Hometown: Cardiff by the Sea
Profession: Founding Board Member, Friends of Cardiff and Carlsbad State Beaches
"My name is Bill Mahoney, and turning the ship of California around is our biggest priority."
When Bill Mahoney talks about the problems facing California, he talks about "turning the tide," and "leading the wave" — in other words, in beach metaphors.
It's no wonder Mahoney has beaches on the brain: He is a founding board member of Friends of Cardiff and Carlsbad State Beaches (FCCSB), a nonprofit that helps improve California State Park beaches and parks in the North County of San Diego. Mahoney and the FCCSB have raised and spent $50,000 in local state parks and recently turned an old surf camp in South Carlsbad State Beach into an educational and events area called Pelican Point.
Mahoney has been volunteering for the state parks for more than a decade. But his passion gathered urgency as park budgets dwindled, beaches and parks deteriorated, and voters gave a thumbs down to Proposition 21, which would have established a source of revenue for parks.
In some cases, Mahoney's work has helped get funds to where they're needed. Before FCCSB was created, Mahoney noticed that businesses wanted to help but could not find a way.
"They couldn't navigate the bureaucracy of the California State Park system," he said.
It's easy to get discouraged by high unemployment, a budget crisis, and other challenges facing the state, Mahoney said. Californians aren't used to seeing their infrastructure and parks in decline. But if Californians banded together, so much good could be accomplished.
"There are 38 million of us," he said. "That's a lot of effort we can put together to try to make a difference."