Since first being elected to the Manhattan Beach City Council in 1992 and then joining Supervisor Knabe in 2005, Steve has worked to better our communities, improve our quality of life, and restore confidence in our government. He's worked to protect our neighborhoods, create economic opportunities for business, and make government work better and cost less. And most importantly, Steve has never forgotten who he works for--you.
Steve was first elected to the Manhattan Beach City Council with the most votes of eight candidates in April 1992 at the age of 26, making him the youngest person ever elected to the Manhattan Beach City Council and the youngest Mayor to serve the City. Steve received the most votes of eight candidates again when he was reelected in 1997 and again in March 2001 before being termed out in 2005.
During Steve's thirteen years on Council, he initiated a number of firsts, including the City's first campaign finance reform ordinance, the "Volleyball Walk of Fame", the posting of job site construction rules, the installation of emergency call boxes in City parks, and the City's first tree protection ordinance.
As a strong believer in fiscal responsibility and government efficiency, Steve adopted only balanced budgets, reduced taxes, and maintained strong reserves, earning the City a AAA bond rating, one of only three awarded in the State of California at the time. Folks, this is where the rubber meets the road--you'll hear from a lot of candidates saying how they passed balanced budgets without really knowing how they balanced them, but a City's bond rating will tell you how impartial third parties rate a City's finances, and Manhattan Beach was tops thanks to prudent fiscal practices.
Steve worked to protect neighborhood environments by championing the building bulk reduction ordinance, turning seven acres of parking lots into ball parks, supporting the South Bay's first "Ocean Safe Campaign", and implementing a neighborhood traffic management program. Steve also supported the unification of Manhattan Beach schools and school bond measures, and fought expansion of LAX.
Steve created jobs and economic opportunities for business by creating a streamlined "one stop" permit process, repurposing old industrial properties into newly diversified commercial centers, and developed a downtown strategic plan for future growth.
Steve revitalized the City's infrastructure through improvements to Live Oak Park, Marine Avenue Playing Fields, Veteran's Parkway, Sand Dune Park, Manhattan Heights and Polliwog Parks, and the Sepulveda corridor. He fought for expanded public spaces at the Metlox Development, rebuilt the Strand walkway and Police and Fire facilities, and got the County to set aside $1 million a year to build a new library.
Steve also represented the City on a regional level, serving on the Board of the Independent Cities Association for several years, including a term as President in 2002-2003, in addition to being a member of the League of California Cities and co-chair of the Beach Litter Patrol.
Joining Supervisor Knabe in 2005, Steve worked to carry out the Supervisor's priorities while representing him in the South Bay and beyond. Steve oversaw a number of County departments and projects for the Supervisor, including the Department of Beaches and Harbors, County Counsel, the LA Arts Commission, all County museums, and the County Library.
He also worked on the Supervisor's environmental initiatives, including the County's plastic bag ban, the adoption of drought tolerant landscaping requirements, and the adoption of LEED standards for all new County buildings, the dredging of toxic materials from Marina del Rey, and improving the overall water quality in the Marina and beyond.
Steve worked to create jobs with Supervisor Knabe through subsidized internships and federally funded programs, as well as supporting vocational training programs for job seekers. He also worked to keep film and television work in LA County by meeting with industry representatives to understand their needs. As a result, the County reduced filming fees, expanded filming opportunities on County beaches and in County parks, and adopted the State Film Commission's Model Film Ordinance and Best Management Practices to prevent runaway production.
Steve was lead on a number of the Supervisor's key investments in Fourth District communities, including the Supervisor's $45 million Project Libraries, building new libraries in the communities of South Whittier, Los Nietos, and Artesia, while significantly upgrading the libraries in Lomita, La Mirada, Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights. In addition to these projects, Steve also worked to revitalize Marina del Rey, reconstruct the Marvin Braude Bike trail, refurbish beach facilities, and many other Fourth District projects.
With a background in Fine Arts, Steve managed the Supervisor's Arts Education Partnership Program and oversaw the LA County Arts Commission, including their Fourth District civic art projects, concerts, and dance performances. He also coordinated community performances by the LA Opera and LA Phil.
Steve reviewed and made recommendations on the many practical and legal issues facing the County in his role overseeing County Counsel, including jail reform and use of force issues, improvement in our healthcare system, and the County's foster care system, among others.
Steve is proud to have served as Chair of the El Camino College redistricting committee, which switched from an at-large election process to one where five districts were created to better reflect the diversity of the communities that make up a college district that stretches from Inglewood to Torrance. As a result, the first Latino was elected to the College Board in 2013, the first in the College's sixty-six year history.
While doing all these things and more, Steve personally answered the emails and telephone calls of Fourth District residents and businesses on a daily basis, helping to solve problems and improve lives and communities. Not one for sitting in an office, he got out in the Fourth District every day, making presentations, giving updates to community groups, supporting our nonprofits, and making sure things got done. Steve believes that public service is a trust, an honor and a privilege.