Ken Lane got a bit weepy-eyed when a major portion of Monday’s council meeting was spent showering him with accolades as he buttons up 13 years of service on the Ceres City Council.
Lane decided not to seek a fourth term on council, opening up his District 1 seat for the lone candidacy of Channce Condit. Lane steps down officially on Thursday, Dec. 6 at a 5:30 p.m. reorganization meeting. At that time both Condit and Lynda Ryno – who was re-elected to District 2 on Nov. 6 – will take the oath of office.
“My heart wasn’t open to serving this community like it always was."Ken Lane
Lane commented that he felt it was time to leave because he was feeling less enthusiastic and another term would be “self-serving.”
“My heart wasn’t open to serving this community like it always was,” said Lane. “So that’s when I knew. You have to self-check yourself in this business of politics.”
Lane commented that he is “leaving the city better than what it was when I came” and mentioned how the council has brought more revenue into city coffers via developer agreements with medical marijuana establishments which recently led to the purchase of four new fire vehicles.
Mayor Chris Vierra read a city proclamation honoring Lane for working “tirelessly on behalf of the residents, business community and young people of Ceres” through his council service and by attending events like ribbon cuttings and meetings with businesses.
“We’ve had plenty of many, many accomplishments that I am proud to say that I served with Councilman Lane on,” said Mayor Vierra. He said Lane had a hand in the new Whitmore-Highway 99 interchange, development of Ceres River Bluff Regional Park and the numerous infrastructure projects that include a revamped Fourth Street.
“There’s a lot of time, effort and dedication that this man put into the city and I just wanted to personally thank him,” said Vierra.
“He’s been great for this community,” commented Councilman Bret Durossette. “It’s just been an honor and for the past 11 years I have learned from you so I appreciate you.”
Vice Mayor Mike Kline said he’s had disagreements with Lane but the two always “left it at the dais.”
Councilwoman Linda Ryno met Lane when he served on the Planning Commission and she was a city staffer.
“Over the years I really appreciated the amount of time that he took, even on the Planning Commission, considering everything that was brought before him,” said Ryno. “He didn’t just go along with everyone; he gave a lot of thought. Then when I joined him up here we certainly haven’t agreed on probably a whole heck of a lot, but I still really appreciate all the time he invested.”
City Manager Toby Wells said Lane brought much to city leadership.
“You helped us on a path that we know we’re a city on the rise and moving and you’re a big part of that,” said Wells.
Attending the event was wife Yvette Lane, a former trustee on the Ceres School Board, mother Faye Lane who sits on the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees, and brother Stan Lane. Also attending were friends Bill Berryhill, Eric Ingwerson and Lisa Mantarro Moore.
Ingwerson noted how he knew Lane when he was four and recalled him trying to charge a toll for those who tried to pass on the sidewalk in front of the family home on Thomas Avenue. Ingwerson, himself a former mayor, pointed out how Lane’s trouble pronouncing “grandma” came out “ger-ma.”
“That’s how long I’ve known Ken Lane,” said Ingwerson. “He grew up essentially across the street from me on Thomas Avenue. We have great memories dating clear back to then and then we got involved in politics – holy cow. Somebody should have warned us about that. Ken you’ve done a great job and proud to know you … you’ve been outstanding for the city of Ceres.”
Bill Berryhill, a Ceres wine grape grower and former state Assemblyman, praised Lane for his service and said “Nobody bleeds Ceres blood like Ken Lane.”
Lisa Mantarro Moore praised Lane for always jumping in to help with community projects, such as helping out with work projects at the Clinton Whitmore Mansion.
“He comes with ideas, he comes with manpower and he comes with devotion,” said Moore. “He is devoted to this community and has never stopped.”
Lane was appointed to the Ceres Planning Commission in January 1999 before he began aspiring to serve on the council. His path to getting on the council was interrupted by a string of controversies. In 2003 he lost his bid to become mayor against Delinda Moore following what he alleged a “whisper campaign” made political hay of a prior bankruptcy and his past struggles with drugs and alcohol. Lane was also embarrassed when a videotape was leaked a week after his 2003 defeat showing him coaching his son to fight another student on his front lawn.
Two years later, in 2005, Lane was elected to the council. He was re-elected in November 2009 and in November 2013. His current term was supposed to end 2017 but it was extended – along with those of all the other council members and mayor – to align elections with either gubernatorial or presidential elections because of a state mandate.
During his 13 years on the City Council, Lane made Ceres history, rejecting rent control measures, approving developer agreements for marijuana manufacturing and two dispensaries. He was present when the cut the ribbon to the Ceres Community Center with then-mayor Anthony Cannella in June 2009; and at the opening of Ceres Fire Station #3 on Fowler Road. Lane also on the council during the sad time when fellow Councilman Rob Phipps died after the Christmas Festival of 2007.
Lane was born and raised in Ceres. His community service has included service on the Measure J Committee which helped pass school bonds to build Central Valley High School. He has been an active member of the Ceres Lions Club and Arrowhead Club. He has been employed with MoCal Office Systems in Modesto.
He served on the League of California Cities’ board of directors from 2012 to 2018, the California League of Cities’ Transportation Policy Committee from 2008 to 2009 and its Public Safety Policy Committee from 2009-10. He was also the League’s Central Division president from 2011 to 2012. Lane served on multiple committee assignments as well. Mayor Vierra also pointed out how Lane played Santa with his wife Yvette as Mrs. Claus at the Ceres Christmas Festival.
Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres added to the spirit of celebration following the meeting.