Just a few items this week:
- The City Council meeting this week had a focus on Valley Clean Energy (VCE) and the possibility of the City participating in their Community Choice Aggregation plan which allows local authority in the purchasing of power and energy. Lot’s of discussion and I encourage people to view the meeting on the City’s YouTube Channel. https://www.cityofwinters.org/live-city-council-meetings/ For more information about VCE and their programs, go to https://valleycleanenergy.org/
- Lot’s going over the next few weeks, so the City Council decided to adjourn to October 1, 2019 as the next meeting, so no meeting on September 17.
- Warriors are at home tonight against St. Helena and it will be a tough one!
So, Tuesday, September 10, 2019 will mark my eighteenth (18) year as the City Manager of the City of Winters. It was an exciting week because the terrorist attack on our nation was the following day, September 11, 2001! For those who do not know my background, I grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and that area is a little different than there!
A couple remembrances to share about my first year in town after these 18 years which give me perspective to this day about Winters, California………………..
- The week following 9-11 was a town hall meeting at the Community Center which was organize in part by Debra DeAngelo and the churches in the community to bring everyone together about the attack. The place was packed with standing room only on to the rear patio. The community had come to share and unite in what had happened to our country. We had a number of speakers including me. The most memorable part of the evening for me was all of the volunteers of Winters Fire lining the back of the room. Many of the speakers talked passionately, but the thing I remember most was the standing ovation for the Fire volunteers in recognition of their service to our community. It was an amazing introduction to me of what was important about the little town of Winters, the volunteers and commitment to community.
- The mayor of Winters at the time was Tom Stone. Not only is Tom a really great person, but he was highly influential and politically connected in Yolo County (I think he put up more signs for political candidates than anyone). My wife Kathy and I moved our two kids to a double wide mobile home in the middle of a walnut orchard two miles west of town. One of the kindest things is the entire City Council brought us dinner the evening that we arrived. It was one of the kindest gestures we could have ever imagined as our Welcome to Winters.
- The week after Kathy and the kids arrived was Halloween, one of the most important holidays of the year for kids. Living in the middle of an orchard is not a great location for kids aged 5 and 7, so what the heck to do about trick or treating. I am in my office with long time City Attorney John Wallace talking City business when he looks at me and asks where my kids were going to trick or treat. I explained my dilemma and he proceeds to give me an address on Main Street where Bruce Guelden lived and said to be there with my kids at 6 p.m. and suggested I bring an appetizer and a bottle of wine. It was an amazing night, the kids went out trick or treating with a bunch of other kids from “the country” and it was a chance to for me meet some of the most influential and community minded people in Winters. John saving the day is something I will remember forever. One of the nicest things anyone could have done for a new family in town. If I learned anything from John and Winters is a very home spun perspective that it’s the little things in peoples lives which make all the difference with trick or treating being really important.
- In March of 2002, we had an election which completely changed the City Council. The original Council who hired me included Chris Calvert, John Frazier, Tome Stone, Harold Anderson and Jiley Romney. In March, the City Council now included Robert Chapman, Dan Martinez, Bruce Guelden along with Harold and Jiley. Three new bosses who did not hire you can be intimidating for a “new” city manager and I was freaked out! I insisted that we have a “strategic planning” meeting for us to get on the “same page” in regards to the direction they wanted me to take the City. We met in the “green room” at the Community Center and the Staff in the meeting included me, Nanci Mills, Police Chief Steve Godden, Shelly Gunby and Fire Chief Scotty Dozier. I had pried a white board off the wall of my office and I asked them to list what was important and what they wanted me to focus on. This included a very measured and strategic approach to growth, Downtown revitalization, Putah Creek, public safety, a new library, working with the WJUSD, solid infrastructure and working to keep Winters as an incredible place to raise your children.
If I learned anything during my first year in Winters, it was about perspective and priorities. Volunteers and community values are critical, the importance of little things (being neighborly and caring about others) and mostly, the inherent goals of the community to move it forward yet maintaining a sense of place, identity and being unique.
In Winters, I have met some of the nicest and sincere people I could ever imaging knowing. I give thanks for the blessings of raising my kids in a town which really does care and the giving I have been able to do in return. 18 years is a while, but I still remember that Halloween at Bruce’s House as if it were yesterday. I’m a lucky guy!