Twelve people pulled papers to run for City Council in Lake Forest – an all-time record. Eight are running, also an all-time record. At face value, this indicates that people have never been more disappointed in what their Council is doing. The last time 7 people ran for office, no incumbent was re-elected.
Previously we profiled the two incumbents – Scott Voigts and Kathy McCullough, the appointed Dave Bass (who technically is not an incumbent since he wasn’t elected) and Voigts’ apostle from the Planning Commission, Andrew Hamilton. Today’s profile is on Tom Cagley.
Tom Cagley is a retired Colonel. He spent 30 years in Military Intelligence and then transitioned into the private sector, specializing in project management and disaster mitigation. He is a member of the International Code Council, the International Facilities Management Association, and the Builders, Owners and Managers Association. Most recently he spent a year on the Orange County Grand Jury where he was the Chairman of the City Committee, giving him excellent information about how cities throughout Orange County function.
Tom is a dependable presence at City Council meetings, as well as meetings of the Planning Commission. He was a founding member of the Lake Forest Military Support Committee. Tom is a Republican but he has no ties to the Voigts-Robinson coalition.
Cagley’s main concerns are process variables. He’s worried about the effectiveness and the efficiency of the legislative process. Are we looking at the right issues? Is the information on which we make decisions accurate? Tom believes that his more than 30 years of experience in gathering information and processing it into actionable intelligence is directly applicable to Council actions. Cagley believes that the way we go about making decisions is as important as the decisions themselves. He pointed to the recent costly flip flops where the Council enacted ordinances (day laborer, sex offenders in parks), only to repeal them in the threat of litigation. Looking at Lake Forest in 2014, Cagley’s orientation is sorely needed. The current Council takes more time to do fewer things, often postpones action, and occasionally does a complete reversal. A better way to do business is sorely needed.
In terms of specific issues, Tom’s biggest concern is the ability of the region to keep us supplied with water as we continue to grow the number of residential homes. He’s also interested in having a meaningful ethics protocol for the city, one that is not just words on paper, but effective.
Col. Cagley believes that the Council should be prepared to be proactive on issues, not let them develop and then become reactive. He believes we need to know how we would deal with homelessness, we need a traffic commission, and we need to think about a senior center. In a recent interview he said – “The fact it took more than 20 years to get a dog park even on the agenda is inexcusable. The citizens deserve better.” Tom hopes to give them better.
About Jim Gardner: