Like so many others involved in California politics, I was stunned to learn of the passing of David Howard, the political director for the California Association of Realtors. Apparently just a few weeks before his passing, David learned that he had Lung Cancer. He was 64 years old.
David was a great person, and someone who was totally passionate about politics. I first met David many, many years ago at a California Chamber of Commerce retreat, and we got to talking about the political landscape for that particular year’s upcoming elections. In no time at all, we found ourselves “in the weeds” as it were, really getting into the nitty gritty as only political wonks will do. I think from that moment we developed a mutual respect for one another as serious participant-observers of Golden State politics.
On the issues, there was some areas where David and I agreed. But there are a great many where we did not. For starters, David was the consummate pragmatist, and of course I am more the ideologue. But we quickly found out that this made our friendship even more fun. David would harass me about “no tax pledges” or scratch his head at the California Republican Party’s “illogical approach to the immigration issue” — which was okay, because I would harangue him about the California Realtors support for so-called “affordable housing” or chide him for encouraging his PAC to support some candidates in GOP primaries that weren’t my favorites.
Most of the time, however, our occasional coffees or lunches, which seemed to come about every few months, were spent comparing notes, exchanging information, and helping each other to get the lay of the land from the perspective of the other.
When I think about what I will miss the most about David, it will be his passion. David truly loved his work — and on more than one occasion he remarked on how unbelievable it was that he actually got paid to do what enjoyed doing so much.
I will miss the many e-mail exchanges, and the occasional phone calls. I will miss our many meet-ups at the Ambrosia café, or the Esquire Grill. My friend, rest in peace knowing that you made a difference for the things you believed in for the time you were on this Earth.
On a closing note, to David’s wife Deborah, who shared his passion for life, and for politics, I am sure this is a very difficult time for you. After all, David was far too young to leave us, and the sudden nature of his passing no doubt left much unsaid and undone. Please know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of many.
Goodbye, my friend David. I will miss you greatly.