District Two councilman sees opportunity for local business to grow

Thomas Moore

Second in an occasional series of profiles of Seal Beach City Council members.
District Two Councilman Thomas Moore sees an opportunity for Seal Beach, especially Main Street, to grow.

“From my perspective, there’s an opportunity to attract more business to Seal Beach,” Moore said.

According to Moore, the opportunity exists because people want something different from the online experience. He knows the Chamber of Commerce has a “buy local” campaign.

He said he spoke recently with Chamber of Commerce President Scott Levitt about offering discounts to attract business to town.

Moore said if you could save a small percentage by showing your driving license to a local business,  that would keep people from going online.

On the retail side, Moore said that there are a lot of interesting things on Main Street that you can buy online.

He also said there is an opportunity to attract more people from California State University, Long Beach.

“There are classes for seniors that could be marketed a bit better to residents in Leisure World,” Moore said. “Also, I think there is an opportunity to get more students coming to Seal Beach.”

Moore, a member of the CSULB alumni board, said he would be happy to use his university connections to help the Chamber of Commerce attract business to Seal Beach.

He also sees challenges to Seal Beach that come from outside the city.

“The biggest challenge is financial,” he said.

“Fiscally, it’s a challenge to keep the budget balanced with outside pressures,” he said.

Part of that, according to Moore, will include looking at the city’s agreement with the Orange County Fire Authority.

About District Two

Moore represents District Two on the council, a unique district that includes Leisure World, College Park West, the Shops at Rossmoor and the condominiums adjacent to the shopping center.

In College Park West (which can only be accessed by driving into the city of Seal Beach), crime is the most important issue.

According to Moore, there have been three Neighbor4Neighbor meetings in College Park West, which helped to make residents more aware of what they could do to reduce their risk.

In Leisure World, there has been a lot of coyote activity. He said residents need to report coyote activity to Long Beach Animal Care Services. (To report coyote sightings online, visit www.longbeach.gov/acs/wildlife/coyote-report.)

He said the landscaping around Leisure World is being fixed to address the coyote problem.

Moore also said a lot of Leisure World residents would appreciate having the Seal Beach Police Department enforce traffic laws. He said Leisure World is currently making all of its traffic signs compliant with the California Vehicle Code.

He’s heard a lot of ideas from Leisure World residents, including suggestions to put handrails on the bridge over the freeway for senior pedestrians. Moore said he’s looking into that, but the bridge is Caltrans’ area of responsibility.

He and District 5 Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt, who he referred to as “Sandra,” are using their discretionary funds to improve the sign near Leisure World—the sign that announces to anyone coming off the 405 Freeway that they are in Seal Beach.

About Moore

Moore was born in Boston, Massachusetts, while his father was earning a PhD in electrical engineering from MIT. According to Moore’s biography, which he provided to the Sun, his family moved several times as his father, an entrepreneur, started up several different companies. (Moore, who said he derived his values from his parents, also described himself as an entrepreneur.)

According to Moore, the family lived in New York; Toronto, Canada; Thousand Oaks and finally in Tustin.

His mother made lasagna for Christmas dinner for the local prison. “I learned a lot (about) giving back  to the community from my mother,” Moore said.

Moore didn’t decide what to do with his life until he was in college. One of his brothers, on the other hand, decided to be a doctor in the third grade and actually grew up to become a doctor.

While he was in high school, he got a job with McDonald’s, where he earned minimum wage: $3.80 an hour in those days. He also got free food as part of his compensation. (He did not eat McDonald’s food for a long time after he left the job.) Moore credited that experience, as well as his father’s influence, in developing his work ethic.

He played football at Foothill High School (Tustin Unified School District), but gave that up to play jazz. In fact, for a time he considered becoming a professional musician.

In addition to playing in Foothill High’s marching and jazz bands, he was in a college band called the Wind Machine. The group often performed at CSULB, where he was taking computer classes. Moore eventually decided that getting a computer science degree would be more practical than becoming a musician.

No, he doesn’t perform jazz anymore. He said he sometimes wishes he still did, but he doesn’t have time with his work and responsibilities as a councilman.

After college, he and a co-worker raised $10 million in venture capital to start RaceSearch, which sold racing parts on the internet. Moore said it didn’t catch on as fast as they had hoped it would.

So Moore started another company, Digital Performance, which provided cataloging software for the auto parts industry.

One of their clients was the company now known as Original Parts Group Incorporated (which moved to Seal Beach in 2008).

Moore now works in software for Roundbrix, an Irvine IT company. Roundbrix’s clients include the Diocese of Orange. St. Hedwig’s is one of the schools for which Roundbrix provides software.

He visited Seal Beach often when he was a CSULB student, said he always liked Seal Beach, and when the opportunity came up to buy a home in College Park West, he and his family moved ahead. That was 21 years ago.

Moore is a member of the Seal Beach Lions Club. He said he enjoys volunteering at the Car Show and the Lions Club Fish Fry. (Full disclosure: I am also a member of the Seal Beach Lions Club.)

Last year, he was elected to the City Council. “I like representing my residents and getting things done,” he said.

“I especially like campaigning,” he said.

He won’t get another opportunity to campaign until 2020, when his first term ends.

About council work

Asked about his achievements and frustrations during his time on the council, Moore first brought up adding transportation to the Veterans Administration to the dial-a-ride program. He also included handling a lot of “little” complaints from residents and making improvements to the park at College Park West and addressing the overall crime issue. (The entire council is looking at financing an increase in the number of police officers.)

His list of frustrations was shorter. “The biggest frustration to me is from outside forces—OCFA pension increases (and) state requirements for housing that Seal Beach has to follow,” Moore said.

“I’ve really enjoyed being on the council,” he said.

Moore said he hopes he’s made a positive contribution. He said he enjoys meeting residents, especially Leisure World residents.

He said he likes working with his fellow council members and believes everyone on the council is working hard to do what’s best for the city. He also said he is looking forward to another three years.

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