Candidates Forum: Becky Shevlin

Monrovia's City Council candidates respond to readers' questions.

This is the fourth installment of our Patch City Council Candidates Forum. The five candidates for office in the April 12 municipal elections responded to questions submitted by readers and the Patch editor. A different candidate's answers will be posted each day this week. Jason Cosylion's responses and Mary Ann Lutz's and Tom Adams .

1. Please tell us about yourself and why you should be elected or reelected to represent the people of Monrovia. 

I have lived in the immediate area for 56 years and specifically in Monrovia for the past  23 years, raising a family here, and for 35 years, have worked as a legal assistant for attorney Mark M. O’Brien, with his office located in the Monrovia Old Town for the past 16 years. I have committed myself to being immersed in all aspects of our Community building valuable relationships with local businesses and my fellow Monrovians.  For 2 years now it has been my distinct honor and privilege to also serve the citizens of Monrovia as a Monrovia City Council Member. 

  • Council Liaison and Representative to the Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board, Community Services Commission (and past Commissioner 11 years, and past Chair), Foothill Workforce Investment Board, Foothill Transit Board; Southern California Association of Governments, Adopt-a-School Program (Clifton Middle School) and Alternate for both the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership and Council of Governments.
  • Community Involvement –  Monrovia Reads Board Member and past President (8 years ongoing service); Acting Secretary and past Chair of Monrovia Chamber Business, Education, and Community Outreach Network Committee (8 years ongoing service and also serving on Chamber Executive Board 2005-2008; President 2007); Calendar Coordinator and past President of Monrovia Community Coordinating Council (12 years ongoing service); Monrovia Guild -Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (4 years ongoing service); County Commission for Women Board Member (appointment 2010), as well as support and involvement in several other Community organizations and programs.

Our future is calling; we have many challenges ahead and I believe I am prepared to confront and address them, both on your behalf and together, shoulder to shoulder. My desire is that we continue to cherish and preserve our rich heritage and sense of community while also forging ahead to assure a prosperous future for our City.  If you would like to contact me, please email me at bshevlin@obrienlawcorp.com; call me at (626) 253-0072, or visit my website at www.beckyshevlin.com.

2. How will the Gold Line benefit the city, and what should be done to best take advantage of it when it finally arrives?  -

Southern California is way behind the curve when it comes to a comprehensive public transportation system.  We continue to be in love with our cars which impacts us on many levels including congested and decaying freeways, poor air quality, fuel expense and dependency,  etc. etc.  By bringing the Gold Line to Monrovia and beyond we will be connecting to a system that will offer an alternative, a chance to get out of our cars and the opportunity to serve Monrovians who need and desire viable and dependable transportation as well as serve those outside of our community who also need and desire a viable and convenient way to come visit, work and shop in Monrovia.  The Gold Line, in conjunction with the vision of our Redevelopment Agency (should the State allow same to continue), will also spur revitalization in the southern portion of our City, providing both housing, retail and open space opportunities.   What should be done to best take advantage of the Gold Line when it finally comes – USE IT!

3. If you had sole authority and responsibility to create a very lean budget for Monrovia, briefly tell us what items you would definitely keep, and what you would definitely cut. (Submitted by reader Charlotte Schamadan)

I hesitate to even state hypothetically what I would do if I had the “sole” authority and responsibility, etc. as that would never be the case and I have never looked upon my service as “if only I had the power and the control …”  However, in keeping in line with the current Council protocols, first and foremost, all decisions must be fiscally sound, not only keeping our expenditures within our means and operating as efficiently as possible, but also providing for reasonable reserves to insulate us in the case of  emergency and/or unforeseen situations. Immediately behind fiscal responsibility is public safety, preserving essential services and infrastructure which serve and protect the citizens of Monrovia.  After that, you then build and execute those programs that provide the sense of Community, the heart and soul of Monrovia, again, always working as efficiently as possible, utilizing aggressive marketing and education,  and also taking advantage of a spectrum of funding sources whether it be grants, sponsorships, or competitive fee structures.        

4. What's your take on building a park on the south side or the idea of naming it after a local Latino? (Submitted by reader Ralph Walker)

I think any time you can add open space for recreation or just the shear enjoyment of  experiencing the out-of-doors, it is a good thing.   If just wanting it would have made it happen, I believe we would have had a park many, many years ago.  I know at the time I became a Community Services Commissioner over 13 years ago, it was being discussed then and no doubt for many years before that.  The obvious reality of not owning the land necessary to build a park and the realistic ability or funds to easily acquire and develop same, have been huge hurdles to overcome.  However, we now currently – so long as the State does not kill our Redevelopment Agency -- have a great opportunity to plan and structure our future development in our redevelopment area in the south portion of our Community in ways that will allow us to acquire, fund and build that park.  As for the name of that park; any name that is supported by our Community  and is representative of or embodies the outstanding efforts of any group or individual in the betterment of City of Monrovia, is definitely OK with me.   

5. What is your position on a tiered system of retirement benefits for city employees? How do you propose bringing the benefits in line with what the city can afford while maintaining competitive standards among "like" cities? Do you believe that Police/Fire should have a different retirement benefit than other City employees? (Submitted by reader Nancy Matthews)

Whether it is tiered or otherwise, I believe the current system is not, and for the most part not formulated to be, in balance with fluctuating economic realities.  In short, given our current economic situation, whether it is at a local, state or federal level, the current systems are neither reasonable nor sustainable.  I believe serious study must be conducted as to sustainable alternatives and how they will be funded.  Given not only increased life spans but our increased ability and need to remain physically and socially active substantially past the age of 50, there would appear to be something inherently wrong with a system and culture that promotes guaranteed retirement benefits at the age of 50 or 55 -- especially when compared with the benefits being offered or available through the private sector.  The issues are complex and varied but should not be directed towards individuals but rather towards a comprehensive solution that meets the needs of our Community as a whole as well as respect the valued employees that have served our City well and faithfully.  

6. How will the proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies affect Monrovia in the short term and long term?

At present, redevelopment dollars fund salaries equivalent to 7 fulltime employees which we have spread out over 12 individuals relating to economic and community development services.  Specific programs staffed to promote economic development visions will be immediately impacted.  One very specific community development program that would be immediately impacted is the Monrovia Area Partnership and the leadership support and education it promotes and provides.  This Program has and is continuing to foster and build Community pride, trust, and leadership within areas of our Community that have long been in need of our attention and revitalization. The leadership education provided through this Program is being expanded to all areas of our City with a six session leadership program to be offered this coming fall.  The Program recently was nominated for two very prestigious awards through Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) in the categories of Social Revitalization and Best Neighborhood Program.  Long term, our ability to fight blight, cultivate public/private development and revitalization, our ability to acquire and build a park in the southern portion of our City, and to provide affordable housing will be greatly impacted over the years to come if Redevelopment Agencies are eliminated. 

7. How are you going to fight voter apathy in Monrovia? Why is voter turnout usually so low? (Submitted by reader Ralph Walker)

Voting is not just a right, it is also a responsibility.  If we are to provide a government for and by the people, we must be committed to being engaged.  For myself, I will continue to lead by example, to be involved and engaged our Community and to encourage others to do so as well.   How can any of us rightfully complain and criticize if we are not willing to be engaged in our communities and in our local, State and National Governments.  Our lives, mine included, have so many times become filled with self-made responsibilities and obligations.  We have become tired and cynical but we must not lose faith that our individual works and voices do count; that we must be, and continue to be, engaged and get out and Vote.

8. What is your governing philosophy, and who are your political mentors/heroes? (Submitted by reader Charlotte Schamadan). 

This is a non-partisan election however I will tell you that I believe in, and stand by, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Ten Commandments. I believe that education is a vital key to our success and survival; I believe in personal responsibility and limited government.  I enjoy studying history and have great respect for many of our leaders, both past and present, but I have no real political mentors or political heroes. 

9. The City Council has long been characterized by a spirit of cooperation. What about Monrovia has made the council so tightly knit, and should such a political atmosphere continue?

I think it has been respect for one another and for our governmental process.  For the most part, I think as a Community we have respectfully agreed to disagree.  Respectful and honest debate and discussion of issues leads to team building and trust.  We all bring something different to the table and regardless of the ultimate cooperation; Council Members most definitely have individual opinions.  I believe having a unified goal or vision creates a basis for healthy progress and success.  We might not all agree on how we reach that goal or vision but if we can continue to dedicate ourselves to being as informed as possible on the issues and be willing to listen just as much if not more than we speak, we can be proud of being a part of a team that gets the job done.   

10. What can you do to make Monrovia a better place? (Submitted by reader Debbie Elliott)

I believe I can contribute by continuing to be involved and engaged in our Community and by educating and encouraging others to do so as well.  I was a volunteer and  possessed a volunteer spirit long before coming to the City Council and I will continue to volunteer in the spirit of making Monrovia a better place for as long as I possibly can and regardless of my tenure on the City Council. 

Becky Shevlin April 02, 2011 at 06:04 PM
I encourage all of you to contact me directly, my email is bshevlin@obrienlawcorp.com and my cell phone is (626) 253-0072. I have made this information readily available to all but until the posting of this forum, I have not heard from any of you -- or at least I don't believe I have as not all of you have provided your true identity. I do find it difficult to openly communicate when I do not know who it is I am communicating with. Also, the issues here are far too complex to be discussed in this format. I encourage all to contact me directly to discuss issues in depth and I especially encourage you to come to and take part in the City Council meetings.
Jill Ramirez April 02, 2011 at 06:25 PM
While I too wish more people used their real identity on here, I do appreciate the in depth questions that they ask, concerns that arise, and would like to hear your answers to them as well. Many of them have done their homework and obviously know much more about the city than I do. With that said, if they had individually submitted these questions to you at the candidate forum, they would have been anonymously asked and you would have had to answer them, so think of this format as the same. This was my problem when the Patch sent me an email asking for questions.. My response was, will all the candidates participate? Because it is not fair to Adams (and Zeiggler) to be the sole responders. They put their answers out there for everyone to like or criticize, you will only answer one on one. That really does not say you are open to all.
LASPULGASGUNNER April 02, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Councilwoman, you come on the Patch to tell us that you are not going to participate on the Patch debating the issues and answering questions. That you will only answere individual questions in secrecy even though most of us want to hear the answers asked by each individual who asked a question on the Patch. So your saying we aren't going to be allowed to hear your responses. So much for transparency. By any chance do you have to confer with Scott Ochoa on how you will respond to each question asked ? As my Councilperson, I want to know if you plan to support the written agreement that the City has with Mr. Brokate that the City wouldn't use eminment domain or cause eminent domain to be used against Mr. Brokate's property because the City sells it property to the GLCA ? If the City doesn't abide with their agreement with Mr. Brokate, isn't that the same as lying to Mr. Brokate. You know what I mean, you brought up the Ten Commandments. I would appreciate it that you openly respond to every question that has been asked by the community. You said that these elections are suppose to be non-partisan, and that's the way they should be. But I find it very partisan that the two liberal Democrats running for re-election have chosen not to participate on the Patch even though they read the Patch daily. That sounds pretty partisan to me.
JJWHIRRR April 02, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Ms Shevlin, in regards to your statement "I do find it difficult to openly communicate when I do not know who it is I am communicating with." You are communicating with the public and if that is too difficult for you, you might want to reconsider running for public office. Your statement implies there are different answers for different people. What also concerns me is that the questions asked on this forum are straight forward and honest questions, and yet you seem unwilling, or maybe unable to answer them. How can you ask for our vote if you won't openly share your opinions on issues Monrovians are concerned about? I may or may agree with that opinion, but that is what makes this Country great. But I and everyone else deserve to know that opinion is before we cast our vote. As a candidate for public office should stand behind your convictions and beliefs and state them proudly. Refusing to share your opinion on issues is unacceptable and forces us to simply draw our own conclusions on your beliefs and character.
Steve Buckner April 03, 2011 at 02:42 AM
"When any principle, law, tenet, probability, happening, circumstance, or result can in no way be directly, indirectly, empirically, or circuitously proven, derived, implied, inferred, induced, deducted, estimated, or scientifically guessed, it will always for the purpose of convenience, expediency, political advantage, material gain, or personal comfort, or any combination of the above, or none of the above, be unilaterally and unequivocally assumed, proclaimed, and adhered to as absolute truth to be undeniably, universally, immutably, and infinitely so, until such time as it becomes advantageous to assume otherwise, maybe." You have now been officially sworn in.


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