After drafting 4,570 commendations, Sonia Ramos finally got one of her own.
City Council’s office administrator, who served 10 mayors, worked under four city managers, and set up 641 council meetings, is retiring and was honored by numerous dignitaries at council’s recent meeting.
“This is the end of an era,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown, “the end of an epoch. For the past 20 years, Sonia Ramos has served this City Council and City Councils for years before as our assistant. The person who wrote all the commendations all these years was Sonia Ramos. This is the first one in 20 years she didn’t write because we wrote it for her.”
“One of the comments you always made to me was: It would be nice if we put them in a frame,” said former Mayor and current State Assembly member Richard Bloom said of his commendation. “We framed this one for you.”
All seven councilmembers praised her attitude and sense of humor.
Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez told a story about reaching Ramos when, in the late 1990s, he was having trouble with squirrels and possums in his backyard.
“I know you can’t just throw them in the trash so I used to call Sonia and she’d take care of them for me,” he said. “So every time I called her afterwards she’d always say, ‘Tony, what kind of animal do you have now?'”
Councilmember Ted Winterer said he wished he’d called Ramos with his possum problem earlier this year.
“I will say that’s the only thing you haven’t been able to help me with because it’s the only thing I didn’t think to ask you,” he said.
Ramos left Cuba and her parents at a young age during operation Pedro Pan, Bloom told council.
“Not an easy way to be brought into the world,” he said. “But look at you now. You’ve accomplished so much.”
Former Mayor Mike Feinstein relayed a story about Ramos taking his mother out shopping with her.
“That just meant so much to me,” he said.
Councilmember Gleam Davis talked about her early days on council, asking Bloom for advice.
“I would ask, how do I get this or that done,” she said, “and the answer was always ‘ask Sonia, She’ll do it’ and that was the best advice I’ve ever gotten on the council and certainly the least controversial.”
Ramos spoke briefly, with her grandson Hunter standing alongside her at the podium, about her time working in the city.
“Twenty years have flown by so very quickly,” she said. “It has been a happy time, a time where I gave my knowledge, a time where I imparted skills and some life lessons, and a time where I learned a great deal. The past years have also taught me the value of having a positive and enthusiastic group of coworkers. Their support and help was invaluable to my success. I owe them my gratitude. I also have to recognize just how much I have been shaped by my city family. I have countless experiences, too many to mention, that have impacted on my life in a memorable and meaningful way.”