Editorial: Merrilee Boyack’s Poway legacy
Boy Scouts are often advised to leave the place where they have camped in better condition than when they arrived.
That lesson aptly applies to former City Councilwoman Merrilee Boyack, who this weekend joins her husband in moving to Utah, where they will be closer to their children and grandchildren. Poway is a better place than what it was when she and Steve came here to live 24 years ago.
To say that Merrilee Boyack has been a significant civic and political force in “The City in the Country” is an understatement. She served two four-year terms on the City Council, having been elected on her second try in 2004. She wasn’t “the establishment’s” choice — three council members had endorsed another candidate. But Boyack enjoyed widespread support among the voters, collecting the most votes cast in the election. Her campaign was based on what she felt was a need to “protect, promote and preserve” her adopted city.
Prior to her election, Boyack was at the forefront of assisting local victims of the 2003 Cedar fire. From that experience came a commitment to do what she could to ensure Poway would be prepared for future emergencies. Those efforts eventually led to the creation of the highly successful Poway Neighborhood Emergency Corps.
While on the council, Boyack helped open channels of communication between City Hall and city residents. She successfully pushed for Town Hall meetings, the televising of council meetings, an improved city website and email distribution lists. A fiscal conservative, she opposed the construction of a fine arts center on Midland Road and advocated for a smaller Old Poway Park train depot.
Boyack has often said that the best part of being an elected official was being able to help people on a one-on-one basis; to be able to pick up the telephone and resolve an issue. Her desire to help others extended to other parts of her life as well. Just ask the many struggling families who over the years have benefited from her quiet, unpublicized program known around town as “The Magic Porch.”
Boyack and her husband donate their time to the Boy Scouts of America, something they plan to do in Utah. Clearly, they understand the importance of leaving a place in better shape than it was found. Best wishes to them as they begin this next chapter in their lives.
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