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The Ubiquitous They – Mayor Elizabeth Patterson

Elizabeth Patterson will finish her first term as Mayor this year.

How long have you lived in Benicia? Since 1983.  It was half way between San Francisco and Sacramento and I had a newly minted Masters in Urban and Regional planning and I wasn’t too sure where I would wind up working.  I thought if I was half way between, and in the Bay Area, that I would have a better chance of getting a job. The second reason was that I was concerned about the schools where we were living. My children were just starting school and I wanted to make sure that they had a really first rate education.  I had a good friend who lived here, got some good feedback from him, and never looked back. I’m glad I made that decision.

What compelled you to run for Mayor and take on this post?  I’ve always been interested in politics, and I’ve been particularly interested in managing land use and building a community through economic development, creating jobs, and also dealing with the environment.  I was frustrated that a lot of the insight I had, having worked for government, and being a planner that I wasn’t able to see the progress that I thought was necessary.  I thought with my skills, as Mayor, things would happen. So, that’s exactly what I did. I set myself tasks and a list of things to get done, and so far, so good.

What have you checked off your list so far?  One of the things was to provide for open government; transparency; my open meeting-open door policy; making it easier for people to reach city hall and to be able to communicate.   Another item was to have more diverse commissioners, board members, and committee members.  By doing that we have opened up the flood-gates. We get lots of applications now, because people feel they have a chance, that if they apply they might actually get appointed (to a commission). We have a lot of talent in the community and we have been able to tap into that. I would say we have some of the best commissions and the hardest working commissions that anybody could find in the county, if not the state. The two other things at the top of the list were to get a Sustainability Commission and to have an Arts Commission.

What’s been your biggest surprise since you’ve been in office? The ceremonial aspects of the office.  I’m really good as a policy wonk. I’m really good at getting things done, making things happen. I knew there was some ceremony aspect to the job, because I read up on that, and I watched other mayors. But I didn’t realize the time commitment involved. I’ve grown into it. It’s not something I was really comfortable with and I learned to really value and treasure it.

What’s the thing that you want to be remembered for as Mayor of Benicia?  That we worked together as a community and we moved forward together as a community. I think I stand for that more than anything else. I work really, really hard to get consensus, and sometimes that takes us longer. But in the end we have a durable decision and we are moving together.

You can read more about what Mayor Elizabeth Patterson is up to on her blog.

Robert Livesay March 28, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Gretchen I like your comments. I do not take any of this very seriously. But I do love to comment. I did think it was over until a week later T started all over. As far as I am oncerned it was over a long time ago. But I must ask you , where do you think the editor JB Davis fits into all this. He seems to have taken sides. Thanks for your comment Bob Livesay
jimpugh March 28, 2011 at 04:34 PM
JB Davis has been taking a side on all this commentary from the beginning. I am frankly puzzled about his super apparent tendecy to put in his opinion as if he were like any other commentator. I have to say that I am not privy to the rules and regulations put upon Editors by AOL, but I will say this: This comment of his is un like anything I have ever seen from an Editor. I think that Mr. Davis should clarify AOL's position on Editor commentary. His tendecy to take sides in these reasonable auguments is troublesome and absolutely does nothing to clarify or indentify the argument. jimpugh
Ari Soglin March 28, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Gretchen, to stop getting alerts on comment updates to this story – and I can understand why you'd want to ;) – go to your profile page. Click on "Following" in the left-hand navigation. You'll get a page of all the articles you're following. Click "Stop following" on any articles for which you'd like to stop getting email updates.
Steve Bahr March 29, 2011 at 01:01 AM
Mr. Pugh, Did you not suggest you had enough of this two weeks ago? I guess that was another warning? As to what role differentiation an editor on an online forum has versus print media, prints guys would trash the non-civil stuff, which here gets aired un-edited, and then may get pulled. You do not get to threaten or warn in print media. Here the rules are loser and the editor then tries to tone it down. This latitude does require a degree of decorum is a challenge to some.
Carlene Coury March 29, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Jeez, I wish I had this much time on my hands to keep on beating this dead horse. Also, Ari, thanks for the instructions on how to get ot of these ridiclous excuse for an intelligent "Op Ed." BTW, Ari, I'm the gal who guessed the Pizza Pirate photo, and I also contribute to Patch. Now that I see that you are with Patch, I need to email you... I just have a few questions. So, once I get out of this ball of confusion, I'll send you an email. All the best and I hope someone has dropped a few bread crumbs so I can find my way out of here and on to more stimulating banter.

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