Monday, January 9, 2012

Improving Neighborhoods

2012 will no doubt be a political year, already we are drowning in daily news coverage preparing for the November presidential election. But what about in our own neighborhoods?

I was very happy to hear that my close friend, Mat Kostrinsky, would be running for City Council to represent newly formed District 7, the neighborhood where I grew up: San Carlos in San Diego, CA. I was even more excited when I heard from Mat that one of his key focus areas would be to improve efficiency and service through e-Government (an area that I have focused on for the past ten years as a founding member of GovPartner and where sadly San Diego is woefully behind).

Mat and I met back in 1999, I had just moved back to San Diego from Washington D.C. where I met my husband Steve and had been working for a US Governor. Mat was working for Senator Dianne Feinstein and although I was in touch with many community leaders for work, I became friends with this particular colleague who stood out from the rest. I got to know his lovely wife, Dr. Jen Kostrinsky, and we had our boys at almost the same time so we enjoyed birthday parties and playdates.

When I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2009, Mat was one of the first friends who contacted me wanting to know how he could help. He shared the sad news that his sister Hayley was also fighting the same diagnosis (it turned out we were seeing the same oncologist). It was then that I really got to know Mat's family and it was devastating when Hayley passed away in early 2010. To this day, I can see how Mat is driven to do good things in life knowing we can never waste a single moment.

For this past decade that I have known Mat, his family and close friends, I have seen a man who is caring, honest, intelligent and surrounded by a community that loves him as much as he loves them. I saw how hard he worked on a playground project at the same park where I used to play softball as I child. I saw him working diligently at community events and heard from others about what a stand-up quality guy he was. I greeted him at the finish line for the Susan G. Komen walk and congratulated him on again setting a goal to help others.

And now I want to ask you to get to know Mat and support his efforts to become a San Diego City Councilman. Mat is dedicated to our community, to representing the neighborhood where he grew up and to improving San Diego as a whole, for our children and fellow constituents.

In this season of elections it is rare that you get to support an actual friend, but what better way to place the public trust into hands that you have seen tested and that you know are dedicated and decent.

Please visit his website and help make San Diego the nation's finest city again, one neighborhood at a time!

THE TIP: Elected office should be something leaders are called to do. Look around you and find people that are trustworthy, hard workers, fair and considerate. Encourage them to consider public service and think about where you too can help out for a season or two... a local non-profit board, planning commission, etc.

No comments: