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Historic election seats two women

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Erin Konrad
Special to the Times

Until this month, the 103-year-old city of La Verne had never elected a woman to serve on its city council.

On Monday history was made as Donna Nasmyth and Robin Carder – also both ULV employees – took the oath of office.

Nasmyth, who began serving on the council in an appointed position said was first appointed to the council in 2007, received the most votes of any candidate running.

“I want to thank the La Verne residents for this tremendous privilege and tremendous honor,” said Nasmyth, an assistant professor of education at the University of La Verne.

Carder, a new face on the council, who has served on the Bonita Unified School District Board also expressed gratitude.

“I don’t take this position lightly,” Carder said. “I know I am here to represent the citizens.”

Monday’s meeting, held in city hall, was packed with friends, family and fellow citizens eager to see a new chapter of La Verne history begin.

The evening also saw another changing of the guard as Mayor of 27 years Jon Blickenstaff passed the gavel to newly elected Mayor Don Kendrick, a former council member. After a local Cub Scout troop led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance, the now former mayor, Blickenstaff, thanked the city for allowing him to be mayor since 1982.

“For all of you who came to recognize this occasion, thanks for being here,” Blickenstaff said after receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.

He went on to present a gavel to the newly elected mayor, Don Kendrick.

“If you didn’t have this gavel, the meetings would go on forever,” Blickenstaff said.

The gavel was crafted by a local La Verne woodworker.

Blickenstaff told the audience that his gavel came from the maple floor salvaged from the Lordsburg Hotel in 1888.

City Clerk Evelyn Clark also swore in two council members, Donna Nasmyth and Robin Carder, at the event. Kendrick took the opportunity to speak to his constituents for the first time in an open forum.

He thanked several individuals who had supported his campaign, including others frequently involved in the management of La Verne: council members Dan Harden and Robert Rodriguez, and city manager Marty Lomeli as well as Blickenstaff.

“We will be a we-team…a partnership that will be developed,” Kendrick said. “I am honored and humbled to be your new mayor.”

After a brief reception with cake and punch, the meeting began again following the agenda for the evening.

Of significance was deciding which members would represent the council on various community committees. Among those committees were those for the Bonita Unified School District, Chamber of Commerce and TriCity Mental Health, among others.

Nasmyth was vocal about specific committees she wished to serve on.

“I am most excited about working on the Youth and Family Action committee,” Nasmyth said. “The youth are our future and we need to protect them.”

Erin Konrad can be reached at

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