Next week will see several local leaders leaving office. Each is deserving of our recognition and thanks.
Regionally, Nathan Fletcher steps down after four years representing the 75th District in Sacramento. His district includes Poway Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch.
Fletcher will be remembered for authoring Chelsea’s Law, which toughened sentencing and restrictions on violent sexual predators. The law was named for Chelsea King, the Poway High School student who was murdered in 2010 while jogging near Rancho Bernardo. Her assailant had previously served time for a sex-related crime.
Fletcher also wrote legislation helping veterans and the jobless and improving health care regulations. He created a bit of a stir when, during his unsuccessful primary race to be San Diego’s next mayor, he left the Republican party to become an independent.
Fletcher will join Qualcomm in a management role. Replacing him in the Assembly is former San Diego City Councilman Brian Maienschein, a Carmel Mountain Ranch resident.
County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price is retiring after 20 years representing District 3, which includes Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Mountain Ranch and Sabre Springs.
Slater-Price, a Del Mar resident, has been a strong supporter of transportation, wetlands acquisition and restoration, law enforcement and fire protection. She has advocated on behalf of local businesses and arts groups and for the creation of local jobs. Dave Roberts of Solana Beach will replace her on the board, becoming the first new county supervisor in two decades.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Councilman Carl DeMaio are both leaving the public spotlight.
Sanders, the city’s former police chief, took over as mayor in December 2005 following the resignation of Dick Murphy. The city’s first “strong mayor,” he inherited a fiscal mess and public relations nightmare, with San Diego being called “Enron by the Sea” for its pension fund problems generating talk of municipal bankruptcy. He cut jobs and salaries, negotiated with employee unions and closed the gaping budget deficit. He was eventually able to restore many city services, including adding hours to libraries and recreation centers.
Through it all, Sanders maintained a “steady-as-she-goes” demeanor and used his considerable skills to create consensus out of conflict.
DeMaio, a Rancho Bernardo resident, leaves after one term on the council and an unsuccessful mayoral run. We have rarely seen a local politician make such an impression in a relatively short time. San Diego is a much stronger city thanks to DeMaio’s determination and vision to get San Diego out of its fiscal quagmire. He will be replaced by Rancho Bernardo resident Mark Kersey.
In Poway, two-term Councilwoman Merrilee Boyack is stepping down after eight years and will be replaced by Steve Vaus. Boyack leaves having accomplished each of her top three goals — to have the city better prepared for a natural disaster, to more fully involve residents in municipal government and to create a method to train new citizen leaders through the Poway Community Leadership Institute. Her intelligence, compassion and wit will be missed.