As we are slowly packing up our things here in the Second District, one impression really sinks in. You can’t be a good Supervisor without a support staff of the best and brightest. Over these eight years, my policy advisors have truly been a gift.
We had a chance to visit one of my favorite places recently, The Grand Californian, and took a staff photo in the lobby. This is the team that made it to the finish-line. From left to right, Kathy Moran (who has been with me from the beginning), Doug Woodyard (who left the County in 1993 after 10 years of service and came back to assist me for a limited time as staff have been obtaining new jobs), Isabel Carpenter (an intern who has returned as a part-time staff member), myself, Pamela Newcomb (formerly from Probation and OC Waste & Recycling and has been with me for three years), Lindsay Brennan (who came on board a few months into my first term), Cammy Danciu (who has been running the office for the past four years, coming from Risk Management), Bob Wilson (an outstanding retired County executive who wore numerous hats has been serving as my Chief of Staff during this close-out period), and Jim Townsend (who has also been assisting part-time as staff moved on to new positions). They have served with distinction and it has been an honor to serve with this team.
Thank you to all of my Second District Supervisorial staff, both past and present. I wish you all the best as you continue in your careers in either the public or private sector. You have been a big blessing to me and to the residents of Orange County and I am deeply grateful.
And thank you, may your Christmas be a wonderful time enjoyed with friends and family.
Speaking of winding down, I have had the privilege of saying goodbye to many of my city council colleagues in formal settings over the past two months. Regretfully, I could not make them all. The Orange County Breeze provides its perspectives on Los Alamitos Mayor Gerri Graham-Mejia’s farewell ceremony below. Mayor Graham-Mejia and I served together on the Orange County Vector Control Board and it was an honor to enjoy a number of spirited debates with her over the past year or so. I wish her all the best. (For Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson’s take on my Farewell Reception, see http://bos.ocgov.com/legacy4/newsletters/SN_Vol5Issue30.htm.)
High energy send-off for outgoing Los Alamitos Mayor Gerri Graham-Mejia
By Shelley Henderson
Los Alamitos Mayor Pro Tem Richard Murphy started the recognitions for outgoing Los Alamitos Mayor Gerri Graham-Mejia on Dec. 16, at the final Council meeting of 2014.
With good humor, Mayor Pro Tem Murphy noted in presenting Mayor Graham-Mejia with an honorary gavel that it had only taken eight years — alluding to the length of time she served before being elected mayor by fellow Council Members. (She was elected after serving seven years. She chose not to run for re-election in this year’s general election.)
Acting as emcee of the recognition portion of the meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Murphy introduced Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA47), noting that many feared that tiny Los Alamitos had been swallowed by its much larger neighbor Long Beach in the 2010 redistricting. Instead, those paying attention were surprised with how often Congressman Lowenthal attended events important to residents of the eastern end of his Congressional District, including support of Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
In his turn at the microphone, Congressman Lowenthal congratulated Mayor Graham-Mejia on her eight years of service and reminded her of the time the two of them met President Barack Obama at the JFTB.
Lt. Col. Nathan Range, Deputy Base Commander at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, expressed the appreciation of Base staff and tenants for support from Mayor Graham-Mejia. He presented her not only with a paper commendation, but also with the sunburst insignia of the 40th Infantry Division etched in glass.
Originally organized in 1917 at Camp Kearny near San Diego, the Division has seen service in both World Wars and in Korea. The 40th ID boasts the newest building on the JFTB — its brand spanking-new headquarters building at the south end of Lexington Dr.
Other local notables who praised Mayor Graham Mejia’s service included newly-elected Cypress Mayor Rob Johnson, Seal Beach Councilman Gary Miller, Westminster City Councilwoman Diana Carey, and Rossmoor Community Services Director Michael Maynard.
Los Alamitos Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Andrew Pulver ably represented Superintendent Sherry Kropp, and conveyed her regrets for being unable to attend. He expressed the District’s gratitude for the strong support and cooperation received from the City of Los Alamitos, including but not limited to the new school resource officer at Los Alamitos High School.
Not quite last, but certainly not least, the Mayor’s husband, Javier Mejia, was invited up to be recognized for not only his support of his wife but also his own service to the City — he was appointed a year ago to the Traffic Commission.
Slipping in late and out of protocol order, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-CA72) arrived in time to express thanks for Mayor Grahma-Mejia’s early support of his original campaign to be elected to the California Assembly. He presented the Mayor with an ornate plaque, and a California Bear Flag.
Mayor Graham-Mejia commended Assemblyman Allen’s efforts in Sacramento, and expressed admiration for the work of his field representative, Stephanie Freedman.
Mayor Graham-Mejia also received recognition from outgoing Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach and incoming Supervisor Michelle Steel, although neither were able to attend.
Later in the same meeting, newly appointed Council Members Troy Edgar, Warren Kusumoto, and Shelley Hasselbrink were sworn in by City Clerk Windy Quintanar, then signed a printed copy of their oath of office.
Mr. Murphy was elected Mayor for the coming year. Mr. Edgar was elected Mayor Pro Tem.
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