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By Susan Motander
Larry Spicer -Photo by Terry Miller
Usually when there is a new City Council member sworn in, the community has learned something about the individual through the process of an election campaign. Larry Spicer was sworn into the council last week at a special meeting regarding redevelopment. As he joins the council as a temporary replacement for Clarence Shaw, Spicer is an unknown commodity to some parts of the community. To others his is a well known face.
Spicer was raised in Monrovia attending Huntington Elementary School and Clifton Junior High before graduating from Monrovia High School in 1973. After graduation he joined the United States Army and served until 1976. After a few years working in construction he reenlisted in the Army and served until 1994.
After leaving the military, Spicer bought a big rig truck and crisscrossed the country for eight years. “I’ve been through 48 states and Canada” he proudly stated. Since 2002 he has been a full time volunteer with most of his volunteer hours spent in Monrovia.
Spicer is the current volunteer of the year for the city of Monrovia. He was also named a “Who’s Who of America’s Neighborhoods” by Neighborhoods USA at their conference in Alaska last year. Spicer reported that even though he was part of Monrovia’s delegation to the conference, he paid his own way.
Spicer’s list of volunteer activities is a long one. He was appointed to Monrovia’s Planning Commission in 2010. He has worked with the city on its Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) program which he describes as a way to “encourage citizens to improve their own neighborhoods.” MAP works in specifically designated areas in the city.
Spicer is also a member of the Board of the Duarte Hawks, a football program for youth aged 6 and up. For the last 3 or 4 years he has also been a Red Cross Volunteer. He also serves on the Board of Make A Difference Day in Monrovia.
The members of Monrovia’s City Council have each “adopted” an individual school in the district. “I plan to ‘adopt’ Bradoaks,” Spicer said. It is a logical choice as he has been a volunteer with the schools Watch Dogs Program. Watch Dogs are “Dads of Great Students” and Spicer said this is quite true of him as his ten year old daughter, Lailah, is a student at that school and “very bright.”
Lailah is Spicer’s youngest child. He has two other children, Savannah, 19, who as the Student Liaison to the City Council last year, and Lawrence, 13, who is involved in the Leadership Program at Clifton Middle School. Spicer noted that he and his wife, Delphine will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on February 8.
Spicer has been appointed to fill the seat left temporarily vacant while Council Member Clarence Shaw is on active duty with the Army Reserve. In some ways it is appropriate that Spicer be the appointee as he and Shaw first became friends when working together in the military. Spicer was working full time with the National Guard at which time Shaw was also associated with the Guard. Throughout his career in the military Spicer had been assigned to logistics, which is also Shaw’s area of expertise. Spicer described logistics as supplying “everything it takes to support the troops.”
When asked what he saw as challenges in Monrovia, Spicer was quick to point out several areas of concern. He said he may be new to the council, but he is already aware of many of the issues it will be facing in the next few months. “Since the council appointed me last month, I have been receiving all the reports the other members of the council have received from the city,” Spicer said. “I know I am new to the council, but I am working hard and studying the issues. I am already aware of many of these issues.”
The first he noted was Redevelopment, a topic often in the news recently. His first concern was slightly different from those expressed by other elected official. “What about the employees of our Redevelopment Agency,” he said.
When it was pointed out that his fellow Council Members had been focussed on the completion of the Gold Line through Monrovia and the future of the proposed maintenance yard in Monrovia, Spicer said he felt this was also important, but that he was also worried about the employees saying, “This is their livelihood.”
Spicer went on to explain that he knew this would be a difficult situation as the city was facing budget issues. He said the budget was another of the issues about which he was concerned
He pointed out that his volunteer activities have ensured that he was up to date on many things the council will be facing in the new few months. For example, he noted that as a member of the Planning Commission he was already aware of the concerns of the community regarding the Wilderness Preserve as the Planning Commission had approved the Environmental Impact Report on the preserve. The council will also be appointing a new city manager soon. “I served on the Community Board in the selection process for the new Police Chief last year,” Spicer said, “So I am aware of the process and prepared to participate in the selection of the City Manager.”
“I have been reading everything the city has sent me,” Spicer said. He may be new, but Spicer plans to hit the ground running.
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