A remarkable woman, Julie Partansky died about this time last month after a six-week battle with lung cancer. It’s been touching to see the former mayor of Davis dearly mourned by her hometown in subsequent weeks … even by those who’d used her, during her two terms on the Davis City Council, as a tag line for jokes and target of ridicule.
Why ridicule? Because Partansky, 61 at her death, was a politician who marched to a different drummer. She’s the one who established the town’s infamous “toad tunnel,” a tiny corridor installed under a freeway ramp as an alternate route for amphibians which would otherwise be squished in traffic. Later, she proposed a Davis “dark sky” ordinance, which sought to dim the city’s public lights at night so stars would be more visible. Both initiatives got her and the town she loved plenty of national attention … most of it derisive.
She didn’t care, and neither did her supporters, who kept providing this artist, musician, gardener and house painter more votes than all others whenever she appeared on a ballot. Partansky cared deeply about the environment and embraced “sustainability” long before that word had even entered the lexicon. Not surprisingly, the former mayor supported slow (very slow) growth for Davis.
Now friends of Julie Partansky seek to create a “celebration garden” to honor her memory. What a wonderful idea. Julie Partansky was an original, especially for a politician: creative, compassionate, quirky … and authentic. Her garden will no doubt be beautiful.