I’m not sure why Mimi Kalland was given just two paragraphs in The Trib when she was named the 2010 Los Osos Citizen of the Year in late January. Those paragraphs hardly explained her community contributions since she and husband Gene moved to Baywood Park in the mid-2000s. As Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the rest of the story.”
First of all, full disclosure: I like Mimi. As a former department chair and associate dean of the School of Education at CSU Dominguez Hills, she crackles with intelligence without making a big deal out of it.
She’s got a nicely honed sense of humor, which she trots out with a full-gusto laugh. And although she and Gene (who was a biology professor at Dominguez Hills) have got a few miles on them, you won’t hear her kvetching about any health issues — or, as she noted in a Christmas card, “no organ recitals.”
She’s also a neighbor who lives on a street over from The Lovely Sharita and me, which she described in another card as being behind us and “a little to the left.”
But the quality that knocks me out about Mimi is that she throws herself into community projects.
She has been a court-appointed special advocate for children who have gotten caught up in custody battles; has served on the Los Osos Community Advisory Council; and, more recently, is a member of the community group called Celebrate Los Osos, a nonpolitical team of Osans who have beautified ball fields and added infrastructure when no one else would step up to the plate.
In fact, all of the recently planted and landscaped medians around town are the work of Celebrate Los Osos at Mimi’s not insubstantial direction.
And, in the past when she wasn’t wrangling a beautification project or dealing with advisory land-use issues, she was writing Viewpoints and opinion pieces for the now-shuttered Sun Bulletin newspaper in Morro Bay, or for The Tribune.
As I once noted, Mimi’s articles were insightful and humorous, and always had a point that she would drive home with a 32-ounce framing hammer and nail it every time. She is fearless in facing down critical issues that face the community by bringing rationality to irrational thinking. She is a vibrant, thoughtful, articulate member of the community, willing to put her energy where her mouth is.
Nothing has changed that opinion of her in the intervening years.
As son Chris Warshaw, an environmental law consultant, says: “Of course retirement hasn’t slowed my mom down a bit. If anything, her energy and drive have increased. There’s a perfect quotation written by a 19th century doctor, but could have been written by my Mom: ‘The world is no place of rest. I repeat, it is no place of rest but for effort. Steady, continuous undeviating effort. Our work should never be done, and it is the daydream of ignorance to look forward to that as a happy time, when we shall wish for nothing more, and have nothing more to accomplish.’ ”