by Winston Chua
ARCADIA – Bringing with him a wealth of experience, ArcadiaCity Councilman Bob Harbicht is seekinga fifth term for a seat on the City Council. Harbicht, who has the distinctionof becoming the youngest serving mayor of the City of Duarte, at 31, has servedin Arcadia city politics over a span that encompasses 24 years. Elections arein the spring of 2010.
Harbicht stumbled into politics after a friend of his askedhim to be his campaign chair in Duarte. He liked it so much that he said he was“bitten with the political bug” and ran for City Council two years later. “Beforethat I hadn’t quite considered the idea of running or serving,” Harbicht said.
Despite his years of work and service to Arcadia and Duarte,he said he is most proud of his family. They include his wife Patsy, whom hemet at Citrus College; his son Rob; his daughter Jill; and what he calls “thefour smartest and cutest grandkids in the world.”
The 69-year-old councilman, husband, father and grandfatherarguably has more in his tank than men half his age. He recently came back froma trip to New Zealand, where he and Patsy rode 250 miles over the course of aweek. An average week of cycling with Harbicht ranges anywhere from 250 to 500miles. On top of that, he has been playing racquetball every day for the past30 years.
The councilman moved from Duarte to Arcadia because of thecity’s reputation for good education. Harbicht himself went to Citrus Collegebefore transferring to Cal State University, Northridge. He started a marketingand research consulting firm from scratch, working on product development andhas since retired.
Regarding Arcadia, Harbicht said, “Arcadia is an ideal cityand I’m just trying to stay the course.”
He points to the low crime rate, excellent library and saidhe does not want to overdo the unnecessary development in the City. Ifdevelopment does happen, he wants to make sure the development is compatiblewith the City.
One definite point of Arcadia that he would like to developis the Caruso project, which was passed unanimously during the initial Councilvote before Westfield slapped a lawsuit to Caruso’s Environmental ImpactReport. Harbicht chided, “If Westfield is really concerned about the EIR, Ihave a bridge I’d like to sell you.”
“I am committed to making the Caruso project a reality. Someof my peers feel the same way,” said Harbicht. “The Caruso project is far andaway the best alternative for the land [that would take over the currentracetrack parking lot].” He said it would become the new Downtown for Arcadia.
Harbicht credits his parents’ community service as amotivating factor for his involvement in city politics. On a less physicallyintensive level, he is very much into crossword puzzles.
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