Gretchen Shepherd Romey has told The Tribune that she is a candidate in the race to fill three seats on the five-member San Marino City Council at the November, 2017 election.
Shepherd Romey – a lawyer – joins Susan Jakubowski, Calvin Lo, Dr. Hai Sou Chen, Scott Kwong and Ken Ude as the sixth declared candidate. A one-month candidate-filing period with the county registrar begins on July 18.
She explained that the idea to run for a seat on the city council developed about a year ago after meetings with a group of younger women community leaders, which were organized by San Marino’s first and second female mayors Rary Simmons and Suzy Crowell.
“They felt there was a need after about 10 years with no female presence on the council; that they needed to pass the torch to a new generation,” Shepherd Romey stated.
After a year of attending council meetings and conversations with the community, Shepherd Romey has identified preservation of historically significant homes—which she referred to as a “movement”—as her top priority.
“I’m running for city council to preserve and protect San Marino,” she said.
“As a city council member, I will strive to rein in this rapid redevelopment by strengthening existing building codes and enforcement,” Shepherd Romey noted, expressing her support for a new historic preservation ordinance.
Shepherd Romey shared her preservation experience with The Tribune.
“Over the past 17 years, I have had hands-on experience in the community’s efforts to preserve the historic Hill Harbison House,” she said. “I learned that modernization and improvements can be successfully accomplished while preserving historic structures along with the surrounding mature landscape and trees.”
Crime reduction is also a top priority in Shepherd Romey’s campaign platform.
She explained, “When I moved here over 20 years ago, San Marino had long been considered an extremely safe community. The recent spike in criminal activity is cause for alarm.”
“If elected, I plan to start a community crime prevention program with a goal of educating all residents and empowering them with information and strategies to protect their families against burglaries and home invasions, as well as financial exploitation,” she stated, noting the importance of a partnership with local law enforcement to revive San Marino’s neighborhood watch program.
Shepherd Romey has her eye on the city’s finances as well.
A firm supporter of the recommendations submitted by the citizen advisory group of the council’s Ad Hoc Committee, which reviewed the city’s administration and parks and public works departments, she feels full implementation would result in savings, increased productivity and financial responsibility for the city.
“Having served on executive boards of numerous nonprofit organizations that have monthly financial reports, I believes this method of reporting and analysis will increase the city’s financial responsibility to stay at or below budget and lead to greater financial transparency,” she added in her call for departmental monthly financial reports.
Savings resulting from a more financially responsible approach should go straight toward financing deferred infrastructure maintenance, she argued.
“I want to bring those matters to the forefront, and work on city council toward fully funding payments on those [infrastructure] liabilities annually, and directing any budget savings to go directly to payoff those liabilities,” she said.
Shepherd Romey earned her juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. Since moving to San Marino with her husband Michael, also an attorney, and children, Morgan and Turner, Shepherd Romey has played an active role in National Charity League, National Charity League Juniors, San Marino Garden Club, the Hill-Harbison House, San Marino Junior Alliance, San Marino Service Unit of Girl Scouts of America, and the Huntington Middle School and Valentine Elementary School PTAs. She is also a docent and educational facilitator at The Huntington Library.
“After a career as an attorney, and since moving to San Marino in 1996, I have been continuously active volunteering and leading many local civic, charitable, and educational organizations. Those two decades of community experience have given me a deep appreciation of our city and its residents, as well as a strong commitment to public service. If elected to City Council, such knowledge and experience will enable me to make an even greater impact for the betterment of our city,” she added.
To learn more about Shepherd Romey’s campaign, visit gretchenshepherdromeyforsanmarino.com. A campaign kick-off event will be held at the Hill Harbison House, 1841 Alhambra Rd., San Marino on Sunday, June 25 from 3 to 5 p.m.