Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In appreciation: Vivian Li

The worth of a city can be measured in part by the caliber of the people who devote themselves to its improvement.  By that measure, Boston has much to credit from the engagement of Vivian Li as long-time head of the Boston Harbor Association, created to promote a clean, alive and accessible Boston Harbor.  Many have considered her the unofficial mayor of Boston's waterfront for the last quarter century, and that would not be a bad summary.

She's now off to new adventures in Pittsburgh, and there is a farewell celebration for her tonight.  For today, I'll skip her many accomplishments but rather focus on her approach and demeanor.  

I don't know of anyone in this city who has worked with Vivian who doesn't admire her and consider her a friend and colleague.  Those of us who worked at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority certainly viewed her in that light. Invariably pleasant and respectful in her dealings--even in the most contentious disputes--she has approached her job with intelligence, judgment, and good humor. Her objective has always been to achieve the public good.  But her other objective has been to achieve a coalition for the public good, to build the institutional and community infrastructure to support the wise use of the waterfont resource. In that regard, her legacy will outlast her tenure at TBHA.

I join thousands who know her in wishing her well and happiness.  Pittsburgh, you've landed a gem!

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