City Council Candidate Keith Eich is becoming something of a prolificpresence at community functions as he gets up to speed on issues affecting La Cañada Flintridge. That includes, for example, the question of how many waste haulers ought to be operating in the city.
Eich said he didn’t know, when he moved into his home near St. Francis Academy three years ago, that LCF was the only city in L.A. County with more than one trash hauler (it has three). But it didn’t take long for him to realize it, because when trash day rolled around, it brought with it the beeping and roaring of nine trucks maneuvering his small cul-de-sac as they retrieved trash, recycling and yard waste.
“So, very quickly, I helped organize all the neighbors and we converted to one trash [collector],” said Eich, who even tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a lower price for the nine-house street. In the end, he said, they went with the company that the most residents already were using.
“Now Fridays are quieter and less congested,” he said. “It makes a big difference.”
Eich is among a trio of candidates campaigning for two available seats on the City Council. He’ll face incumbents Dave Spence and Jonathan Curtis in the March 7 election. LCF City Council members serve four-year terms.
Eich, the vice president of product development at the online legal technology company LegalZoom, was inspired to run for a seat on the council by his time on the Carnegie Mellon alumni board, for which his term recently ended.
“So I thought, ‘What am I going to do to give back next?’” Eich said. “I’d been going to City Council meetings occasionally … and I thought, ‘What better way than to take the seat with the broadest perspective and try to give back in a different way?’ I feel I have a lot of talents to bring, including a different perspective with young kids (Brooklyn, 5; Andrew, 3; and Chelsea, 10 months).
“I sadly did not grow up in this town,” Eich continued. “But I’ve lived in a lot of places and seen a lot of things.”
His technological work experience can help make the city more plugged-in and efficient, he said. “Coming from an e-commerce company, it’s really about looking through the lens of the customer; what makes the process more effective for them? So, who are our customers? The residents? The businesses? And how do we make it more effective using technology?”
He said his other priorities include improving pedestrian safety on neighborhood streets and continuing the city’s work to support the La Cañada Unified School District. He says he’ll be an advocate for the parks — including adding more of them, even potentially at the empty lots across the street from the Lutheran Church on Foothill Boulevard.
“I know I’m an outsider,” said Eich, who has only previously run for office in high school and college. “I know I didn’t grow up here, and I think that’s OK. I don’t have a lot of experience specifically in government, but I bring a lot of corporate and academic experience, so I’d ask people to think about that.”