Political Climate with Mark Simon: Redwood City mayor calls for respect on new diverse council

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Redwood City mayor calls for respect on new council

in Featured/Headline/PoliticalClimate

All over the Peninsula, new council members are taking office, incumbent council members are taking their leave and there are efforts to move past the natural disagreeability that unfolded during the course of a campaign season. But in some instances, those disagreements are still fresh and it is not yet certain if some will be able, or are ready, to move on.

In Redwood City, newly elected Councilwomen Diana Reddy and Giselle Hale took their oaths of office last night amidst the customary ceremonial flourishes,and each of them pledged to represent the whole city, not just those voters who supported them.

For each, their election was more than a little improbable.

Hale, by her own description, was turned down for a Planning Commission appointment little more than four years ago. Yet, here she was, being sworn in as the top winner in the November election with an historic number of votes.

Reddy referenced her own history outside of elective office, seeking a voice for those who feel they are overlooked by the power structure. “I will serve Redwood City as the community organizer that I am,” she said, “by listening and by bringing people to the table.”

Hale reflected the sentiment of her now-colleagues, when she said, “Tonight is about putting the campaign behind us and uniting as one council in service to this great community.”

She said during the campaign it was clear what people wanted: housing affordability, less time in traffic, they want to “get around safely” and, “particularly for working families,” they want day care more widely available.

Addressing her opponents in the campaign, Hale said, “I know that each of us loves this city and we are committed to a prosperous and vibrant future. … My door is always open to partner with you on shared goals.”

Reddy said her campaign was “an all-volunteer, grassroots campaign that resonated with the residents of this community. … We made a covenant to this community to listen. I’m making this covenant to all residents that I will listen.”

Mayor Ian Bain, in his own remarks preceding the two newcomers, also appeared concerned that the disagreements of November might be hard to leave behind.

“We are a diverse group with a diverse set of opinions, but this is a group that is committed to modeling civil civic engagement,” Bain said. “We are going to agree to disagree. We are going to disagree respectfully and we’re going to model that behavior for the community.”

FRACTIOUS FOSTER CITY: Whatever happens at the round of installation meetings taking place this month, they’re all likely to look like a lovefest compared to Foster City.

With two new council members, Richa Awasthi and Sanjay Gehani, sworn in last night, the council promptly split 3-2 in re-electing Sam Hindi as mayor, with Awasthi joining Hindi and Herb Perez in denying the post to Catherine Mahanpour. Then, they did the same thing in electing Perez as vice mayor and rejecting Mahanpour by a 3-2 vote.

A PAIR OF PAPANS: The moment has passed, but for a week or so,San Mateo County had two mayors named Papan. Diane Papan was elected mayor of San Mateo last week, and today, her sister, Gina Papan, finishes her term as mayor of Millbrae.

Their late dad, legendary Assemblyman Lou Papan, would have been thrilled.

Contact Mark Simon at mark.simon24@yahoo.com.

Photo by City of Redwood City

*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Online.