Armenta’s Legacy – He Was the Ideal TeammateBy Ari L. Noonan @ 2:00 PM April 24, 2012
First of two parts
Christopher Armenta In the exuberance of an emotional farewell last evening to Chris Armenta, who left the City Council after one term because of a career change, he was repeatedly and erroneously characterized as a drum major, a leader of the Council.
That never was his role or desire.
If his supporters had sung, “For Chris is a jolly good fellow,” they would have been closer.
Supremely collegial by nature, being the glue was his destiny on a Council where healing was emphasized after years of uncommonly sour strife among different players.
An authentic smile permanently is etched on his ever youthful face, an appearance as genuine as his abundance of coal-black hair on a Council where a barber would have made a small living.
He resembles Joe All-America.
His fresh-from-college presentation leads an agenda that includes being open-faced, helpful, and upbeat even when there was brewing disagreement among colleagues.
Making policy was somebody else’s strength – his was convincing colleagues to make one of the options, or a compromise, work. Never got ruffled. Never got upset, much less angry. The ideal teammate, many said.
No one ever would have called him hardline or stubborn.
From such a description, maybe no one would guess that Mr. Armenta, 48 years old, has logged more than 20 years with the staid state Board of Equalization. His lofty title is Deputy Advisor, working out of the Monterey Park office across town, peppered with a steady schedule of trips to Sacramento.
Just before his final abbreviated City Council meeting, he was greeting a chorus of well-wishers in the Dan Patacchia Room at City Hall.
With the end of his City Council days staring back at him, how did he feel?
Never far from an infectious laugh framed in a huge smile, he throws back his head and says “I don’t know that it has quite set in yet. I think when the next Monday meeting rolls around and I don’t get my agenda I will realize it.”
Former Mayor Ed Wolkowitz shook Mr. Armenta’s hands, and they exchanged pleasantries.
“Mr. Wolkowitz, sir.”
“No, I should be congratulating you.”
“I would say that Culver City is built on the legacy of prior Council members. You are part of that, and it made my transition much easier in every manner.”
Mr. Wolkowitz, who served two terms, starting in 1994, before leaving a decade ago, was asked how long it took him to get over leaving public office.
“Forty-five minutes,” he said with typical succinctness.
(To be continued)