Gus loved the fight, he loved to mix it up but not from the dais and even though he served as Mayor of Fountain Valley and on the City Council he really loved the work he did behind the scenes.
I met Gus in 2008 when my husband Gary ran for State Senate. He and Joe Shaw were one of the first people to support him and they’ve been loyal friends ever since. Gus fought for us, he fought for me. He was just always there for me when I needed an ear. That was Gus.
And he never failed to make me laugh. I always liked making him laugh as well. I made it my goal to do so. It made me feel like I accomplished something because well, Gus was smart, he was sharp, he was smarter than the average bear.
Gus was just a good man. He was good through and through. I can’t say enough how honored I was to know him and call him my friend. I shared much in common with him from some strengths to some weaknesses and he always made me feel better for both of those. And he always encouraged me to do more and be better. He supported my writing, not just with his words, but by helping create a blog so I would have somewhere to write.
That was Gus. He went all in. And he did this for so many. Gus was about his family, he was about taking care of others and taking care of the earth. He was thinking of everyone but himself and he just exuded goodness though he could have such a mean streak when it came to his sense of humor, it’s why I loved him so much, nothing was sacred. But when it mattered, when it counted, he was there and you knew it.
I can’t imagine not having Gus in our lives. So many depended upon him to help fight those good fights. To be there for them. To be an ear to listen to, someone to go on a hike with to fight their very worthy battle.
It’s a void that will be so difficult to fill, not just a void in my heart, but in our collective organizing ability. It will just make everything harder to do.
I spoke to him just a couple of days ago, he called to see how I was doing. He asked if we could go to lunch and I had to decline. I wish I had gone. I could have hugged him one more time. I could have spent some more time with him.
We went to Netroots Nation together in 2010, if it hadn’t been for him, I probably wouldn’t have gone at all. I will cherish that always.
Gus was like a Dad to me. There will never be enough time with Gus.
I just don’t think I can do justice for Gus’s passing. My deepest condolences to his family and his long list of friends.
From Joe Shaw:
This is a significant loss for progressives and environmentalists in Orange County.
Just to let you know what Gus worked on in the 2012 campaign cycle:
Sandy Genis elected to the Costa Mesa City Council
Jill Hardy elected to the Huntington Beach City Council
Diana Carey elected to the Westminster City Council
Helped to defeat Measure Z in Huntington Beach
Worked on the anti-Charter initiative in Costa Mesa
Worked on saving Coyote Hills in Fullerton and won at the ballot even though outspent 10-1.
Worked on defeating an anti-open space initiative in Orange and won!
Gus’s last project was defeating the Poseidon desalination project in Huntington Beach and we will be carrying on that fight now with a vengeance and in Gus’ memory.