Three qualities about Bob Whalen set him apart from the other fine City Council candidates — any one of these qualities alone would be enough to garner my vote.
First, Whalen has worked as a public finance attorney for 30 years, giving him incredible insight into local government fiscal issues. This is the guy a municipality hires on difficult and complicated finance issues — and he would be a sitting member and permanent resource of our council! Who wouldn’t want to have the best resources available to our town? His four years on the Planning Commission give him even greater insight into the specific workings of Laguna.
Second, I can’t think of anyone who has demonstrated the range and depth of dedication to bettering the lives of Laguna Beach kids than Bob Whalen. Our school and family community is important for those who have kids, value education and care about property values.
Our schools are in great shape, but our community shouldn’t take that for granted. (Our superintendent has stated that if Proposition 30 doesn’t pass, the LBUSD budget will experience a $1.3 million cut as of Jan. 1 which will be ongoing.) We need a council member with a commitment and connection to our schools should the need arise.
Whalen served on the school board for nine years, coached youth sports and served as president of SchoolPower and the Boys and Girls Club. He has made a difference at each juncture. For example, all of Laguna’s public school students continue to benefit from Whalen’s leadership in spearheading the $39 million school bond measure in 2001 that has kept our school facilities in excellent repair. At the Boys and Girls Club, he rallied supporters to respond to the economic challenges that hammered non-profits in 2008, keeping the club accessible for the many kids who enjoy and depend on its services.
Finally, Whalen has demonstrated that he will consider all issues logically, make big picture decisions, build consensus and plan for the long term. He is a smart, reasonable, good guy. Perhaps this explains why so many from different political backgrounds, generations and perspectives support Bob Whalen. We are lucky for so many reasons in this town. We have the opportunity in a couple weeks to elect a candidate who will make the future of Laguna Beach even brighter.
Robin Rounaghi, Laguna Beach