Jonathan Curtis said he couldn’t have imagined when he joined the Planning Commission eight years ago that he’d become mayor of La Cañada Flintridge. But before a full house on Tuesday evening at City Hall, the 20-year resident of the city accepted the role as veteran councilman Dave Spence finished his record sixth term as mayor.
The outgoing mayor earned a new nickname in the process, courtesy of City Manager Mark Alexander, who deemed him “Super Mayor.” Spence will remain on the council for at least the duration of his term, through next March. Michael Davitt, also a former mayor, was elected to serve as mayor pro tem by his council colleagues.
Curtis, 56, addressed the crowd and constituents outside the room, saying that during his forthcoming tenure he hoped to nurture, encourage, facilitate and empower members of the community to continue to grow together.
“We are a young city of 40 years … that’s accomplished a lot,” said Curtis, an attorney. “There are a lot of folks out there who would love to live here and be a part of our community. We are a small city, but I think we’re making a difference in the larger community by our actions as well as our interactions with others.”
Curtis said that in the next year he hoped to see upgrades at City Hall that would make customer service more efficient for residents. “If we can move things along quicker, people may remodel quicker and property taxes will go up,” he said.
He also promised to be an advocate for healthy living in the city, especially for seniors, by seeing through projects such as an off-leash area where residents can safely walk their dogs.“I challenge council members as we move forward that we consider policy and action times to build a healthier community,” he said.
And he expressed a desire to continue to advance cultural opportunities by backing programs such as the Sister City exchange, which will send local high school students to another country for a period of time.
“Take Music in the Park,” Curtis said. “[People] don’t go just for the music, they go for the social interaction and to meet different people; hopefully things like the Sister City Program … will take us to the next level.”
Spence congratulated Curtis on reaching the next level of local politics and reminded the audience that he’d campaigned on his colleague’s behalf when Curtis ran for a council seat the first time more than three years ago.
Curtis — who received more votes than Spence in the 2013 election — said he appreciated the continued support, and all of his efforts since he initially joined the council in 1992.
Alexander echoed those sentiments, saying also that the city appreciated Spence’s sense of humor. In an LCF tradition, the city manager bestowed on Spence a number of parting gifts, including, this time, a red cape.
“When a person has served as mayor and leaves that office, he or she is often referred to as ‘former council member and mayor,’” explained Alexander, who added that a two-time mayor earns the moniker, “former mayor” and that a three-time mayor will be referred to simply “as mayor.”
But a six-time mayor?
“A feat and accomplishment never in history ever achieved before in the metropolis of La Cañada Flintridge,” Alexander said. “You, sir, shall forevermore be referred to as … ‘Super Mayor!’”
Alexander also provided Spence — a recent addition to the Los Angeles County Vector Control Board — with a mosquito net mask, “to help you conceal your true identity,” and a fly swatter because “we know how good you are at protecting our homes from mosquito invaders and swatting out crime.”
The gift-giving also included an Oscar statue (a replica, presumably), presented by Spence’s council members as a “lifetime achievement award.”
DESIGN COMMISSION OPENINGS
Before the reorganization and celebration Tuesday, council members voted unanimously to extend the deadline for the Design Commission, which is seeking to fill two positions. Only two applicants emerged, one of whom indicated he would be more interested in serving on a different commission during an interview process prior to the meeting.
The council also agreed to allow incumbents who otherwise would have been termed out to run for one additional term in this instance.
For more information, visit lcf.ca.gov.