By Brice Kirkendall-Rodriguez
My experience with community involvement and leadership began in childhood growing up in New Rochelle. I learned a lot about civic engagement on my way to earning the rank of Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts and as the son of an active father who led an advisory committee on matters of fiscal responsibility, downtown revitalization and, ironically, tax assessment inequities. Acquiring my Bachelor of Science in Economics and Computer Science introduced me to the study of how to balance competing priorities with limited resources while my parallel role as the General Manager of the campus radio station gave me an immediate outlet to put theory to practice in oversight of one of the largest student budgets on campus and a staff of over 100.
I spent six years in commercial radio after college in Boston, San Diego and Santa Barbara. Little did I know then that the lessons I learned about the day-to-day concerns of listeners, the challenges of helping retail clients grow their businesses and even the integral role we played in local emergency management would end up being applicable to a case I am making to you as a voter. In 1990 an arsonist started what ended up as the second largest fire in the United States that year in Santa Barbara. Our quick on-air response and coordination with emergency services connected residents with essential services and information for how to get out of harm’s way and find support. Santa Barbara’s excellent emergency services became the subject of a case study I later wrote in business school.