WE ARE ALL EL SEGUNDO
I launched my campaign on the idea that El Segundo can be a more welcoming and inclusive city for all. There’s so much to love about El Segundo. Our safe and friendly community. Excellent schools. Proximity to the beach. And we’re an economic hub of innovation all while maintaining our signature small-town charm. Despite this, not everyone who lives, works, or visits here experiences El Segundo in the same way. Time and time again, we hear stories of discrimination, bullying, and a general sense of othering. I would utilize my position on Council to work tirelessly to eliminate such instances. To be clear, being more inclusive of those voices long ignored or marginalized and acting on their needs does not mean we are excluding those already in the room. The Good of El Segundo is infinite.
El Segundo residents still suffer from the harmful effects of the Hyperion disaster, battling unbearable odors and other side effects around the clock. I spoke at the South Coast Air Management Quality District's hearing and urged Hyperion and the City of Los Angeles to do more - much more - and to take action now. In my remarks, I supported the Proposed Order's recommendations (fence-line monitoring, daily maintenance checks, independent oversight, & odor patrols) but I went further, calling for 1) more immediate relief for our community’s ongoing misery, 2) the launch of a long-term health study, and 3) an emergency action plan equipped with a clear chain of command and accountability measures should a disaster of this magnitude happen again. I’ve started a dialogue with state, county, and other local officials to direct their resources to accelerate relief. I pledge to explore every avenue available to compel the City of Los Angeles to act with more urgency to fix this unending crisis.
I’m fully committed to maintaining El Segundo’s stellar public safety reputation. Further, I want to ensure we, as a City, always maintain our own police and fire department rather than outsourcing such services to Los Angeles County. As a Councilmember, I will rely on the high standards we set for our public safety departments, to institute more innovative and effective police strategies to further transparency and fairer treatment for all. The lion's share of our City’s budget is police and fire. As the stewards and taxpayers, we deserve to be well-informed on their operations and we must be able to hold them accountable when necessary. This is not done out of disrespect to law enforcement, but out of respect to us the people, who they are sworn to protect.
Do you know 40% of existing El Segundo residents would qualify for affordable housing? This according to the June 2022 draft of the City’s Affordable Housing report. Housing has become unaffordable for families in El Segundo because there isn’t enough of it. For decades El Segundo City Councils have ignored this problem by 1) refusing to allow anything close to enough housing to be built to meet increasing demand, and 2) opposing state initiatives overriding local zoning laws, claiming they will do it on their own but continually failing to do so. All this explains why there hasn’t been an apartment complex built in El Segundo in 40 years and why only 53 total housing units have been built since 2010. The time for inaction is over. We need to increase our housing supply to bring down costs, or risk losing even more local control with additional intervention from Sacramento.
FAMILY FRIENDLY COMMUNITY ENHANCEMENTS
Reach creative solutions to maintain outdoor dining options that satisfy all stakeholders
Increase pedestrian and motorist safety with more four-way stop signs
Install sunshade structures at park playgrounds
Provide bicycle safety programs, particularly for electric bikes while enforcing bike safety laws
Commit to being a more sustainable city and investing in more green projects both large and small
Announcement of Candidacy – 8.18.22
I like to run. I like to run a lot. I do it every day. In the last 15 years, I’ve run over 40,000 miles. Since then, I’ve run and won quite a few races too. From 5ks to marathons to that one time I fake ran for president. A “campaign” I launched right after setting the 10k Course Record at the 2019 El Segundo Run for Education.
I’ve been happy to call El Segundo home for the last several years, and it’s why I’m posting here today. You see, I’m gearing up for my next big race in El Segundo. A race I consider to be far more important than all the others before it. A race where there’s a real opportunity to bring about long overdue change. A race that, if won, can make the city I love a more welcoming place for all.
My name is John Pickhaver. My friends call me Pick. Perhaps, you’ve seen me running around town. Well, now you’ll see me running for El Segundo City Council.
For far too long, I’ve seen issues those in this town care deeply about ignored by our City Council. This is particularly true on matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. When underrepresented groups do seek action from the City Council, the response is often: “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” This familiar expression seems innocent enough, but time and time again, it’s used to maintain a certain status quo.
Let me be the first to say: if you put in the work, you can run a fast marathon. It’s how I became the first American finisher at the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon. When I commit myself to something I care about, I’m all in. I’m energized to bring this same passion to the El Segundo City Council.
In recent years, I’ve sought to enact meaningful change in this beloved town. As one example, I persuaded the city – after repeatedly being told no – to illuminate the water tower in rainbow lights for Pride. It was supposed to be lit for just one night, but after an overwhelmingly positive response, the tower remained illuminated for the rest of the month. It has since become an annual tradition.
What I realized was El Segundo doesn’t need to change. It already has. It’s our institutions and representatives that haven’t kept pace with the evolving attitudes of El Segundoans that need changing. I’m running for City Council to ensure all voices, especially those long-ignored – from individuals, to groups, to small businesses – are heard, represented, and empowered.
A final note… we need your support in this campaign. Whether you’re in El Segundo or not, local politics is national and national politics is local. Any kind of support you can offer, whether it’s your time, a donation, a like, a share, or a comment of encouragement will go a long way in our push for progress. Please help out in any way you can. Thank you very much. See you on the trail!
Thank you for making this campaign possible. You helped give new ideas for progress and inclusivity a platform long overdue in El Segundo politics.
While the vote-counting continues, it’s evident that in this election I won’t win a seat on City Council. Though, had the race been a foot race I’d probably be measuring drapes right now. But early on, the County of Los Angeles made quite clear the outcome would be decided by vote count and not mile time.
So we got to work and built a grassroots campaign. I will forever be grateful for all those in El Segundo and beyond who came together to make this campaign possible. Whether it was sharing words of encouragement, time, money, expertise, or in one case baking dozens of cookies bedazzled with our PICK PICK logo, your support in all its forms fueled our campaign each day. And it made going door-to-door to thousands of homes exciting for this introverted candidate.
It also helped us win endorsements from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, and The Knock – the premier progressive news outlet in the L.A. area. But most importantly, your continued support empowered us to form a broad coalition of new, longtime, and lifelong residents committed to seeing positive change in El Segundo.
The impact of your efforts were especially felt in the days leading up to and following the election. Many reached out to share what our campaign meant to them, several of whom I’ve never even met:
“Seeing you run inspired me, gave me confidence and hope that this City is changing and fostering a deeper set of values that are inclusive and cognizant of the bigger world around us.”
“At the peak of my cynicism, I now have hope that there are like-minded people in this community who I simply have yet to meet.”
“We need young people like you to step up and bring new ideas and change across all the U.S.”
“You have done something wonderful for our town.”
Running for office has been one of the highlights of my life – of my young-I’m-just-getting started life. I knew this election would be a challenge. Never before in El Segundo had there been a candidate who ran on a progressive platform. Who made diversity, equity, and inclusion the heart and soul of their campaign. Who took on the status quo and championed a message that said we are all El Segundo, and everyone who lives, works, studies, worships, or visits here deserves to share in the good of El Segundo.
The status quo may have won out this time. While I’m disappointed, I’m not discouraged. Sure, we didn’t move forward in the direction I had hoped for, but we certainly didn’t move backwards either. Which was a real possibility in this election with one candidate openly running on a MAGA platform. We defeated that campaign by over a 2-1 margin, and that’s important because it shows those regressive values have little support in El Segundo, as ours continue to grow.
The results may have been what many had expected at the start of the race, in that the incumbent and longtime planning commissioner are likely to be elected, but the race itself played out much differently than if I had not run. Our campaign brought often neglected issues like diversity, affordable housing, and fair and transparent policing to the forefront of the conversation. And I’m proud of that. Despite missing the moment this time, the movement continues.
Now I know you don’t get extra points for this, but as more ballots were counted each day, our percentage of the vote increased more than any other candidate. I find this to be emblematic of what’s to come in El Segundo. Support for these ideas and values will only increase, and before we know it, they’ll have a seat at the table too. I may have been our City’s first progressive candidate, but by no means will I be the last.
More and more people are activated and feel comfortable outwardly advocating for a more welcoming community. More and more people believe change – change they never thought possible – is within reach. This is the good that has come from this race.
As a runner, I’m conditioned to believe there’s always another race. Always another opportunity to continue the fight. I look forward to staying engaged to help advance progressive and inclusive values across the finish line in all the ways I can.
Thank you again to everyone who’s been with us on this journey and who may join in the future. Now let’s pick up the pace.
With gratitude and hope,