Michael Nogueira is a longtime resident of Eagle Rock who heads the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce and whose organizational stamp can be seen on everything from the neighborhood's weekly Farmers’ Market to the annual Concerts in the Park series.
Nogueira, who owns Sir Michael’s Party Rentals, lives in a picket-fence house on the southeast corner of Hill Drive and Eagle Rock Boulevard that arguably features the most eye-catching decorations on Halloween in all of Eagle Rock. Currently vice president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, he is also its sole business director (a second business director position has been vacant for the entire past year).
As one of the five candidates for president in elections to the ERNC, scheduled on Oct. 13, Nogueira took some time from his busy schedule last Friday to talk about what he hopes to do if he’s elected to lead the community. Excerpts:
Eagle Rock Patch: Why are you running for president?
Michael Nogueira: I was urged by a lot of people to run because there are some names out there that are not quite known throughout the community. And I want to continue doing the same things that I have done—it’s in my blood—the Concerts in the Park, the Farmers’ Market, and just getting involved in Eagle Rock, making it safer for our families and being the voice of City government.
What would you do differently as president?
Nogueira: I would probably like meetings to go a lot smoother and quicker—because we’re all volunteers. I’d have an agenda ready to go and expedite it after letting everybody have their say-so. I feel we need some strong leadership. I don’t need to go into what I want to do or promise what I want to do—I’ve already been there, done it and have the experience doing it.
Michael Larsen’s done a fabulous job [as outgoing president], and we need to take the Neighborhood Council to another level, get a grip on the community and get people who are really involved—teachers and stakeholders who live here and have a meaningful position about what they want to do—not for a certain agenda but for the overall community.
Do you think “Green Slate” candidates will be able to do an equally good job on the Neighborhood Council?
Nogueira: Well, we’ve already seen the opposition after our Councilmember [José Huizar] worked so hard to push this medical marijuana ban ordinance. It went through, and now they’ve got enough signatures to put it [the ordinance] on the ballot. I feel that there are just a handful of people who are dominating the discussion, and that we should get more people involved from the families in the community. I feel we should do what’s right for the larger community.
You have [Green Slate] people like Tim Ryder [ERNC Public Safety Director candidate]—the man has some great ideas but who’s to say that they’re not going to push their own causes such as their little [Daydream Festival] concert over at Richard Alatoree Park. That’s not something dedicated to wholesome families. I just don’t want to see that kind of change, and I think that if I can get enough people who think and feel the same way as me we can continue doing what we’re doing.
How do you view medical marijuana dispensaries as a member of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council as well as in your personal capacity as an Eagle Rock resident?
Nogueira: I get calls all the time from people who live on College View Avenue about what’s going on in that area [near a noted dispensary]. Go out there and see for yourself. People in a car pull in and they’ve got four guys inside there. Once they go into the dispensary and buy their stuff, they go up on the hill and they divvy it up. So, whoever has the medical marijuana card sells the contraband on the streets—and it’s clearly illegal what they’re doing. People have seen it, the neighborhoods have seen it.
Last March, you again took over as president of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce, a position you held in 2011. Why did Mike Tolj pull out as the 2012 Chamber president?
Nogueira: I don’t think he was prepared for a lot of the pressure that’s involved. You have to enjoy what you’re doing. I enjoy what I do—I live here, I work here, I do a lot in this community. I’ve work too hard, and I have to step in if somebody new finds that they don’t want to take the job. I can’t see the legacy go by.
What’s your take-away message for voters in the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council elections?
Nogueira: I feel that everybody should see what I’ve done in the community—the Friday night Farmers’ Market, 16 years going strong; Concerts in the Park—a wide variety of music concerts that we have throughout the year in collaboration with Councilmember José Huizar; July 4 fireworks, which we’ve never had in Eagle Rock—and now we have that yearly and hope we can continue doing it yearly.
I just want to do bigger and better things for the community, make it safer, help our schools, our churches, and see what we can do next to help the homeless and find shelter for them during the upcoming Holiday season. People are struggling out there and we need to see what we can do any which way to try to help them.