Im­mi­gra­tion at­tor­ney fills Grover Beach coun­cil spot

The Tribune (SLO) - - Local - BY KAYTLYN LES­LIE [email protected]­bune­ Kaytlyn Les­lie: 805-781-7928, @Kaytyleslie

For her first-ever Grover Beach City Coun­cil meet­ing, De­sire “Desi” Lance sure did have an ex­cit­ing time.

On Mon­day, the coun­cil se­lected Lance, 31, — a self-em­ployed con­tract im­mi­gra­tion at­tor­ney— to take over the seat va­cated when Mayor Jeff Lee was elected to the city’s helm part­way through his four-year term as a coun­cil­man.

“I ap­plied to serve on the coun­cil be­cause I hoped to be a fa­cil­i­ta­tor of change in my com­mu­nity,” Lance said in an email to The Tri­bune on Thurs­day af­ter her ap­point­ment. “I look for­ward to en­gag­ing with and rep­re­sent­ing Grover Beach as best as I can.”

Lance passed 12 other can­di­dates Mon­day night to win the seat, in­clud­ing for­mer coun­cil­woman Karen Bright and re­tired IRS rev­enue of­fi­cer Terri Win­gate, who un­suc­cess­fully ran for elec­tion to the coun­cil in 2016. Robert Robert, who ran for elec­tion to the city coun­cil in Novem­ber 2018 but was de­feated by in­cum­bents Mariam Shah and Bar­bara Ni­colls, also ap­plied.

Shah on Mon­day said she thought the open seat was “a chance for a new per­son, a new de­mo­graphic of per­son, to get to do this.”

Shah made the mo­tion nom­i­nat­ing Lance as the new mem­ber.

Lance is a re­cent trans­plant to Grover Beach. She was raised in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, and later lived in Chicago and Lon­don with her hus­band and young son.

Dur­ing her in­ter­view Mon­day, Lance said her main rea­son for want­ing to be on the coun­cil was her love of the com­mu­nity.

“We’ve re­ally found a home here,” she told the coun­cil. “I am mo­ti­vated on a num­ber of a ways. You know from a per­sonal stand­point, be­ing a home­owner and rais­ing my fam­ily here and see­ing this as a long-term res­i­dence, I ob­vi­ously want to see Grover Beach be the best ver­sion of it­self.

“On the other hand, as a lawyer, I have a strong de­sire for pub­lic ad­vo­cacy and com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tion and ser­vice. I think those cou­pled to­gether pro­vide me with the mo­ti­va­tion to want to serve on the coun­cil.“

On her ap­pli­ca­tion, Lance noted she had not ever been to a Grover Beach City Coun­cil meet­ing be­fore ap­ply­ing to join the coun­cil.

Ul­ti­mately, Lance was one of the three top con­tenders for the seats, in­clud­ing Bright and Win­gate.

Lee, Shah and Ni­colls all voted for Lance to be the ap­pointee. Only Coun­cil­woman Deb­bie Peter­son dis­sented, say­ing she hoped to bring in a coun­cil mem­ber with a more in­sti­tu­tional knowl­edge of the city, and more rep­re­sen­ta­tion from other parts of Grover Beach.

“I will look for­ward to work­ing with her,” Peter­son said of Lance af­ter her “no” vote.

Now Lance says she is “ea­ger to im­merse my­self in the new role.”

De­sire Lance

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