Our political system is, by design, adversarial so that all sides can be represented. It’s easy to forget that Thomas Jefferson was once called a coward for not fighting in the Revolution, that Andrew Jackson was accused of being a cannibal and eventually killed a man for insulting his wife. From packed Supreme Courts, rumors of John F. Kennedy being part of a papal conspiracy, to Barry Goldwater being accused of being unbalanced, we have an unfortunate history of political positions becoming so entrenched that they become personal, and then, immovable.
How did we end up with our new pool 3 miles away from our old pool. . . after 10 years of planning?
How did we end up with dozens upon dozens of Council meetings about our golf course and then with more meetings about our golf course?
How is Smoky Hollow in its sixth year of preparing to become a center of development next year?
In most respects, our familiarity with one another is a tremendous advantage, but when it comes to making decisions, we can know each other a little bit too well. We can fall into patterns of doing things in one way, because that’s how we’ve always done it, or because we’ve committed to a legacy issue. Sometimes we don’t even remember why we do it that way.
But we do know this, if our local government is unable to make timely, responsive, decisions, then it ceases to govern. In the absence of clear direction, our city staff, the City Attorney, and our department heads are forced to churn the machine of government with processes that they are not empowered to change. Those processes become so entrenched that they paralyze efforts to change them, and the cycle perpetuates itself. I have spent my professional career empowering teams to make smart decisions. Whether enabling junior Marines to outperform their peers or guiding private clients to become nimbler organizations that can seize business opportunities, I have prioritized pushing authority to the most responsive level. I feel that I could help El Segundo to identify ways to evolve; including looking at how we hire new city staff, giving clear direction to current employees, and providing fresh ideas to the Council.
Our city is the commercial hub of the South Bay. We built a refinery in less than a year; we build satellites, superconductors and garage doors, and plenty of things in between. We have offices that makes t-shirts and build apps in the same room. We make big, fast, bold decisions every day. Our city government should match that dynamism. It should focus on growth, it should question its legacy practices, it should reinforce the best efforts of our community.