Outgoing councilmembers Ana Maria Jara and Terry O’Day pose for a picture during a previous Los Angeles Marathon event. Photo courtesy by City of Santa Monica.

City Councilmembers Ana Maria Jara, Terry O’Day and Ted Winterer bid farewell to fellow councilmembers and the constituents they’ve represented over the years during an emotional meeting last week.

Following the results from the November 3 election, Oscar de la Torre, Christine Parra and Phil Brock are set to replace the outgoing councilmembers during a meeting scheduled for Dec. 8. But city leaders took time last Tuesday to share their gratitude and celebrate Jara’s two years of service, O’Day’s ten years of service, and Winterer’s eight years of service during their last meeting as a unit.

Emotions were high as each representative took a few moments to speak at the beginning of the meeting. Councilmember Gleam Davis offered her heartfelt appreciation for the trio’s hard work, especially in recent times.

“Their devotion to the city has really really shown through in your work and it certainly has been felt by your colleagues and I think by the residents of the city as well,” Davis said.

“And, you know, I really anticipated turning the reins over to you (Terry),” Mayor Kevin McKeown added later in the meeting, “and I deeply regret that that will not be the case.”

Councilmember Sue Himmelrich said she and O’Day did not always agree on certain matters, “but we both do have our principles and we were able to work by it every time. And we did agree on many matters of good governance and taking action — and I appreciated your help with all of that every time we did it. But above all else, I really appreciate the fact that you believe in things and you act consistent with your beliefs. And I believe in that, so I really hope we get to work together again.”

Himmelrich then turned to address Jara, who has brought so much to the council, Himmelrich said.

“You’ve taught everybody in the community about how having diversity does make us better… and I really honor you for that,” Himmelrich added, before she described Winterer as a person who has helped her learn so much about local government.

“Today might be my last day, but I leave with my head held very high because my integrity has not been marred,” Jara said when the outgoing council members were given a chance to speak.

Winterer had the “unenviable task” of following Jara’s speech but the former mayor said, “I’m just so pleased to have done what we’ve done in the last eight years… and like everyone else, I’m not really riding off into the sunset. I’ll still be around and look forward to being involved in the community for years to come.”

O’Day wished his peers the best in their endeavors and continued dedication to public service.

“I think that this city council, which this is its last meeting, has done an exemplary job of representing all of us. I’m not ashamed to say I voted for all of you and I regret the fact that we’re coming to an end of this involvement,” McKeown said. But one thing I will let you know… you’re not free to just disappear. We expect you to be active participants in our community. We need you.”

Brennon@smdp.com