Clyde Bland, who will be buried today, was a personable and committed leader in our community for more than 40 years. He arrived when Tracy was a small valley town of less than 14,000 faces, and he was a steward of the first of several growth spurts in the 1980s and 1990s that added more than 60,000 people.
He was a salesman (as an insurance agent and a City Councilman and mayor) that everyone seemed to like. He had that grandfatherly image — always willing to listen before providing his comforting wisdom. Although he had an “aw shucks” style and wit, he was extremely astute with an always-inquiring mind.
When Mr. Bland was elected Tracy’s mayor in 1990, the community welcomed an elected leader of the city who brought dignity and stability to the position.
During his five years as a council member and four as mayor, Mr. Bland helped create the planning and financial programs to prepare the city for the growth pressures that it was about to witness. He provided the leadership for a new general plan, financing mechanisms for infrastructure and schools, residential and industrial specific plans and a growth-management ordinance. These efforts resulted in a broad community consensus that the city was acting responsibly in managing growth.
Unfortunately, over the years, these well-thought-out plans were subject to continual pressures to be bent and altered, so that the consensus that had been established in managing growth was eroded and eventually lost.
Mr. Bland’s legacy will be that he cared deeply for and had a very positive and bright outlook of the future of the community he loved. Through his efforts in city government and substantial volunteer community projects, he left us with dreams of what Tracy should be and the responsibility to ensure the dreams are fulfilled.