By Shawn Spencer
As a result of our recent election, there have been changes to our council. Tom Adams chose to retire after many years of dedicated public service. Alexander Blackburn also decided to not run for council again, which left two council seats open and one mayoral. Larry Spicer was re-elected and Dr. Tamala Kelly was newly elected. Becky Shevlin was elected as mayor, leaving her council seat vacant.
There are some that felt the third runner-up should have filled Becky’s open seat. Sashary Zaroyan lost his run for council, having the third highest number of votes. Others felt that there is no such thing as a third runner-up — once the election is over, the number of votes becomes moot. There are only winners and losers. That sounds harsher than I intended, but you get the gist. Politics and public service are definitely on the horizon for Sashary and I know a lot of us are looking forward to seeing more from her.
On July 19 the council voted to appoint a council person into the vacant seat, instead of holding a costly election. Many people spoke, wrote letters and called in with their opinions on how to fill the vacancy and with whom. In the end, the council chose to appoint Sergio Jimenez to the council.
Jimenez is a lifelong Monrovian who has served this community in many fashions. He most recently sat upon our Monrovia Historic Preservation Commission, in an effort to protect the character of our beloved community. He is also a member of the Monrovia Latino Heritage Society.
Sergio hopes to effect change by fully supporting the city’s police and fire departments, ensuring that they have everything they need to protect and serve Monrovians. He also hopes to improve upon the street fair, pedestrian safety and more! Welcome to the council, Sergio! We are all excited to see what you bring to dais.
Newly elected Dr. Tamala Kelly plans to use her experience as a pastor, an educator and community leader to focus on programs for our youth, affordable housing, the unhoused and “economic vitality” in the Monrovia business community. Dr. Kelly holds the honor of being the first Black woman to be elected to the city council.
Her first official city council meeting was more of a baptism by fire, as it was a hefty and heated agenda. Dr. Kelly handled it like a champ and like all new undertakings, this too will soon become second nature. Now that Dr. Kelly is on the council, I wonder if she will lead the invocation at each meeting. I, for one, think that would be a lovely addition to her role as a council member.
Our council is whole, once again. My hope is that they are able to work cohesively and respectfully together for the betterment of our community. I wish our city council much success as they work toward achieving their goals of supporting our city while keeping both short and long terms goals clear. Congratulations to our newly appointed and returning members. Your roles are often thankless, but not always. Thank you for serving Monrovia!