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Q&A with Dale Gibson

Sunland horseman Dale Gibson has a trail of equestrian contributions behind him -- and a challenge ahead of him on March 7: to get elected to the L.A. City Council. - March 1st, 2017 - Feature Article

HT: Dale, are there any similarities in the roles of a movie stunt rider and a candidate for L.A. City Council?

DG: Being on budget and being on time are the most important things dealing with the city and, especially, on set.  In either place, if you get known for being undependable, a big spender and never on time, you are not going to be very popular.

HT:It’s been pointed out that “stunt man” is just one item on your resume. You’ve been President of your local Neighborhood Council that works closely with the Los Angeles City Council on neighborhood issues, you are the current President of the Equine Advisory Board, working closely the last seven years with the L.A. City Council on equestrian issues. And, you’re a businessman in L.A. going on 18 years now.

DG: For the neighborhoods, I’d like to strengthen the Neighborhood Council’s voice, which is more in tune with local issues. As for horses, L.A. is second only to Texas with the number of horses, a big economic business for L.A. I’d also like to see more filming brought back to L.A. Many jobs and tax revenue was lost to other states when L.A. took away tax incentives to filming.

HT: You have been working to make a difference for years – ranging from your water reclamation project to leading the L.A. Equine Advisory Council. What’s your message to horse people as far as getting involved in their communities?

DG: United we stand, divided we fall. My message is to stand together – yes, it’s the motto of Kentucky, where I’m from. But most equestrians want to go ride and be left alone.  I tell horse people and non-equestrian voters in this District that we REALLY need to stand together.  One person rarely makes a big difference, but a community that stands together can make great things happen.  Horse people are very independent, self-sufficient folks, but a loner can easily be picked off by wolves and there are lots of wolves out there.  The other thing is, stand for your community.  We have five acres here. Many developers have tried to buy this place with big checks, but I couldn’t live with myself if I sold out.  If I sell, it will be to another horse owner.

HT: What are the pressures horse communities face?

DB: A realtor told me a long time ago, “we fight and we fight, and one day we win.”   And that’s how our ranchlands disappear, to developers who have a lot of money. But once the lifestyle is gone, it’s gone forever.

HT: Different types of horsepeople bring different strengths to the community. What are some of the ways horsepeople can get involved that maybe they haven’t thought of before?

DG: First, just stand together. Our Los Angeles Equine Advisory Committee (LAEAC) has such a diverse group sitting on the board, but we are all horse-lovers.  That common thread is enough to keep us all involved.  Zoning Issues are huge here in L.A., and we all think of a solution from different sides of the problem, and usually try to solve it the same way.  Use your strengths.  You know, I guess I’m uncomfortable if I fit in a crowd.  I was the cowboy hat in a city school in Louisville.  At first, I was Cowboy Bob, and later my classmates wanted to learn to ride bulls, too.  Funny how life gives you things that turn into your greatest strengths.

HT: Do you have any favorite victories for horse owners along your path as their advocate?

DG: All the victories feel good.  The DWP, (L.A. department of Water and Power, Reclaimed Division) and I worked for years to get reclaimed water for our ranches to use for dust mitigation.  It was amazing to know I got that.
Many folks come to me the LAEAC with zoning issues.  Someone moves into an open equestrian neighborhood, stays awhile and then wants the horses gone because of dust.  This happens over and over again.  I am currently working with City on Re:Code LA a project to making zoning issues easier to understand and easier to apply evenly to areas.

HT: What are the urgent items to address in northern Los Angeles?

DG: Infrastructure, homelessness, zoning, water conservation and retention of rain run off.  These are just a start.

HT:What’s your vision of having horses in the mid part of this century?

DG: I have watched the equestrian lifestyle slowly fade away.  I understand its not cheap, but kids that grow up around horses are the most respectful, caring and responsible kids I know.  Taking care of something or someone else is a huge responsibility, and it leaves an impression on kids.
I hope our lifestyle survives, it shouldn’t be just for the wealthy, but a choice for everyone who wants it.  Captain Kirk loved horses in the future.

MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/703_Dale

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