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Councilman-Elect Pushing for Balanced Budget, Suggestions

Richard Murphy, 58, says he's already got some plans for when he takes his spot on the Los Alamitos City Council in December, but he wants your help.

Los Alamitos, one of your newest councilmen wants something from you — Advice.

Councilman-elect Richard Murphy, 58, who took home the most local votes in the November City Council election, said that he’s got plans for the city, but doesn’t want to lead without the input of residents.

 “You know what could make your part of the city better,” said Murphy, a real estate investor.  “Please take the time to give me your suggestion. It’s very important to me.”

So much so that Murphy wasn’t shy about putting his cell phone number on his campaign flyers. Or letting Patch put it in a news story (It’s 562-787-5330, by the way.)

Murphy said talking to voters is important to him because he ran  to be “a voice for the people.”

In the 4-candidate November City Council election, Murphy garnered 2,332 votes, with former Mayor Dean Grose the second highest  vote-getter with1,975 votes. Both candidates edged out incumbent Councilman Ken Stephens, 1,664 votes and newcomer Demi Devaney, 1,029 votes.

Murphy has served on the city's traffic commission, but has never held elected office before. 

And with Murphy’s December swearing-in, he said already knows what the focus of his term will be: dealing with the city’s finances.

“In my mind, the most important issue is the balanced budget,” Murphy said in an interview with Patch, “You know, getting a handle on that, and trying to see if we can work on the revenue side a little bit.”

He’s also considered beginning a “Buy Los Al” campaign to encourage people to shop locally and try to “make people aware that the money spent in Los Alamitos benefits us and money spent across the city border doesn’t. “

Murphy’s dealt with finance for a long time. Before switching to Real Estate about 10 years ago, Murphy was a CPA, who studied accounting at Loyola Marymount.

Born in Brooklyn, Murphy has lived the past 48 years in southern California. He grew up in Los Alamitos, moved away, then moved back to the town in 1997. He currently lives in Rossmoor Highlands.

In an interview with Patch, Murphy said he’s been keeping a record of people who gave him their questions, concerns and suggestions during the campaign and he wants to check in with them and see how the city can help.

And he hopes there’ll be peace on the often-divided council starting in December.

“We need to put the trash contract and prior council mistakes or perceived mistakes behind us and go on,” Murphy said.

Listening to residents has apparently already paid dividends when it comes to developing his plans for the city.

He’s heard a number of residents say that there’s not much for young adults to do in the city, and that’s made him wants to look into the possibility of correcting that.

“Maybe it’s something we can work on,” Murphy said. “We have a great Parks and Rec department, and if they’re aware of a desire, perhaps we can do it.”

Murphy has some other ideas including

  • He’d like the council to have a backup plan for the “worst case scenario,” the possibility that someday the Joint Forces Training Base may close. He said that even if there’s only a one or two percent chance it might happen, he wants the city to have an “overabundance of caution” and prepare just in case.
  • He’s in favor of moving City Hall to a less desirable piece of real estate to allow a revenue-generating business or businesses to come in to the former site.
  • He’d like to get the city council agenda posted earlier. He suggested the Monday the week before the Council meeting as opposed to the current time the Friday before the council meeting.

If you’d like to hear more of Murphy’s views, you can read more about the candidate forum or watch the forum here.   

Facts about Murphy

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

Age: 58

Job: Real Estate investor

Family: A brother, three sisters and 14 nieces and nephews.

Hobbies: Golf, Reading, and Travel.

What He Reads: Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Conde Nast and National Geographic.

His important words to live by: “Try to tell the truth. Live life openly. Don’t have anything to hide. Just put it out there.”

met00 December 16, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Councilman Murphy is 100% correct. We shouldn't continue to chase failed policies of the past. We need to close the books on the past, but we need to make sure that we note the lessons learned and create an institutional memory so it won't happen again. We should make a final determination on the city policy to the Katella fourth corner. We should make a final determination to the "downtown" plan. We should make a final determination to the Cypress requests along Katella. In the traffic calming study that was created when Mr. Grose was Traffic Commission Chairman one of the key intersections that required attention was Farquar and Los Alamitos. That was eight or more years ago. The problems there still exist and still have not been dealt with. It's time to address that intersection. I look forward to Mr. Murphy becoming Councilman Murphy and closing the door into the past correctly (learning from our mistakes) and then focusing on the cities future.
Lisette Gabler December 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM
For once, Mr. Ivler and I agree. I just also hope the new Council does not take this as an opportunity to start reckless spending of the City's reserves as the prior Council that was lead by this group of people did.
met00 December 16, 2012 at 11:47 PM
say what? "this group of people"? Edgar and Mejia are the only ones there with six or more years. Grose has two, then he resigned. Kusumoto has two, the last two. Murphy is new. The council is "clean" in that Mejia's first two years she was independent, but aligned with Edgar (see her vote to get rid of a qualified city manager that Edgar wanted gone for Briggeman) for year one and then more aligned with Driscoll and Parker in year two. Grose was aligned with Edgar for both of his past two years on Council. I sense that Grose will continue to align with Edgar, and Kusumoto will continue to align with Mejia (whom he ran with as part of a "ticket"). Murphy has shown himself to be very independent, but also very eager to listen to all sides of an issue before coming to a conclusion. So, in most cases I expect Murphy to listen and then, based on the arguments presented, make the choice that fits HIM and HIS feeling for what is in the best interests of those he represents. I make this determination after being on both the same side of an issue as he, and on the other side of an issue. I may not always agree with his logic, but I respect that he doesn't do as anyone tells him to do (or at least he has not shown that side of himself), but works out his own opinion based on the facts presented and input from MANY sources.

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