Walnut Creek Mayor's Message
Feb 01, 2016 05:01PM
● By Elena Hutslar
Loella Haskew, Mayor of Walnut Creek
My name is Loella Haskew. I am a (mostly) retired CPA. I have a master’s degree in taxation from Golden Gate University. To pay back to my profession, I was a member of the State Tax Committee of the California Society of CPAs and, for a few years, an adjunct professor for the Masters of Tax program at Golden Gate University. To pay back to my community, I served as a board member and volunteer for many non-profits and as a member of both the Walnut Creek Arts Vision Task Force and the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Fiscal Sustainability. When I retired from my accounting firm in mid-2012, I decided I could use my education, work experience, volunteer perspective, and love for Walnut Creek to take on the challenge of being elected to city council. Now, as of December 1, 2015, I am the mayor of Walnut Creek.
With that title comes the expectation and opportunity to pick a theme for the year. My slogan for this year is “Walnut Creek Works!” That phrase symbolizes how so many components in the development and operation of a city like Walnut Creek mesh. In short, our predecessors worked to make some visionary decisions to guide the city’s growth. The city’s staff works to make sure that our citizens and visitors experience a safe, attractive environment. Our businesses work to offer world-class restaurants, stores, medical services, and professional services. The community works through their involvement in many non-profit and faith-based organizations. Combined, all those efforts work to make Walnut Creek an example of one of the most attractive, desirable cities in the Bay Area.
For much of my term on city council, I have focused on reminding drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to be more aware and more active in following not only the rules of the road, but also to exercise common sense and courtesy. The goal of this attention is to make all forms of mobility safer and more pleasant for everyone. Over the year, I will end my articles with suggestions for readers on how to achieve this goal in Walnut Creek or their own cities.
I am also passionate about Walnut Creek’s important role as a center for the arts in the county. The Lesher Theater celebrated its 25th anniversary last October. The two larger stages offer a wide variety of productions, including the fully professional California Symphony, the amazing Center Repertory Company, the thought-provoking Lesher Speaker Series, plus many other unique presentations. The smallest theater in the building hosts intimate audience attractions like improv and edgier productions. Also located in the theater’s building is the Bedford Gallery, home of four or five special themed visual art shows. The newly renovated Del Valle Theater is the home stage for the Diablo Ballet Company. Civic Arts Education offers an opportunity to young and old alike to learn or appreciate performing and visual arts. The city is the home of Benny Bufano’s Hand of Peace in Civic Park, the most recognized piece in a diverse, growing collection of public art. My future columns will include more about the fantastic arts attractions as the year progresses.
Come and enjoy Walnut Creek.
TRAFFIC SAFETY TIP for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians: Distractions can be deadly. Eliminate anything that prevents you from concentrating on the path before you. Please put down that cell phone! That call or text can wait.