Robin Rowe Interview

Robin Rowe

BEVERLY HILLS, CA ( 2020/2/14 – says it is an innovative way to find out about, and participate in, what’s going on near you. At Patch you can track local news and events, read about local businesses, participate in discussions and contribute community content by posting directly to the site. Sort of a Huffington Post for local news. staff writer Emily Holland asked me some questions as a candidate for Beverly Hills City Council…

Tell us about your family?

I grew up on a farm near Springfield, Illinois. My family owns and operates the largest and oldest organic farm in Illinois. My parents were farmers and journalists, activists in the organic foods movement. My family originates from Great Britain, Scotland and Ireland, with my ancestors in the Continental Army and the Minute Men.

My life partner works at Disney in prime time television. She grew up in a Jewish family, is an awesome manager, fiercely ethical and my chairman of the board. We’ve been together for 30 years.

What’s your education?

To really learn something, I believe a person should teach it. I’ve taught computer science at two universities. As an adjunct professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, I taught military officers software design. As an instructor at the University of Washington, I taught Boeing engineers.

What is your profession?

I’ve worked as a technologist in product innovation for over 20 years. I lead R&D teams, design new products and implement new products for companies such as Lenovo, AT&T, GoPro, DreamWorks Animation, startups and for the Department of Defense.

What is the most pressing issue facing the city of Beverly Hills?

As a city we face more than a dozen pressing issues…traffic, air quality, shuttered storefronts, the homeless, addiction, no affordable housing, security lapses, lack of investment, budget overruns and more. In a society where everything is changing rapidly around us at the same time, single-issue politicians are so lost they can’t cope. Today’s challenges interlock, require action across disciplines to effect a positive change.

The old politics of saying let’s focus on one problem at a time is a losing strategy, a whack-a-mole game where new challenges emerge faster than old problems get fixed. I have written a new Beverly Hills Master Plan, a road map of what we can do to implement intelligent solutions to solve our multiple challenges simultaneously.

Why is it critical you get elected?

What critical about having me on the city council? Getting things done. As a product innovator it is my job to solve complex problems that have never been done before. Lacking someone like me on the council, the city hires an outside consultant to study a technology before they can proceed. It often takes the city council a year before they have that report. However, Moore’s Law drives technology to change every 18 months. The information is obsolete by the time the council acts on it.

Having a technologist on the city council is desperately needed to enable the city council to act at today’s pace of change. No other candidate brings that capability.

What mistakes has Beverly Hills made that you know how to fix?

The regrettable vandalism of the Nessah Synagogue was preventable. The city could have had security cameras installed in front of Nessah. The city had less security protection for its religious institutions than in the city’s parking garages.

That council members are Jewish may mean they care emotionally about the synagogue, but it doesn’t make them experts in national security. I have the experience in national security that they don’t.

After I briefed the chief of police on the city’s lapse in security, the missing security cameras were installed the next day. Our city can move fast when it’s clear what we need to do. The city needs a technologist on the council to help them avoid these mistakes.

Another issue in Beverly Hills, many storefronts have been empty for a decade, the entire time the incumbents have been in office. They mean well, but are so out of touch they can’t tell you the number of shuttered storefronts in our city. They’ve never counted them.

The incumbents say how much they care emotionally, then say they need more time for more studies, more committees, more delays. They’ve been studying the same problems for ten years. They admit they don’t know what to do.

What is the crucial difference between you and the other candidates?

The challenges the city faces require a technologist in the room. Two council members who are not up for election in this cycle have urged me to run. I will make our 5-member city council stronger and more effective.

What accomplishments show you can handle the job?

Proposals I’m making as a candidate are already getting action, effecting needed changes. My proposals being implemented so far…

Missing security cameras installed at all 18 of our religious institutions.

Nurse-Practitioner program expanded to make free house calls for check-ups of vulnerable patients, improving community healthcare and reducing demands on the Fire Department ambulance and paramedic services.

The Fire Department is having the city remove 1,200 highly flammable non-native trees that threaten us with a Campfire-like wildfire disaster.

Why should voters trust you?

Voters can trust that I represent them, not campaign donors. So, why does that matter?

A Los Angeles County planning commissioner has plead guilty to taking $1 million in bribes. A prominent Beverly Hills real estate developer has been arrested by the FBI for paying those bribes. That developer has made contributions to Political Action Committees to elect city council members, who in turn appoint planning commissioners.

I am the candidate who does not accept campaign contributions from developers or from anyone. Developers won’t have influence over me when the council is appointing commissioners.

What is your goal for the city if elected?

My goal is to build the world’s best city infrastructure, as outlined in my Beverly Hills Master Plan. Cities that do build the best have generated new investment of $1 billion there, attracting new business and better serving residents.

What is your fiscal policy?

As a subcommittee chairman for the CFO Alliance, I understand budgets. The Beverly Hills city budget is tweaked by some city council members in ways that make it hard to detect waste and overruns. The budget overrun this year is $18 million. We have over $250 million in unfunded liabilities. The budget has been broken for a decade. It stays broken because it hides the bad news.

The way to fix our budget is through better money management, by spotlighting and removing waste, not by hiding problems, not by charging higher taxes.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

As a child my mother would say, “Nothing succeeds like success.” I didn’t know at the time, it is a quote from Alexander Dumas.

What else would you like voters to know?

Life is an adventure. All my life, the universe has provided opportunities beyond what I imagined I could achieve.

I’ve worked at NBC producing nightly news, taught computer science at two universities, been a navy research scientist, sailed on an aircraft carrier, founded the AI research lab at a major defense company, worked in R&D at DreamWorks Animation, created technology used to produce visual effects for Iron Man, Spider-Man, and other major motion pictures, and built technology that controls national critical infrastructure, including traffic lights in Beverly Hills. I’ve been blessed.

My name is Robin Rowe. Implementing innovation is my profession. I’m #1 on the ballot. Voting for me is voting for a more vibrant and kinder city, with more opportunity, the best infrastructure, less pollution and the world’s best lifestyle.

Thank you!