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Dixon will take over Costa Mesa leadership

December 05, 2001

Lolita Harper

COSTA MESA -- After nine years of service to the city on both the

Planning Commission and the City Council, Linda Dixon has reached the

pinnacle of success in local politics.

Councilwoman Linda Dixon was unanimously voted by her council

colleagues to succeed Libby Cowan as the next mayor of Costa Mesa.

"A Polish girl from Chicago the mayor of Costa Mesa," Dixon said

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incredulously.

The new mayor said she had a positive outlook for the future and

thanked her friends and family for all their support. While recognizing

she cannot dictate the agenda, Dixon said she will promote volunteerism

in the community.

Dixon will serve a one-year term as mayor, which is mostly a

ceremonial position. Her duties include running the council meetings and

representing the city. Council members expressed confidence in Dixon,

saying they look forward to her leadership.

In a surprising move, Councilman Gary Monahan was voted mayor pro tem

and will step in if Dixon becomes busy or is unable to represent the

city. Dixon has announced she will seek reelection to another four-year

council stint when her first term ends in November 2002.

Monahan is also up for reelection, but has announced he will not run

again. Councilman Chris Steel questioned Monahan's nomination because of

what Steel said was a seeming lack of interest in the political arena

from Monahan.

"I was going to nominate [Councilwoman Karen Robinson], but if Gary

wants to take that . . . I just thought he was burnt out," Steel said.

"I would be honored," Monahan responded quickly.

Many City Hall regulars also expected to see Robinson fill the

secondary position, but Monahan received a unanimous vote.

With the new positions filled, it was time for Cowan to step down. She

said she enjoyed her year as mayor but was glad someone else had the

opportunity to hold the position.

"I'm ready to step aside and have someone else run the meetings,"

Cowan said.

The council had an incredibly productive year, Cowan said. She said

not all city business was on her individual agenda, but many issues were

discussed for the good of the city.

"The mayor doesn't set the agenda. Every council member has the chance

to bring an issue forward. We had a lot of major issues and made some

good progress," Cowan said.

Cowan's colleagues thanked her for her hard work over the past year.

"I know we don't always agree," Steel said. "But you know how to play

the game and you did well and we did well to have you."

* Lolita Harper covers Costa Mesa. She may be reached at (949)

574-4275 or by e-mail at o7 lolita.harper@latimes.comf7 .

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