I have lived in Moraga for nearly 39 years. I don’t let a day go by without taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of our town and the comfort I take in being part of such a wonderful community. I remind myself that — like a garden — a town needs care and attention to thrive and that I should always do my part.
I have been active in the community in many ways. Over the years, I have been a Brownie leader, a soccer mom, and an annual volunteer worker in the pear orchard. As an artist, I created the kitchen tile designs when the Hacienda was renovated, chaired the Lamorinda High school art show, and co-chaired the first Lamorinda Arts Alliance Open Studio. I’ve judged the Joaquin Moraga student art competition for over 20 years. I helped to create art shows that raised funds for Preserve Lamorinda Open Space, and helped to create the Lamorinda Arts Council.
While raising my son and daughter here, I supported educators at local schools — Rheem, Joaquin Moraga, Camino Pablo and Campolindo. I chaperoned school outings and – because I’m a professional painter – I guest-taught art classes. My first step into civic engagement came when, as a parent I rallied other concerned parents to address an unsafe sidewalk near Rheem School where young school children were forced to step out into the street as cars were passing by. That experience began my involvement with local government, leading years later to my first term on the Moraga Town Council (2014 – 2018). I was Mayor in 2017.
Before serving on Town Council, I was a member of the Planning Commission, reviewing commercial and residential land use applications. Starting with that first involvement in government, I committed myself to thoroughly understanding the issues, often going beyond the written reports to talk to Town staff or with the residents involved in a certain issue. Many matters require a visit to a property to reach the best decision. The location of a hill, tree, slope or creek are important, as are street traffic and the proximity of nearby homes. I believe that this attention to detail and commitment to understanding all perspectives is what people should expect from their elected officials.
I believe in showing respect and civility at all times. I think we should always try to include people rather than keep them at arm’s length, even (or, maybe, especially) when they have different views from our own. This inclusion needs to be extended to our young people. We should encourage them to speak their minds and to be involved in solving problems that concern us all. I was especially heartened by the recent show of local support of Black Lives Matter, which was due in large part to a high school student in our community.