Nearly two months after Marin County Supervisor , Governor Jerry Brown , a Sausalito resident and a supervising deputy attorney general in the state’s Attorney General’s Office, to replace him and represent District 3, which includes Mill Valley and its unincorporated neighborhoods.
Sears, a 1969 grad whose family moved to Mill Valley in 1955, served on the Sausalito Planning Commission from 1993 to 1997 and on the board of the Marin Conservation Corps from 2003 to 2007.
Amidst a frenetic schedule as she settles into her new role, Sears sat down with Mill Valley Patch to discuss finding a balance between and charting her own course. She also shared some of her fond memories from her childhood in Mill Valley.
Mill Valley Patch: You were appointed about 10 days ago, and I’m sure you’ve been deluged from all angles since then. But do you come into this with a sense of your priorities as a supervisor and the issues that you plan to hang your hat on, so to speak, for Mill Valley and the rest of District 3?
Kate Sears: I am truly in learning and listening mode. I can certainly say generally that environmental issues, waterfront development along the bay, energy, transportation and low-income housing are all issues I am concerned about, but those are the obvious ones. But it’s going to take me a while because I have a lot of people to get acquainted with and a lot of studying to do.
MVP: It’ll likely be easier to hit the ground running with Charles McGlashan’s two longtime aides, Leslie Alden and Maureen Parton, helping you transition.
KS: I’ve spent a lot of time with them. I couldn’t be luckier to have them with me.
MVP: How do you find a balance between respecting the legacy of Charles McGlashan but also wanting to chart your own course?
KS: That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I’m very sensitive to the fact that I’ve been appointed to the job that he had. He was a very dynamic person and things were very important to him. There’s certainly a pull to think that part of my job would be to fulfill his goals. But I am my own person, I can’t go in there and always be saying to myself, ‘what would Charles think in this situation?’ That wouldn’t be fair to anybody. I can’t do that.
I’ve spoken to (McGlashan’s wife) and I hope that she can be helpful to me and give me some insight on some issues that Charles was deeply invested in. I want as much of that history as I can get so I am fully aware of what he had in mind. But whether or not that would line up with what I feel and how I come out on these issues, I don’t know that right now.
MVP: Did you know him very well?
KS: I can’t claim to have known him really well but I certainly met him when he was campaigning and I supported his campaign. I have been trying to remember back when I met him. I think it may have been at a Sierra Club annual dinner.
MVP: I know you’re just getting settled, but have you given any thought about whether you’d like to seek the seat in the 2012 election?
KS: I just don’t know yet. At this point, I want to learn this job and I want to do it well. There’s so much I’ve got to learn and figure out that I’m not prejudging anything.
MVP: I know you spent a good part of your childhood here in Mill Valley and graduated from Tam High in 1969. Any fond memories of your time living here?
KS: I really consider Mill Valley my childhood home. My family moved there right before I turned three years old, and we moved away when I turned 13. But like you said, I went to Tam High, so I was there a lot after that anyway.
We lived on Tamalpais Avenue close to Summit Avenue. I have so many fond memories. We used to hike up the mountain on the fire road. I went to Marin Country Day School, and we’d get off the bus on the way home at the little corner store down a block from Summit and I’d get a Turkish taffy and eat it while I’d walk up the hill. It’s funny the things you remember. I know I used to love paying in the creek at and going to the old library on Lovell. I was a volunteer at the during the summer in high school.
MVP: Have you had a chance to connect with many people who live here now and talk about what’s important to them?
KS: Some, but I have a lot more to do. I’m looking forward to getting to know the politically active people in Mill Valley for sure. And I’ve got that strong emotional connection to Mill Valley.