Santa Paula: Jenny Crosswhite and Ginger Gherardi at the Helm for FY 2016/2017

By Sheryl Hamlin

Traditionally the first meeting in December after an election is a celebratory meeting where the new council is sworn in and the old council is fêted. The December 5, 2016 council meeting continued that tradition.

For many, the question of the evening was Clint Garman. Would his sartorial expression for his first council meeting reflect his all black hipster image or would he arrive as a stealth businessman.

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Clint Garman

Looking Back

Council Member Tovias in his final official statement described the eight years he served on the council. These years spanned the 2008 Financial Crash through the 2016 recovery. He said as a council member, one must always “look down the road and solve problems to make the town better.” He listed projects or issues during his tenure: 2008 budget deficit, acrimonious privatization of the trash, layoffs to balance the budget, Spears Manufacturing jobs, Santa Paula Utility Authority, Unification of school districts, sewer plant, East Area 1 and LAFCO. Tovias said that the city should look at County Fire because there may be a benefit, which is an about-face from his previous advocacy of a volunteer or temporary firefighters.

Outgoing City Clerk Judy Rice, who also served eight years, recalled that she was encouraged to run by previous City Manager Wally Bobkieweicz. She reminded the audience that citizen participation is essential and plans to return as a citizen speaking in Public Comments.

Oath Administered to newly elected Officials

Newly elected council members Garman and Hernandez as well as City Clerk Lucy Blanco and City Treasurer Sandra Easley were sworn in by outgoing City Clerk Judy Rice. Council Member Garman made an efficient, quiet statement, a brevity that bodes well for future meetings.

Election of Officers

Council Member Crosswhite was unanimously elected to the position of Mayor of Santa Paula with Council Member Gherardi unanimously elected to the position of Vice Mayor of Santa Paula.

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Mayor Crosswhite

New Mayor Crosswhite spoke allegorically about the city, referencing a book she was reading. It’s not the table setting that makes the meal, but the ambiance, which is also true of cities. She said they are working on getting funding for roads and potholes but we must keep “falling in love with our place”.

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Vice Mayor Gherardi

New Vice Mayor Gherardi, who chaired the successful Measure T Sales Tax committee, said the city will look forward to a great year with a new source of revenue and thanked everyone for their support.

Mayor Crosswhite adjourned the meeting at 7:15 pm.

For more information about the author, visit sheryhamlin.com


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