Santa Paula Times

Exchanging gavels was on the agenda when newly installed Mayor Martin Hernandez (left) presented outgoing Mayor John Procter with the ceremonial plaque noting his service to the city.

Outgoing Mayor John Procter lauded,
reflects on highlights of 2015

December 11, 2015
Santa Paula News

John Procter was lauded at Monday’s City Council meeting where the outgoing Mayor was presented with a plaque bearing the gavel he had used to run meetings for the previous year.

Procter, who was elected to the council in November 2014, had served the panel previously from 2000 to 2008 before declining to run for a third term.

Newly selected Mayor Martin Hernandez expressed his thanks to Procter, who previously served as mayor, and said it was a “great privilege and honor” to present him with the mounted gavel.

“It has been a privilege to be your right-hand man and your vice-mayor this last year,” and Hernandez said, “I’ll always be your right-hand man no matter what kind of city business or other business we conduct together in the future.

“I thank you for the whole community…John’s dedication to the citizens of Santa Paula is greatly appreciated.”

“It’s been a real pleasure working with the leadership,” said Councilman Jim Tovias. “It’s been great, it’s been fun, the whole council has changed and it’s been good...thank you John for your time, the job,” of mayor is a time-consuming duty.

Procter said to Tovias, “You were the whole reason” he became mayor as then Vice Mayor Tovias told him he would pass on taking the center seat and then nominated Procter for the largely ceremonial position. “It’s been a pleasure serving with you.” 

During later comments Procter said his tenure as mayor “was a great year” whose notable highlights included the city’s purchase of the waste water treatment facility, which will generate property tax savings for the city and lower bills for residents, a “new fire engine” and increased staffing for police and fire.

“Police is back up to about 30,” full time sworn officers and Procter said “The crime stats have been going down under very difficult circumstances.”

The SPPD now has body cameras — the result of a Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation donation — and a new SWAT rescue vehicle. 

A Limoneira shareholder Procter said he could not be involved or comment on the proposed residential development in East Area 1 and its partnership with the Lewis Group, which signaled a closer step towards growth.

“I want to give a shout out to America in Bloom, not a part of the city but part of our pride,” when the local chapter of the volunteer beautification group helped Santa Paula garner the top prize in a national competition for Historic Preservation.

Overall, noted Procter, “I want to thank Santa Paula for allowing me to do this…it’s not a requiem for me, I’ll be around another three years.”

“I’ve really enjoyed working with all of you,” said Councilwoman Ginger Gherardi. 

“The very commendable thing about this council is we can agree to disagree…we’ve had some discussions on tough issues,” with more in the future.

“We’ve got a long way to go to make the city financially stable but we’re making progress,” and she added, “I look forward to the next three years.”