10/28/2011 by Felicia Matlosz
Forward Thinker Richard Close wants decisions to be made close to home
Close is a longtime leader in Sherman Oaks and the San Fernando Valley, known for his tenacious work to protect the quality of life in his community. Since 1976, he's been president of the influential Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association (SOHA), which impressively averages 175 people per meeting.
His interest in public matters was inspired as he grew up in Andover, MA. There, residents would gather in a town hall meeting each year to vote on major issues: “What is more democratic than that?”
Close moved to Southern California to join a law firm, and community involvement soon followed. He was co-chairman of Californians for Proposition 13 and helped lead an unsuccessful effort to make the San Fernando Valley a separate city from Los Angeles. The issues in that secession attempt included the need for more local control over decision making.
Whether the control is in Sacramento or a massive city like Los Angeles, Close says “decision makers are not familiar with the problems [of local communities] and not really able to judge the implications of decisions.”
“Clearly government is not working now,” says the longtime participant in public policy, and Democrats and Republicans must find a way to work together to fix the state's problems.