There’s some debate as to who has a better tan, John Boehner, current Speaker of the House, or Tim Hepburn, currently campaigning for one of two council spots in the City of La Verne election, which will take place, Tuesday, March 3.
While the jury on Boehner’s tanning source is still out, there’s no doubt about how Hepburn has come by his. There’s no artifice or tanning lamps involved. He’s as transparent as the midday sun. He has come by his tan honestly.
The proof! He’s been an electrical contractor for about three decades and in the business for another decade. He doesn’t sit behind a desk like me. He works with his hands, not just his mind.
Part of his tan, I think, has also been grilled or roasted in. For as long as I can remember – or at least during that period when my three boys played sports at Bonita High School – there was Tim flipping burgers on a Friday night, his face aglow over the grill. After a decade he finally surrendered his spatula to a new generation of grill jockeys.
All the money that his snack bar activities raised over the years went to the Bonita Boosters Club, which, in turn, used the money to help fund lots of other sports that don’t always get the spotlight, like field hockey, tennis and wrestling. Tim also has done a lot of pro bono work for Bonita’s beautification over the last several years. Part of the reason the turf is green and the lights work is due to Tim’s handiwork.
Strangely, Tim’s tan has deepened over these past few winter months – December, Jan and February, when the winter sun tends to hide and people like me turn a lighter hue. Again, there’s a simple explanation. Despite being responsible for running a business with more than 30 employees, he’s been out knocking on doors, asking for your vote on March 3.
To whatever door he knocks, he brings a lot of sunshine. He won’t just knock and leave. He’ll sit and talk to discuss whatever is on your mind. He’s not one of these politicians who knows how to work a room, spending a few brief seconds with you while constantly looking over his shoulder for another potential vote. In conversation, it is just you and Tim.
When I talked to Tim – when he knocked on my door – I was proud to learn that as a member of La Verne’s planning commission he voted AGAINST a Walmart coming to La Verne. Tim had the sense and the courage to realize we don’t need a Walmart to go with the Dollar Tree, 99 cent store and other discounters in town. I mean, how many do we need unless we want our town to be the next Bellflower or Vernon?
Tim gets it. He gets the notion that it’s not worth it for La Verne to sacrifice itself on the altar of increased tax revenues that a Walmart would bring. Tim thinks we can do better, and will demand that we do better, if elected.
Tim has heard that the current council and city staff have pursued the likes of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Gelson’s and other higher-end retailers without success, but Tim has been dissatisfied with the efforts and results.
“They say, ‘we tried,’” Tim told me. “You know what, I’m sorry, then try harder. Some of the best results or relationships I’ve experienced in business were the ones that at first were the most resistant and stand-offish.”
Until we break through and land one of these high-end retailers, Tim doesn’t want us to settle for something less. By Tim’s count, the city of La Verne already has about a half dozen smoke shops and a full dozen massage studios.
There’s no doubt that if Tim is elected he will ruffle the cushy status quo. But this guy – coach, PTA member, Jim Scranton award winner, Hillcrest board member, Friday night shorter order cook, etc., etc. – is hardly a revolutionary.
He knows La Verne as few do and has been serving the community since the moment he arrived along our foothills in the mid ‘80s. He wants to maintain our excellent public safety services, youth programs and senior services. In fact, he supports rent control for our mobile home park residents, 99 percent of whom, according to Tim, lived on fixed incomes.
He’s also been a great neighbor to the University of La Verne. Indeed, his daughter Kristen received her master’s degree there. While he admitted the University has had some growing pains – its growing student body competing with business patrons for limited parking spaces, a problem that will be largely alleviated with a new 600-plus space parking structure — overall he believes the University “has been a wonderful partner.”
All things considered, Tim is somebody who walks the walk, and he’s been doing it for 30 years in this town. He may have a better tan than your or me in the dead of winter, but that’s no reason not to vote for him.
He’s the real deal. Maybe he should run for Congress next!
Postscript: I can see only one dent on Tim’s resume. He admits to gathering around the television on Monday nights with family and friends to watch “Dancing with the Stars,” a guilty pleasure that has gone on far too long. If I recall correctly,” Dancing with the Stars,” airs on Monday night, the same night that the City Council meets. This could represent a serious conflict of interest that Tim will have to answer to. He better not try to sidestep this issue!