Patrick “Kit” Bobko is the mayor of Hermosa Beach, again.
On a City Council that rotates the mayor and vice mayor positions, Bobko stepped back into the role he had in 2007, replacing outgoing Mayor Jeff Duclos at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
Among Bobko's priorities is working closely with the city’s schools to ensure students’ safety and undertaking a more goal-oriented approach to the city’s budget and policies during his mayoral term.
As a first step toward working with the Hermosa Beach City School District, city council and the school board will hold a joint public meeting Wednesday to discuss school safety. Mayor Bobko is requesting that the city’s police and fire departments conduct a complete assessment of school safety to determine if additional safety measures are needed within the next 120 days.
“There is no more important issue than the safety of our children, especially in our schools,” he said. “We will be strengthening the partnership between city departments and school officials to determine the best ways to protect our students.”
On tap for the public meeting on Wednesday is a discussion of the oil production project proposed by E&B Natural Resources Management Corp. The city is reviewing E&B’s application for the proposed project and will soon launch an environmental review of it. The city also plans to commission studies of the proposed project’s potential economic and health impacts on the community.
After the city completes the environmental review process under the California Environmental Quality Act and the project has met all CEQA requirements, a measure will be placed on the ballot for Hermosa Beach voters to decide whether to repeal the city’s ban on drilling and allow the proposed project to go forward. The election is expected to be held in 2014.
“The city council’s role is to ensure the public is fully informed and has the tools it needs to knowledgeably cast ballots about the proposed oil project,” said Bobko. “We will be reaching out and engaging the public over the next year to provide residents with the information they need to make this vital decision about the future of our community.”
The Wednesday meeting, open to the public, will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the Hermosa Beach Council Chambers, 1315 Valley Drive.
The new mayor has also vowed to adopt a goal-oriented approach to budgeting and city priorities. To this end, city council recently launched a process to create a vision for the city and a set of guiding goals that will inform the public about council’s priorities. Council and city leaders are working with a professional consultant, and met for two lengthy sessions in December with a day-long session set for Feb. 9 to develop goals.
“Once we have defined our priorities, our next step is making sure the city’s policies and its budget are aligned with those priorities,” Bobko said. “By staying focused and working together, we can take the important steps needed for the city to achieve the goals we have defined.”
Bobko said he will strive to make city council meetings more environmentally friendly and accessible to the public. To do so, he is proposing council become a paper-free organization by shifting to electronic records. To make meetings more accessible to the public, he is asking for the agenda to be displayed on a screen behind the dais, and will strive to end all council meetings by 10 p.m.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as mayor once again,” said Bobko. “I wish to extend my congratulations to my predecessor, Jeff Duclos. He contributed countless hours to the city during his term as mayor. We all thank him for his dedication and his service.”
Councilman Michael DiVirgilio became the new vice mayor Tuesday night, replacing Bobko in that post.
Bobko was first elected to the Hermosa Beach city council in June 2006 and re-elected in November 2009. He was appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan. After graduating from the academy in 1991, he entered the Air Force, rising to the rank of captain and supporting a front-line squadron of F-16 jets.
The native Californian received an honorable discharge in 1996, later earning a master's degree in philosophy from the University of South Carolina and a juris doctorate from George Washington University Law School. Since earning his law degree, Bobko has spent his career representing cities and local governments. He is a shareholder in the litigation department and the appellate law practice group at the Richards, Watson & Gershon law firm.