When people heard a conservative white male with rumored Tea Party affiliations was running for City Council in Modesto’s District 2, they weren’t just puzzled, they were mystified. When he won, the victory was attributed to low voter turnout resulting from apathy.
But mystification turned to pleasant surprise when Dave Geer turned out to be one of the best public servants his city and district had ever seen.
Except insofar as he tended to serve the interests of his district whenever possible, he wasn’t predictable. He was as likely to take so-called “liberal” positions as to favor conservative views. He made up his mind only after carefully weighing facts and a broad spectrum of opinion.
Ego and status were not issues for Dave Geer. He treated everyone with equal respect. That’s probably one reason he was able to represent his mostly poor and minority district so well.
Geer took strong positions, but never sought headlines or notoriety. He didn’t duck the tough issues and he didn’t indulge in demagoguery.
Dave Geer never had to say, “I am not a politician.” His dedication to his constituents spoke for itself. He had his share of causes and pursued them with energy and intellectual force. Never did he appear to act with any motive other than carefully considered evaluation of the public interest.
Councilman Geer rose above the stereotypes, pettiness, and self-aggrandizement that too often characterize today’s politics. He managed to be active, committed, forthright, and scrupulous—difficult standards to maintain in today’s ugly political environment.
Like too many who personify public service, he left too soon.
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