By Nicole Shine/Garden Grove Journal
To get to know new Westminster councilwoman Diana Carey, you need to understand her past.
Born in Hollywood and raised in Glendale, she grew up in a home where public service was a given.
“Faith without works is dead” was one of her movie executive mother’s favorite sayings. Taken from the New Testament, it’s the passage in which James chides his followers: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?”
“My mother would ask me ‘Who have you helped today?’” Carey recalls.
Carey’ service started with teaching when she landed a job in 1973 with the Huntington Beach Union High School District. The same year, she and her then-husband bought a home in Westminster, where she still lives. They had a daughter, Tricia, who now has a four-year-old, Paige.
For 32 years, Carey taught biology and coached dance, flag and drill teams. Later, as the principal of Costa Mesa High, she learned to balance the needs of kids, parents and the community.
“It was the best job. I just loved it,” Carey says.
Carey’s retirement in 2005 gave her the time for more public service: on the board of the Rose Center Theater, as vice president of the Westminster Kiwanis and as chair of the city’s Third Battalion Marine Adoption Committee.
Add to that seven years as a traffic commissioner, where “she did a great job fighting plans to widen the 405,” Councilwoman Margie Rice said.
And she ran a local Jazzercise business until last December.
Exercise—another of her mother’s instructions.
“My mom was such an inspiration,” Carey says. “She exercised every morning of her life.”
It was a daily dose of Jazzercise that helped Carey, an only child, cope when her mother contracted dementia and her father, Alzheimer’s.
“If it wasn’t for Jazzercise I just didn’t know what I was going to do,” Carey says. Every day, for just a short time, she could “lose herself in the music.”
Her plate was full, she figured. So she had to give it some thought when Rice asked her to run last year. But the idea of serving the entire community was compelling.
“Having been a principal, I know the right questions to ask,” Carey explains.
And question she has. In last week’s council meeting, she wanted to know why revenues from fees and fines are down, and whether the city’s fees are in line with surrounding cities.
She also thinks it’s time to update the general plan. And she wants residents to know she’s always available. She’s here to serve.
“It’s really important to me to make a difference in the community.”
Contact the writer on Twitter at @nicolekshine.