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San Ramon council poised to reappoint poet laureate

Open space committee report, closed-door discussion about city manager's retirement also on tap

The San Ramon City Council is set to consider appointing the city's current poet laureate for an additional term at its next regular meeting on Tuesday evening.

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Jenyth Jo Gearhart-Utchen, a San Ramon resident of more than 25 years, has served as the city's poet laureate since 2018.

Although city officials received and reviewed an application from a challenger for the next two-year term, Gearhart-Utchen is recommended for an additional term following interviews by a subcommittee composed of members of the Parks and Community Services and Arts Advisory Committee.

"The committee felt both candidates were qualified and would make excellent poet laureates; however, Jenyth Jo Gearhart-Utchen has extensive experience and strong connections to the community," parks and community services director Kathi Heimann said in a staff report. "She also has several prospective projects that would significantly benefit the community in the coming years."

Vikram Balasubramanian was the other applicant for the position.

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Gearhart-Utchen serves as co-director for Monte Vista High School's Poetry Out Loud Program. She took a hiatus from a decades-long teaching career in 2019 in order to pursue an MFA degree from St. Mary's College.

"The poet laureate is an official representative of a city or state who promotes and encourages the literary arts in the community," Heimann said in the staff report prepared for Tuesday.

The poet laureate may be asked to produce poems for special events in the city, as well as facilitating workshops and judging local writing contests.

The San Ramon City Council is set to meet Tuesday (Sept. 27) at 7 p.m. The agenda is available here.

In other business

* The council will hear a report from the Open Space Advisory Committee.

* The council will discuss in closed session a performance evaluation of retiring City Manager Joe Gorton, as well as the process for selecting an interim city manager upon his departure.

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Jeanita Lyman
Jeanita Lyman joined the Pleasanton Weekly in September 2020 and covers the Danville and San Ramon beat. She studied journalism at Skyline College and Mills College while covering the Peninsula for the San Mateo Daily Journal, after moving back to the area in 2013. Read more >>

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San Ramon council poised to reappoint poet laureate

Open space committee report, closed-door discussion about city manager's retirement also on tap

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Mon, Sep 26, 2022, 9:31 pm

The San Ramon City Council is set to consider appointing the city's current poet laureate for an additional term at its next regular meeting on Tuesday evening.

Jenyth Jo Gearhart-Utchen, a San Ramon resident of more than 25 years, has served as the city's poet laureate since 2018.

Although city officials received and reviewed an application from a challenger for the next two-year term, Gearhart-Utchen is recommended for an additional term following interviews by a subcommittee composed of members of the Parks and Community Services and Arts Advisory Committee.

"The committee felt both candidates were qualified and would make excellent poet laureates; however, Jenyth Jo Gearhart-Utchen has extensive experience and strong connections to the community," parks and community services director Kathi Heimann said in a staff report. "She also has several prospective projects that would significantly benefit the community in the coming years."

Vikram Balasubramanian was the other applicant for the position.

Gearhart-Utchen serves as co-director for Monte Vista High School's Poetry Out Loud Program. She took a hiatus from a decades-long teaching career in 2019 in order to pursue an MFA degree from St. Mary's College.

"The poet laureate is an official representative of a city or state who promotes and encourages the literary arts in the community," Heimann said in the staff report prepared for Tuesday.

The poet laureate may be asked to produce poems for special events in the city, as well as facilitating workshops and judging local writing contests.

The San Ramon City Council is set to meet Tuesday (Sept. 27) at 7 p.m. The agenda is available here.

In other business

* The council will hear a report from the Open Space Advisory Committee.

* The council will discuss in closed session a performance evaluation of retiring City Manager Joe Gorton, as well as the process for selecting an interim city manager upon his departure.

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