Accolades accrue for LAFCO leader
“A decent good person.”
“A guy with incredible credentials.”
“A walking encyclopedia when it came to LAFCO.”
“A source of great inspiration for LAFCO staff and commissioners statewide.”
These are only a few of the accolades the family of Paul Hood received when friends and colleagues learned of his untimely death at the age of 71 on May 11, several weeks after the nonsmoker had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
For seven years, from 2013 until he died, he was executive director of the Santa Barbara Local Agency Formation Commission.
Roger Aceves, Goleta City Council member, recalled being on the commission when Mr. Hood was persuaded to end his retirement to take the position. “The guy came with such incredible credentials . . . He created some big shoes to fill.”
Added Etta Waterfield, Santa Maria City Council member, “He was a walking encyclopedia when he came to LAFCO.”
Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagino, who serves on LAFCO, said, “This job can sometimes be very controversial, and he was such a cool head that never got riled. I never saw him upset, no matter if he was challenged.”
“He was just tireless. He was so decent and just always went above and beyond. I think we all have heavy hearts,” said Joan Hartmann, Third District supervisor and a LAFCO commissioner.
Mr. Hood held positions in public administration in Sacramento and with LAFCO in San Mateo County before relocating and settling in Atascadero for 40 years.
He continued his lifelong career with LAFCO until retiring in 2009 as executive officer with San Luis Obispo County.
For his impressive work, he received two awards from the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions, including the Outstanding LAFCO Professional Award in 2002 and the Mike Gotch Courage and Innovation in Local Government Award in 2009.
“Paul was and will continue to be a source of inspiration for LAFCO staff and commissioners statewide, just as Mike Gotch continues to be,” said Pamela Miller, executive director of CALAFCO.
Mr. Hood also served as CALAFCO deputy executive officer in 2006 and 2007.
“My dad loved his work, his colleagues and his friends as well as the people he worked with on local projects on behalf of so many communities,” said his daughter, Julia Hood. “He was a true professional who possessed extensive subject matter knowledge, but more importantly, he willingly shared his knowledge with others.
“He was active in the San Luis Obispo Rotary Club and was proudly involved in the scholarship awards program for local high school students, and he was also chairman of the Atascadero Parks and Recreation Department and president of the Atascadero Zoological Society.”
Mr. Hood was born and raised in central England and, as a teenager, immigrated to America in the mid-1960s with his parents and two younger sisters, Carole and Susan. After arriving in New York City by ship, the family drove Route 66 across the country to Sacramento.
“The Beatles arrived in America at the same time as my dad, and although he was asked many times, he did not know them, but he shared their Beatles’ haircut and English accent,” said Ms. Hood.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and his master’s degree from Cal State Hayward.
“My dad had many achievements in his life, but he was most proud of his wife and three children. He and my mother, Terri, were true partners in life. My dad made school lunches for us, remembered to give us money on school ice cream days, watched us play endless rounds of golf and became a Boy Scout leader for the local troop, despite ribbing about how he looked in the uniform,” said Ms. Hood.
Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Terri; their children, Joanna, Jeffrey and Julia; two sisters, Carole and Susan, and their husbands, Burl and David; and his nieces and nephews, Alison, Kyley, Daniel, Emily and Benjamin. He was predeceased by his parents.