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The three outgoing Sacramento City Council members were swarmed by a crowd of city staffers and well-wishers Tuesday night.
The City Hall lobby was abuzz with chatter as roughly 100 people turned out to say goodbye to Council members Ray Tretheway, Lauren Hammond and Robbie Waters, who are all leaving their seats later this month.
Waters and Tretheway lost their re-election bids in June, while Hammond did not run for re-election.
Angelique Ashby, who won the District 1 City Council race, will replace Tretheway starting next Tuesday, according to Assistant City Clerk Stephanie Mizuno. Waters’ District 7 seat will likely be transferred later this month to Darrell Fong, the frontrunner in a November runoff election.
Jay Schenirer will take Hammond’s seat at City Hall. November runoffs for both the District 5 and 7 elections extended the city’s swearing-in schedule, so Fong and Schenirer are expected to be sworn into office on Nov. 30, one week after Ashby.
Tretheway, a nine-year City Councilman, will continue to work as the executive director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation once he leaves City Hall. While he was on the City Council, Tretheway served as a part-time executive director of the foundation. He will now work full-time for the group, he said.
“Honestly, we have a great city that continues to get better and improve,” Tretheway said.
In an interview last week, Tretheway said he was proud of his work to help develop the North Natomas neighborhood, including a library, nearly 50 new parks, an off-street walking path and two fire stations.
“We built the community from scratch,” Tretheway said.
The staffers for each of the outgoing council members will need to find new jobs, too. Dan Roth, Tretheway’s district director since 2005, said last week that he is a finalist for a couple of jobs, but added that it would be inappropriate right now to comment on them.
He said he took pride in numerous projects that he worked on with others, including the opening of a teen center in the Garden/Northgate area last year and the creation of a rose garden at the South Natomas Community Center.
Roth may be known to some residents because he was covered extensively by the local media last April, during Tretheway’s campaign against Ashby. The local media reported on a YouTube video that showed Roth watching Tretheway campaign manager Corin Choppin remove Ashby signs.
“Never has standing on a sidewalk with my hands in my pocket caused me so much drama,” Roth said.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Lauren Hammond intends to make a big life change after she leaves the City Council: retirement. She served 13 years on the City Council and spent more than two decades working as an telecommunications contract administrator for the California Senate.
“That’s enough to retire,” she said at the reception on Tuesday.
However, she did not rule out the possibility of remaining in politics in some way. “I want to leave all my options open,” she said, in response to a KFBK reporter’s question about her political plans.
She said she was proud of her efforts on youth programs and her work to help bring a grocery store to Oak Park.
“This is a great city and a great region,” Hammond said. “We all just need to take a breath and learn how to work together.”
Helen Hewitt, who worked as Hammond’s district director for 13 years, is also retiring. She said she made efforts to “build a bridge between the community, the constituents and the city.”
Over in District 7, Waters said he is in interested in working part time in a position “without a boss.” Waters, 74, served 16 years on the City Council. “It’s been a long time, and I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.
Waters is a former Sacramento County sheriff and had a long career at the Sacramento Police Department. He said he is most proud of the opening of the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library, a project he said he worked on since 1994. Waters said it was “very humbling” to have the library named after him.
Pat Clark, Waters’ district director, sent out a statement to say goodbye to Waters’ constituents. “I thank Councilman Robbie Waters for entrusting this responsibility to me for 16 years,” Clark wrote. “After founding Pocket News in 1992 and watching and writing about local government, I was fortunate to have a chance to put my own stamp on trying to make local government work well – and for that chance I was grateful every day.”
Tuesday night marked the end of the official goodbyes for the outgoing council members. The changing of the guard officially begins next Tuesday, when Ashby is sworn in to the City Council.
Photo of Hammond by Anthony Bento. Roth provided the photo of himself. Photos of Tretheway, Waters and Clark by Kathleen Haley.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.