Fargo Still Feeling her Way Forward
Fargo at her reception Tuesday
As she prepares to leave office and accepts all the thank-yous and condolences, Sacramento Mayor Fargo is both looking back – and looking ahead.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Heather Fargo sees Sacramento a bit differently now since the election.
Fargo: “I think there’s just a little more distance, and part of that is I’m just trying to get used to whatever my new role is going to be, which isn’t really clear yet.”
She feels a sense of ownership, and even – this is her word – mothering. When she sees something around town that needs fixing, she still calls it in, just as she did before.
Fargo: “It’s a little hard to completely wean myself from being a member of the council and being a part of city government here. So it’s kind of a process. I’m doing a little bit of grieving of what I’m leaving behind, but beginning to look at other things.”
But not without first taking in a few last rounds of appreciation, after a campaign where she was blamed for many of the city’s problems. Yesterday afternoon, a couple hundred supporters and city employees turned out to thank the mayor. One of them was John Fierro, a retired Sacramento fire fighter.
Fierro: “I think she’s done marvelous things downtown. All the development in midtown – I’ve seen a lot of growth since I’ve been in Sac. I’ve been here for almost 30 years. When I came here, there were the twin towers – the Capitol and state office buildings downtown. Now, you look on the skyline and it’s full.”
Several speakers praised the mayor’s record – and most of all, her service. Wendy Hoyt is a downtown business owner.
Hoyt: “Heather Fargo is the purest of the public servants. She’s a public servant who has no higher ambitions other than to serve the public to make the community a better place than it was when she came into it.”
At the meeting following the reception, the council members and top city officials thanked the mayor as well. City Manager Ray Kerridge:
Kerridge: “It was very irritating sometimes, because when you’d find something with the reports, you were inevitably right. And you’d never know how galling that was to me. You’ve been very hard on us sometimes, but you’ve always had it with good intentions. Your heart has been for what’s in the best interest of the city.”
And former sheriff Robbie Waters, who’s now on the city council, reminded the mayor that there is life after politics.
Waters: “I do know something that I’m sure none of my other colleagues do, and that’s what it’s like to lose an election. Been there, and Mayor, best of luck to you. You’ll come back. It’s doable.”
Fargo plans to take some time off and rest up. Her multiple sclerosis slows down her walking, she likes to say, but not anything else. And though she hasn’t figured out what she’ll do next – she mentioned issues like sustainability and housing as possibilities – she knows she’ll do something.
Fargo: “That’s always what I’ve done. What do I think I can do that will make a difference? And I don’t think not being mayor is going to make me not want to make that difference.”
And she’ll still phone in those potholes and broken tree branches she sees around town – call it force of habit.