EL SEGUNDO HERALD March 3, 2016 Page 3 Election 2016 Getting to Know the City Council Candidates Carol Pirsztuk By Brian Simon Although this April’s municipal election marks her first time throwing her hat into the ring, El Segundo native Carol Pirsztuk thought strongly about running for City Council as far back as a decade ago. But work and parental duties took priority and she opted to wait until the timing was absolutely right. “As a family, we agreed that 2016 would be the best time to make it happen,” Pirsztuk said. A graduate of El Segundo High (Class of 1981) and Loyola Marymount University with a double major in Business Administration and Economics, Pirsztuk left the community after college but returned in 2002 with her husband Michael when their children (two daughters who are now teens) reached school age. “Growing up, I always had a sense of security here and was fortunate to receive a great education—and so I wanted to provide the same experience for my kids,” she said. “I was surrounded by good people who were proud of this town. Neighbors were always willing to help you. Thankfully, that community still exists here and my family has the opportunity to thrive in it. As we celebrate other’s successes and rally around those in need, I am grateful that the heart of El Segundo is still pumping and I know that wherever I go in town I always see a friend.” Pirsztuk’s professional career crossed over various industries--including the retail, entertainment and non-profit sectors. She also worked extensively in sales and operations. “The one constant was being in management See Carol Pirsztuk, page 12 See Marie Fellhauer, page 6 Don Brann By Brian Simon After nearly 40 years as a teacher and administrator, Don Brann retired as Superintendent of the Wiseburn School District in 2008 and made a successful bid for the El Segundo City Council that April. But after serving one term, he realized he hadn’t quite gotten education out of his system--accepting an Interim Superintendent position at San Gabriel Unified while wrapping up his final year on the Council. Next up was a two-year stint as State Trustee at Inglewood Unified where he balanced the budget and eliminated a long-standing deficit to move that district back towards local control. And with that achievement, Brann finally proclaimed, “I am done with being a school superintendent.” Now with considerably more free time and a stated thirst to create “a better El Segundo,” he decided to give it another go and vie for one of the three available seats on the City Council. Brann found it interesting to note how the biggest issues facing El Segundo have changed since he ran for office eight years ago. He listed his current priorities to bolster police staffing and technology to address rising crime, maintain quality City services across the board, continue to represent the community’s needs in dealing with LAX, mitigate traffic issues caused by new development, work with Edison to improve local infrastructure, enhance the City’s public information program with more opportunities for seniors and teens, improve Downtown parking, develop a local filming policy that supports all stakeholders, See Don Brann, page 13 See Dave Atkinson, page 6 Drew Boyles Marie Fellhauer By Brian Simon The past few months have been particularly eventful for Marie Fellhauer. The lifetime El Segundo resident became a mom in September when she and her husband Justin adopted a newborn (Klaus). Soon after, she ascended to the presidency of the Independent Cities Association (ICA). She also continues to work as a Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant (originally joining the force 19 years ago) and sits on the El Segundo City Council with hopes to win a second term this April. Fellhauer identified public safety as the top issue facing El Segundo in the wake of increased crime--and emphasized the need to educate residents about the impacts of legislation that resulted in more offenders out on the streets. She also stressed her commitment to keep the City independent and local fire and police in-house while also maintaining park and library programs. Other priorities include passing a structurally balanced budget, caring for seniors through housing and other programs, encouraging small businesses to move to Downtown, and keeping El Segundo’s eastside an upscale business haven by cultivating existing and new relationships. Fellhauer also looks to bolster relationships with legislators who might exert influence on Los Angeles County to increase El Segundo’s small share of the property tax pie. The City’s portion of each collected property tax dollar is 6.3 cents—less than half than Manhattan Beach receives and about 20 cents below Dave Atkinson wanted you to succeed and By Brian Simon Even with 20 years as an El Segundo resident under his belt, City Council candidate Drew Boyles jokes that he still feels like a relative newcomer when compared to some of the longstanding locals who have been here virtually forever. Regardless, he said he fell in love with the town the moment he arrived and nothing has changed to alter that sentiment. “El Segundo reminds me of the Midwest where I grew up--where neighbors are friendly, concerned and in touch with each other,” Boyles said. The father of five children ranging in age from nine to 28, Boyles decided to move to El Segundo after a friend touted the community’s schools and safe, small town environment. He pointed out that keeping those elements in place are among his priorities in running for Council--as well as maintaining a fiscally prudent ship at City Hall, protecting El Segundo’s interests in Los Angeles County, and building partnerships with the business community to retain existing companies while also recruiting new firms to bolster the economic base. “Almost all of the City’s general fund revenues come from the business community and we can’t be in reactive mode,” he said. Boyles noted that the focus on business growth is a key component of his position as Chair of the El Segundo’s Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) that provides support and guidance to City staff and the City Council on business attraction By Brian Simon As he seeks reelection for a second term on the El Segundo City Council, Dave Atkinson noted that the most important thing he ever learned in life came as a result of his upbringing in the Midwest. He would spend summers at his uncle’s farm in Indiana toiling from the crack of dawn feeding chickens, slopping hogs, milking cows and understanding the value of a good work ethic. “I found out the hard—and best—way that things aren’t free in this world,” he said. “Everything has a cost to it and that will only go up over time. Coming to grips with that reality is one of the biggest challenges in making difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions that must be made to help our city.” As a young man, Atkinson served in the United States Air Force where he had top-secret clearance and left with an honorable discharge after four years of duty. While in the military, he took courses in computers, science and math that he feels served him well in future endeavors. Early work included stints at Honeywell, American Airlines and Max Factor. He married his wife Carol in 1970 and the couple bought a home in El Segundo eight years later. They have two sons—Matthew, a special needs adult currently attending school in the community; and Zachary--a 2008 El Segundo High and 2012 USC grad who works in town. Atkinson ultimately found his true career calling in the automotive industry and earned acclaim as one of the top salespeople nation- 2016 EL SEGUNDO ELECTIONS See Drew Boyles, page 13 Residents and We’ve merged! Expanding what’s possible with money is now (888) 422-2287 . www.abacuswealth.com Business Owners El Segundo’s Election is on April, 12, 2016 Have any questions for your City Council candidates?
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