Saturday, August 01, 2009

Paying My Respects to Mr. DeWees

The passing of our Lompoc mayor, Dick Dewees, late last Thursday came as a shock to me. He was 61 and had recent heart problems. I met him at a Lompoc Rotary meeting when he was a guest speaker.

The news spread far and wide throughout the state all day Friday. The Lompoc paper Friday edition had already gone to press, so Saturday featured a full front page memorial and condolences.

I did not know the man very well, but I respected his ability to handle the top job and campaign for it as often as he did: six times. He was a jovial man with a warm laugh and will be missed.

At the moment, city leadership continues with the City council which has 30 days to decide how to fill the now vacant mayor's seat. The council can either 1) appoint a new mayor, or 2) vote to spend $120,000 for a special election.

Councilwoman Ann Ruhge was quoted in the Lompoc Record issue dated July 19, saying that she "is seriously considering making a run for mayor." (At the moment, KSBY is the only news organization calling Mrs. Ruhge, Lompoc's "mayor pro-tem.")

Ruhge also stated she would not oppose Mayor DeWees if he should decide to run again. The 2010 city election is 16 months from now.

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