A nearly 45-year resident of Rolling Hills, Tom Heinsheimer is a current member of the Rolling Hills City Council. He hopes to remain on the council, and he is the only incumbent out of four candidates for the two open seats running for re-election.
Rolling Hills City Council members are elected at-large, meaning that each member represents all residents.
Heinsheimer is also a former planning commissioner, Rolling Hills mayor, chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District and member of the Los Angeles County Sanitation District Board.
Below are Heinsheimer's responses to a questionnaire compiled by Patch editors.
Palos Verdes Patch: Why are you running for Rolling Hills City Council?
Tom Heinsheimer: To apply the experience and knowledge acquired during 40 years of service to the community, to continue to safeguard the safety, tranquility and beauty of Rolling Hills.
Patch: In your opinion, what is the No. 1 issue in Rolling Hills?
Heinsheimer: Returning the city to the calm, gentle, neighborly small town that we have always treasured after the turmoil of Measures A and B—a city government open to all, working in cooperation with the Rolling Hills Community Association, the Women's Club, Caballeros, the Tennis Club and everyone in the city who prizes the good government that we have always enjoyed.
Patch: What is your position on Measure A, the ballot measure that would amend the city's zoning ordinance to allow stables built before July 12, 2010 to be used for residential purposes?
Heinsheimer: Vote NO - Measure A degrades our safety and security - Measure A increases the population of the city by renters and their families, and then adds their friends, staff and guests. The gates will be obligated to let them in — even a closed gate will not help. The security problems associated with such an influx is predictable.
Measure A reduces everyone's property value. Rolling Hills' property value has steadily risen from $700 million in 2000 to nearly $1.2 billion today. Rolling Hills property values are supported by the scarcity of new home sites as there are virtually no vacant lots in Rolling Hills. Measure A would dump a new inventory of rentable housing on the market. These would be existing stables that could be easily converted into housing with no need to obey existing City or Association rules. The downward pressure on home values would be significant, with the potential loss of several hundred million dollars.
Patch: What is your position on Measure B, which would amend current view preservation regulations?
Heinsheimer: Vote no—Measure B reduces our safety and security. Measure B gives trees legal rights. The resulting uncontrolled proliferation of fire-prone vegetation would convert the city into an urban forest. This undermines the Fire Department's efforts to reduce fire danger, inviting a catastrophe that risks property and lives.
Measure B reduces everyone's property value. The loss of views as towering vegetation grows throughout the city would drive down overall property values. This loss does not just effect the few properties that fall under the control of Measure B. A city less friendly to view preservation is a city less atractive to new residents, with an inevitable loss of property values for everyone.
Patch: If elected, what are your top three priorities?
Heinsheimer: 1. Heal the divisions caused by the the excessively rancorous tone of a small group of Measure A and B partisans.
2. Maintain the quiet, open, unemotional government that has successfully guided Rolling Hills since its founding.
3. Transition the City Council to a new generation of leaders, ably represented by Council candidate and Planning Commission Chair Jeff Pieper, who has the strong support of our citizens and community leaders.
Patch: Why should people vote for you?
Heinsheimer: To make good use of long experience, broad knowledge and a calm demeanor, worthy of re-election to continue serving Rolling Hills.
Patch: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Heinsheimer: Please vote for Tom (Heinsheimer), Jeff (Pieper) and Vote NO and NO on the Measures.
When the election is done, and the voters have made their choice, let's all work together in harmony for the benefit of all of our residents.