It was time.
Councilmember Diane Woolley said formal good-byes to her council colleagues at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Leaving is a relief, she said Wednesday. “Six years is enough. I’m smiling.”
The six-year District 5 councilmember opted not to run for re-election Nov. 7. AC Transit Director Miriam Hawley was elected in her place.
Fresh from a trip to the East Coast, Woolley said she looks forward to a new life with a broader perspective.
“My focus was getting so narrow,” she said. “Whether or not we get the (living wall), it’s not the biggest thing in the world.” The councilmember was referring to the unique sound wall the city has worked on for years, hoping to have the state transportation agency install it between the freeway and Aquatic Park.
Woolley’s had tough battles to fight and, unlike her council colleagues who generally line up with either progressives or moderates, she’s been a maverick on the council. Elected with the blessing of moderate Mayor Shirley Dean, Woolley has generally sided with moderates on fiscal matters and voted with progressives on social issues.
“I get a lot of pressure from both sides,” she said.
At Tuesday evening’s meeting, the mayor got her last dig in and at the same time praised her colleague. “You have always stood up for what you believed in and sometimes you were a real pain in the neck, but no one worked with more passion on issues related to the waterfront,” she said.
Woolley won’t miss the battles. “In the big things you need five (votes),” she said. She will, however, miss the help she’s been able to get for individuals in her district, especially when they’ve had problems with the city’s aged sewer lines.
Woolley has been a constant voice speaking out for upgrading the sewers. “If I say I come from a city where every winter sewage runs into the creeks and the Bay, where would you say I’m from?” Woolley asks, rhetorically.
She points to specific issues where she mustered five votes and made an impact. She helped stop the salt water pipeline, proposed for fighting fires. “I saved the city $30 million,” Woolley said.
And “the sea scouts were a big thing.” Woolley helped get the scouts removed from their free berth at the Marina. Their affiliation with the Boy Scouts and the scouts’ anti-gay stance was the reason behind their ejection.
“I fought off a (new) hotel at the Marina,” Woolley said, warning that she believes a similar proposal will come back to council again.
But now, Woolley says it’s time for her to step back. She’s not making large plans for the future. “I plan to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation. “We’ll see what comes next.”