(Photo above left) Mayor Bob Gonzales thanks outgoing Councilman John Procter for his 8 years of service to Santa Paula. (Center) Mayor Bob Gonzales thanks outgoing City Clerk Josie Herrera for her dedication as clerk for the City of Santa Paula. (Above right) Mayor Bob Gonzales thanks outgoing Councilman Ray Luna for his 8 years of service to Santa Paula.

Big thank you for outgoing city officials

December 05, 2008
Emotional farewell to Luna and Procter as they end Council service
Santa Paula City Council
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesIt was an emotional farewell to outgoing Councilmen Ray Luna and John Procter as well as to City Clerk Josie Guzman-Herrera at Monday’s meeting, where they were lauded and thanked for years of service. Although at times over two years the Council had experienced deep splits, gratitude and friendship dominated the proceedings for the two departing Councilmen who each served two-four year terms.Guzman-Herrera, who served one four-year term as City Clerk, was thanked first, with a plaque and City Tile thanking her for her years of service as both an elected official and as a former city administrative staffer. Thanked for her exemplary dedication to the citizens of Santa Paula, it was noted Guzman-Herrera had reached a “significant milestone” of attaining the Certified Municipal Clerk designation from the international association of City Clerks, making her among the small and select group who attained same.Mayor Bob Gonzales also noted Guzman-Herrera had brought “a new level of professionalism” to the post that, coupled with her “keen focus on helping Santa Paula residents,” would be her “legacy for many years to come.” Overall, he added, her excellent and constructive contributions have benefited the city.Herrera thanked her family for their support; and also thanked those who had a strong impact on her professional career, including Election Night volunteers. City Attorneys Karl Berger provided “invaluable advice and friendship,” and Wally Bobkiewicz is the “best City Manager Santa Paula ever had... thank you Santa Paula for believing in me and welcoming me into your community... it’s been an honor and a privilege” providing service to the community.Outgoing Councilman Ray Luna was honored for his eight years of Council service, and leadership in issues ranging from public safety to recreation. Gonzales noted Luna “worked very hard all the time,” both on the Council and on the various commissions and committees he also served.Opening Fire Station 2 was a “significant accomplishment” during Luna’s - a retired Ventura firefighter - tenure, as well as reopening Santa Paula Hospital and the construction of the water recycling plant. “His legacy also includes the lighted crosswalks” that Gonzales said Luna initially championed and then saw through to completion. Luna’s actions helped make the city “a safer and healthier place for all residents” through his strong contributions as a councilman.Luna noted his eight years of service have been important to him, and he lauded the work of “dedicated and hardworking” staff as well as the “many volunteers in this community. Your hard work and efforts will always been appreciated.”When he was first elected in 2000, “The town was in turmoil. I think we’ve turned this town around,” a fact recognized by a new countywide respect for Santa Paula.Luna also thanked the Council, as “We did not always agree, but you always heard” others’ concerns and opinions, as well as his supporters, who remained committed to making Santa Paula a “better community. My wife Rose is the most important person in my life,” and Luna said his family has shown strong support and help.“I leave with reservations. I know I did what I had to do and I leave in a humble way, knowing” of the Council’s accomplishments.
Luna set an example of hard work and careful study of issues that Gonzales said he greatly admires. “I’m amazed at the amount of homework... the amount of research” Luna would devote to city business, which Gonzales said he wished to emulate, as “I was inspired.”Procter was the councilman that showed the greatest heart, a concept Gonzales said he never understood until he worked with Procter, also elected in 2000. Procter worked “constantly” for public access to government, and led efforts to televise and translate meetings - and expand the city’s Internet presence - while providing a good example of Santa Paula involvement on boards and commissions throughout the county.Reopening Santa Paula Hospital and “as Mayor crafting an agreement with the state water board” that avoided millions of dollars in fines and led to the construction of the new recycling plant were major Procter accomplishments. The Council was “a more civil and legislative body” that was more open to residents due to Procter’s efforts.“What a ride!” noted Procter of his Council service, which he described as a “great pleasure.” The reopening of Santa Paula Hospital was not done alone, “but I can hang my hat on that. Negotiating the fines was something I was extremely proud of, but I didn’t do it alone.”With his characteristic whimsy, Procter described frantic efforts on the part of Bobkiewicz to arrange a last minute state water board special meeting: “...finally Wally gets it all done and says, ‘I guess we better call Karl and see if it’s all legal.’ Wally moves the obstacles and gets things done.” Procter offered thanks to staff and other supporters, as well as the citizens, whom “It has been an absolute pleasure to serve.”“It was an honor and pleasure to serve with you on the Council,” and Gonzales said working with Procter made him realize what the description of “having a heart” really means. “One night I was at a Council meeting and realized” Procter fit the description.“I’ve never known a Council member with a heart as big as yours, with the intention” of working and doing good for people. “John’s legacy is going to the man, the councilman with a heart... I know your heart is in the right place for the citizens of Santa Paula” and, added Gonzales, “thank you very much.”Luna and Procter also received plaques and City Tiles, as well as words of fond farewell from the other members of the Council and standing ovations from the audience.

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