Editor’s note: This is the conclusion of the mayor’s farewell column.
PLEASANT HILL, CA (Dec. 14, 2022) — With more than five decades as an optometry professor and health-care practitioner, I care deeply about the health and welfare of all Pleasant Hill residents – especially our younger generation.
This inspired me to endow a fund with John F. Kennedy University psychology interns to provide a community-based counseling program for Pleasant Hill schools at no cost to the school district or the parents. Last year alone, this endowed counseling program provided more than 500 free therapy sessions for Pleasant Hill students.
Public safety and health have always been among my priorities. During the past two decades, Pleasant Hill has made numerous improvements in street safety, bike safety, pedestrian safety and a healthier environment.
I also take pride in introducing ordinances in the city that prohibited smoking in commercial areas and restricted smoking in apartment buildings, as well as stricter guidelines for selling firearms in the city, including greater security, enhanced background checks and limiting the areas in the city where firearms can be sold. I also led the fight to ban favored tobacco products to reduce underage smoking and vaping.
I’ve always found Pleasant Hill to be a welcoming and friendly community. During a particularly difficult time for immigrants, I authored a proclamation declaring that Pleasant Hill was an open and welcoming community regardless of race, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or immigration status.
After attending a regional meeting on food trucks highlighting Off the Grid and how it can benefit a city, I brought the idea back to our staff. That was the beginning of a wonderful weekly family and friends gathering that brings great food and music to City Hall.
I’ve spent more than half of my adult life in public service. I have often been asked what I consider to be the most important contributions during the past two decades. I’m proud of the all the accomplishments made during my tenue, but three stand out as being the most significant.
First, is our award-winning Community Service Day. Not only does it improve our city in so many ways, but it also brings a sense of community to our hometown. It has been an inspiration for other cities to follow suit.
Second, I’m proud of the many improvements we’ve made in health and safety for our residents.
Third is the opening of our state-of-the art library. The new library is a legacy for future generations of Pleasant Hill residents. As a leader in the creation of this library, I take great pride in the impact it will have on residents of all ages.
I want to thank those who helped make the past 20 years in Pleasant Hill such a fulfilling experience. I’m especially grateful to Pleasant Hill city staff, the hard-working and dedicated individuals who made all this happen.
I’d also like to thank my fellow council members and the numerous volunteers in Pleasant Hill who continue to work to make our city the best it can be. Thanks to my family, especially my wife Dawn, for allowing me to spend the past 20 years following my passion of community service in Pleasant Hill. Thanks also to the Pioneer staff for allowing me the opportunity to reach Pleasant Hill residents through these monthly columns and their website.
And last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank you, the residents of Pleasant Hill who have supported me and my programs all these years. We couldn’t have done it without you.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve you. All the best to you and yours for a wonderful future in our great city. Thank you and take care.
Email questions and comments for Mayor Harris to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read previous articles “From the Desk of…” Michael G. Harris.