City of Pasadena Announces Community Mediation Program
The City of Pasadena will be implementing a City Prosecutor Community Mediation Program. This program is designed to help in the early resolution of community disputes so that these disputes do not rise to the level of police, criminal justice or court involvement. The program will help tackle community disputes that include landlord/tenant disputes, homelessness-related issues, school-related issues, neighbor disputes, consumer/merchant disputes, labor/employment disputes, business disputes, and family/domestic disputes among others.
Effective Tuesday, Dec. 7, the public can go to the City Attorney/City Prosecutor webpage and find a description of this program along with a link that will allow members of the public to document an ongoing dispute. The information will then be relayed to the City Prosecutor’s Office to begin steps toward mediating the dispute. The mediation process in this program is done through a member of the City Prosecutor’s Office who will facilitate communication between the parties to work toward resolving their dispute using specialized communication and negotiation techniques. The City Prosecutor’s Office will help guide the parties toward a mutually agreeable solution and assist in restoring peace and harmony among the parties and help to rebuild relationships within the community.
“The goal is to seek alternative solutions to issues that do not involve the traditional justice system. Each mediation will be tailored to the parties’ specific needs and goals. This program is voluntary, free and confidential, and it’s an important and necessary step in lowering crime, reducing the need for long-term police resources, fostering better relations within the community and bringing about a better quality of life for our residents,” says Chief Assistant City Prosecutor Michael Dowd, who is overseeing the implementation and coordination of this program.
The mediation program was patterned after a similar program in the City of Los Angeles. The decision to start this program in Pasadena was brought about due to a large increase in city disputes concerning property usage, quality of life issues due to homeless activities, eviction disputes, and family and domestic incidents. The mediation program in Pasadena is unique and somewhat different from the one in Los Angeles due to the fact that attorneys from the City Prosecutor’s Office will be the mediators who attempt to fashion out a remedy for the disputes that come into the program. “We believe that utilizing attorneys who are well versed in the law and have a professional connection with what is happening in Pasadena as opposed to mediators who have no connection to the city gives our program some advantages that others lack,” concludes Dowd.
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