Opinion » Letters

Varni epitomizes 'leadership, compromise, and civility'

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I recently read a letter by Kellie Myrick regarding the work of Charles Varni ("Not a team player," Dec. 14), and I'd like to respond. I wholeheartedly agree with the opening sentence, "Serving on a government board is a team sport. It demands leadership, compromise, and civility." The time I spent as a volunteer working with Charles Varni showed me that he is the epitome of just that: leadership, compromise, and civility.

I first met Mr. Varni in 2015 when I was a teacher and served on the board of the Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association. Charles came to a school board meeting to raise awareness about the impending disaster that a proposal by Phillips 66 might bring to our county and state. Our local schools, and many more throughout California, were in the "blast zone" of the proposed project, which would have brought mile-long tanker trains through our area.

I quickly became involved as a volunteer and helped to get letters from our local teachers union, our state teachers union, and our federal teachers union opposing Phillips 66 on this. In so doing, I worked closely with Charles Varni, who spearheaded the county-wide response, and who led hundreds of volunteers (with a letter-writing campaign of 20,000) to victory! A David and Goliath fight of this magnitude required collaboration, problem solving, dedication, and perseverance.

I attended strategy meetings, large and small, led by Charles. The culture was always respectful and encouraging of all ideas and perspectives. Not once did I ever feel intimidated or unsupported. I have great respect for the leadership skills of Charles Varni and for the hard work and dedication that he brings to his work.

Kathleen Minck

South County


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