Les Golden -- Proven Leadership

"Leadership is not the ability to lead ... it is the ability to get others to follow."
-- Marv Levy, Phi Beta Kappa, Hall of Fame Professional Football Coach
-- from the Phi Beta Kappa Key Reporter


1. Participants should distinguish their personal motivation from their institutional motivation.

2. Quantitative measures, free from subjectivity, should be employed whenever possible.

3. All decisions result from negotiation. In that process, participants should establish priorities for their desires, and the result of the process should be to fulfill as many of the highest priorities for each participant as possible. (This strategy is the basis for Les' firm, Optimum Budget Solutions, employed by legislators across the country.



Les Golden has demonstrated leadership ability throughtout his adult life. At Cornell University, he was a moderating voice of reason on the Engineering Student Council, and led a significant reform in the procedures of job recruitment on campus.

As manager of his fraternity fastpitch softball team, he established a dynasty.

As Feature Editor of the Cornell Engineer magazine, he established his ability to assign tasks and motivate. He was unanimously elected to the position of Editor-in-Chief, and in his tenure he tripled the staff size and earned numerous awards for the Engineer from the ECMA (Engineering College Magazines Association).



At the University of California Berkeley, he formed a championship fastpitch softball team (the legendary "Foul Balls"), a force during the summer leagues. As manager of his fraternity fastpitch softball team at Cornell, he had previously established a dynasty.

"Flash" Golden, the popular host of Flash's Jazz Patio, and the Play-by-Play Voice of the California Golden Bears, literally saved KALX-FM radio from permanently being taken off the air. Flash led a fact-finding commission into financial abuse at KALX-FM radio, presented its findings before a faculty/administration board, oversaw the reform of the station, and hand-picked the new station manager (Andrew Reimer, who now owns and manages a network of radio stations in the northwest). From nearly being shut down, KALX-FM became a preeminent student programming vehicle. Among those who made television or radio a career following their KALX experience are Bob Mansbach, producer and announcer for NBC sports, Bob Sarlatte, t.v. late night talk show sidekick, George Skofis, public radio Sacramento, Lisa Stark, ABC-TV national correspondent, and Robert "Doc" Pelzel, San Francisco radio personality.
KALX 90.7 FM | Flash Golden, Flash's Jazz Patio, and Play-by-Play Voice of the California Golden Bears



Les was the founding father of the University of California Jazz Ensembles, led it through its most fiscally-challenging period, was a liaison with student government, was its spokesman, and was its master of ceremonies, the image of the program in front of audiences state-wide numbering up to 10,000. That program has led to the careers of notables such as Andy Narell (who brought steel drums into the jazz orchestra), Michael Wolff (musical director for Nancy Wilson, Arsensio's Show, and others), pianist/composer Susan Muscarella, and many other professional musicians. For nearly 30 years, the Jazz Ensembles has sponsored the Pacific Coast Jazz Festival on the Berkeley campus. With nearly 200 student members, the program is the largest musical organization on any University of California campus.
University of California Berkeley Jazz Ensembles



A founding member of the board of Spectrum Interracial Theater of Chicago, Les oversees the production of plays by minority playwrights to minority audiences.



In political life, he sits on the board of the Illinois Taxpayer Education Foudation, suggesting topics for research and guiding the foundation's policies.



As a board member of Citizens Active for a Responsible Electorate from 1987-1989, he was a steadying influence among a group of spirited Oak Parkers. As CARE president from 1989-1992, Les Golden attracted candidates to field complete slates for every contested election, built a precinct organization, obtained the election of 5 Oak Parkers to office, led to the CARE majority rule (with ally Bud Corry) of the Oak Park park district, which instituted a pesticide ban in April, 1991, that exists to this day, and sponsored overflow forums on tax reform at the public library and village hall. In three years, CARE obtained a core vote of 40% of the core vote of the established party in Oak Park, in existence since 1951. Les also founded the Taxpayers United Party of River Forest (TURF), which led to two River Forest residents serving on their boards.

As president of Oak Park's CARE Party, Les Golden earned the reputation of an indefatigable slate-maker. While other interest groups had difficulty in finding candidates, Les Golden's passion and knowledge of issues enabled him to attract individuals to form complete slates for every Oak Park election -- library, park district, village board, elementary school, high school -- that was contested during his tenure.

Not only did Les thereby provide an alternative to the voters, but he challenged the ruling elite of Oak Park politically and financially. When the word was out that Les Golden was fielding a slate, the ruling elite knew it was time to raise some money.

These activities got Les interested in seeking office himself, in particular to allow him to extend the pesticide ban to the entire state of Illinois.

When a local newspaper, the Wednesday Journal, debuted the Shrubtown comic strip, Les Golden was the basis of the Moe Silver character, the tireless slatemaker for the LOVE Party.

Oak Park's CARE Party | some Shrubtown comic strips


That's what "getting others to follow" means.

Les Golden Home Page | Les Golden for Park District Home Page | email Les