Excerpted from Assemblymember Bloom’s June 2013 Newsletter:
Millions of visitors hike, bike, ride horses, swim or just contemplate nature every year in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This vast array of public lands is also home to communities that make up the membership of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation, a key stakeholder in the preservation and protection of open space in the Santa Monica Mountains.
On May 10, I was fortunate to attend the 46th annual banquet of the Federation, along with a number of environmental champions of the Santa Monica Mountains. While the impressive assembly of leaders indicates the significant role the Federation plays in the stewardship of the Santa Monica Mountains, this evening was dedicated to two special environmental stalwarts: Malibu Councilmember John Sibert as Citizen of the Year, and to the memory of John Low, former President of the Federation, who passed last fall.
Federation President Kim Lamorie put it best when she said John Low “had a generous heart – consistent and enduring, harnessing the power of reason to create harmony from contentiousness.” Of John Sibert, it can be said quite simply: when you sit with him, wherever you may be, he is likely the smartest and most accomplished person in the room. His international technology business background, years of work at California State University Institute, Yale and Cal Tech, and his board membership on numerous environmental organizations and commissions only scratch the surface of his resume.
The evening was rounded out with a keynote speech by Major General Anthony Jackson, the new Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), who pledged that our park system was in good hands. While much work needs to be done at the state level, the formidable Federation leadership of Kim Lamorie, Mary Ellen Strote, Joan Yacovone, Kathy Berkowitz and the array of dedicated environmental guardians that comprise the Federation, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area show that localy, effective stewardship can make a difference.