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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
San Diego County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Larry Stirling

Candidate for
State Senator; District 39

This information is provided by the candidate


It's easy to talk about the problems facing California, but rare is the individual who steps forward with solutions that are innovative and achievable. Larry Stirling offers that kind of leadership to the voters of the 39th State Senate District. He is running for the seat

Because...There is a Better Way.

Family History

Like the history of many San Diegans, Larry's family packed their bags and moved the family from Youngtown, Ohio, a 1950s "Rust Belt" state, to secure a better future for their children in the "Golden State" of California. The family settled in San Bernardino where Larry's stepfather was a residential construction electrician and taught him the trade. His mother was a homemaker who like many women today also worked to help make ends meet.

Larry is father to two wonderful adult children: Shenandoah and Jason. Both are married and live in San Diego with their spouses. His first grandchild Benjamin was born this year.

Larry and his wife Linda, a Senior Vice President with Merrill Lynch, live in the community of Mission Hills in the City of San Diego.


Larry graduated from Pacific High School in San Bernardino in 1960 and then San Bernardino Valley College in 1962 where he was selected the Outstanding Graduating Male Student. He continued his public school education at San Diego State College, now San Diego State University (SDSU), where he received his Bachelors degree in Political Science in 1964 and was selected the Outstanding Graduating Student from the College of Arts and Letters.

Larry's future in public service was foreshadowed in his Chairmanship of the SDSU's award winning Model United Nations delegation.

Upon returning to San Diego at the end of active duty in the US Army, Larry entered Western States University School of Law and completed a four-year night course for his law degree. He graduated third in his class and won three AMJUR awards along the way. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1974.

Military Service

Larry enlisted in the US Army in 1965 after learning that his younger brother had been killed in action as a US Marine in Vietnam. After completing his basic training, he was selected to attend the Infantry Officers Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry in 1966. His orders took him to Camp Red Cloud Korea where he commanded an Army company of 500 enlisted men, both American and Korean.

Larry returned to the United States to finish his active military service as a captain and instructor at the Ft. Benning Infantry School. He taught a portion of the Infantry Officer's Advanced Course to senior captains and majors.

Upon leaving active duty, Larry became an active member of the Army Reserves serving as an instructor at the 63rd ARCOM NCO Academy for 2 years, a staff officer for the 12th Special Forces Detachment "Green Berets" for 9 years, and as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel carrying out high-level management inspections at troubled Army bases around the country for 3 years. He retired from the Army after 20 years with the rank of Major.

Public Administration Experience

Larry's career in public administration began in 1969 when he was hired by the City of San Diego as a budget analyst with the responsibility to advise the City Manager and the Director of Finance on the fiscal condition of various city departments and programs. His assignments with City's Water Utilities Department and the San Diego Police Department sowed the seeds for his notable legislative accomplishments as a San Diego City Councilman, State Assemblyman and State Senator. These included coauthoring California's historic water marketing law that laid the groundwork for the transfer of Imperial Valley water to San Diego and chairing the State Assembly Committee on Public Safety.

Larry worked as an operations analyst within the San Diego Police Department came at a time of significant administrative, operational and fiscal transformation in the department. He was part of the team that modernizing policing in San Diego with the establishment of the first computer aided dispatch system in the country, the first 9-1-1 system, the ARJIS system for automating police records, and community oriented policing.

In 1973, Larry became the Director of Finance for the Comprehensive Planning Organization (now SANDAG.) In that capacity, he assumed all fiscal and administrative responsibility for the agency and became familiar with issues of regional scope including land use, air quality, transportation and taxation.

Elected Office

With the campaign slogan "Quality in Government," Larry was elected to the San Diego City Council District 7 seat in 1977. His upset victory was won over two other better-known and better-financed candidates. He joined the City Council at an historic time under the leadership of Mayor Pete Wilson when the City was faced with reshaping its finances and budgeting under "Proposition 13." The City came through the uncertainty of the time with a balanced budget and a retirement fund put on the road to recovery while building new police substations, paving streets, reducing traffic accidents and fatalities, and the crime rate.

An open 77th Assembly District seat in 1980, opened a new door for the popular and respected City Councilman. Larry served as Assemblyman for 3 terms facing no opposition for reelection in 1982 and 1984, and minor opposition in 1986. His record of achievement in the Assembly led to his election to the 39th State Senator District in 1988. A detailed record of Larry's legislative accomplishments is available.

In 1989, Governor George Deukmejian appointed Larry as a judge in the San Diego Municipal Court. Larry sought the judicial appointment to allow him to meet the financial demands of putting two children through college.

Larry served as a Municipal and Superior Court judge for 14 years until his retirement in February 2003. In that time, he presided over thousands of cases both civil and criminal.

Larry also saw his legislative proposal to unify California's trial courts from three levels to one more effective and efficient court implemented during his service. For his efforts on behalf of court unification, Larry was commended by the State and local Bar Associations and upon retirement, the California Judges Association.

Because There Is A Better Way

Retired, but not disengaged from the responsibilities of citizenship, Larry knows that there is a better way to govern the State of California. Experience and the courage to rethink and retool government in response to the evolution of the "Golden State's" economic, environmental and people resources has brought Larry back into democracy's most noble contest to represent the hopes and ideals of its citizens.

Larry is running for the 39th State Senate District to join Governor Schwarzenegger in "blowing up the boxes" in the state bureaucracy that stand in the way of restoring prosperity and hope to all the residents of the "Golden State."

"We need more creative leadership, not more creative accounting." Larry Stirling

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 28, 2004 11:47
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