I attended the Parks and Community Services Commission meeting tonight. I have not attended many City meetings in the last few years. I don't like to go out at night or drive after dark even to the City Hall on Camino Ramon, but I wanted to write my blog on Rene Matsumoto and her recent appointment to the Parks Commission.
You may recall that Rene Matsumoto ran for San Ramon City Council last year. I had a hard time deciding whom to endorse between Councilman Dave Hudson and Rene. Some of you may recall that I was Still on the Fence for several weeks before I finally endorsed Harry Sachs and Dave Hudson. Harry, as I predicted, lead in the voting. Rene lost to Dave Hudson by only 240 votes.
In my blog, Off the Fence, I advised Rene, ". . . to apply for one of the City's advisory committees and work her way up." Rene was considering applying for the slot on the Planning Commission vacated by Harry Sachs, but I recommended the Parks and Community Services Commission instead.
On January 4, 2014 Rene sent me the following email:
Happy New Year!
Thank you for your interest in writing a follow up blog.
At this time, I did not apply for a seat on the Planning Commission. My hope is to apply for a seat on the Parks & Community Services Commission.
In the meantime, I will do my best to stay involved and/or learn more about the city in one aspect or another. Next week I will begin the Citizen's Police Academy. And, my plan is to turn in an application for the Government 101 session.
With regard to running for City Council again, this will depend on my family dynamics.
I was very impressed that Rene kept her word and continued to learn more about how the city is run. She applied for the Parks and Community Services Commission, and last month she was appointed to the Commission. Her name was on tonight's meeting Agenda to be sworn in with two returning Commissioners.
So I went to tonight's meeting to take a photo of Rene being sworn in and ? she wasn't there! She is on vacation and will be sworn in at the next Parks Commission meeting in August. So I took a photo of the two returning Commissioners, Dominique Yancey and Heidi Kenniston-Lee being sworn in:
and another one of the new Student Commissioner, Caroline Lee.
I stayed for the Commissioners to approve recommendations for appointments to the Arts Advisory Committee, Senior Advisory Committee, and Poet Laureate. Two years ago I was on the Arts Advisory Committee and interviewed applicants for Poet Laureate with Commissioners Heidi Kenniston-Lee and Carol Lopez.
We recommended Kathy Moore who was appointed. Moore served 22 months as Poet Laureate and reapplied this year. When Moore's appointment was approved by the City Council in August 2012, I spoke in Public Comment and recommended that past Poet Laureates be designated Poet Laureate Emeritus but not reappointed. This would keep the position more diversified.
However Moore's was the only application submitted by the deadline this year; so the Commissioners voted to recommend her through 2016. This recommendation will go to the City Council to approve.
Kathy Moore has been an excellent Poet Laureate. She should be reappointed to continue as our Poet Laureate. Here's the poem she wrote for the 4th of July celebration.
To be Free by Kathy Moore
City of San Ramon Poet Laureate
This morning I awoke to birdsong
A gentle breeze, cloudless bluesky day
Stretched out before me like an ocean
All mine, to do as I please
I drop into a lounge chair
Pick up my book
War, imprisonment, starvation, cruelty
Greed, suffering, all the light we cannot see
People trapped in lives they did not choose
Fiction told in these pages I hold
The newspaper's filled with the same
Story after true story after true story
All around the world
But not here
Not where I live and work and love and breathe freely
Not where I wave my flag listening to patriotic cries of horn and drum
This day is a gift
This freedom that I have, you have, we have
To be cherished and revered and kept sacred
To give thanks for on the 4th of July, yes
And to remember tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next
To be free is the greatest gift of all