A few days ago I interviewed Mark Seigel who is running for the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council’s all important office of President. Once you get him talking, Mark is the most engaging candidate on the roster. But he works in such an unassuming way that he is sometimes thought of as The Invisible Man…
How will he fare as a candidate? Well in a community rife with controversy, angst, and turmoil, Mark Seigel is the Voice of Reason; a quiet voice, like your conscience. It is a relief to talk to him about issues and have no gossip or vitriol clog up the conversation. Yet he could go unnoticed for that praiseworthy reason.
I’ll tell you his platform, his views, his assurances, plans, and campaign promises in a bit; before I do I want you to know the person I interviewed on a stakeholders level: Mark is a fascinating man possessed of untapped potential this community must consider!
There are a lot of things Mark Seigel is not: he is not angry, loud, or dramatic. Mark has no hidden agenda. He is straightforward and responsive to the stakeholders. Mark is no grandstander: requires no blog or Facebook page to publicize his views, and simply shows up to every meeting on time and prepared to do the job he is elected to do. What more can a voter ask?
In a moment of passion at the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council “Meet the Candidates” on Wednesday July 11, Mark Seigel declared to the audience “YOU are the Neighborhood Council, we are just the tools you need to use, to make it happen.”
Later I interviewed Mark and asked what made him decide to run for the office of President, Mark replied “the catalyst was when Tomi Lyn Bowling pulled out after Doc’s article.” The Foothills Paper publisher Doc DeMulle ran a controversial article concerning Bowling the week before. She reportedly felt her “presence was detrimental to the Board based on the content of the article” and withdrew her candidacy. Later she allowed herself to be persuaded by community members to change her mind and run. This is not the first time Bowling has resigned, called for a vote of confidence and reinstated herself in the council. She can’t make up her mind.
For this election Bowling retrieved the candidacy she had cast aside. She reinstated her intent to run… how does that affect Mark? “Well I’m not pulling out; I’ve developed more relationships with service organizations in the community than Tomi has. I have more exposure to the American Legion, the Elks, Scouting, Masons, Chamber of Commerce, and others. I have experience others don’t realize.”
“I also know how to resolve conflict. I understand interpersonal dynamics; I was an ombudsman for years. I seek positive change and I reason with all sides. I emphasize solutions not problems and want both sides to feel their differences are resolved in a win/win manner.” (This is in sharp contrast to Tomi Lyn Bowling who rejects members from her community Facebook page if they disagree with her.)
When asked what is the first thing he would do if elected Mark firmly stated “I would educate the [new] Board on the parameters for being able to execute their jobs and I would empower them so they don’t sit idle; they can get out there and DO something; they can do it now: they can engage the community! The Board can be a help to the community, not a target for the community!”
That impassioned statement is a far cry from the light statement made by Tomi Lyn Bowling during Meet the Candidates: she said about her current Vice-Presidency and Chairmanship of the Board, “We have a good time, don’t we? Don’t we?!” And Tomi concluded with “I want to see more of what we need on Foothill Boulevard and less of what we don’t need on Foothill Boulevard!”
Mark however, is “divided” on the Food Trucks Issue and wants “to hear a lot more from both sides at STNC meetings not on Facebook pages”. He refers back to his earlier statement that he knows how to resolve conflict with a win/win solution and looks forward to input from the whole community on this issue.
On the subject of “Development” Mark Seigel is strong minded. “Any development must be community oriented. Development can help or harm our community and we have to get past the buzzwords developers use to take advantage of the community. We can’t have too much, too fast. This isn’t Beverly Hills. Sunland Tujunga is an old-fashioned homey community with 90% residential, 9% business, and 1% commercial properties. There are 56 different ethnicities in Sunland Tujunga. There are a lot of different ideas we need to hear”
Finally when asked what is the most important thing he can do if elected, Mark Seigel reiterated a favorite topic by stating two things he considers vital to leadership which he feels fully capable of: “A leader needs to recognize another’s strengths and LET them use them. And, a leader must guide and empower the Board to reach its full potential as a community resource.”
The best candidate for the position of President of the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council is Mark Seigel. PLEASE be sure to vote on Saturday, August 4th, from 2:30pm to 8:30pm. AND get all your friends and neighbors to vote as well… it is a great first time experience for young people who must be 16 to vote. See you at the polls!