New Mayor’s Agenda Rooted in Traffic Safety, Preservation

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey discloses her agenda for the City Council for 2020, thanking the women who helped her gain public office.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey discloses her agenda for the City Council for 2020, thanking the women who helped her gain public office.

Gretchen Shepherd Romey last week gave the customary round of thanks to her family, friends and colleagues on the City Council for supporting her in her 2017 election to the panel and, now, her selection as its mayor by a unanimous vote at the last meeting of this year.
She extended a special gesture of gratitude to another group of supporters in San Marino, too.
“It’s particularly remarkable that I am here because of an all-female campaign committee, for which I am so very grateful,” the new mayor said last week, kicking off her agenda-setting speech. “Your support strengthens my convictions and spurs me to work harder for our community to make it a wonderful place.”
Shepherd Romey, an attorney before motherhood refocused her energy not only to her children but to local civic and nonprofit organizations as well, outlined a vision of enhancing what she regards as San Marino’s defining qualities for her first go-around as the city’s mayor. Principal among those goals were improving the Police Department’s ability to reduce traffic collisions through reining in careless drivers, defending the city from onerous housing regulations imposed by Sacramento and promoting best practices to grow the city’s regal trees and foliage.
“In the next year, I promise to continue to commit to you my very best efforts and that the city will forward our shared goals for the preservation of our beautiful city and its historical neighborhoods and create a safer community for all residents,” she said.
To kick off the green goal, Shepherd Romey — a San Marino Garden Club stalwart who leaned into her reputation as “the tree candidate” while running in 2017 — announced the appointment of Parks and Public Works Department employee Samuel Estrada as the public arborist, tasking him with developing educational and outreach programming to teach city residents about tree maintenance and the city’s tree ordinances. The new mayor also pledged to plant more and larger new trees in Lacy Park and throughout the city.
“I am committed to the preservation and protection of our urban forest, which I believe is one of the city’s most valuable assets,” she said.
Shepherd Romey evoked a Ruth Bader Ginsberg quote during her speech and noted she was seeking the mentorship of longtime resident Rary Simmons, who as a city councilwoman years ago became San Marino’s first female mayor.
“I am privileged in many ways, not the least of which is that I entered public service at this important time, when society is finally ready to listen to women,” Shepherd Romey said. “That gives me an added responsibility to reach out and encourage other women in our community to serve in this capacity or others in public service.”
Shepherd Romey also highlighted a goal of reducing traffic collisions with injuries, having no traffic fatalities in the city and diving into the Lacy Park master plan.
Councilman Ken Ude, also elected in 2017, was selected as vice mayor, positioning him to succeed Shepherd Romey for 2021. Outgoing Mayor Steven Huang, who was sworn in to his second term on the council last week, thanked city staff in self-deprecating style for “what they have done this past year to make me look good.” Chief accomplishments for the city in the past year included a revamped website, the implementation of a work order and accountability system, the undertaking of a citywide historic resource survey, extensive sidewalk replacement and street repaving, and the hiring of a new finance director.
“It’s been a wonderful year, and I have met many friends from attending all of the events,” Huang said last week as he ceded his seat. “One day when I retire, I can look back and say that I was mayor of San Marino, the best city in the world.”

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