As the end of my journey on the Los Alamitos city council comes into view, I can still remember the original decision I made to run for the city council.
People say it is an honor to serve the public. I can tell you it is such an honor to meet and work with so many extraordinary people in Los Alamitos. I’ve made so many new friends.
We are so fortunate to live in Los Alamitos and I am honored to serve you.
Back then, I wondered whether a lifelong CPA could make a difference in local government.
In my profession of certified public accounting, my job has always been to create and certify financial statements that justify spending. It has become a way of life for me and I wondered if I could help the city.
When I announced for city council, I made a promise to the public, saying I would never accept a single campaign contribution. At that time, the city was suffering from a contentious trash contract with rumors flying.
Then, or now, I wanted no part of such controversy. I certainly did not want anyone thinking that I was beholden to any special interest. I have remained free to make the best decisions possible, so I have kept that promise.
Also, I promised to spend the city’s money with the same care that I spend my own. I have kept that promise as well.
As a councilman and Mayor, I believe we have been excellent stewards of your money. Problems that now face our citizens began decades ago, yet we as an elected council have been fiscally responsible and we have managed to turn the corner.
In the last eight years, prior to the current budget cycle, we have slashed the number of employees by one-third, from 75 to 50, and in the most recent budget, we cut the equivalent of an additional 19 full-time positions.
Because our dedicated staff works so hard, our citizens never saw the difference in the quality of services they received. What a testament they are to our great city.
Salaries paid to employees in our city are among the lowest in the county. Every major position is at least 25% below the average.
Most importantly, I promised you to tell the truth. no matter how ugly. I would like to think that over the years, I have demonstrated the ability to sift through the fluff and boil each issue down to its basics.
Very soon I will no longer be your mayor or a member of the city council. Frankly, I am not sure how I will adjust, but I will, so I wanted to leave you with a going away thought about our city’s future.
People ask why do we need Measure Y?
Even before COVID, the future of our small city was being forced to pay for the sins of our financial past. Because of state mandates and perhaps bad decisions long ago, we have this challenge, yet we must stop looking back. We have explained it every way possible but must focus on a solution going forward.
The City of Los Alamitos deserves every chance to reach its full potential.
Council member Shelley Hasselbrink is right. She once said that our goal, every single one of us, should be to make Los Al the place where our grandchildren want to come home and settle down. So true.
Deep in my heart, I know we cannot continue speeding down this road without putting some gas in the tank. At some point, our engine will sputter, and our citizens will suffer.
Why not Los Alamitos? Why should we wait and allow this tax money to go to some state agency? We have a rare opportunity to make a difference.
There is no need to repeat all the negative things that will need to happen if measure Y is rejected.
Instead of having to study where to make further painful cuts, your vote Yes will provide the next city council with the resources to begin planning for new jobs, more entertainment, better roads, more parks and perhaps even a new city hall complex. This is our choice.
So, when we ask you to support Measure Y, please understand that we are simply asking you to support the future of our beautiful city.
Your support of Measure Y will keep our city safe, make it more beautiful and give our children and grandchildren even more opportunities than we had.
The citizens of Los Alamitos have given me an incredible gift that I will never forget. Thank you for the honor of serving you and the City of Los Alamitos.
The only promise that matters now is the one you can help make happen for the future citizens of Los Alamitos. On Nov. 3, please join me in saying yes to Measure Y.
It is time now for all of us to make a promise to a new generation.
Richard D. Murphy
Mayor, City of Los Alamitos