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Names in the News: Sandy Decker

We recently queried this former Los Gatos mayor for our weekly Names in the News Q&A feature, formerly known as Most Influential profile.

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.

ira Spector May 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I've worked with Sandy on community fundraising projects and she thinks “outside the box,” developing unique ideas for functions that excite and energize volunteers, while attracting attendees whose donations have funded numerous community projects. Congratulations, Sandy!
Jeanne Rajabzadeh May 11, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The town of Los Gatos is lucky to have Sandy. Her unflagging quest to make and keep Los Gatos a great place to live has benefited everyone. Thanks Sandy!
Steve May 11, 2012 at 03:58 PM
This gal possesses an unending dedication to her community. Thank you Sandy.
John Jennings May 11, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Sandy Decker is a true Ambassador for the Town of Los Gatos! She is one of the classiest women I've ever met and I have never seen her without a smile on her face!
Peggy Conaway May 11, 2012 at 10:05 PM
In 1952, Los Gatos author Ruth Comfort Mitchell wrote to the editor of the Los Gatos Times "I yield to no one in my devotion to Los Gatos." That was undoubtly true. But generations later she was followed by a woman who would have met, or surpassed, that devotion. Former Mayor Sandy Decker is a truly remarkable woman, an inspiring leader -- and working on any project with Sandy is just plain fun. I will always be very grateful to Sandy for her leadership on the recently completed and hugely successful library capital campaign. Without her help, $2 million dollars would not be in the bank. Over a decade's time, I worked on many successful projects with Sandy and marveled at what she was able to do, all the time engaging everyone involved. Congratulations Sandy. Recognition for all that you have contributed to your beloved town is long past due.
Mary Martin May 11, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Sandy Decker is an Energizer Bunny! She did an amazing job as the co-chair of the Friends of the Library capital campaign that raised more than $2 million for furnishings, fixtures and equipment in our beautiful new building. She can motivate people like no other, partly because her enthusiasm is contagious, partly because she is very persuasive, partly because she can make the vision real for others and partly because she's an all-around nice person.
Mary B. May 12, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Thank you Sandy for your dedication to the Town of Los Gatos. You're a great inspiration, role model, and yes, one classy lady!
Ethan Harmer May 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Truly a great example of someone who works hard to make things happen. She has always been a great inspiration to many and has been a catalyst to make things happen.

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