law firm. Yet, he willfully chose not to. This says a lot about who Steve Madison is. It also says a lot about his allegiance to cronyism and ego over constituents.

We struggle mightily with the preventable death of our only child, the love of our lives. Each morning since June 29, we contend with the lure of withdrawing due to despair. Roxie also had a rare immunodeficiency disorder that now stands as a stark reminder while this virus consumes even the healthiest of souls. But, as Roxie’s parents, it is our duty to honor her. It is our duty to remind the world of her remarkable, beautiful life, even during yet another traumatic moment in time. If we do not fight for her and for children, we fail.

Roxie’s experience at Pacific Oaks Children’s School and San Rafael Elementary resulted in lifelong friendships and indelible memories. Parents and children have been deeply affected by her death. Contrarily, the Quinn Emanuel law firm website proudly touts that it is “Better. Faster. Tougher. Scarier.” Apparently, Madison abides by this mantra. He never even bothered to offer condolences, like the Mayor and Margaret McAustin did and other city officials did and our beloved community members did.

Madison should have met Roxie. He might have learned what unfiltered, unyielding compassion looks and feels like, especially during times of pervasive duress. Her community certainly knew this about her.

The bottom line is this: How do you expect us to pay even one tax dollar to our councilman who is fervently representing the very place that killed our daughter?
Even if you believe Di Massa to be innocent until proven guilty in the current wrongful death lawsuit against Summerkids and innocent until proven guilty in the current attorney general lawsuit against Summerkids for operating an illegal child care facility and innocent until proven guilty in a current discrimination lawsuit against Summerkids and innocent until proven guilty in a current wrongful termination lawsuit against Summerkids… don’t you think Steve Madison could and should do what is right and just and put his duty to constituents above his duty to notch another favor for a friend?

Steve Madison needs to learn an invaluable lesson, despite the damage he has irreversibly done.


Doug Forbes, Elena Matyas
| doug@meowmeowfoundation.org | elena@meowmeowfoundation.org

cc: Anthony Portantino
Chris Holden
Kathryn Barger
Judy Chu
Pasadena Unified School District
West Pasadena Residents’ Association
Los Angeles Times
Pasadena Star news
Pasadena Now
Pasadena Weekly
Pasadena’s 6th District

Got something to say, email Managing Editor André Coleman, at andrec@pasadenanowmagazine.com