A statement written by Mayor Steve Martin was read prior to the meeting
PASO ROBLES — The community mourned together at the Tuesday night Paso Robles City Council meeting after learning the news of Mayor Steve Martin’s passing on Monday night, Aug. 14.
Prior to the meeting coming to order, longtime friend and former Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley read a statement Martin wrote prior to his death. Martin and O’Malley worked together for 10 years while Martin was the executive director of the Atascadero Main Street Association. Later the two would work alongside as mayors and develop the cohesive relationship that exists today between the cities.
O’Malley read the statement, which began by addressing the mayor’s illness. In March of this year, the City of Paso Robles released a notice that Martin would be taking a step back from council to seek treatment for an illness.
“For months, you have noticed my absence at meetings and public functions. As I prepared to resume my position as mayor for a third consecutive term, I learned I had an aggressive form of cancer,” said Martin in his statement.
He explained in the statement that the initial analysis said surgery would be the essential treatment but further complications intervened, and the cancer spread and became incurable.
He continued, “As I write this, I expect to have little time left in this world. I wish for everyone to know that I had no idea what was happening in my body as I campaigned for office. If that was the case, I would never have run, or I would have dropped out of the race. I have made every effort to do my job as Mayor while fighting this disease. Attending meetings virtually, receiving updates from staff, etc.”
“What I have included in this note will fall far short of all I wish to say to you. I am a man of two cities, having grown up in Atascadero and lived my adult life in Paso Robles. I am a man of simple purpose, however, and that is to serve my North County community and treat everyone, supporter and detractor alike, with dignity, compassion, and respect. I trust I have succeeded most of the time. To those who feel I have failed, I ask your forgiveness. To those who now feel they have wronged me, I offer my forgiveness.”
Martin regarded his regrets about leaving projects unfinished such as the spaceport, solutions for homelessness, broadband improvements, and more.
He then spoke about the future and reflected on the community that surrounded him, “I also face the future with wonderful memories with family, friends, and colleagues. I feel honored to have worked with such caring and competent council members and such talented and dedicated staff. I am also humbled and thankful for the outpouring of support from so many who have wished me well, most not knowing the challenges I faced. Thank you all for your love and caring.”
As a Christian, Martin said he moves toward the rest of God’s plan for him and that he hopes to see everyone again one day.
He concluded with a final message for his community, “Now, as always, I hold all of you and our community in my heart, urging you to let your differences be subordinate to your desire to care for one another. Remember to stay informed, stay involved, and stay strong, Paso Robles. God bless you all, and farewell.”
As requested by Mayor Pro Tem John Hamon, a moment was silence was held for the late mayor, followed by comments and statements from councilmembers. All spoke to Martin’s attention to the city and his genuine care for the community, his family, his friends, and how he always made you feel like you were the only one in the room. Councilmember Fred Strong recalled the last meeting he had with Martin last week. During the 20 minutes, Martin used the little energy he had left to focus and talk about the city — always hoping for the community to come together and be there for one another.
Hamon, who will continue to stand in for Martin, left everyone with the following, “For now, we are in a mourning for Steve, and I know he is in a good place right now.”
The next Paso Robles City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 6:30 p.m.