Win, lose or recount, El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors candidate Bill Tobin knows where he’ll be after the election.
He’s the volunteer coordinator for the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills’ annual Blues and Brews, a night of music and dancing that honors service men and women past and present, standing and fallen, that benefits the planned El Dorado Hills Veterans Memorial. This year the show’s on Nov. 10.
The feel-good event is just one of the myriad volunteer activities on Tobin’s resúmé. He described his candidacy as a natural progression of his current activism in El Dorado Hills. “It’s time for me to step up,” he said.
Tobin, 49, walks the walk of someone who is, in his words, “dedicated to positive changes in the community where he lives.”
He’s running to “to provide improved leadership on the board,” he added, stopping short of the criticism other candidates have directed toward the current board.
Tobin wins the “candidate with the most interesting job” contest easily. He’s a nuclear power plant inspector. Really. It’s sort of a part-time affair, all-consuming for days at a time, with weeks between to spend in the community he loves. Specifically, Tobin’s a data analyst on a team that inspects the plant steam generators, so he’s been around a lot of radiation. If he seems to be glowing, he insists it’s just positive juju from all his volunteer work.
Listing all the local projects with Tobin’s name on them is a chore. It might be easier to list the community activities Tobin’s NOT involved in.
Back in March, Village Life featured Tobin’s work with ShelterBox, the Rotarian-founded charity that provides critical shelter and supplies to disaster victims all over the world. He’d just received the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the organization’s annual conference and humanitarian awards event in Orlando. That’s President Barack Obama, by the way.
A former competitive swimmer, Tobin brought Red Cross swim and water safety programs to Placer County public pools in the 1980s. He moved to Fairfield and revitalized the local equivalent of the Junior Trojans youth football and cheer programs in the 1990s, recruiting service men and women from Travis Air Force Base as volunteer coaches and de-facto mentors to help turn the flagging program around.
He joined the El Dorado Hills Rotary shortly after he and his wife Sherie arrived in 2003. The couple has two sons — 27-year-old Patrick serves in the U.S. Air Force and 23-year-old Danny attends Folsom Lake College.
Tobin, a Rotary Club past-president, had a hand in the conversion of the old fire house into the senior center. Later, he played an active part in the development of the Community Services District Teen Center and Skate Park. A couple of years later along came the Jeff Mitchell Field project, which was partially funded by Rotary. He currently co-chairs the Veterans Memorial committee.
Along the way there’s been a steady stream of smaller projects. The non-profits, service clubs and CSD officials all know him by name and reputation as a hard-working volunteer with a broad smile.
Tobin served as a student advisor in the Oak Ridge Interact Club since 2008, mentoring hundreds of high school students (and possible future Rotarians) on the value of community service and citizenship. He organized the Walk for Education, which raised funds for Parent Teacher organizations at all El Dorado Hills schools, and also helps coordinate volunteers for the El Dorado Hills Fireworks Jubilee.
Tobin’s campaign website, tobin4csd.com, confirms his commitment to open communication, teamwork, unity, and positive change in the district. “I affirm the importance of working together to find solutions,” he states. “I will treat everyone with fairness, dignity and respect in all matters.”
He plans to put all his compensation in a discretionary fund to help others.
Every candidate has projects they’d like to accomplish on the board. Tobin suggests expanding recreation activities beyond the core first-aid, sports and fitness classes.
“How about classes in entrepreneurship and small business,” he asked. “Perhaps local fire officials would sponsor a class in fire safe practices.”
Once Tobin gets going, it can be tough to turn it down. “A local auto repair shop might host a maintenance class. EID could offer a water conservation class.”
Before planning any new parks, Tobin suggests a fresh look at the existing parks with an eye to making them better. “How about making our parks a little more comfortable,” he suggests.
Can a brother get a little shade? Tobin suggests benches, picnic tables, walkways and, yes, shade structures be considered as low-cost methods to leverage the district’s existing investment in developed open space, and a way to justify the cost of its ongoing upkeep.
“Even cars like shade,” he said, wondering about financing terms of the combination shade structures/solar farms that are cropping up in the area.
“Wouldn’t it be nice for a mom who’s leaving the Promontory Park sprayground with her toddler to not worry about baking the kid before she can get him strapped in and moving?”
He’s also like to see a handicap play area that would allow children with disabilities to play beside their nondisabled peers.
Tobin hates to see non-profits and youth groups treated like just another revenue source when they ask about CSD facility usage. “We should treat Hands4Hope and the Vision Coalition like partners,” he said.
He points out that the CSD staff has done a lot of talking about volunteer projects, but hasn’t delivered much. “Maybe if we treated our local non-profits better they’d help us out in return.”
Why spend so much time volunteering? “I’m not a bowler and not a golfer, not a good one anyway,” he said. “Volunteering is my hobby, and I’m actually pretty good at it.”
Tobin said his agenda is simply to fulfill the CSD’s mission: to improve the quality of life for El Dorado Hills residents through responsible leadership and by providing superior services and facilities. He also likes the district’s core values: integrity, excellence, customer service, professionalism and creativity.