Newly inducted Mayor Pro Tem Amy Howorth and Mayor David Lesser. Photo by Esther Kang
At the conclusion of the rotation ceremony at the City Council meeting Tuesday night, David Lesser emerged as the new mayor of Manhattan Beach and Amy Howorth as Mayor Pro Tem.
Lesser thanked his colleagues, city staff, and most importantly, the Manhattan Beach community, which he said has kept him grounded for 18 years.
“Even when we disagree in the chambers, it’s all based on a shared love of our city,” he said. “That’s what drove me to get involved in city government, and that’s what keeps me involved.”
Lesser, who is serving out his first term on council, outlined his goals for his nine-month mayoral reign, highlighting his intent to focus on improving public safety, infrastructure, fiscal responsibility, open government and public engagement.
Although the Manhattan Beach community has seen relatively limited impact from California’s Criminal Justice Realignment Act (A.B. 109) compared to outlying areas, he said, the city needs to be proactive with crime prevention and continue outreach through the Neighborhood Watch Program.
As for infrastructure, he said he wants to realign the city with the Facilities Strategic Plan, a master blueprint reflecting the city’s long-term vision for community and recreational facilities.
“We have a lot of aging infrastructure in our city, and it’s time to go back and plan,” he said. “The issues still remain and we want to prioritize what these repairs are, what’s involved in them, and how we pay for them.”
In addition, he emphasized the need for an improved city website, which he noted is increasingly becoming the go-to platform “for people interfacing the city and obtaining city services,” and proposed exploring the establishment of a standalone information services department.
Lesser also noted that although Manhattan Beach has a budget surplus this year and boasts high credit ratings, the city shouldn’t become complacent but should constantly seek new revenue sources.
He also vowed to incorporate some changes into council meetings to make the process as transparent as possible by reviewing the criteria of the consent calendar and outputting more status reports from city staff.
Mayor Pro Tem Amy Howorth thanked her husband and two sons for their support, and said she shares Lesser’s goals and values.
“I do look forward to serving as your backup quarterback, Mayor Lesser,” Howorth said.