City bids farewell to long-serving councilmembers

Mayor Wade Cowan (left) and Councilmembers Pierre Neu (right) and Harold Anderson are recognized for their years of service as fixtures of Winters City governance at the Dec. 13 City Council meeting. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

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On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the candidates for City Council elected in November took their seats on the council as three of its longest-serving members welcomed the newcomers to their old positions. Mayor Wade Cowan and Councilmembers Pierre Neu and Harold Anderson have been fixtures of Winters city governance for decades. As the newly elected councilmembers took their seats, the three outgoing councilmembers faced one final night of honors, applause and gratitude from the packed audience of thankful Winters residents.

Representatives on behalf of the State officials who represent California State Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and State Senator Bill Dodd presented the three with resolutions and spoke to some of the work done by the council members in service of Winters and of the state of California. Ron Turner, representing State Senator Dodd said “they have worked hard, and they dedicated themselves to providing the best service they can to address all of (Winters’) issues” noting the many challenges that this council served under in the last three years.

Following this, a number of community members spoke in honor of the outgoing council members. Don Saylor, himself the outgoing Supervisor, was the first to speak and said, “this has truly been a wonderful council,” and described the tenure and accomplishments of the outgoing council members.

“Pierre, in recognition of your ten years of service, from 2012 to 2022, as councilmember for the City of Winters,” Saylor began, continuing, “you’ve demonstrated a strong commitment to regional matters.”

“Your dedication to improving your community and positively impacting the lives of your constituents, neighbors, and students, has been truly remarkable,” Saylor said.

Saylor then addressed Mayor Cowan, beginning with the lighthearted remark, “it has truly been a pleasure working with you,” before adding, “I say that because I’m in public.”

“But it truly has,” Saylor continued, “we have made some really amazing things happen together,” describing the work the pair had done with the LNU listening session, saying, “you demonstrated your commitment to our community,” and that Cowan, “provided innovative and proactive leadership throughout the county.”

Harold Anderson (Courtesy photo)

Saylor spoke to Anderson’s time on the council by noting “for 28 years of service from 1994 to 2022 as a councilmember for the City of Winters, I think you might be the longest serving council member in Winters.”

“For your decades of leadership and commitment to our shared community, thank you Harold,” Saylor said.

Councilmembers took turns presenting proclamations for the outgoing members. Cowan began by recognizing Anderson’s Winters service beginnings as the assistant city attorney, where he was instrumental in the drafting and implementation of the 1992 city growth General Plan still being used today. Cowan also spoke to Anderson’s seven terms on the council, two terms as mayor, his work with other organizations like the Putah Creek Council, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, and Yolo-Solano Air Quality District and his work in Winters.

Cowan concluded by saying, “we honor and thank Harold Anderson for his deep and abiding commitment and exemplary service over these 28 years.”

Councilmember Jesse Loren spoke on behalf of Neu, who also shared the proclamation honoring his service. Neu first served as a member of the Planning Commission in 2005 before joining the council, and in his 17 years in city government, Loren said Neu “passionately advocated for social justice, equal access to housing opportunities, environmental restoration and preservation, and for a bike-friendly community.”

Loren listed some of Neu’s accomplishments as a city official, including the Winters Complete Street projects, the restoration of Putah Creek, and many Downtown Winters cityscape improvements, as well as a number of regional bodies Neu sat on. Loren bookended the proclamation with, “we honor and thank Pierre Neu for his 17 years of dedicated and gracious service to the City of Winters.”

Mayor Pro Tempore Bill Biasi presented the final proclamation in honor of Cowan. Biasi recited that “Wade Cowan has been a longstanding community volunteer, and has participated in Winters governance for almost two decades,” first on the Planning Commission in 2006 and then on the City Council in 2012.

Biasi noted Cowan’s two terms as mayor, his work with Winters Complete Streets projects, affordable housing, and senior advocacy like the Senior Center, as well as his dedication to maintaining Winters and Putah Creek’s natural environment. Cowan also served on numerous regional bodies, including Valley Clean Energy Board of Directors, Yolo Animal Services Joint Powers Authority, and Yolo Leaders.

“We honor and thank Mayor Wade Cowan,” Biasi summarized, “for his 16 years of committed service to the City of Winters and to the community for many more.”

The outgoing councilmembers expressed their own gratitude to the community, family and everyone they served before the changing of the guard officially began.

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