Shepherd Romey: A Heart for Preservation

Gretchen Shepherd Romey
Gretchen Shepherd Romey

When she moved here two decades ago to raise her family, Gretchen Shepherd Romey said she dedicated a lot of her life to being involved in the various groups and nonprofits that help turn San Marino’s gears.
Now an empty nester, Shepherd Romey said she’s redirected the energy from raising a family to her continuing volunteer and civic work, which includes a run for a City Council seat.
“It’s a perfect time for me,” she said. “I have a lot of interests and am so committed to local issues. This is my life. My whole life is here in San Marino and I just want to give back.”
Shepherd Romey is one of seven candidates for the three open spots on the five-member City Council. The election will be held Nov. 7.
A Michigan native, Shepherd Romey was raised in Woodland Hills and Westlake Village. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, she earned her law degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Law in 1988. She previously owned a private practice and also worked for O’Melveny and Myers in Los Angeles and Stein and Kahan in Santa Monica in the past.
Since then, Shepherd Romey has spent much of her time on the local nonprofit and volunteerism beat, including at the Huntington Library, National Charity League, Hill-Harbison House, San Marino Garden Club, San Marino Junior Alliance and the parent-teacher associations at her children’s schools.
That connection with the community and its organizations has been beneficial to the City Council bid, Shepherd Romey said.
“I’ve been involved in the community for a long time,” she said. “Part of the campaign is speaking again with longtime friends — friends that I’ve met through PTA, schools, Scouts, everything — and also meeting so many new families who have come here. I’m getting to know a whole second wave of people who have moved here after I did.”
Shepherd Romey’s campaign message is one of preservation. She has been vocal in calling for greater historic preservation in town to preserve the city’s heritage and aesthetic, and frequently cites the current number of issued demolition permits this year while speaking about it. She has called for an active survey of historical landmarks by the city and she also is concerned about projects that involve removing fully mature trees from the community.
“There are things like that that are not replaceable that I’ve been championing for decades,” she said. “This is where my heart is.”
Shepherd Romey said she believes her experience in budgeting for nonprofits would translate well into a City Council position and that a new set of eyes on the city’s budget will only continue the positive changes instituted this year. She added that she wants to help the San Marino Police Department continue its data-driven approach to fighting crime and also help newer residents integrate into the community.
“A lot of houses have turned over and there are new families in them,” she said. “I believe getting those families involved in the community and in so many things that make San Marino unique is important. They want a great place for their kids to grow up and they’re here for all the right reasons.”

Leave a Reply