With a ceremonial handoff of the gavel from outgoing Mayor Donald Voss, City Councilman Dave Spence was named the new mayor of La Cañada Flintridge on Monday night during the City Council’s annual reorganizational meeting.
Spence was first elected in 1992 and has served four previous yearlong terms as mayor, first in 1994 and most recently in 2008 — making Spence the first person ever to serve five terms as mayor of La Canada Flintridge.
“I will work to the best of my ability for every resident in the city. This is the greatest city in L.A. County. It did not get there by chance,” continued Spence, who promised to continue the city’s large fiscal reserves, enhance public safety, support education and stop extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway.
Council members also chose Councilman Steve Del Guercio as the new mayor pro tempore — who would take over mayoral duties in Spence’s absence — for Councilman Greg Brown, who has served since 2003 and did not run for re-election.
Del Guercio nominated Spence for mayor, and Spence in turn nominated Del Guercio as mayor pro tempore.
Michael Davitt, a Planning Commission member who was elected to the third of three open council seats on March 8, was sworn in as the body’s newest member. Voss and Councilwoman Laura Olhasso, who won reelection earlier this month, also took an oath to begin their new terms.
“As I sit here for the first time in this role I am truly honored and humbled for the support I received in the election,” Davitt said.
In the seven-candidate race, Olhasso finished first with 23.7% voter support and Voss also retained his seat with 19.8% of votes cast. Davitt finished third with 18.8% of the vote, edging out local businessman Charlie Kamar, who finished with 17.8% of the vote — only 118 votes behind Davitt.
Voss reflected Monday on his past year as mayor.
“It’s a terrific privilege to be mayor of this great city. To have the confidence of the residents to be on the council in the first place and then to have the confidence of the other council members is a very humbling experience,” said Voss.
“As a city, we’ve had a great year,” he continued, giving credit not just to city officials but to volunteer and community-based efforts as well. “None of that is an accident. There’s a lot of community spirit at work that makes it happen,” he continued.
State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and representatives for state Sen. Carol Liu and L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich presented certificates of appreciation to Voss and Brown for their service. Representatives of the L.A. County Fire Department, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Dave Silversparre and Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson also gave congratulations.
Brown presented Voss with an engraved crystal gavel and City Manager Mark Alexander presented Voss with a gold plated plaque depicting the city’s budget — a nod to Voss’s effort to control public spending and grow the city’s reserves.
Members of the La Cañada Flintridge Trails Council presented Brown with a framed trails map for his leadership in completing the city’s loop trail system, the final stretch of which was dedicated earlier this month.
Council members also weighed in with praise.
“You have been the steadying influence on this council and you’re going to be missed,” Spence said to Brown moments before assuming the mayor's gavel.
Brown used his time to talk about improvements he’s seen on his time in council, including improved controls over developments, increased recreational facilities through joint-use agreements with LCUSD, banning trucks from Angeles Crest Highway, development of Town Center, new public parks, lower crime rates, installation of sewers north of Foothill Boulevard and completion of the trails system .
“It’s really important that we remember it’s the council that does these things together with staff. No one person can make anything happen in a city. It takes a team pulling together. That’s what’s been so great about [serving on] this council,” said Brown.