The San Mateo City Council is remembering former mayor and longtime council member John Lee, who May 7, as a passionate and dedicated member of the San Mateo community.
Mayor Brandt Grotte has ordered the flags at all City of San Mateo facilities to fly at half-staff through sunset on May 10 in memory of John’s service to the community.
Grotte said one of John’s favorite quotes was, “Be the person that your dog thinks you are.”
“John Lee actually was that gentleman. He was a scholar; and a gentleman – always the gentleman," said Mayor Grotte.
Council Member Jack Matthews said one of Lee’s truisms was, “We can disagree on items without being disagreeable,” and noted he was a man of great courage.
Deputy Mayor David Lim said he and Lee often disagreed on issues, but after the cameras turned off he would come up to him and shake his hand and say, Ggood job kid – keep standing your ground, speak your conscience, that is what the citizens want from you.”
Lim said Lee modeled going with your conscience.
Council Member Maureen Freschet said, “He was a wonderful, caring man and he was so passionate about this city and it was part of everything he did ... we loved him as much as he loved his community.”
Council Member Robert Ross remembered how John Lee would use humor and his special spirit to diffuse tense situations. “He will stay in our hearts, minds and thoughts,” Ross said.
City Manager Susan Loftus said, “The city of San Mateo lost a wonderful man, mayor and public servant. He touched so many of our lives and although the world seems a little less bright with his passage, he leaves us all a little bit better for having known him. A gentleman, an officer, a father and a friend . He will dearly be missed.”
Lee resided in San Mateo since 1979. He was appointed to the San Mateo City Council in December 1998 and was elected to a four-year term in 1999, and re-elected in 2003. Lee served as Mayor three times - in 2000-2001, 2005-2006, and 2009-2010.
As of Wednesday a memorial service is expected sometime after Memorial Day. Check back on San Mateo Patch for updates regarding the date and location of Lee's service.