Sunset magazine's so-called "tablet edition" announced the results weeks ago, albeit amid some confusion, and now the print edition has confirmed the outcome: South Pasadena is indeed the magazine's "Reader Pick" for "Best Cosmopolitan Burb" in the West, although the city is not major-featured as such.
In the February 2014 edition of Sunset, which recently hit the stands, South Pas is featured in the bottom right-hand corner of a two-page spread, which makes the city appear as though it ranked fourth in the Best Burbs category.
"Ranked" left of South Pas are Alameda, CA and Louisville, CO. Ostensibly, the top place went to Issaquah, WA, a one-time coal mining town near Seattle, to which around 80 percent of space on the two-page layout is devoted.
Analyzing the results is exasperating—if not also annoying. Sunset offers no explanation why the evidently key Reader Pick component in the six-section contest isn't given special treatment. Did the magazine's editors cast secret votes? Did they prefer certain cities over others, either for personal reasons or because some cities offered more alluring photographs? The otherwise popular and well-respected Time Inc. publication doesn't tell.
What Sunset does says that it "interrogated urban experts" nationwide to come up with a list of 24 semifinalists for "Best Places to Live and Work." Then, adds the magazine, it asked readers to vote for their favorites.
The poll generated more than 19,000 responses. Curiously, although South Pas is the only city in the Best Burbs section that has the Reader Pick stamp, there's no explanation, either in print or online, as to why it features "last" on the page. No other city in the contest, with the exception of Seattle, is similarly treated. (Seattle is the Reader Pick for "Best Place to Launch a Career.")
Click here to see the contest results online—and decide for yourself if you're as frustrated with what you see as this writer.