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By Eric Heinz
Bob Baker will return to the helm as San Clemente’s mayor for a second time, after he was unanimously chosen for the post by the City Council at Tuesday night’s meeting. Baker was last mayor of San Clemente in 2013. Mayoral terms in San Clemente are one year and are elected by the City Council.
Councilwoman Kathy Ward was unanimously elected as Mayor Pro Tem.
“It’s a great honor to represent the constituents and try to do my best for the residents of San Clemente,” Baker said. “I want to thank my family for supporting me in the endeavor.”
Hamm gave an outgoing speech that highlighted some of the issues the city undertook during his mayoral term.
“There are a lot of people I want to thank; first one, we have an amazing staff of almost 200 employees who work tirelessly every day for the citizens of San Clemente,” Hamm said. “Next I want to thank the City Council for entrusting me with this position over the last year, and I appreciate everything you guys have done for me, the long nights we’ve had, the great discussions. I think what we’ve done has been for the betterment of San Clemente.”
Hamm also thanked his friends and family for supporting him during the long nights and hours he’s put into the position.
“The big person I have to thank … is my mom; she raised me by herself with her mother,” Hamm said. “Obviously the No. 1 person I have to thank is my wife, Danielle. It was our first year of marriage and she stood by me the entire time.”
Hamm also harped on the issues surrounding Saddleback Memorial Hospital in San Clemente and his frustrations of the prospect of it closing.
“This is utterly ridiculous that we’ve spent even a single minute discussing the closure of San Clemente’s hospital,” he said. “I plead to the board members, please keep the hospital open.” Hamm is the city’s youngest mayor to date, as he was elected at age 31.
He is also a firefighter and EMT with Orange County Fire Authority in the city.
The next election for City Council members will take place in November. The councilmembers up for re-election are Baker and Hamm. The last City Council meeting of the year will take place Dec. 15.