The La Cañada Flintridge City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to name Terry Walker the community’s mayor for the next year, and in her first order of business she declared Keith Eich the mayor pro tem.
Walker, a longtime LCF resident who has been on the council since 2015, takes the reins from Mike Davitt and will serve her second term as mayor. She thanked her fellow council members, their staff, and community leaders and members for helping LCF power through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What I’ve learned if anything this year is how grateful and appreciative I am of the good things in our lives,” Walker said. “So what I would like to do to start off as mayor is say thank you. First of all, thank you, Mayor Davitt. I just want to thank you once again for being such a wonderful leader during such a difficult time and such a pleasure to work with.
“Secondly, I’d like to thank the whole council for your confidence in me. I’m fortunate to work with such a professional, talented and caring group of men, and I promise to do the best I can as mayor and look forward to brainstorming with you to make our city a little bit better.”
Former Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Curtis offered the motion for Walker to be the next mayor after telling stakeholders that he had taken himself out of consideration due to a condition that makes it difficult for him to speak loudly.
“I think you could tell by just listening to me that my voice is compromised,” Curtis said. “I’ve got a paralyzed vocal cord and so, consequentially, I need to concentrate on that. We need a mayor that can lead us, that has a strong voice that can communicate in some way other than a microphone, and I’m afraid I just wouldn’t do the type of job everybody would expect.”
Walker hopes for a productive and safe year as the community moves forward and said city officials “have a lot of ambitious goals to further advance our city.” She also urged residents to build on the lessons learned from the challenges brought on by the pandemic and support the city as it continues to recover from such a difficult year.
“Let’s get outside, enjoy our trails, go to our parks, support our local businesses and dance at Music in the Park,” Walker said, referring to the weekly summer concert series. “We are truly blessed to live here and I’m truly honored to serve as your mayor.”
The panel also took to time to recognize Davitt for his leadership during the pandemic and presented him with a platinum pen.
Under Davitt, the city eased parking restrictions to facilitate outdoor dining when indoor service was prohibited by Los Angeles County. He also helped bring about the e-gift card program in which the city offered discounts on the purchase of virtual gift cards to be used at participating local businesses, a means of assisting commerce in LCF.
“[His work] doesn’t show how much he cared and poured his heart and soul into the job of mayor,” Walker said of Davitt. “In what was an unprecedented time for not only our city but the entire world, Mike was constantly looking for ways to keep La Cañada safe and keep businesses afloat. Under his guidance with the staff, our city’s office barely skipped a beat. Mike is the calm in the storm and he proved this to be very valuable during the very challenging year.
“[Davitt] will be an incredibly tough to follow, but I have been down this road before,” she added, referring to her having succeeded him in her first hitch as mayor as well. “Albeit I probably underestimated the challenge the first time and I thought I could fill his big shoes with my high heels, and I have to admit I struggled a little, so this time I’m going to be a little bit better prepared.” Walker then raised an Alaskan extra tough boot more suited to filling Davitt’s big shoes.
An emotional Davitt thanked the City Council and its staff for their work and dedication in the past year, and offered gratitude to the community for its support.
“We’re just a part of the puzzle. It’s the school district, the service organizations, it’s our police force, the fire department, and it’s everybody,” he said. “You guys are outstanding, and that’s I think one of the reasons why our council looks so good: It’s because we have a great community.”