New mayor touts recent city achievements, lists goals

Neysa Fligor was sworn in as Los Altos mayor for 2020-2021 Dec. 8. Following are edited remarks made at the city council meeting.

Let me start by expressing my sincere gratitude to all of you. Thank you so much for being here with us virtually to share in this celebration. I know these are challenging times for our community as a whole and for many of you individually, so your presence here this evening is even more special.

Thank you to Supervisor Joe Simitian for swearing me in. As everyone knows, Supervisor Simitian is a big supporter of our community and Los Altos, and on a personal level, he has been a sounding board. Thank you to Assemblymember Marc Berman and State Sen. Josh Becker for being here this evening and their kind words. I look forward to working with you both.

Thanks to my family – David, William and Sara – for your support and patience. As my husband says repeatedly, “If it makes you happy, it makes us happy.”

A big thank you to outgoing City Manager Chris Jordan, Police Chief Andy Galea and the entire city staff for all their work this past year. You all went above and beyond to respond to our community’s needs, from delivering food to seniors to planning activities to boost morale and coming up with creative solutions to support the business community. And to the Los Altos community – thank you for your engagement, for holding us accountable every step of the way and for showing up at our meetings, some of you staying with us until the end.

When I look back on 2020 and think about our accomplishments, the elephant in the room is obviously COVID, and it is an understatement to say that 2020 was a challenging year for the city, but although we had to adjust our finances, priorities and adjust how we do business in many ways, I am proud to say that we were still able to accomplish several things for the community. Let me share some of my personal highlights:

• Proposing a COVID grant relief program with Mayor Jan Pepper for our business community, the Community Health Awareness Council and Community Services Agency, and our colleagues on council joining us and adding WomenSV.

• Advocating for the city to pay for our school crossing guards and hire a Safe Routes to School coordinator.

• Ensuring that the Friends of the Library secured a place on the civic center campus.

• Pushing for strong reach codes and advocating for the hiring of a sustainability coordinator.

• Suggesting a policing task force and seeing it take shape with input from my council colleagues and it becoming a successful reality.

• Raising the issue of vaping in schools and supporting the Youth Commission as it launched an anti-vaping campaign.

• Pushing forward with the Los Altos Community Center.

• Supporting the downtown parklets concept.

• Supporting Los Altos’ first dog park. As the former chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission when this was brought back on the workplan as a priority a couple years ago, I was proud to see the current Parks and Recreation Commission see it through.

• Suggesting the idea for Los Altos to host a series of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the suffrage movement.

• Being selected by regional leaders to serve as a board member on the Cities Association of Santa Clara County and the Peninsula Division of the League of California Cities, and to represent the 15 cities in Santa Clara County on two Association of Bay Area Governments committees.

• Supporting city staff with pay increases.

• Pushing for more affordable units above what is required by law and identifying the 100% affordable housing project opportunity for the city, which was unanimously approved by the council. That was one of my proudest moments on the council.

Now, looking to 2021 and what I am hoping we can accomplish as a city: First and foremost, our top priority must be to keep our community safe, partner with the county on a clear communication and vaccine distribution strategy, and continue to find ways to support our business community and service agencies. A close second is to hire a permanent city manager.

My other priorities include:

• Ensuring that our financial reserves are strong and that we have sound financial and investment policies.

• Completing the design phase of the Los Altos Emergency Operations Center and moving to the construction phase.

• Identifying a park for north Los Altos.

• Passing an ordinance with limitations on single-use plastic.

• Forming a working group for a Los Altos theater.

• Supporting our city staff and their safety.

• Finalizing and starting to implement the Complete Streets Master Plan.

• Continuing to support the construction of more affordable homes.

• Directly engaging with the community to ensure that we are meeting their needs and that everyone feels included and part of our community.

• Partnering with our school community to ensure our combined resources and solutions can have a positive impact.

• Supporting a Grant Park Master Plan.

• Opening our brand-new community center.

I will end by saying I am so proud to represent this city and community. We all love Los Altos and are proud to call it our home.

We know the things that unite Los Altans are so much bigger than any differences we may have, and we can accomplish so much more by working together. So, although we may disagree at times, let us do so in a thoughtful, respectful and honest way. I believe that starts with us, your local leaders, and I plan to do so as your mayor.

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