Something extremely rare happened at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Mark Green, Union City’s hard-lined leader, got emotional. He might have even shed a tear, though we didn’t get a good look. There were definitely some long pauses in what’s usually his signature rapid speed delivery.
Union City’s longest serving mayor, Green was honored by regional and city leaders during a special ceremony to commemorate his two decades of service to Union City and the county.
Green’s 19-year tenure as mayor of Union City will come to an end when he is termed out next month.
“Your accomplishments not only touch Union City, but what you’ve done for transportation affected the whole county and region,” Andrae Macapinlac told the mayor Tuesday on behalf of Aseemblymember Bob Wieckowski’s office.
Green, who’s been involved in local government since being on Union City’s planning and parks commissions in 1986, has also served on a number of regional boards and agencies over the years, including the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments, both of which he chairs.
In May, Green was named Elected Official of the Year by the California Transportation Foundation.
Art Doa, the executive director of the ACTC commended the mayor for his “tireless and fearless service,” highlighting the projects that Green helped implement.
“He understands deeply the connection between land-use, transportation and jobs,” Dao told Union City patch. “Very few leaders understand that and implement projects the way he did.”
Under Green’s watch, the ACTC secured $2.5 billion in contracts for critical projects, including the BART extension to Warm Springs, the BART Oakland Airport Connector and improvements to every freeway in Alameda County, Dao said.
Dao credited Green’s visionary thinking for leading Union City’s Intermodal Station District project, which turned what was once toxic brown fields into a transit-oriented community and created countless construction jobs for Union City.
“The intermodal district is a model development for the rest of the Bay Area, and that’s a testament to [Green’s] leadership,” Dao said. “He makes things happen.”
Representatives from various agencies presented Green with certificates honoring his service Tuesday night.
Gary Wolfe, executive director of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority presented Green with a clock made of recycled bike parts for his 15 years on the board.
Though not all of them gave presentation, many community leaders attended the meeting as well to express their gratitude for Green’s service.
Harpal Mann, a Union City planning commissioner and member of the Gurdwara Sahib of Fremont, thanked Green for his support of the Sikh community.
Mann said that after 9/11, Green helped raise awareness about the Sikh and Muslim communities and helped push for Punjabi classes at James Logan High School. Green also made sure Union City Transit provided transportation to the Fremont Gurdwara, Mann said.
“He came out openly and stood with the community,” Mann said.
At the end of the ceremony, City Manager Larry Cheeves presented Green with a sign for Green Street, an actual road that runs behind the townhomes at the end of 11th Street in the Intermodal Station District area. The back of the sign, however, reads: “Mayor Green’s Way.”
Cheeves, who’s worked closely with Green over the years, said much of the city’s success is due to doing things “Mayor Green’s way.”
Green’s last City Council meeting as mayor is on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at the City Hall. Mayor-elect Carol Dutra-Vernaci will also be sworn that night.