Wayne Powell, Dudley Do Right For All The Right Reasons


Your Friendly Neighborhood Greenius (white shirt) talks to Manhattan Beach Councilman Wayne Powell (center) and Councilman Mark Burton at the 2014 Manhattan Beach Earth Day Celebration.

A lot of my political friends are still suffering from election night hangovers this Throwback Thursday.  Their heads continue to pound, they’re still experiencing dry mouth and disorientation.

Think of today’s post as a hangover cure.

As we learned in my last Greenius “Al Muratsuchi Kills Community Choice Finds Out He Was Duped & Calls Me To Apologize” everyone makes mistakes.  Some are forgotten, some are cast in titanium, forged forever.

One of the biggest mistakes your friendly neighborhood Greenius made was back in the day when I first met Wayne Powell in 2009.  He was running for Manhattan Beach City Council and I wrote something snarky about Wayne.  It was flippant and critical, and like a lot of what I’ve written, completely forgettable the moment after you finished reading the sentence.  But not to Wayne.

Which is understandable, for who among us doesn’t remember the cutting comment far longer than any compliment?  As the wise man once said, “One F-you wipes out a thousand attaboys.”  True dat.

And no surprise to anyone who knows Wayne Powell, I was completely wrong about him.  I’ve had it proven to me time after time after time over the last five years as Councilman Powell stood up strong on bicycle issues, on health issues, on climate issues, on water issues, on fossil fuel issues, on safety issues.  On Tuesday he did it again on helping to pass Manhattan Beach’s new ban on smoking citywide.

wayne with kids

And the thing about Wayne is that he does all this with an undefeatable positive attitude, enthusiastic spirit and community pride.  When you first meet Wayne you might think, “This guy can’t be for real. Nobody is THAT into it.  He can’t possibly be sincere with that civic boosterism act.”

LACo Beach CommissionerBut it’s no act.  If you work with Wayne, as I’ve been fortunate enough to do over the years, and you spend any time with him, and watch him at City Council meetings you quickly learn that he is totally for real.  He IS that into it.  He is completely sincere with his public love for Manhattan Beach.

Wayne is a straight arrow and a straight shooter.  His courteous manners and demeanor are of a bygone era when people took their jobs and their responsibilities much more seriously.  Nobody does more homework, knows the issues better or digs as deep as he does on policy.

There is nothing hip or trendy about Wayne Powell.  But there is everything Mom and Apple Pie and American Flag and Manhattan Beach city seal about Wayne.  If you’re my age you’ll know I mean it as a compliment when I say I could imagine Wayne Powell playing Mayberry’s Councilman on the Andy Griffith Show. He just learned the term “vape” at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Dudley_do_rightIn fact, it was at that Council meeting where fellow Councilman, Mark Burton hit the nail on the head when he responded to a story Wayne told about enforcing the new smoking ban with, “And that’s why we call Wayne Dudley Do Right” around here,” said Burton.

Calling someone a Dudley Do Right when I was a kid was no compliment.  It was sarcasm and a complaint about how honest, trustworthy and square some other kid was.  The character traits that I treasure, and respect and find all too rare as an adult.

Well Wayne Powell is all those things, which in my book as a 56 year old author makes him about the coolest guy I know.

I was wrong about Wayne five years ago and I’ve told him so more than once one-on-one, but it’s past due for me to say so publicly.  

And not just say so out loud, but right here in the blog that now stirs the political drink of the South Bay of Los Angeles – a place where we’ve never needed a Do Right kind of guy more.

Right on, Wayne! Right on.





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