In May of 2009, I made a decision to run for Hermosa Beach City Council. After living in Hermosa Beach for several years, I knew we needed to make changes to help businesses and residents in these tough times. My decision to run was not an easy one. At the start, I was relatively unknown by community leaders. I was up against eight year incumbents and candidates with experience in three past races. Essentially: all of them were well known.
I set out with three campaign goals:
1) To be honest and positive
2) To listen to the needs of residents and businesses
3) To work harder than any other candidate
On November 3rd, 2009, we proved that you can make a positive impact in a community following these three rules. Unfortunately, I was shy about 350 votes to win a spot on city council. This is a huge victory for our younger generation (and maybe the start of another race for city council).
Here’s how my campaign made a difference (and I learned how to be Light, Bright and Polite):
- Our platform/message was very clear. I repeated three major issues every time. Many voters said I had the clearest message and my speech was the most prepared out of the other six candidates.
- Every afternoon and evening I walked door-to-door in Hermosa and spoke with 50+ voters; getting to know their concerns and giving them a copy of my goals for the city. Voters thanked me every day for taking the time to shake their hand on their doorstep.
- We listened to the residents and only printed small amounts of flyers which allowed us to update our messaging with each print and to better answer residents questions.
- I met nearly all of the 4,000 voters in the city (If they weren’t home, I left a brochure that says “Sorry I missed you, visit my website.”)
- My campaign team followed up with phone calls to almost every voter reminding them that “We are voting for Josh Ochs and here’s why you should too…”
- My campaign signs are the OPPOSITE color scheme of our competitors (Most people agreed, ours are way more visible and memorable)
- Our campaign website had 70+ endorsements from local community members and each has a small story about my character and relationship with the resident. No other candidate in this race has such an extensive site that involves the community.
- We made social media easy to use for residents and included it on our campaign website and facebook page.
- Our campaign was green. We collaborated using online spreadsheets and facebook messaging instead of printing whenever possible. Our printing was primarily on environmentally friendly paper and we printed exclusively in duplex.
1) Sometimes the most reliable way to influence people is face-to-face on their doorstep (even social media has it’s limitations)
2) Residents that display a sign on their house reading: “no solicitors”….are usually the people that love to meet a candidate and they end up wanting to talk the most!
3) It is possible to run a positive campaign and not belittle other candidates…voters appreciate it and I sleep much better at night.
4) Choosing the right mentors and campaign manager makes a huge difference. We all need dependable people that we can also lean on when things get hectic. Jessica McIntyre was an incredible asset to this campaign. She worked tirelessly to help with every last detail.
5) The “final score” is not the final score. My final score is how prepared I am to execute near my own particular level of competence, both individually and as a team. There is nothing wrong with the other person being better than me, as long as I did everything I possibly could to prepare myself for the competition. That is all I have control over. That is all I should concern myself with.
Special thanks to the following people who volunteered their time and effort for this campaign.
Without them, this could not have been possible:
Jessica McIntyre, Campaign Manager (AKA: The Person That Made This Possible)
Carem Barbery, Campaign Treasurer
George & Patty Ochs
Mike & Loretta Hooghkirk
Zane & Elisa Koss
Dr. Allen Selner