The Year 2020 ~ “nothing about it cannot be overstated”

By: Karen Cunningham, City of Brisbane Mayor, kcunnningham@brisbaneca.org, 415-312-2662

I would like to start my comments with a huge amount of gratitude. First to our Community who chose to grant me another 4 years in which to work as your humble servant, and now Mayor; but most importantly to acknowledge our outgoing fearless Leader of more than 23 year W. Clarke Conway. Clarke has given so much of himself with his steady handed leadership and personal care. This has allowed our fair City to flourish and grow according to the will of the people of Brisbane. He has been an incredible guiding hand and I know that we are all so happy for him to be embarking on the next chapter of his life with his wonderful family. Once again Clarke, from the bottom our collective hearts we thank you for all your years as our humble servant leader.
I’d also like to welcome Coleen Mackin to the City Council as our newest elected member. Coleen is a detail oriented Team player who will make a great addition to the City Council.
This year has presented us with some unimaginable challenges, most of which we are carefully navigating. The
people of our County and our City have come together to put as many programs in place as possible to help our Community members navigate these treacherous waters. BCRC.org was established in Brisbane to help our Community with whatever needs have arisen through the hard work of the Brisbane Village Helping Hands, Councilmembers Davis and Lentz and the Lions Club. These hard times will be with us for the unforeseeable future and we are all working tirelessly to provide safety nets, services and as much care as we can muster. Your entire City Council and City Staff have worked together with an unprecedented spirit of cooperation and can do attitude. We know that we need to do more and are constantly working for better ideas and solutions to help us all. That being said, your ideas are always welcome and much appreciated, please keep them coming.
Even though 2020 has been extremely challenging, we have still managed to do pivots and workarounds to keep things moving forward. Our new dog park design was finalized in early November and when we can make it onto the contractor’s schedule the work will commence. We dedicated our wonderful new Library, Lunafest occurred online, the Tree lighting was a beautiful virtual event for most of us and many more examples of can do achievements can be found throughout our Community.
Please be prepared for some purse string tightening for all areas in our City, this does not mean that we will be compromising any safety items but we will probably not be hiring additional staff members or increasing recreational activities. Thankfully we have been fiscally prudent in the past and that has placed us in a safe place financially.
2020 also brought us the third year of devastating wildfires. Clearly, forestry and vegetation management habits and mindsets must change and even though there is much finger pointing as to who is to blame, we must find solutions to keep our Communities safer. In February 2021 there will be a conference “Protecting Your City from Wildfire”, which will hopefully bring some executable and sensible ideas for us all to implement. In the meantime the Insurance Companies will be doing their best to minimize their financial risks moving forward, so I believe we should all be doing the best we possibly can to make our properties as fire safe as possible.
On a lighter note, I was listening to a segment of NPR last Thursday and the commentators asked “what are you going to do for yourself once it is safe to mingle again?” My mind went to a warm sandy beach. What will you do? In the second part of the segment the commentators asked this question. “What will you miss about the lockdowns and social distancing?” Initially, I thought absolutely nothing, but in reality, this time, as stressful as it is, has given us some time to develop new and different relationships, to really reach out within our Community and connect with our neighbors and friends and to make new friends. This time has taught us resiliency, patience and toughness. This time has also shown us the kindness that has infused our wonderful Community at a whole new level.
Thank you everyone for your wonderful personal gifts of generosity to our entire Community. May your Holidays be blessed with health and happiness and may 2021 bring us much joy, prosperity and healing
~ Cheers to all