"I think we could use more things to do here to attract people, because obviously we want to be a destination location," said Person, who was recently re-appointed to the Oakley Planning Commission. "If we enhance our waterfront areas, that will help attract more boaters and more people who are spending their dollars here in town. Oakley has a lot to offer."
And so does Person. As one of a growing number of Oakleyites who are stepping up and giving back to their communities, the 35-year-old corporate salesman settled here seven years ago with his Brentwood-raised wife, Shelly. Looking for a way to become involved in the community, the Planning Commission seemed like a good place to start.
"My passion has always been to give back to the communities I live in," he said. "And I felt like the best way to educate myself here in Oakley was to get my feet wet with the Planning Commission."
The Planning Commission is a five-member panel that assists and advises the City Council on planning and growth issues in Oakley. Commissioners are appointed by the council for terms recently extended from two years to four.
Councilman Brad Nix, who also sits on the transportation committee with Person, describes the two-term commissioner as eminently qualified. "Ed works very hard," said Nix. "He comes prepared and he does his homework. It's a tough job, and we (the City Council) depend on the planning commissioners a great deal. I think he's a very nice guy."
Growth is the hot topic in Oakley, and those sitting on the Planning Commission are perfectly positioned to help direct the city's future growth.
Conscious of residents' concerns over big-box encroachment and the potential demise of the mom-and-pop shops on Main Street, Person feels that while change is inevitable, it's not necessarily a negative.
"I remember growing up down south and there were orange groves everywhere, and that has certainly changed over the years," he said. "Can you stop growth? No, but you can prepare for it.
"A lot of people are opposed to the big boxes, but there are two ways of looking at that. I've heard that they attract a lot more foot traffic to areas, and that is good for the smaller mom and pops. We need to support our infrastructure, and then you'll begin to see the progress."
While Person agrees that the Main Street/downtown revitalization project's completion is a good 10 to 15 years away, he sees that period as an opportunity for officials to explore a number of different options.
"Oakley is in a unique position," he said. "Whereas Pittsburg and Antioch are working on redeveloping their downtowns, Oakley, because it is so young, has the opportunity to plan their first downtown.
"It's like I tell my business clients: you can't look at what other companies are doing. You need to do what works for you and your business. It's the same thing with Oakley. We need to do what's best for Oakley and its future."