I have been active in our community for years. Here are some items I consider the highlights:
Lomita city council member since December 2005
See my news page for my latest musings.
Lomita planning commissioner from 2000 to 2005 including one term as chairman
This is probably one of the toughest jobs in town. The hardest part is considering the concerns of the community and property owners within the confines of the law. When the council appointed me to the commission, I was immediately impressed with the caliber of the commissioners. Even though I had worked as a city planner, I found I had a lot to learn from my fellow commissioners and city staff. Even items that seem quite simple can become difficult. The issue of precedent comes up at every meeting. We ask ourselves if we are approving something generally reasonable that might become a precedent for something unreasonable in the future. We look at decisions the commission made years ago that improved or hurt the community.
Another factor that makes being a planning commissioner difficult is that people are often very upset when they come to a meeting. They know something is proposed in their area but have not had a chance to thoroughly review it. They may not know how the process works, and they are nervous about speaking before the commission. As such, their comments can be quite heated. It is important to remember these things and avoid taking their comments personally. While I do not expect anyone to agree with every decision I have made, I think most people will agree that I strive to be fair and honest about what I think and why. Serving as a member of your planning commission has been a real honor. Click here for a good article by the League of California Cities on the role of a planning commissioner.
Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB) member 1998-2000
Lomita receives Community Development Block Grant funds through Los Angeles County's Community Development Commission. The CDAB reviewed the city's use of these block grant funds and made recommendations to the city council. The board also reviewed the operations of certain senior housing operations in the city. One of the more interesting programs we worked on during my tenure was the downtown rehabilitation program. I would like to see the program expanded to assist business owners in cleaning up their buildings.
Torrance-South Bay YMCA parent-child program leader and volunteer since 1999
My sons and I have been very active in our local YMCA. Through the Indian Guides, Trailblazer and now Pathfinder programs, we have met a lot of great people and had some parent-child bonding times that have been very important to our family. We were part of the Comanche tribe, teaching the children (and ourselves) about our Native American history. The Comanche language is listed as one of the most endangered in the world. Sadly, the program has lost its Native American roots and become the Adventure Guides. It was my privilege to serve as chief of our group.
After Indian Guides, we moved to the next age group, Trailblazers, for 3-6 graders. I served as president of our club, the Rangers. Again, a great experience for our family. This year, both my sons have moved up to Pathfinders. We look forward to more great times together in the program. If you have a son or daughter from age four through high school, the YMCA offers some super programs that are fun for everyone, a chance to meet great people, and have some good adventures without even spending much money.
Founding board member (1991) of the 1010 Development Corporation
1010 is a builder and operator of affordable housing with day care and community facilities in Downtown Los Angeles. We have a senior housing complex completed, a family housing complex completed and two other projects under construction. 1010 started as an outreach project of the First United Methodist Church of Los Angeles, one of the oldest churches in Los Angeles. The organization works with other agencies, particularly the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the city of Los Angeles, to meet the huge need for affordable housing in Downtown Los Angeles. I serve as chair of the personnel committee of the board of directors.
Supporter of the Lomita Railroad Museum
My wife and I have been financial supporters of our local museum for years. As I have said elsewhere, the museum is a gem in our community that holds great promise for the future. The water tower looks great, and the new park area is great place for us to play. We look forward to seeing a major expansion in the next few years.
Life member - South Bay Botanical Garden Foundation
As a child, my family and I used to go to the LA County Arboretum often. I marveled at huge trees, the pond, Lucky Baldwin's house and Tarzan's boat house from the movies (long since gone). When I moved to the South Bay, I was delighted to find the South Coast Botanical Gardens in my own neighborhood. My wife and I joined the foundation as life members soon after we married, and we have spent many a fine day at the gardens. In the fifteen years we have been members, we have seen tremendous improvements in the gardens. If you have not visited, it is well worth your time.