I’m a teacher. I got my undergraduate degree in American History from UC San Diego, and my Masters Degree in Teaching from Maryville University in St. Louis. I taught Social Studies — Economics, Government, and US History — at James Lick High School in San Jose, where I was honored as Teacher of the Year.
When our son was younger, I got to be a stay-at-home dad. More recently, I’ve been helping my wife recover after a near-fatal battle against breast cancer, while also maintaining my teaching credential and taking courses, and still being a dad. I’ve become deeply involved in issues in our community. In 2009, I founded a neighborhood group in response to crime and policing issues in Ventura. I joined the College Area Community Council (CACC) soon thereafter, and I’ve had the privilege of serving as group’s chair. I was active with the Poinsettia PTO, serving as president for two years, and then I served on the School Site Council for Anacapa Middle School.
I aim to do a good deed every day, and a civic deed every week. So I have been to countless meetings of the City Council, the Finance Audit & Budget subcommittee, the Economic Development Subcommittee, the Safe & Clean/Homelessness/Affordable Housing Committee, the Planning Commission, the Design Review Committee, the Measure O Committee, and the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee. Occasionally I’ll speak on an issue, but I attend primarily so that I can listen.
I’ve been to nearly all the meetings of the Water Commission since becoming the College Area Community Council’s point person on water several years ago. At just about every CACC meeting, I give an update on the water situation, and do my best to answer everybody’s questions. Because residents have so many questions, I’ve spent many days researching the topic. I try not to let anybody stump me.
While the CACC is my district council, I’ve been to several meetings of every one of the Community Councils, to learn what issues are universal to all the residents of Ventura, and which are specific to certain areas. It’s also been fascinating to see how the community councils vary in their approaches to engaging residents. Pierpont Bay CC is has been hosting events for families and kids; Westside CC has a Revitalization Committee to dig deeper into issues such as land use policy; East Ventura CC has had tremendous success using Zoom meetings to keep everybody engaged during the pandemic. The Community Councils are a powerful tool to ensure everybody has a voice. Even though Councilmembers are now elected by district, it is critical that every Councilmember work in the best interest of the city as a whole.
I’ve been part of the Community Council Congress, a summit of leaders of all the community councils. The focus right now is on coordinating public input in drafting a new General Plan, and defining a role for the community councils as the city streamlines the design process. It’s not enough for residents to participate in the process when they’ve been invited — we have to make sure residents are invited in the first place.
I’ve supported the Police Department’s efforts at civic engagement by being there for Coffee With a Cop, attending their community meetings on special topics, participating in the development of the their 3-year strategic plan. I went through the VPD’s Community Academy, and my wife and I are proud members of the Ventura Police Community Foundation, and sponsors of their annual Heroes Among Us gala.
I know the College Area, and I know how important it is that District 3 elect a councilmember who is ready to lead on Day One. I won’t lie — trying to run a grassroots campaign during this pandemic is daunting. I would be grateful for your support.