Ryan Coonerty is one of three members who leave the Santa Cruz City Council Tuesday, along with Tony Madrigal and Katherine Beiers. Coonerty, who has served for eight years and was mayor twice, had to leave because of term limits.
There will be a swearing in ceremony for new councilmembers Micah Posner, Cynthia Mathews and Pamela Comstock Tuesday at 7 p.m. at city council chambers.
1. What were your favorite accomplishments during your time on the council?
There are many things we got done, but broadly I think it was helping to bring a new generation into civic life. When I was first elected, the decision makers -- council members, city staff and advisory board members -- tended to be mostly Baby Boomers. Today we have a good mix of generational perspectives and I think the things we have accomplished -- creating jobs, addressing public safety, starting innovative programs and supporting young families -- reflect that.
2. What was your biggest disappointment?
The biggest disappointment was that much of my 8 years on the Council was spent dealing with the effects of the economic downtown and fiscal irresponsibility of California. In order to balance the budget every year, we had to make very difficult decisions and there wasn't much opportunity to make new investments.
3. What advice would you give to the person taking your seat?
Vote your conscience. It sounds simple, but when there is a room full of people not happy with what you are doing, it is quite challenging. More often then not, however, if you listen to the other side, explain your reasons and vote the way that you think is right, people respect your decision making.
4. If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
I wish we would have created a better process to bring people in to volunteer their talents to the City. Santa Cruzans are so committed to this community and we need to do a better job of tapping into that willingness to serve.
5. What will you do now and what will you do with all your newly free time?
I plan on spending a lot more time with 14 month old daughter. It has been very difficult to miss baths and bedtimes while at all these night meetings. I also plan on working with some non-profits groups that do hands-on work to improve our community.
6. What was the funniest thing that happened in your time at council?
Nearly every meeting there is something amusing that happens. One gentlemen decided I was a prince who should be honored with very dramatic bows and proclamations. It was difficult to explain to people why there a guy bowing to me as we walked to lunch.