Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Faces in the Crowd 

By Vice-Mayor Stephanie Gomes
December 20, 2013

Monday, December 16, was my last “full” meeting of my two terms on the Vallejo City Council. And it was a tough one. A fitting end, I think, because so many meetings over my eight years have been just like this -- extremely difficult decisions, lots of controversy and people crowding the chambers with passions running high. 


There’s one common thread that has been woven throughout all of these meetings for me: the faces in the audience. Friends and strangers alike, there were always familiar faces I could look to for a friendly smile, an emphatic shake of the head, or just a solid supportive presence. Some of these people have spoken eloquently and passionately at the podium, and some sat quietly and radiated their passion. You know who you are, and you’ve meant the world to me in some of my most difficult moments as a Councilmember.


And while they weren’t sitting in those uncomfortable, ugly green chairs in the chambers, I know many people who watched every Council meeting on television. There were people who watched quietly, and then there were the people who loved to provide a running commentary of the meeting on my voicemail, which was always hilarious to listen to after the meetings! Please know that although I couldn’t see you, I knew you were watching and I felt your support.

And last but not least, to those of you who took a moment to write a quick email or note of appreciation — you’ll never know how much that meant. Those emails or notes always seemed to come when I needed them most, when I felt the lowest. You helped pick me up and keep me going when sometimes I didn’t feel like I could.
Lots of people say they could never do my job, they just don’t have it in them. Well, it takes all kinds of participation to make a democracy work. Yes, it takes the people who can sit on the dais and make the difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions. But I could never have done my job without the people who took it upon themselves to stand in solidarity with me and show their support. Courage comes in many colors.


You all know who you are. Thank you for your support not just of me, but most importantly, for our work for a better Vallejo. Nobody could do it alone — it takes all kinds and levels of participation to make the changes we’ve been making. Lasting change is the hardest of all to make; and for all of us, that’s the only change we’ll accept in Vallejo now.

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