Mark Gold writes: Heal the Bay made a leadership change this week that harked back to its roots. Ruskin Hartley, the former head of the Save the Redwoods League, stepped down after a year to return to the San Francisco Bay Area to be closer to his young family. The new president, Alix Hobbs, worked her way up at Heal the Bay after first volunteering at a beach cleanup in 1993. It's a classic mail room to corner office story.
Alix started at Heal the Bay as a volunteer when she was a student at Cal State Northridge. As director of science and policy and then president of the organization, I watched her grow and move her way up to director of programs and education. She helped lead beach clean-up programs, restoration efforts, community education efforts, the organization's speakers bureau, and its first citizen-science program.
Alix went to New York in 2001 to take a job as the environmental quality director at Scenic Hudson in New York, before returning to LA six years ago. Her biggest achievement back east was leading a major effort to stop the construction of a massive new cement plant on the banks of the Hudson.
I brought Alix back to Heal the Bay as associate director to oversee the organization's finances and operations, in order for her to gain more experience, knowing that she could someday head up an environmental organization on her own. And now, she is running the show at Heal the Bay.
Heal the Bay's founding president, the late Dorothy Green, was a mentor to Alix throughout her career. Dorothy believed that leadership came from passion, common sense, and experience. Alix shares those traits and has exemplary management skills that will serve Heal the Bay and LA's environment well.
Under Alix's leadership, look for Heal the Bay to continue its work on reducing water pollution and protecting coastal resources. Marine conservation and pollution prevention education will always be an organizational priority. But also look for Heal the Bay to become even more active players in working to pass Proposition 1--the water bond on the November ballot. More long term, Heal the Bay is moving to become an important player in transforming LA's water supplies from long distance imports (more than 89 percent of the city's water comes from more than 200 miles away) to local sources, such as stormwater capture, increased water recycling, groundwater cleanup, better management, and conservation. The agenda of water self-reliance through self sufficiency is likely to be a big push under Alix's leadership.
They say "you can't go home again." Lucky for Heal the Bay and for the region's precious beaches, coastal waters, and watersheds, Alix didn't listen.
Photo of Alix Hobbs courtesy of Heal the Bay.