Since I am dragging out my move from San Mateo, much like the boy who cried wolf, or Cher's five Farewell Tours, I decided to attend last week's City Council meeting and write a word or two or four hundred about it.
The holiday season rolls around bringing with it the end of one mayor's service and the electing of a new mayor to lead the City Council in San Mateo. It is my own visit with the ghosts of San Mateo Christmas past, present, and future.
I sat in the filled room and was reminded of so many that had served before. Some retired from public life, some that continue to serve our communities in different capacities, and some that are no longer with us. I could hear the echoes of past mayors urging me to be the person my dog thinks I am. Trouble is I have a cat and we all know what cats think of us.
Regardless of my pets, it felt like a changing of the guard. A sort of out with the old and in with the new. Not that our last mayor is old. Rather, he has been part of the fabric of our City government in various forms for some time and has contributed much to the community and will continue to do so. Still, many faces are changing and rightfully so. With the new faces come fresh new ideas.
And so to the ghost of Christmas present, the new mayor for this next 12 months, David Lim. With the passing of "The Magic Stick" or as some refer to it, the gavel, a new generation begins to lead.
The differences were subtle yet there. A whispered "Did you see what he said in the paper today?" was overheard a couple of times, as if asking a question about a current city controversy publicly was a breach in political etiquette. In today's world of social media sites and instant on-line information the expectation for behind the scenes resolutions or questions are far less likely than years prior. It is a transparency that will be even more required in the future for public officials. I, for one, applaud it. Why not? There were never really any secrets in local government. Perhaps this was not the way it would have been handled a few years ago. But it isn't a few years ago anymore.
As the meeting came to order, the future of our local government was there (the ghost of Christmas future). The incoming mayor's two adorable seven year old daughters, with the help of their grandfather, walked the flag into the room and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. They were not scooted out after but remained to listen to the entire meeting. And they were not the only children present. It was heart warming to see the next generation growing up with the idea that local service is just a part of life. Not a sacrifice of time (which it is), not something to be avoided, but something we all should be open to and comfortable with.
The meeting included accolades from all on the Council as well as the City Manager, for the work Councilman Brandt Grotte has done this past year serving as mayor. Following was the selection of mayor and deputy mayor.
For me, this was the perfect way to end my time in San Mateo. A bit sad that so many from my time have moved on but at the same time heartened by the actions and dialogs of the next generation of local leaders.
So another Holiday season goes forward. Maybe if I were a little less like Scrooge these ghosts of Christmas would stop bothering me.