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
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.”