David Lesser
David Lesser

David Lesser took the reins as Manhattan Beach's mayor this week, pledging to focus on public safety, infrastructure and public engagement during his nine-month term.

Elected to the City Council in 2011, Lesser said Tuesday night that the town needs to be proactive with crime prevention and preparing for disasters. And the city must bring forward recommendations regarding open government and continue improving its website, he added.

"Many residents are busy with their lives and have no interest in local government," he said. "But for those that do, I want to make our government more accessible."

He said he would like to see the city wire the police/fire community room and the Joslyn Community Center so meetings can be televised and recorded for later viewing.

Lesser also wants the staff to provide more updates to residents on ongoing issues, and would like to hold more town hall meetings on important topics, among other goals.

"I want to better share information to the public and receive information from them," he said.

Wayne Powell passed the gavel to Lesser after serving his mayoral term, a position rotated among council members. Powell was honored by his colleagues as the "consummate mayor."

"No one can doubt that you love Manhattan Beach," said Amy Howorth, who was selected as mayor pro tem.

- Carley Dryden