Nine for DONE General Manager Post
In creating a list of possible candidates, I've separated the group into safe but solid picks, big and bold choices and a short list of dark horse possibilities. They are as follows:
Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein - professor of political science at Cal State Fullerton, the Princeton-Yale educated Sonenshein was the executive director of the Appointed Charter Reform Commission which eventually birthed Neighborhood Councils. Gentlemanly and wise, Sonenshein literally wrote the book on charter reform and it's attendant issues, The City at Stake: Secession, Reform, and the Battle for Los Angeles.
Joe Hicks - Vice President of Community Advocates, Inc. and KFI talk radio host, Hicks was the Executive Director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, where he served from 1997 to 2001 under Mayor Richard Riordan. In the early 1990s, Hicks was Executive Director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Thoughtful with an evolving philosophy, Hicks' roots in LA are deep and could be the right guy for the job.
Linda Griego - President/CEO of Griego Enterprises Inc. which develops television programming through Zapgo Entertainment Group. Griego has had stints as the interim president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Community Development Bank, president and chief executive officer of Rebuild LA and a deputy mayor of Los Angeles. In 1993, Griego was the first major female candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles. As well, she serves on a number of major corporate boards such as CBS and City National Bank. Griego has developed strong ties in the corporate, government and non-profit worlds which could help take DONE and the Neighborhood Councils to the next level.
Dr. Denise Fairchild - Executive director of the Community Development Technologies Center, she has more than 30 years experience in the private, nonprofit and public sector. Previously Fairchild was Director of the Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Fairchild even considered running against Herb Wesson for the City Council but withdrew from the race to join the Mayor Villaraigosa's transition team. Recognized nationally as an expert in community development, Fairchild is a natural heir to Dr. Tharp.
If the Mayor didn't want to go with one of the safe picks noted above, he could go a different direction and pick a big name (and in this case big men) to really shake things up at DONE.
Huell Howser - The KCET host and television producer knows LA and its people inside out. For over twenty-five years Tennessee native Howser has prowled LA and has met its people of every stripe and station, first for CBS-TV and later for public television. As seen on his prolific library of television programs, Howser has an unshakable love for Los Angeles and those who live here. With a degree in history from the University of Tennessee (where he served as student body president), Howell worked for US Senator Howard Baker and has held posts on many boards and commissions over the years. Uber friendly with a slightly goofy side, the super smart Howser could be a great face for citizen leadership.
Bob Hertzberg - The former State Assembly Speaker and Valley based candidate for Mayor is a serious policy wonk and probably knows the City Charter more than just about anyone. His idea for a borough system for Los Angeles could be the next step for Neighborhood Councils. A successful attorney and entrepreneur, the job would represent a serious cut in pay for the man who likes to hug, but the challenge nonetheless would be attractive to him. Charismatic and unflappable Hertzberg could also be a great spokesman for DONE.
Finally, if the Mayor felt like going in a completely different direction and bring in someone unknown to the public but still well known to local leaders, he could select one of the following:
Joseph Mailander - Our fellow "blogging burro," is a native Angeleno who has quite frankly seen and done it almost all. Writer, artist, bank executive, owner of publishing imprint St. Genevieve Press, Mailander is beyond thoughtful; one would not be incorrect to call him a genius. Frequently sought by local blogs and publications for his reasoned insight about life in LA, Joseph leans to the left but doesn't lock step when he feels the orthodoxy has to be challenged. Mailander would be a quiet revolutionary who could bring the discussion at Neighborhood Councils to a new level.
Edward Headington - Principal of Headington Media Group and longtime friend to the Sister City, Headington has a breadth of experience in the public and private sector with significant leadership and communications expertise. Educated at USC and George Washington University, Headington has worked for elected officials such as former Mayor Richard Riordan, Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski and State Senator Gilbert Cedillo. Headington was the Public Affairs Manager for the National Small Business Association in Washington, DC. He's served up political opinion for MSNBC, NPR, the Daily News and several other media outlets. For some time, Edward has had an association with Coro Southern California, the public affairs organization, where he worked with Baker Tharp during her days as their Executive Director. Currently Headington is working on a book that looks at the nexus between politics, communications and image management. Diplomatic with a sense of humor, Headington represents the best of the leadership of Generation X and could potentially engage young professionals who are often not represented at the table.
Kim Thompson - Referred to as the North Valley's version of Erin Brockovich, Kim Thompson started out as a mom and housewife that stepped up when she saw something happening that she didn't like. Fighting against the Sunshine Canyon Landfill and more recently the Las Lomas mega-development and a proposed addition to Providence Holy Cross Hospital, Thompson is a quick study who can quote the details from EIRs and MNDs like there's no tomorrow. A feisty fighter who doesn't give up - and with extensive Neighborhood Council experience of her own - Thompson could be the "everywoman" leader of DONE who could speak the language of most NC members better than anyone.
It's likely the Mayor will choose none of these, but we challenge him and his staff to study each of these individuals and consider pressing them into service.
Labels: bob hertzberg, carol baker tharp, denise fairchild, done, edward headington, huell howser, joe hicks, joseph mailander, kim thompson, linda griego, los angeles politics, mayor antonio villaraigosa, raphael sonenshein