New mayor

Newly named mayor of Palos Verdes Estates, Betty Lin Peterson. (Photo courtesy of PVE)

Marking a new beginning after a tumultuous year for the small community of Palos Verdes Estates, the city council has named Betty Lin Peterson as mayor on Tuesday night.

Peterson follows former Mayor Jim Vandever in the yearly reorganization. The mayor is mainly responsible for chairing council meetings and speaking on behalf of the council. Councilmember Kenneth Kao was named as Mayor Pro Tem, who takes on the mayor’s responsibilities in the event of the mayor’s absence.

“As I finish my term as the triage mayor, I know we have the perfect choice for our incoming mayor,” Vandever said. “I think Betty will help us continue to help us build consensus and pull our community back together.

The council faced one of the most divisive periods for the city during Vandever’s year as mayor. When he was named, voters had just shot down Measure D, blowing a nearly $5 million hole in the city’s budget.

The council then voted to place Measure E on the ballot for the April 2018 election. This measure was another, more simplified parcel tax that amounted to a referendum on the city’s local police force. What followed was an election that split the city’s residents into factions. While the measure passed this year, it has left in its wake a deeply divided community.

“I think this was our city’s most challenging year ever, but we were fortunate to have a strong leader in our outgoing mayor, Jim Vandever, who was I think the perfect individual to shepherd us through such a difficult period,” Councilwoman Jennifer King said.

When Peterson was first appointed to city council in 2014, she wanted to represent the young families in the city and get a playground built in the city, she said at the meeting. Now, she has bigger goals.

“I would still like to get the playground built someday, but rebuilding our community has now become my lofty goal,” Peterson said. “… Let’s move past how each other voted because we all have the city’s best interests in mind, which is to keep our little part of the paradise great.”

She suggested starting monthly walks with the mayor and other events in an effort to rebuild trust in the community.

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