Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Summer/Fall 2018

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60 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 8 LOCALKNOWLEDGE Bobby Richards Hotel Manager, Realtor, Driver's Ed Instructor and Carmel City Councilman W hen the Founding Fathers were crafting the methods by which Americans would govern themselves in a representative democracy, emphasis was placed on the concept that those chosen to be the voices of the people would step away from their normal lives and careers and devote a bit of time to the greater good. While in Washington, that idea has mostly been supplanted by professional politi- cians, in small towns across the United States, it's still in full force. One example of this is Carmel City Councilperson Bobby Richards. He's well recognized around town and is liked for his easy-going, friendly and gre- garious personality. Richards' family moved from Simi Valley to Pacific Grove when he was in high school. That can be a traumatic event for a teenager, but fortunate- ly, he was a wrestler and a surfer. "It's good to be involved in a sport, because you instantly have a tribe," he says. Because Monterey Peninsula College doesn't offer a wrestling program, he attended Cypress College in Orange County. He embarked on a real estate career in Simi Valley, but suffered a setback due to the 1994 Northridge earthquake. At loose ends, he lived in Germany for a time with friends before returning to the Peninsula to care for his aging mother. He now makes his home in Carmel, where prominently displayed is a quote Ronald Reagan kept on his Oval Office that he holds dear : "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." Richards was elected to the Carmel City Council in 2016. Following in the footsteps of Howard Brunn, a former Carmel councilmember whom he respects, he donates his salary to Sunset Center, the Carmel American Legion Post 512, Harrison Memorial Library Foundation and the Carmel Youth Center. Q: What's your day job? A: I met Cypress Inn co-owner Denny LeVett while my mom was living in a senior home down the street and went to work for him as property manager and managing his hotels. Now I manage the Lamplighter Inn, Forest Lodge and Sunset House. My real estate and hospitality back- grounds were a good fit. I am a Realtor with Lowell and Hopkins LLC. Oh, and I teach Driver's Ed part time for Drive Carmel. Q: Really? Is that kind of a white-knuckle job? A: A little bit. My brother is retired CHP and started teaching Driver's Ed when he retired. He thought I would fit into that role well. I did, and I really like it. Q: What made you decide to run for City Council? A: I had no intentions to run for office. I was asked by several people in the community, so I thought I'd give it a shot. In the short time I've been here, the city has been great to me, so I thought it was time to give back. It's challenging, for sure. My term runs out in 2020. Q: What are you most proud of in your tenure so far? A: I'm most proud of my ability to be forthright and pragmatic. In every single decision I've made, I feel like I've been honest, straightforward and forthcoming and I have reasons and information to back up those deci- sions. I've had a sound reason for every single one. I'm able explain it and stand behind it. I don't have to say it in private. Q: Any specific issues that you had direct input on? A: Understanding tourism management is one of the biggest challenges of this city. It's a vital industry, if not our only industry. We don't need more guests coming here in June, July and August. What we need to do is bal- ance our tourism throughout the year and to educate people that January is a good time to be in Carmel. We only have 1,000 hotel rooms, give or take. We need to keep them full all the time, so we're not so heavily impacted in those short periods. I'm proud to be a part of a team that's making a coordinated effort to solve that issue. Q: What do you do for fun? A: Well, for one thing, I've known a group of friends in Munich, Germany, for 30 years. I met them while traveling in college. I go back there every year. They come here now with their kids. They're wonderful relationships. We go skiing in Italy, Austria or Switzerland. One of those friends was an Olympic luger. One thing is we always luge at Berchtesgaden then go ski- ing. You're going 55 mph…it's a blast. Scarier than hell. This year, we went helicopter skiing in Gressoney in the Italian Alps. My friend Fermin Sanchez of Bruno's Market jokingly said, "I'm going to spon- sor you." He gave me a dollar, so I helicopter skied with 'Bruno's' on the back of my jacket. Q: Are you going to run for City Council again? A: At this point, probably not. It's very time consuming. I have to get back to my line of work. I really enjoy it, but being on Council takes a lot of my creative energy that I would normally put toward my business and personal life because you can't get away from it. When I wake up at two in the morning, I'm thinking about the city, whereas before I was thinking, "how am I going to fill that hotel room?" or "what room do I need to remodel?" or "when am I going to get my real estate property going?" —Michael Chatfield

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