Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Remembering a hero of California elections

Yesterday a longtime friend and mentor, Tim Hodson, passed away. His departure will leave a giant hole in the fields of elections, government, voting, redistricting, and political reform. His long career in public service is covered by Robert Davila in today's Sacramento Bee.

I knew Tim in so many capacities - most recently as a member of the Fair Political Practices Commission, where he led a project to modernize California's disclosure laws.

Tim was that kind of quiet public servant who just assumed it was normal to work for the general public good - an attitude that stood out in a town where so many people are working for special, not public interests. That's one reason why Tim's commitment to public service stands out so brightly.

I knew Tim for many years, starting back in 1990 when I was working for California Common Cause and Tim was the senior consultant to the Senate Elections Committee. Tim always made time for me, and cared about the issues on our plate.

One of the best parts of my job with Common Cause was working with Ruth Holton, who would later marry Tim and end up living about a block away from my home. I'd sometimes run into Ruth or Tim at our neighborhood market and hear about their plans for dinner that night.

Those simple things, like enjoying a meal with a loved one, deserve to be cherished. Ruth urged her friends and family to treasure those moments and take joy in the simple pleasures of life. It's good advice. I'm going to try to remember it in Tim's honor.