Farewell to a friend

Last week, the community lost a very special person with the passing of Lesley Devine.

Her death marked the end of an era in Calabasas—but today is not a time to mourn, rather to celebrate.

Under Devine’s leadership—she served on every city council from the incorporation in 1991 until 2005 and was mayor twice—Calabasas grew and prospered. The growth was carefully and intelligently planned, thanks to Devine’s total attention to detail and unwavering respect for the environment.

Indeed, Lesley Devine accomplished much during her two decades of service to the city. She fought for public safety, for open space, for new parks, and with every ounce of energy that she had, she led the fight against Ahmanson Ranch.

Today Calabasas has become a crown jewel of Los Angeles County, thanks in large part to the perseverance of Lesley Devine.

But Devine’s recalcitrance on the issues was also criticized at times. Her micro-management of The Commons development caused lengthy delays in the completion of the center, critics said. She was also known for her frequent verbal battles with developer Rick Caruso and fellow City Councilmember Dennis Washburn, among others.

Devine was never afraid to be on the short end of a 4-1 vote, but that’s democracy.

While it’s true that Devine made both friends and enemies along the way—that’s politics—there’s one thing she never failed to do and that’s to put the residents of Calabasas first.

She kept her finger on the pulse of the community, listened to her constituents, and always did what she thought was best for the city. Usually she was right on.

Devine’s determination to preserve the city’s quality of life earned high praise from friends and colleagues who paid their last respects and spoke at Monday’s funeral service.

To be sure, Lesley Devine was the matriarch of the city and one of its most dedicated servants.

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