By Dan Haag
It’s election season, and there are numerous candidates all across the county asking for your vote. I just wanted to hit pause on all of that and take a moment to offer heartfelt thanks to one name that isn’t on the ballot this time around: Mike Scott, Mayor of Manzanita. After years of service, both on Manzanita city council and as mayor, Mike decided not to run again in 2022. But we would be remiss as North County citizens if we didn’t take a moment and consider how fortunate we were to have Mike at the helm during the pandemic.
In my former capacity at the Manzanita Visitors Center, I had the good fortune of working with Mike. There wasn’t a day that went by in early 2020 where I didn’t feel confusion and panic, and it was all I could do to keep a lid on it sometimes. But Mike exuded calm, led by example, and kept an even keel. His short weekly social media videos were a spot of calm in the storm. He stayed in contact with local, county and state leadership, consulted local health personnel and law enforcement, and kept residents up-to-date on developing situations. He listened to his staff, trusted us to do our jobs, and always offered words of encouragement. He closed every meeting the same way: “Stay calm, stay safe, we’ll get through this together.” As someone who constantly felt as though he was making it up as he went along, I can tell you those simple words had a profoundly positive effect.
Politics has become a full contact sport in recent years, and rural coastal towns are not immune to rancor and second-guessing. It’s all too easy to play armchair quarterback and point out all the things you might have done differently. In rare instances, however, leaders actually lead. Mike Scott rose to the occasion and I am honored to have had the chance to work for him. I thank him for his service during a turbulent time and wish him a calm, well-earned retirement.