(Mayor Steve Martin was sworn in on December 2, 2014. This is his first address to the community on that evening.)
Before we get to the business of the evening, I would like to share my thoughts upon beginning this new phase of my life and the life of the City of Paso Robles.
My thoughts this evening turn in several directions. First, to our people. Second, to our processes. And third, to our future.
The first person I think of is my wife, Jennifer. Of all those who have supported me over the years, she has been the most steadfast. She and I both knew, because of my previous years on the Council, what the decision to run for Mayor would mean to our lives. When I asked her what she thought of the idea the first words out of her mouth, without hesitation, were “You would be a good mayor.” Thank you, Jennifer. I couldn’t ask for any greater endorsement.
Next I think of the Councils, outgoing and incoming. To those who are departing, you will be missed. Because of your dedication the City of Paso Robles has weathered crises and emerged stronger for the struggle. I join our entire community in offering thanks for your service. To those who are arriving, I offer welcome, encouragement and a challenge. Serving the people of the City of Paso Robles will call for your best – your “A” game. It will require all of your talents, skills and patience. Be prepared for that.
And, to the voters of Paso Robles I would like to say “thank you.” To run for Mayor was an honor. To run unopposed was an unexpected blessing. You have placed me here to listen, lead and communicate. I promise to bring my own “A” game to each meeting and occasion. I will work with the Council and, although we are sure to have our differences, at the end of the day we will act as a team in the best interest of our neighbors.
I have met with City management to lay the groundwork for the next four years. There is much work to be done, but here is where we start.
Setting the agenda – As Mayor, I will be an active participant in scheduling business for Council consideration. Our citizens correctly expect their elected leaders to be “driving the bus.” This action will place our hands firmly on the steering wheel.
Council appointments – Few people seem to realize that Council duties don’t end when the gavel comes down at the end of Tuesday evening meetings. Council members serve on about 40 different committees and agencies. Within a week I will have appointments to those committees outlined. Furthermore, Council members will be asked to give reports of their activities on those other committees as part of each meeting’s agenda. This will also provide individual Council members the opportunity to suggest issues and actions which may be placed on future agendas.
Goal-setting – Next year the Council will hold its biennial goal-setting meeting. I have requested that we use a third-party facilitator, rather than City staff, to guide that process. I have also suggested that, to streamline and clarify the process, we review and set goals in the context of the three issues stressed by all the candidates in the recent election: Water, Economic Development, and the Restoration of City Services.
Finally, my thoughts tonight turn to the future. Thinking about the future has always stood the City of Paso Robles in good stead. Because of it we have a thriving, historic downtown. We have an airport. We have a train station. We have diverse retailing. We have water resources. We have tourism. And through it all, we have remained Paso Robles, a robust, rough-and-tumble, “can do community” where the fastest way to get something done is to tell us it’s impossible.
We have much to do. We will work with other agencies to protect and manage the precious water resources critical to our well-being. We will work to expand our economy, enhancing existing businesses and attracting new firms to provide a greater diversity of employment. We will systematically and prudently begin to restore some of the city services lost during the recent recession.
Does all of that sound impossible? Good. Because, here in Paso Robles, that only means it will happen sooner rather than later.
To be sure, Paso Robles is a community with its share of problems. Together, we will create more than our share of solutions.
It’s true, Paso Robles has its factions. But together we will find there is more that draws us in than pushes us apart.
And we celebrate that Paso Robles has 125 years of history. But together, we have a glorious future.
Please notice that, in all of this, “together” is the link.
And so, as I embark with you on the next four years of the municipal adventure, I remember the words of another Mayor of Paso Robles. Mayor Barney Schwartz served 20 years in this seat. Back in the 1970s he would communicate with our then-tiny community by recording a Mayor’s report which aired on KPRL each week. He would talk about the dreams and plans of the people of Paso Robles, always being inclusive and yet effective. And each week, regardless of whether the politics of the day were peaceful or explosive, he would sign off with the same words:
“Be good to yourself, be good to your community, and always remember to say something nice about somebody.”
As I look to the future, as the Council looks to the future, as the people of Paso Robles look to the future, I believe we can only benefit by keeping those words in mind.
And now, let’s get together and let’s get to work.