One hundred days in office has come and gone and honestly I’ll admit I was too busy to make much of the milestone. Being elected to City Council has been exciting, eye-opening, rewarding and, occasionally, exhausting.
As you’ve likely read in these pages, your City Council has been tackling the issue of homelessness head-on. I’ve toured shelters, read studies, called experts and read everything I could get my hands on about shelter operations. Mayor Katrina Foley and Councilwoman Arlis Reynolds, in particular, have done extensive community outreach, talking to anyone and everyone about our plan and educating neighbors and businesses.
That education piece cannot be underestimated. As a mechanical engineer working in renewable energy, this issue couldn’t be any further from my area of expertise and I know that’s probably true for most of you reading this. A huge thank you to everyone who has learned along with us and to city staff for its tireless efforts to get things done on insanely fast timelines.
Next week, we’ll open our temporary shelter at the Lighthouse Church with a unique, hybrid operations model that includes our own city staff. I could not be more proud to be on a council that voted to make that happen. That’s been the exciting part of serving on City Council.
I’ve also dedicated these first few months in office to meeting with as many community leaders as I possibly can, from the school district to the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. As a relative newcomer to Costa Mesa politics, one of my priorities is to build great working relationships with all of our city partners. The same goes for regional and state organizations like the Orange County Council of Governments and the League of California Cities.
If we work together, our impact can be greater than simply the sum of our parts. Frankly, that’s been the eye-opening bit — previous councils have simply not been as actively engaged at the regional level and I think that’s been to our own detriment. I plan to change that.
Stay tuned for an event on June 5 with the Chamber of Commerce that I’m excited to host. Our Costa Mesa businesses are the lifeblood of our city, and I’m excited to find opportunities to support them when and where I can. That’s been pretty exciting too.
And last but certainly not least, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with dozens of local residents. That’s the really rewarding part of my job. Some problems take a few days to solve. Others will take years. But if you see me smiling as I walk home from City Hall, it might just be because I was able to help someone. And at least for me, there’s simply no greater reward in life.
I won’t talk about the exhausting part. That comes with the territory and it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of serving this beautiful community. Drop me a line at email@example.com if you want to meet. I’ll bring the coffee.
Andrea Marr is a Costa Mesa city councilwoman.