Message from the Prior OCZMA Director
Working for OCZMA
Why did I choose to work at OCZMA? House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said, “All Politics is Local.” I wasn’t seeking political power. I was interested in public service. Local government, after all, is the level of government that most directly affects the lives of people.
One night I was watching CSPAN’s program Booknotes. Brian Lamb was interviewing a journalist who spent decades in Southeast Asia. Brian asked his guest, “What’s the major difference between that part of world and America?” The guest paused, and thought deeply.
She replied, “ Brian, here’s the difference. In America, there’s a functioning local government. So, when you go to your hotel, the water in the bathroom works. There’s a local police force that will help you. There are roads so you can get around.” She continued, “In the Third World, there’s no local government to speak of. The state government is many miles away. Sometimes a state official will come down to the village level, maybe to adjudicate a dispute. But, that’s about it.” Amen. Local government is a cornerstone of American society. I have tremendous respect for the work local government officials do. They make things work in their communities. They live among their constituents. If things don’t go well, everyone knows it. When things go right, lives are improved.
Unfortunately, too many people in the state and federal government take local government for granted. Local government is often treated like just another interest group. That’s a mistake. Local governments are key partners in governance.
Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi and Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson both served in the Oregon House of Representatives before being elected as County Commissioners on the Oregon coast. Both tell me they would have been much better legislators had they first served in local government.
For me, working for OCZMA is richly satisfying because we help local government officials serve people. Because of OCZMA’s good reputation, we can give voice to the concerns of coastal residents.
Here’s another reason why OCZMA is so important. Since 1976, OCZMA members have pioneered a new, important, placed-based, bi-partisan, regional form of organization to improve governance. This important experiment—which enhances local capacity by sharing information and building relationships across jurisdictional and party lines—must endure.
I’ve had many transformative experiences during my career.
As an undergraduate, I worked full-time as a commercial fisherman in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the Summers of 1976 & 1977. I went on to earn a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the University of New Brunswick in Canada. My thesis focused on how increasingly strict fisheries management impacted coastal communities in New England. In 1980, I was invited to work as a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). At WHOI, it was my job to interview captains of fishing boats in Southern New England to develop a database to improve fisheries management.
In 1981 and 1982, I served as a Sea Grant Fellow on Capitol Hill (sponsored by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] & WHOI). I served on the staff of the House Merchant Marine & Subcommittee. In that capacity, I became a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Law of the Sea Conference. I also worked on offshore oil and gas and federal coastal zone management issues. My boss at the time is one of nation’s most respected marine policy experts—Dr. Thomas Kitsos.
I continued my education in 1983. I earned a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (attended 1983-85). While in North Carolina, I was asked to serve as the staff for the first state-ocean policy study in America entitled: North Carolina and the Sea (1984). I moved to Oregon in the Fall of 1985 to attend law school at the
University of Oregon, I earned a J.D. and a certificate in Ocean & Coastal Law (Class of 1988). During law school I was on a team which produced, The Territorial Sea Management Study, the second state ocean policy study in the country. This work led to state legislation establishing the Ocean Resources Management Advisory Committee which later was renamed the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC).
After law school, I served as the Oregon Sea Grant Legislative/OCZMA Legislative Fellow during the 1989 Session of the Oregon Legislature. In 1989, the Coastal Caucus was bi-partisan
and very influential. I moved to Newport in the Fall of 1989. For six years I worked in the private sector as a self-employed land use consultant. In the summer of 1996, I became Director of OCZMA.
Boards and Commissions
Lincoln County Planning Commission
Yaquina Bay Economic Foundation (YBEF) Board of Directors
Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP) Update Steering Committee
Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Committee (OPAC)
Oregon Rural Telecommunications Coordinating Council (ORTCC)
Governor Kulongoski’s Office of Rural Policy Advisory Committee (ORPAC)
Governor Kulongoski’s Transition Team