On the Mayor’s Mind – 12/23/15 - Put a bow on it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Shoreline Mayor Shari Winstead
By Shoreline Mayor Shari Winstead

For the last two years I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to write this “final” column. In case you don’t know, in Shoreline, our mayor is not elected by the people, but rather a councilmember is elected by the council, to serve a two year term as mayor.

It’s hard to believe my two years are just about over! I barely remember the first year – you wouldn’t think being Mayor would be much different from being a councilmember, even though it is said to be mostly a ceremonial position, there is a lot of work and effort that goes into preparing for, and running our weekly Council meetings, as well as the speeches, attending regional committee meetings, national conferences and meeting with our Federal Delegation. It’s easily been a 30 hour a week addition to my schedule. And I have to say, I’ve loved every minute of it.

I know I’ve said it before, but it has been a true honor and pleasure to serve as your Mayor.

“Loving every minute of it” may be a bit of an exaggeration; because there were certainly times when the time obligations of this position were a challenge. I assumed that after being a Councilmember for four years, becoming Mayor wouldn’t have been much of a change, but it was a very big change. As Mayor you are the face and voice of Shoreline, and sometimes, sitting in the center of the dais, it feels like people are taking their frustrations out on you, personally.

But that is one of the greatest lessons I have learned. It’s not personal.

Each one of us councilmembers does our very best. We read, we listen, we ask questions, we learn, and, we do as we are elected to – we make decisions based on information, values and what we believe is best for the City.

Even though we all have similar, or even the same information, we don’t always agree on the best solution. And that is the beauty of having a Council of seven. The representatives of the citizens all see things in their own way, which gives us the opportunity to have robust discussions, and even split votes. Unanimous votes are great, of course, and we are fortunate to have had many of those, but it is also important that different views are represented, and that those views are respected.  

Many people have asked me what it feels like to have to work with a colleague that you voted differently from. I just laugh, and think back to one of the best things I learned from former King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson (now Attorney General). You vote and move on.

And if you’re lucky, you have lunch, coffee or even a beer with that person, so you can make sure the waters are smooth. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with their position, but you have to work together, and these decisions are for the good of our community. Again, it’s not personal.

But what is personal is the pride I feel when I drive down Shoreline’s beautiful 3.2 miles of Aurora Avenue, or when I walk into a new Shoreline business, or gaze at our soon to be completed Veterans’ Memorial.

All of these projects were the effort of many, many people – not just the Mayor or the Council, but you, our engaged citizens and volunteers. In the next 10-20 years there will be many changes in Shoreline, and that’s what we have laid the groundwork for – so that these changes are well thought out, and not just a reaction to an insurgency of people who are priced out of Seattle so swarm our city. We all know Shoreline is a great place to live, and folks, the secret is out.

My thanks to all of my readers for giving me a forum to discuss what has been on the Mayor’s Mind – City issues, the loss of loved ones, celebrating new family members, and most of all, remembering to find joy and happiness every day, in the beauty around us.

So that’s 2015-2016, all wrapped up.

My best wishes to all of you.  I look forward to more years of working together, to bring the best to our great City.

Happy holidays,

Mayor Shari Winstead


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