THE EARLY YEARS
I had the great fortune to be born in Santa Monica on Christmas Day 1953. Urban legend has it that there was even a rare light dusting of snow here to announce my arrival. I grew up in this town as did my mother who was also born here. She has never moved away. I too have chosen to remain in this wonderful city my whole life.
I am forever thankful to my grandparents who moved here from New York in the 1920's. And, in a romantic twist, my mother met my father by the cannon in Palisades Park. He was a marine from a small town in North Carolina whose aircraft carrier "stopped by" to help launch Independence Day fireworks.
My grandfather was a butcher and eventually an apartment house owner in Santa Monica. My grandmother cleaned motel rooms on Ocean Avenue. My step grandmother worked for May Company. She spent over 40 years there. My father was a member of the Retail Clerks Union who worked at supermarkets in Venice and Santa Monica. He eventually became an apartment house owner as well.
I attended Madison Elementary, Lincoln Junior High and graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1971. When I was eleven years old, my father gave me a membership in the Boys Club of Santa Monica. Little did I know the tremendous effect this organization would have on my life. At the club, I became friends with kids of all backgrounds. I enrolled in the club leadership program, and the day I turned 16, I officially became an employee of the club- my first job! I coached the younger kids in sports and became a mentor to them. Today I am Past President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica Council. I assisted the Clubs in raising thousands of valuable dollars for the youth of our community.
I stayed local for college. Santa Monica College, UCLA and Loyola Marymount University became my educational homes. And, when it came time to seek employment I worked in Santa Monica elementary schools, for Santa Monica parks, at the Evening Outlook, the Jonathan and Sand & Sea Clubs, and then landed my first teaching assignments. I coached baseball at Crossroads High School, taught sixth grade at St Clement Elementary School and moved on to Los Angeles city schools. I coached baseball and football at Hamilton and Crenshaw High Schools. I taught History and English and was an Athletic Director. I was in East LA at Lincoln High School and taught physical education at Berendo Middle School as well. Working in inner city schools gave me great insight into the lives of our youth...and their parents. The hardships that they faced, the economic adversity their families faced, the effects of not having the choices that the youth of more affluent families routinely have made a lasting impression on my life. I have devoted much of my life to helping our youth overcome their obstacles.
I switched careers and became the President of a boutique collection of luxury lifestyle stores for a decade. To assure the success of every location, I studied urban design and the effects of business development on each city. It was a great experience.
One more thing...I had starred in a play at the age of 12 in Santa Monica's Miles Playhouse. From then on I was hooked. As an actor I appeared in many films, TV shows and on stage. I am a member of the performers branch of the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences and a proud member of SAG-AFTRA & AEA.
I transitioned to talent management in 1994 and soon opened my own company, the Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. My company represents award-winning actors in all genres and I am a past President of the Talent Managers Association. I remain a powerful advocate for the ethical treatment of actors in the entertainment community and am an acting instructor at the Strasberg Institute.
SANTA MONICA RECREATION & PARKS COMMISSION
In October 2003, I was appointed to the Santa Monica Recreation & Parks Commission. I was elected Vice Chair in 2010 and became Chair in 2011. I termed out of that commission in 2016.
During my tenure our commission saw a great expansion of our city park system. I credit my fellow Commissioners, the City Council and the visionary leadership of the Community & Cultural Services Department for the wave of new parks in our city. We opened a skateboard Park, Euclid Park, the Annenberg Community Beach House, Airport Park, Tongva Park, Ishihara Park, the greens on Ocean Park Blvd and Ken Genser Square. The commission has also helped supervise expansion in several of the city's existing parks, including the establishment of the first universally accessible playgrounds in Santa Monica and the expansion of Virginia Avenue Park.
In 2010 I was appointed to the State of California Association of Parks & Recreation Commissioners & Board Members (CalParksBoard). I was elected the 42nd President of that organization, and continue to serve on the board today, as a liaison between Santa Monica and other California cities.
I was the 2013 California Parks & Recreation Commissioner of the Year.
Santa Monica Arts Commission
I was appointed to the Arts Commission in 2016 and remain an active commission member. I have been a strong advocate for public art, the preservation of the arts legacy at Bergamot Station and at the Santa Monica Airport Arts Studios. I demanded transparency from our city about the removal of the treasured mosaic at the former Home Savings Building. It was summarily removed without any notification to the Arts Commission or the public. I have advocated continuously for legacy art that depicts the diverse stories of the many cultures that have formed our community.
I have advocated for an Olympic Blvd art trail and initiated Make Music Day events in Santa Monica for the past eight years. I remain opposed to “private” public art that does not benefit the residents of this city. A prime example is the over $500,000 in public funds that was spent to decorate a private staff stairwell within the new city hall annex.
Civic Auditorium Working Group
The City Council initiated a working group (2013-2015) to help best determine the future of the shuttered Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. As the Chair of the Recreation & Parks Commission I was one of the nine appointed members. The Civic Center Specific Plan had already mandated that a portion of the parking lot be converted to a multi-use sports field that would serve Santa Monica High School and the general community.
While a majority of the Working Group advocated instead for a high-rise hotel, offices, and retail to be added to the Civic Auditorium property, I remained steadfast in advocating for the approved use of the property, a field that would serve generations of students and the community. I am proud that the playing field is ready to open in the Fall of 2020 and so happy that the community’s field warriors succeeded.
Unfortunately, the plan that I presented to modernize and reopen the Civic Auditorium at a reasonable cost was not adopted and the auditorium remains closed.
Community Activity - Helping My Fellow Residents
I am a former Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica President and now serve as the Lieutenant Governor of the Coastal Division 19 of the California-Nevada-Hawaii Kiwanis. I Am President of the Santa Monica High School Alumni Association, a Trustee of the Santa Monica Elks Lodge, a Salvation Army Advisory Board Member, a member of Santa Monica Mid City Neighbors and Santa Monica's North of Montana Association. At UCLA I am a life member of the Alumni Association and the Coaches Roundtable. I am also a member of the Santa Monica College General Advisory Board and a member of St. Monica's parish.
I have been honored as a Santa Monica Salvation Army Volunteer of the Year, and was the Santa Monica Elks Citizen of the Year. Further honors include the Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a Rose Float Fellowship, and a William Dunlap Fellowship.
Mom & Dad on their first date
at Santa Monica Pier
It's Little Me!