Editor’s note: This is the last article in a series of profiles on Mar Vista candidates that Patch will be running leading up to the election.
What would you prioritize if you were voted in?
The Mar Vista Community Council deals with many issues every month. Sometimes the issue involves a recommendation for planning and zoning. Another time we are dealing with traffic problems or sidewalks. At still another time we may be dealing with airport issues. Mar Vista has a unique approach to the environment through our Green Committee, one I support. All are priorities when and if the issues are addressed. What I don't see enough of and would want to make a priority is to build a partnership between the stakeholders of our community and our schools.
I am an educator and have been for 20+ years. During my 20+ years I've worked in classrooms of 38 without an assistant and classrooms of 20 with an assistant. The difference is like night and day. In a classroom of 38 with no assistant, classroom management consumes the majority of a teacher's time.
Learning happens, but not on the scale it could. In a classroom of 20 with an assistant, time spent for classroom management decreases dramatically, allowing for a great deal more time spent learning.
There is plenty we could do to improve education in our community if we put our heads together and find ways to support our teachers and our schools with our time, talents, and energy. There is also a clear connection between this issue and the need for a community center. I've been a member of the Old Historic 62 Ad Hoc Committee since February. Plans are underway to turn the old fire station into a community center. I envision after school programs at the community center that would truly enhance learning. I would personally like to lead the development of a maker space where young people can come to toy with electronics.
Who are your primary supporters?
My primary supporters are people in the community who like what I've done so far and want me to continue. They are people all over Mar Vista with whom I've come in contact. I spend time at the Mar Vista Community Council Booth at the Farmer's Market. I've been encouraged by the number of people who have just moved into the area and want to get involved. My hope is that I have encouraged them and in this way I've become THEIR primary supporter. This position in local government is and should be about the people we serve.
What issue do you feel most strongly about and what’s your position?
The issue I feel most strongly about is the future of the Santa Monica Airport given a new agreement must be entered into by 2015 or the land will be used for other purposes. We (the community council) needs to be at the forefront of the decision-making process as what happens here will have a profound impact on our stakeholders for many years to come. This is exciting and scary at the same time, but what the stakeholders want is of the greatest importance and we need to be their advocate.
What's one thing most constituents don't know about you?
I have been a director of a teen leadership institute for about 12 years. The institute happens every summer for one week and draws 70-80 participants from schools and churches mostly in Los Angeles, but also from other parts of California. For five grueling days (8 a.m. to 11 p.m.) we teach teens who are about to take leadership roles in their schools and churches what they need to be good leaders. We do this through intense workshops and practical hands-on activities. I have taught workshops in leadership styles, communication, planning, negotiation, and have led teens through the process of developing personal mission statements. I mention it because so far it truly is the most rewarding and meaningful activity I've participated in during my lifetime.
Why did you decide to run?
I've been serving on the MVCC as an At-Large Director Since February. As with any organization, it takes some time understand its structures and procedures. For a while you are mostly an observer. I feel I am sufficiently "broken in" and want now to see just how much of an impact I can make on this community. Since moving into Mar Vista 10 years ago, I've been become particularly fond of this community. It is a unique place, but in an extremely charming way. It would be a shame if this were to change in any dramatic way. I want to make sure this does not happen. I like the whole idea of advocating to the behemoth of city government for what Mar Vista stakeholders want in their community. To do this one has to first be a good listener then exercise good judgement. I believe I've demonstrated both and it is my hope that this will be reflected in the vote on October 28th.
Bill Duckett is running for At-Large Director, a two-year term. To read more candidate profiles, click here.