The City Council has unanimously selected Ronit Bryant to be the new mayor of Mountain View in 2010.
The Tuesday night selection followed city tradition, by which the council member with highest seniority and who received the most votes (and who hasn't yet been mayor) rotates into the mayor's seat. By the same tradition, council member Jac Siegel was unanimously chosen to be vice mayor.
Both Bryant and Siegel spoke of the challenges the city faces in the coming year. Bryant said that, with four department heads retired as of last month, city manager Kevin Duggan is "tasked with forging a new organization" at City Hall. And Siegel spoke of the city's budget problems: "These are exciting times, but make no mistake, we have significant challenges this next year. The city faces a five- to six-million-dollar shortfall."
As mayor, Bryant is responsible for running City Council meetings, working with the city manager to set meeting agendas and will represent the city at various functions, among other duties. Outgoing mayor Margaret Abe-Koga said it had been a 40-hour-a-week job for her.
As for presiding over the meetings, Bryant said she hoped to facilitate "effective and efficient discussions" and "timely and transparent decisions."
Originally from Israel, Bryant came to Mountain View in 1983. She has lived on four continents, speaks six languages and holds several degrees in the field of psychology. She has been self-employed as a technical writer, has raised three kids, and lives downtown with her husband Cliff, an employee of Hewlett-Packard.
A former Parks and Recreation commissioner and an avid gardener, Bryant is known for her tireless advocacy of creating "walkable" and "pedestrian-friendly" environments in Mountain View, especially when it comes to new developments of buildings, parks and landscaping.
Bryant said it's a priority to consider "environmental sustainability in all that we do as a city," to "energetically encourage the involvement of youth in everything we do as a city," and to "protect and enhance Mountain View's financial well being."
As the city finalizes an updated General Plan to guide future development, Bryant said, the challenge will be to "navigate between preservation and innovation." Along those lines, Siegel said he wants to keep the city "vibrant and diverse" while also working to "preserve our neighborhoods."
Both Siegel and Bryant are up for reelection this year, along with outgoing Mayor Abe-Koga, who was recognized for her accomplishments as mayor during Tuesday's council meeting.
Continuing the mayoral tradition of holding open office hours for the public, Bryant will begin "Meet with Ronit" sessions at the Bean Scene cafe every Thursday from 9 to 10 a.m. starting Jan. 7. The cafe is located on the corner of Castro and Mercy streets, in the same building as the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and across the plaza from Mountain View City Hall, located at 500 Castro St.