Larkspur City council member Joan Lundstrom has been very active in politics for the past four decades, so now it's time for a break.
Lundstrom announced Wednesday she is retiring from public service to enjoy life with her new husband Dr. Lou Schwartz. Lundstrom's resignation becomes official Oct. 15, two years before her term on the council expires in 2013.
"Effective today I am submitting my resignation … and beginning a new phase in my life, getting married later this month with a great deal of traveling in the immediate future," Lundstrom revealed in a stunning announcement. "This will prevent me from attending council and committee meetings and from being an effective council member for the remaining two years of the term I have in office."
Lundstrom's decision came too late to include her position on the regular November ballot, so officials must decide if they will appoint a replacement or call for a special election.
Council member Kathy Hartzell is stepping down at the end of her term. Mayor Larry Chu is running for re-election as one of four candidates for two council seats in the November election. Also on the ballot are Ann Morrison, Dave Kanter and Bradley Marsh.
"Eight terms, seven times as mayor, there's just no replacing someone like that," Chu said to Lundstrom. "Thank you for your years and decades of service to the community."
Council members Len Rifkind and Hartzell, City Manager Dan Schwarz and Director of Public Works Hamid Shamsapour all shared memories of their time with Lundstrom and wished her the best in her new life, although, they trusted she would keep an eye on City Hall.
"Joan, I'm going to miss you," Shamsapour said. "I hope you'll be around to advise us in the future."
The announcement ends a 28-year career in public office for Lundstrom.
"Now however is simply the time to start a new life in the time left to me. My thanks to everyone working together," said an emotional Lundstrom to a standing ovation.
Lundstrom recently resigned from her posts on the SMART Board of Directors and the Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers and as Chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Harbor Safety Committee. She's also stepping down from the Ross Valley Flood Control District, Transportation Authority of Marin and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
Lundstrom was the first woman to serve on the Larkspur City Council when she was elected in 1971 and became the city's first female mayor. She was elected eight times to the City Council and served seven terms as mayor.
"I have truly enjoyed serving the community by taking up efforts to preserve our hills and open space, securing public pathways and … having consistently maintained sound city reserves over the years," she said, highlighting some of her successes during her career.