ALBANY -- In some ways, Rochelle Nason seems born to have a role helping guide the city.
Her father, Milton Nason, was involved in efforts to save the Albany waterfront beginning in the late 1960s, working with people such as Save the Bay co-founder Catherine Kerr in efforts to close what was then the city dump and rehabilitate it as part of a larger park. Work is now being done to make the site part of McLaughlin East Shore State Park.
"I had been hearing since I was a child how someday we would have a great waterfront park in Albany," Rochelle Nason said in an interview this week.
On July 21, she will be sworn in as a member of the City Council. She was selected at the council's July 7 meeting to take the seat of Peggy Thomsen, who passed away in June.
Nason will serve through the November election, when voters will choose someone to finish the final two years of Thomsen's term and elect two members to four-year terms. She said she is "pretty sure" she will run for one of the seats in November, adding, "I think that I would love to serve a whole four-year term."
The youngest of three children, Nason was born in Oakland and moved with her family to Albany when she was a baby.
She attended Marin Elementary School and Albany High School, then earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy from UC Berkeley and her law degree from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
Nason spent four years working for the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, then moved to South Lake Tahoe to take a job as staff attorney for the League to Save Lake Tahoe -- the advocacy group that popularized the slogan "Keep Tahoe Blue."
"That was going to be a fun job that I stayed at for a few years, and I ended up staying for two decades," Nason recalled.
She ended up serving as executive director for 18 years before resigning in 2011. She had spent the last six years of her tenure splitting time between Albany and Lake Tahoe because of the declining health of her mother, Ann Nason, who died in 2010.
Nason recently took the position of executive director of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley and said her faith has always been important to her. In South Lake Tahoe, she was involved with Temple Bat Yam.
The future of the waterfront was, of course, one of the main reasons Nason applied for the vacancy on the City Council.
"The waterfront and parks more generally," she said. "I'm very interested in having really great outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. For ecological health as well."
Nason said she is the happy owner of, "a small well-trained dog. Not a big ferocious beast."
Which brings up the contentious issue of uses of Albany Beach that have put dog owners at odds with environmentalists.
"I hope that I can help environmentalists and dog lovers to find ways to compromise," Nason said. "I also hope to help foster compromise between people who prioritize open space and people who prioritize tax revenues. That's been a longstanding problem in Albany. If I have an ambition for the Albany City Council, I would like to see if I can help people come together. I find myself as a person with a foot in both camps."