Meet the Mayor: Marty Winter
While this self-described alien refugee mayor recently handed over the reins, his impact on Belvedere remains.
If you are looking for an improbable life story for someone who has been the mayor of an affluent Marin city known mostly for its understated way of life and upscale yacht club, meet (former) Mayor Marty Winter of Belvedere. For starters, his given name isn’t Marty, it’s Mordechai, after his Polish grandfather. And he certainly wasn’t born in Belvedere, but in the infamous Shanghai Ghetto after his family was interned there by the Japanese during World War II.
Many years later, Winter gives thanks to his fate, to his parent’s tenacity and to a very wise attorney who enabled him and his family to reside in San Francisco and eventually become U.S. citizens. Now, only half jokingly, Winter lays claim to being Belvedere’s “first undocumented alien refugee mayor.”
Winter and his wife Barbara, who are parents as well as grandparents, have lived in Belvedere since 1990. Following a successful career in manufacturing and real estate investment, Winter slowed down some what to spend more time with his family and become involved with the surrounding community. In addition to his service as Belvedere’s mayor, Winter is instrumental in the drive to expand the Belvedere Tiburon Library.
How would you describe community life in Belvedere, one of Marin’s smallest communities with only 2,300 residents?
Belvedere is the home of hundreds of active and enthusiastic volunteers, working to preserve our heritage, our local government and our quality of life. We have a wonderfully friendly community that, in my opinion, is very generous and inclusive.
What has Belvedere done to prepare for global climate change?
Our greatest challenge is to protect our two main roads from sea level rise – we are in the final stages of engineering these modifications. Our city staff are actively engaged in promoting an energy-efficient “green” operation.
As a one-time refugee yourself, what are your thoughts on our current president’s approach to immigration?
I’m now a proud American Citizen – my certificate of naturalization is framed and sits on my desk to remind me every day of how fortunate I am. I am shocked by the nativist hatred that our government spews every day. I am saddened by the President’s attitude, tactics and callous disregard for refugees trying to make a new home here in the United States.
For years, Belvedere had a problem with deer overpopulation but you don’t hear much about it now — how was deer birth control attained?
I’m not sure that deer in Belvedere present an overpopulation problem – however, deer graze in people’s gardens and people are concerned about ticks. We’ve managed to somewhat control the deer population by adding fencing and increasing protection of plants with netting. Birth control for deer was reviewed and rejected by our council because the only currently available method was considered too barbaric.
Following a year as Belvedere’s mayor, what’s your next challenge?
I am continuing to serve on our city council for another four years. My goals and challenges are to help implement 100 percent utility undergrounding, reinforcement of our seawalls and levees, finish our library expansion and install a mooring field and harbor management plan for Richardson’s Bay Anchorage. There’s lots to do, and I remain very engaged and excited about living in Belvedere.