For years, Karl P. Warkomski spent a good portion of his time devoted to local city government in Orange County, but these days, he’s busy with a new venture.

The 41-year-old former Aliso Viejo City Councilman was elected to the City Council when Aliso Viejo became incorporated in 2001. During his time, he served as the city’s Mayor Pro Tem in 2004 and as the city’s Mayor in 2005. Today, he is the executive director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation, a non-profit organization created to preserve, protect, and enhance the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and surrounding parklands in Orange County, Calif.

While he may have left his public service face behind him, Warkomski, who graduated in 1990 with a BS from UCI and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, still has many opinions on the current economic climate of the Golden State, as well as about our new Commander-in-Chief.

Q:  When did you leave the City Council in Aliso Viejo?

A: I resigned in February 2007 for family reasons that were happening back East. My sister’s husband died of complications from cancer and I moved to North Carolina to help support, and keep my immediate family intact.

Q: What were some of the important posts you held on a local level?  
A: I was on the Coastal Greenbelt Authority, Orange County Vector Control, and Great Park Conservancy Advisory Council.

Q:  How long were you involved in local Aliso Viejo government? Why did you leave
for a non-profit job?

A:  I was involved in the City of Aliso Viejo since the first election in March 2001
when we became an official city.  I was involved for about six years prior to that, primarily as a volunteer on the Parks & Rec Committee for the community association.  I had to re-run in November 2004 and was successful. My time in office was from March 2001 to February 2007.

Q: What was the biggest controversy while when you were involved in city

A: The proposed airport at El Toro and urban run-off issues.

Q:  What do you think of California’s current economic problems?  
A: I try not to let them depress me.

Q:  What are your feelings about Governor Schwarzenegger?
A:  I’m agnostic on him. But I do appreciate his interest and concern for environmental issues.

Q:  If you were back in office, how would you change things on a local level?  
A: I would continue to push for green policies that would have an impact not only on the community, but that could be used as a guide for other cities to follow.  Specifically, I would champion Victory Gardens, Farmer’s Market and a sensible approach to water and energy usage.

Q: Will you return to local government?
A: Not likely in the near future. Politics is time consuming and my job is very intense.  Given my impacted work schedule, it would not be feasible at this point in my life.

Q: What do you think of President Obama’s first few months in office?
A: It’s a 180 degree turn from the prior administration. It’s as if we went from a diet of trashy fiction and fantasy novels to award-winning non-fiction titles.

Q: You are credited with being a founder of a popular “green” company that you started, what was it?
A: I co-founded Green Culture in February 1994 and I sold my share to the other founder in 2003.  I continued to work at the company as Director of Conservation until my move to NC.

Q:  What do you do for fun?
A: Go hiking; do yard work / plants, reading, kayaking and some volunteering.

Q: Anything else that might surprise people?
A: I do not own a television and I love Country music.

Debbie L. Sklar is a Southern California resident, columnist and editor for publications around the country. For story ideas/comments, please e-mail