HAYWARD — Kevin Dowling and Anna May lost their titles Tuesday, but the departing City Council members received a salute for their years of service to Hayward.
For Dowling, that means nearly three decades of time on various city commissions and boards, and three terms on the council. May's term was brief, but she joked that the two-year stint she served was ideal because of her "short attention span."
Their replacements, Mark Salinas and Marvin Peixoto, were sworn in at the meeting, as was Mayor Mike Sweeney, who begins a second term.
Sweeney and others hailed Dowling and May during the send-off.
"When you were on the Hayward General Plan Task Force almost 30 years ago, you were one of the youngest and brightest voices," Sweeney said of Dowling.
Sweeney said Dowling will be remembered for being a tremendous "voice for the youth" as well as a staunch advocate on neighborhood issues.
Dowling said he was proud to have been part of the council that made the final decision on some contentious issues such as the downtown loop of streets that is about to be constructed, and for helping to bring needed retailers and attractions — including a Costco store, two Targets and Cinema Place — that have helped the city weather the economic downturn.
Dowling also pointed to two pet projects: the utility box painting program that deters graffiti, and the social host ordinance, which allows parents and guardians to be fined when minors drink alcohol inside homes.
He said he's been called "very straightforward," and people appreciated that.
"If I say I'm for or against something, I don't change my mind," he said. "I look at the issues, make a decision and don't go back on my word."
Dowling declined to run for another council term in order to pursue a spot on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which didn't pan out. Future plans are up in the air — the current program director of the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club is considering new employment, and jobs he would seek often conflict with political positions.
"Maybe I would consider a run for mayor down the line at some point," he said. "It's a great retirement job."
Colleagues admired May's commitment to Hayward business and ability to go out and aggressively sell the image of the city and promote public events.
"You brought freshness and bluntness to the council," Councilman Olden Henson said. "You brought a 'Let's get this thing done' attitude."
May said she prides herself on being labeled a "pest" for her relentless pursuit of things she deemed important. Among those was a push for the council to stop taking up issues that don't directly involve the city or fund organizations not based in Hayward.
May said she will particularly miss getting out in the community and involving people in the political process.
"It's been wonderful to let folks know that they do have a voice and alert them to how they can allow for their voices to be heard," she said. "I loved it when community members would show up at meetings — often for the first time — and speak their minds."
May said she is "stepping away with one of the greatest gifts of my life" — a nod to fiance and former City Manager Greg Jones.
May and Jones are considering running for the Hayward Unified School District board in the November elections — possibly with a third party in a slate — although both have said the run is dependent on the district avoiding a state takeover.
Councilman Bill Quirk told both departing council members that he is confident they will see more successes down the line.
"Anna and Kevin, you're both still pretty young," he said. "I'm waiting to see great things coming from the two of you."