Darlene Acosta

KING CITY — King City Councilmember Darlene “Dee” Acosta has died after a brief illness, announced City of King officials last week.

Acosta, who recently submitted a letter of resignation from the King City Council effective Feb. 14 due to health reasons, died that Tuesday evening.

“City Council and staff wish to express our sorrow, pay tribute to Darlene Acosta for her many accomplishments and contributions to the community, and express our deepest sympathy to her family who meant so much to her,” stated City officials in a news release. “Councilmember Acosta was loved and appreciated by everyone in the City of King organization, as well as many people throughout the community. She had a big heart and treated everyone with respect and kindness at all times.”

Acosta, 73, represented Council District 1 and was re-elected for a third term last November. She was first elected to the King City Council in 2014.

Over the past nine years while on the council, Acosta was particularly passionate about supporting programs and services to help youth. She served on 4 Cities 4 Peace, the Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence Community Task Force and several other boards and committees.

“She was a fiercely loyal friend, an incredibly dedicated public servant and an amazing human being,” said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez on social media. “Dee never ceased to put a smile on my face and leave my spiritual tank a little more full than before we started talking. As a councilwoman she always put community first, as a warrior against addiction and drugs she placed the health of our communities’ children above all else.”

Prior to moving to King City, Acosta previously served on the Greenfield City Council from 1989 through 1994. She was “dedicated to community service,” said City officials.

Acosta also worked as the South County Prevention Program Manager at Sun Street Centers, an addiction treatment center, for more than 13 years until her passing. Through this position, she often partnered with local police departments and school districts to provide substance abuse education, in addition to working with at-risk youth.

“Very few cared more for our South County community than Dee,” said Soledad Police Department in a Facebook post. “Her involvement in keeping young people healthy through the Sun Street Centers and just about every other program in South County was endless. The Soledad Police Department was honored to work side by side with such a community champion and her presence will be greatly missed.”

King City Police Department also posted condolences on Facebook, saying Acosta was “thoughtful, generous, and devoted to making our community a better place for all.”

“Her commitment to service and the community was admirable,” the department added. “Darlene was a friend to the King City Police Department, and we cannot thank her enough for her support through the years. She truly will be missed. We extend our condolences to her family, friends, and loved ones.”

Her resignation, which took effect on the day of her passing, was discussed at the Feb. 14 King City Council meeting. Mayor Mike LeBarre presented a proclamation in appreciation of her service, and all the council members shared heartfelt words of praise and admiration.

“Darlene Acosta was a cherished member of our community, she lived her life helping others and those in need, she touched the lives of so many in King City and South Monterey County, she will be greatly missed,” LeBarre said. “The City mourns her loss and extends our condolences to her family and friends.”

Acosta is survived by her daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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