By Allison Jarrell
What do the Veterans of Foreign Wars Serra Post 3801 and local publication Community Common Sense have in common?
As of Tuesday, both have received the mayor’s award for Service Organization of the Year.
The local VFW was selected by former mayor Derek Reeve last year, and this year Mayor Pam Patterson announced her choice of Community Common Sense at the Dec. 6 Council meeting. City Commissioner Kim McCarthy, who runs the paper with editor Kim Lefner, received the award from Patterson. Lefner was not in attendance.
Patterson said she selected the “watchdog publication,” which was formed in 2009, because it covers issues affecting residents and businesses in town and operates “solely as a community service rather than as a money-making venture.”
McCarthy said she appreciated the award, adding that she helped start the paper because a group of people felt they “weren’t getting the whole story.”
Common Sense comes out between six and 10 times a year. Regular elements of the publication include columns written by Patterson and Mayor Pro Tem Ferguson; stories written by Lefner, residents, commissioners and local politicians; stories without bylines; and letters.
While the paper is self-described as “non-partisan,” it has often been critical of the former Council majority—John Taylor, Larry Kramer and outgoing Councilman Sam Allevato. In 2014, the paper endorsed Patterson, Ferguson and Reeve for City Council (all three won seats). In 2015, McCarthy was appointed to the Parks, Recreation, Senior and Youth Services Commission.
Patterson also honored retired councilman and former mayor Roy Byrnes on Tuesday with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his service and dedication to the city. Even though two more awards were on the agenda for Tuesday—Community Pride and Citizens of the Year—Patterson announced that they would be held until the next meeting on Dec. 12.