Letter to the EditorLetter to the Editor

We need leaders like Lance Winslow

Public service ought to be a sacred trust, a stewardship between one running for office and the public being served.

I know others believe that to be true also, because they have dedicated a large part of their lives to giving to the community where they make their living.  In my opinion, that is the hallmark quality of anyone who would attempt to run for public office whether for City Council or Congress.  One local small business owner in particular has those characteristics, and he demonstrates it time and again in our city.

I think back to the countless car wash/fund-raisers that Lance Winslow conducted for school and charity groups in the Conejo - not because he didn't have anything better to do but because those many local groups needed the help, and he was there.

When the terrible Greenmeadows fire last year jumped Portrero Road and was threatening our church building, he was there, too - one of the first on-site - to help put out what could have been a real tragedy for us in Newbury Park.  I was there with shovel in hand and saw the way he jumped in to help.   Example after example of giving to the community.

Now I understand that Lance has been asked by many other area small business people and residents to run for City Council.  I am not surprised, considering that move would be just an extension of a life already dedicated to the community.

Most people who have not run for elective office will never know the extent of sacrifice and devotion that are needed: the missed holidays, birthdays and anniversaries: the cheap shots others will take at your expense.   Still, you elect to run, for the greater good of the people, regardless of the personal price paid.

I'll let you in on a little secret.  Most people who run for office will tell you that everyone is for them, urging them to go for it, and that they can save the day.  The truth is this: Those who love and care for you most will ask, "Are you out of your mind?"  Why give up personal privacy, such great expense, and subject yourself and your family to all the nonsense that goes with the deal?

My hat's off to him if he does it; as well as if he doesn't.  He's a winner either way in my book.  But we do need more spirited and enthusiastic citizens to take the risk and run for office - more successful small business people who listen to their customers (read citizens) and are willing to devote so much to the community.

Robert K. Hammer,
Newbury Park

Reprinted from the News Chronicle, August 3, 1994.

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