I received this press release from Gary Petersen:
“Beginning as a young wildland firefighter, my life’s work has been in public service. I believe my 45 years working to provide quality, responsive government services will help, here in Nevada City, as we prepare to face some tough financial and social challenges.”
“As a recently retired Public Works Director for a city with over 150,000 residents, I know that this work will mean getting back to the basics of protecting and maintaining our water supply, sewer system, roads, and parks. My past experience will be an asset, especially as we face a likely financial downturn stemming from the pandemic’s challenges and precautionary restrictions – challenges our whole society is now going through.”
“It means steadfastly protecting our neighborhoods, our quality of life, and the unique character of our beautiful and historic city.”
“It means having faith and determination that we can work together to find common ground in answering fundamental questions about what public safety and service means to ALL of us, as a diverse and engaged community.”
Gary first came to Nevada City in the 1970’s. For seven years he worked with the US Forest Service as a “hot shot” firefighter, a tank truck operator, and a Heli attack squad leader in California and seven other states. This led to a 30-year career in airport management during which he served as the Nevada County Airport Manager. He helped to reorganize Nevada County government, and worked on the United Way Community Report Card.
In 2005, Gary relocated after being offered a position as the Salinas Municipal Airport Director, and eventually became the City of Salinas Public Works Director. During this time, he chaired the Governing for Racial Equity program, produced one of the first Groundwater Sustainability Plans in California, completed innovative solar energy and water programs and dealt extensively with neighborhood viability, homelessness and community relations.
Petersen notes: “It seems clear to me that when times get tough, leadership must be strong, consistent, flexible, and founded on the principles of fairness, compassion and collaboration. These principles have always guided me in my work. It is crucial that all stakeholders are heard equally, and that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the governing process.”
Gary and his wife Christine Bottaro (RN, retired) live in their home on Park Avenue, near Pioneer Park. They restored their Victorian home after acquiring it 20 years ago.
They especially love the park’s cultural and recreational richness, and see it as the heart of a vibrant city.
Gary says: “My focus in office will be:
- Ensuring Nevada City’s financial health in difficult times
- Calling for a safe uninterrupted supply of water and power
- Reinforcing fire safety
- Protecting Nevada City’s historic identity and quality of life
- Providing quality city services responsive to the needs of the entire