The good news first and the only reason I gave them stars at all. The planners and inspectors are top notch, nice people with your best interest in mind as well as safety. In fact most of the employees I've dealt with were very pleasant and helpful.
Unfortunately there is so much paperwork and different divisions to deal with that it takes twice as long and costs twice as much as any other city.
Example; La Canada business license and permit for new electrical service: $90 total. The city planner is also the inspector. One call to complete the job, no fuss. One call to Edison to have the new service reconnected, and the cost: $0.
Pasadena? Call the planner, have him come out and look at the job. Then the building and safety department have to look at it. Then Water and Power have to come and inspect it. And if one of these divisions is in conflict with either of the other two, it takes another trip out. Cost of a business license: minimum $180 up to $570. Cost of permit: $90 Cost of reconnection:$400 flat rate.
Absurd. Pasadena, you can do better than this.