Monday night’s San Rafael City Council meeting was a historic evening as Kate Colin, “Mayor Kate,” was sworn in as the City’s first female Mayor (since the City was chartered in 1874!). Mayor Kate was the 4th woman elected to the San Rafael City Council, Councilmember Maribeth Bushey was the 5th, and then Monday night Councilmembers Maika Llorens Gulati and Rachel Kertz joined them. Councilmembers Llorens Gulati (District 1/South) and Kertz (District 4/North) are the first to represent their districts in our new District Election system and Llorens Gulati is the City’s first Hispanic Councilmember. We also swore in our City Clerk, Lindsay Lara, City Attorney Robert Epstein, and three San Rafael Board of Education Trustees Members, Gina Daly, Linda Jackson, and Marina Palma.
While these make up a lot of “firsts,” it is also an extremely experienced group of elected officials that have a deep knowledge of San Rafael local government and vast community relationships. The City of San Rafael is fortunate to have this group of dedicated community leaders as we navigate through difficult times.
Monday night was also a farewell to Mayor Gary Phillips, and Councilmembers Andrew McCullough and John Gamblin. Mayor Phillips has spent over 30 years volunteering for San Rafael boards including the Miller Creek School Board of Trustees (then called Dixie), Planning Commission, SMART Board of Trustees, and City Council. Mayor Phillips was elected to the Council in 1994 and elected mayor in 2011. In his tenure as Mayor, Gary Phillips advocated for the passage of Measure E to support our aging essential facilities, supported SMART’s construction, tackled our City’s homelessness challenges, and more recently supported Measure R to help fund City services into the future. We are a stronger and safer City due to the Mayor’s leadership.
After serving as both the Chair of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and Vice Chair of the Marin Economic Commission, Andrew McCullough was elected to the City Council in 2011. On the Council, Andrew has been a strong advocate for the specific needs of East San Rafael, such as traffic safety and congestion, mitigation of sea-level rise, and job creation. As a Councilmember he served on the boards of the Marin County Bar Association, Marin Telecommunications Agency, Bar Association of San Francisco, Marin Clean Energy, and more.
John Gamblin was appointed to the City Council in 2014 after serving on the Parks & Recreation Commission for two years. John has been a strong advocate for Downtown revitalization and worked to make Fourth Street a successful destination. He helped to support local small businesses, strengthen the anti-smoking laws in Downtown, reduce homelessness, and plan for future Downtown development. John served on numerous committees, including the City’s Finance Committee, the City/School Liaison Committee, the Homelessness Subcommittee, and the Business Improvement District Advisory Group among many others.
In each of their speeches they gave a heartfelt thanks to the community, each other, and City staff for all of their hard work on behalf of the community. In addition to the City’s formal recognition, the three were also presented proclamations in person (virtually) by Congressmember Jared Huffman and Supervisor Damon Connolly. We wish them well, greatly appreciate their long-standing service to San Rafael, and hope they will stay involved to lend their experience going forward.
With this transition now complete, we look fully ahead to finishing out 2020 and welcoming 2021. The City has a great team in place to successfully take on whatever the future brings us.
Also, Monday night, the Council decided on an appointment process to fill the vacant City Council seat vacated when Mayor Kate was elected. Interviews for that seat will take place in public at the end of January.