In all the furore over our local City government it seems likely that we frequently overlook the real treasures lurking in our midst. To make my point consider County Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky, who has managed to find recent fame for refusing the Supreme Court’s order to allow gay marriage. Her approach is to simply say that “It’s a matter of heaven or hell for me” as she steadfastly refuses to issue gay individuals marriage licenses. This has become an embarrassment for the entire County, and has shown how primitive some parts of America can still be.
But perhaps the most important problem is that she took an oath of office- first to uphold the laws of the United States (with no “out” for personal exemptions) and second to uphold the Constitution of the US- again with no caveats about selectively ignoring certain parts of it. A City Clerk’s role is to be an agnostic- not allied with any party, faction, or other partisan or personal allegiance. His/her job is solely to execute the Civil duties required of her to allow the proper functioning of City (or County) government. In the Kentucky case cited here the government is not working as it should, and the penalties on both her and the community are about to start falling.
Thankfully we don’t have that problem here in Half Moon Bay. In fact our community is (for once) the gold standard when it comes to the civil management of City Hall. City Clerk Siobhan Smith has survived almost 20 years’ worth of varying administrations, from all walks of the political spectrum, and of varying talents, intellect, and ability. (Or perhaps inability…) Yet she has thrived in her role- principally because she is agnostic when it comes to our small town tussles and skirmishes. She has (in my personal experience) the rare talent to be able to separate herself form the fray, to represent all parties completely equally- under the law, and just plain morally, and she is thus the very antithesis of the Clerk in Kentucky who cannot understand the difference between state and religion.
So (and while I know this may make John Muller’s head explode- with me being so critical and all) my thanks to Siobhan Smith for everything she has done for us- for not confusing personal feelings with professional responsibility, and for taking care of the needs of our community in such amazing and capable form for the past two decades. Without her steady hand on the helm HMB would be in a much more disarrayed state than it is right now- and for that fact alone we all owe her a deep debt of gratitude.