When Laurie Weir was named deputy executive director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency a few months ago, she had to relocate only a few blocks&emdash;small change compared to her earlier career turnaround. Just before joining SHRA, she was a deputy director of the state treasurer’s office until her termed-out boss, Phil Angelides, ran for governor last November. (Note to political outsiders and visiting Venusians: He didn’t win.) But some years ago, Weir went from being an actual architect (eventually co-owning her own firm) to what might be called a fiscal architect, overseeing the finance unit of Los Angeles City Hall’s Housing Department. I’d been running the architectural unit for two years and I noticed that we had virtually zero decision-making capacity, she says. All the really important decisions about affordable housing were being made by the finance people. So I went to their office, sat down at cubicle after cubicle and said, â€˜Please teach me everything I need to know about finance.’ Apparently, she was a quick study: She ultimately became the manager of the city’s entire Housing Department. Weir says that her architecture degrees (yes, she has two) allowed her to make the transition from bricks and mortar to bonds and ledgers because her profession combines science and art. By the way, her husband, Jacek Lisiewicz (let me help: YAWTÂ´-zik lee-SHAYÂ´-veatch), now runs the family firm, Arkhos-Tekton, Architects. (Me again: That means master builder in Greek. Weir told me.) The couple has a 17-year-old son, Stefan, a promising artist who’ll be a senior this fall at Rio Americano High School. Here’s Weir’s advice to other professionals contemplating similarly dramatic career shifts: Do what you love! We spend too many hours of our lives at our jobs to do otherwise. I’d agree if I could figure out what my job is.
Here’s the Beef&emdash;My friend Tom Kelly and I embarked a few months ago on what we christened the Kelly-Goldman Burger Tour 2007. Every few weeks or so, we meet for lunch at a place renowned for its hamburgers, consume one each, compare notes and then do absolutely nothing with the data. It’s really just an excuse to get together, but you’ll have to admit it has the ring of authentic research. So far, we’ve meat-eaten at The Waterboy and Lucca in Sacramento’s midtown, 33rd Street Bistro in East Sac and the country club at Serrano, the El Dorado Hills community Kelly served as sales director during its crucial startup years. A real estate broker who specializes in subdivision marketing and new construction, Kelly is in appallingly good shape for a carnivore in his 50s. As such, he’s expressed some concern that our tour has yet to attract groupies&emdash;all of whom would need to be named Patty, of course.
Whining and Dining&emdash;While we’re on the subject of burgers, this is a cry for help to restaurant managers everywhere: Pleeease teach your waitpersons that when they deliver hamburgers to customers who then request ketchup or mustard, the unspoken message is right now&emdash;as in, We can’t start eating this thing until you bring us the ketchup or the mustard. There are far too many tepid burgers that enter the Goldman Body Politic because (a) their condiments are applied too late and (b) I hesitate to send a hamburger back to be re-warmed, due to my irrational fear that it will be overnuked and I’ll have to get a job working as a night light in a nail factory.