Editor's Note: Who are the movers and shakers in Los Gatos? Those who lead by example, change things around and make us better by challenging the status quo and having integrity? This is the second installment in our Names in the News Q&A feature, formerly called Most Influential.
Former Los Gatos Mayor Sandy Decker was born in Los Angeles, attended Whittier High School and obtained a bachelor of arts degree in education and psychology from California State University Long Beach. She also completed the Government Executive Program at Harvard University in the summer of 2002, in Cambridge, MA.
Her professional work experience includes teaching in Long Beach, Fallbrook, Nogoya, Japan and Los Gatos. For 10 years she worked as a project planning manager for a high tech company in Sunnyvale. While living in Alexandria, VI, she founded and served as president of Empire Building Inc., a historical renovation company. One of the properties she renovated belonged to Lawrence Washington, the brother of George Washington.
Her civic involvement began in 1985 in Playa Del Rey as a member of a citizens coalition to insure the sustainable development of the Howard Hughes Playa Vista Project. She then worked on other citizen boards and committees in Virginia.
After returning to Los Gatos she volunteered as a docent at the Montalvo Estate in Saratoga, served on the Los Gatos Museum Association, the Live Oak Adult Day Care Center and was a member of thecommunity forum.
Her government experience includes being elected to the Los Gatos Town Council in November of 2000, appointed vice mayor in November of 2001 and then mayor in 2002. Prior to that, she served as a member of the Los Gatos Planning Commission from 1994 to 2000 and served on the Los Gatos General Plan Committee and the Los Gatos Conceptual Design Committee during the same time period.
She's married to Gilbert F. Decker, a systems engineer and business executive. She has two grown children and two grandchildren.
Los Gatos Patch: What is your biggest contribution to the Town of Los Gatos?
Sandy Decker: I watched the town I grew up in, in Southern California, chew up the orange groves and cover my hometown with concrete. I moved my family to LG in the '60s determined I wouldn't let that happen here. Serving this town as a planning commissioner, Town Council member and mayor, I have tried to protect Los Gatos by being involved in the creation and passage of land-use language that would insure the sustainability of this wonderful, but fragile town we call home.
Patch: What area do you feel you have had the most influence?
Decker: I hope I have been influential in making people aware that they can make a difference. To forfeit the right to publicly voice your opinion on the livability of our town, leaves you at the mercy of others whose decisions may have irreparable impacts on our community. Your opinion is extremely important and valuable.
Patch: How do you inspire people?
Decker: I have always been very excited about life. The 40 years that I have lived in LG have brought so much joy that I try to inspire others to look around and rejoice in the unbelievably beautiful and unique place that they have chosen as home.
Patch: How are you a transformative leader?
Decker: Asking people to exercise awareness is the first step. I have always enjoyed working with interested people to find answers and formulate solutions to difficult problems. Gathering and transferring information and ideas is empowering and forms a wider base of community input and involvement.