VISTA — Longtime city servant Mayor Morris Vance announced June 17 that he would not run for a third term and endorsed three-term City Councilwoman Judy Ritter in the mayor’s race scheduled for next year.
“With the amount of time I’ve been with the city, I think it’s about time someone else be given the opportunity to not only serve the city but take it to the next level,” Vance said before a small audience in front of Vista’s soon-to-be-demolished old City Hall.
Vance has been affiliated with the city for 25 years, first as city manager and then for two terms as mayor after the death of former city executive Gloria McClellan. He touted the accomplishments the city made during his tenure, including a new Civic Center, amphitheater, two fire stations and the successful downtown expansion anchored by the Krikorian Cinemas.
The mayor then praised Ritter for her part in these accomplishments as well as her integrity and community rapport. He also conveyed Mayor Pro Tempore Robert Campbell’s endorsement. Campbell was on the East Coast at the time.
Vance said he would be an active partner in Ritter’s campaign, assisting in fundraising and community outreach.
“I think she’ll do a very good job if she’s elected, and I’m very, very confident that she’ll be elected,” Vance said.
A realtor and business owner, Ritter said her experience in the private sector keeping and balancing budgets would translate directly into the public sector. She emphasized her experience in dealing with hard economic times.
“As a business person, I’ve been through recessions and laying off people and making those cuts that are tough to make,” Ritter said. She stressed the importance of communications with the city’s residents, ensuring that they are always kept abreast of the nature and justification of service cuts.
Ritter said public safety was her top priority and that she would work to maintain and enhance fire and police service. She also pledged her support of redevelopment downtown and along blighted South Santa Fe. Ritter said those improvements would increase city income and general quality of life.
“We’ve just started to see that in the Krikorian center downtown and now we want to see it down across South Santa Fe,” Ritter said.
Among the two dozen well-wishers who attended the event was Marylou Clift, aide to the late Gloria McClellan. Clift had nothing but praise for Ritter, whom she has worked with for years.
“She has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on in this city and she’s a very compassionate person, not conceited, does her homework and knows how to read contracts,” Clift said.