Reasons for wanting to serve

Tales from a software engineer and geek

Reasons for wanting to serve

I was born and raised here in Santa Clarita, and have always called it home. My grandparents relocated to the area from Colorado over 50 years ago; my parents moved here after getting married, having briefly lived in Sunland. This valley has always been my home. I have not only grown up in Santa Clarita, but I have grown up with Santa Clarita. I remember when most of Soledad through town was just two lanes, when the field next to Santa Clarita Lanes was used for growing onions, and when Saugus Speedway had regular NASCAR races.


My family has been here so long I still get an occasional stranger spotting me and saying “you look like a Haddock boy,” then finding out how they somehow know my parents.


Having a total of four boys in three different decades covering a 15 year spread, my parents were members of the PTA for forty consecutive years. As far back as the 70’s, my father was involved with the Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce, and was a key organizer for “Frontier Days.” My mother is a near 20 year veteran of Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency; starting at Mitchell Elementary, and moving to several schools before moving up to the central kitchen and overseeing many of the schools they serve in town.


All this to say: Santa Clarita is home, always has been.


My older brothers are 9 and 10 years older than me. The eldest, Jason, was diagnosed with leukemia at an early age and spent most of his brief life fighting that diagnosis. The friends and family in this wonderful community rallied around my parents, providing endless support and love in their time of need. The world I was born into was one no person should experience; that of two parents losing a child. I was six months old when he passed.


Growing up, I watched as my parents shifted their focus to trying to help those in need. They offered jobs and housing for many people down on their luck. That desire to help others despite the despair of their recent loss left an imprint on me, and is likely at the core of my own desire to do good in this world. They taught me from an early age to help out my fellow citizens in need, and to always do the right thing.


As an adult, I started to act on those early lessons. In my time as a Geek Squad agent at Best Buy, I saw some nefarious activity by a couple fellow employees taking place. I reported the activity anonymously, but it wasn’t until I had left the company that I felt comfortable discussing it publicly, without fear of retaliation. The story quickly gained attention all over the country, and even made the front page of The Signal here locally.


Years later, working for a new company, I discovered an embezzlement scheme perpetrated by my new boss. He developed an elaborate con involving a fabricated person working as a “third party” recruiter, and had even gone so far as to create a legal entity to launder his money. I reported my findings to the executives at the company, they passed along the evidence I had collected to their legal team, and the boss was terminated. One of the executives personally thanked me for uncovering the plot, and saving the company potentially millions of dollars.


A group of lawyers were trying to shed some light on a couple of nefarious characters for starting what is now commonly referred to as “revenge porn.” These gentlemen set up a website where users would post compromising photos, almost always former girlfriends, along with personal contact information for the women. People viewing the site would then harass the subjects. Thousands of women were caught up in the scheme. To make matters worse, these scumbags started a fake lawyer that the women could contact and “he” would make sure the photos were removed from the website — for a nominal fee. Utilizing my technology skills, I assisted in exposing the identities of these men, and helped get the website shutdown once and for all.


In 2012, I had a run-in with a local Santa Clarita Dentist. After a poor experience, I discovered the dentist had a reputation for high pressure sales tactics, falsely stating that insurance wouldn’t cover common procedures, and convincing patients to finance unnecessary procedures. In my investigation I found that the dentist had a history of threatening people who left negative online reviews, stating nearly all of the above. Most people would cave to the legal threat, and remove the review. For me, standing up to a litigious bully was the right thing to do, so I did not cave to their legal threats. The dentist eventually found a lawyer who would take the case, and the case went before a judge, where it was swiftly laughed out of court.


My parents also taught me to give back to my community. In 2015, I was fortunate enough to take part of the Sheriff’s Community Academy. It was a fantastic experience, and very insightful. Upon completion of the program, I decided to apply for the Sheriff Reserves. After passing the first couple of hurdles, I learned of a disqualifying injury that prevented me from going further into the process.


Undeterred in my desire to give back to my community, I started volunteering at Bridge to Home when they opened for the November 2015 season. This was another insightful and amazing opportunity which taught me a great deal about issues our local homeless population is facing. During the 2015-2016 season, I ended up volunteering approximately 240 hours at the shelter.


I have a desire to give back to my hometown, and I feel that being on the Santa Clarita City Council is the obvious next step to further that goal. My experience as a software engineer and technical skills can be leveraged to facilitate collaboration and engagement with the residents of this amazing city. I want to ensure even the quietest of voices can be heard, utilizing the skills and experience I’ve gained over the last 20 years, to make sure we have a government that is actually of, by, & for, the people.


I’m honest, and have a proven track record of integrity. I always stand up for the little guy, and ensure people who have wronged their fellow citizens are held accountable for their actions. I’ve stood up against giant corporations, and smaller local businesses ripping people off. I have helped expose nefarious characters for ruining people’s lives.


If appointed, I will donate my city council paycheck to local causes. Each month I will select a handful of causes, and list them on a website I create, allowing the public at large to decide where the money goes, and how it is distributed — entire amount going to one cause, or divided amongst several. Additionally, I would like to spend one month shadowing employees at city hall at every level to learn the ins and outs of daily operations. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that offers a sabbatical every 5 years, and as luck would have it mine is scheduled to start in May of this year. Finally, I will only seek to retain the city council seat in the 2018 election if a combined majority of voting residents and the four council members approve of my conduct during my tenure. I am sure there will be disagreements, which I ask not be held against me, but instead how I handle those disagreements. Professionalism is a key virtue of holding public office, in my view.

From the bottom of my heart, and to the very fiber of my being, I truly believe I am the right person for the job. I hope to convince you of that fact as well.

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