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Council meeting to feature newcomers

The Wednesday night meeting of the Madera City Council will include the swearing in of newly elected City Council members Steve Montes and Santos Garcia and reelected Council Member Cece Gallegos, and also will include farewell presentations to outgoing City Councilmen William Oliver and Charles Rigby.

There also will be a selection of the mayor pro tem.

This ceremonial occasion is a sort of changing of the guard, and is part of the American tradition of peaceful handing over of government authority to those who are charged with representing the interests of the voters.

Oliver and Rigby will be well deserving of any accolades they might receive. They both worked hard while in office, both chairing the Madera Housing Authority for a year each, and bringing to that organization energy and good ideas.

During his term as chair, Rigby worked with Housing Authority Executive Director Linda Marie Shaw to start a new initiative for using the Pamona Ranch farm labor housing facility to house homeless families. For his work in this project, Rigby was named one of the outstanding housing authority board members in California.

In his year as Housing Authority chair, Oliver worked with the M.O.R.E.S. organization to help find a multimillion-dollar grant to enable the city to build downtown apartments for veterans. While that project has yet to materialize, Oliver has received credit for his work in seeking the grant and in organizing local individuals who also have an interest in the undertaking.

The city was well served by these two men.

In other business:

• Newly chosen City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez will be introduced to the public, and hopefully will give us some hints of what his vision for the city may be.

• The Madera Downtown Association is asking the council to utilize parking district funds for crow abatement downtown. This is the time of year when crows that live in the country move downtown to paint the town white with you know what. I, for one, am in favor of this request.

• Consideration of appointing Ramon Lopez Maciel to the Madera Planning Commission.

• • •

Here is a note outgoing President George H.W. Bush left for Bill Clinton on the president’s desk in the White House, the day Bush left office and Clinton was sworn in: “Dear Bill,” George H.W. Bush scribbled Jan. 20, 1993, to the Democrat about to succeed him as president. “When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.”

“I wish you great happiness here,” he wrote. “I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described. There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

“You will be our President when you read this note,” he continued (underlining “our”). “I wish you well. I wish your family well.

“Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

“Good Luck — George”

• • •

I met George H.W. Bush once, while he was still vice president, at a conference on the federal budget, and I found him well informed, smart and gracious. I still consider him one of our great presidents, certainly one of the best prepared, and one of the great Americans. May God rest his soul.

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