It's been a long time since Matt Grocott and Bob Grassilli have lead the city council, and the city itself.
Both men have been mayor before, as both have been longtime council members and longtime public servants.
But their triumphant returns to leading the city have come via the results of happenings both tragic and unexpected.
In 2010, the city council saw then-Mayor Randy Royce, Vice-Mayor Omar Ahmad, and Andy Klein serve with Grocott and Grassilli.
Grocott was the odd man out, frequently the sole 'no' vote on countless issues. As time wore on, the frequency in which Royce, Ahmad, and Klein voted the same way increased, and Grocott and Grassilli's dissenting votes often fell on deaf ears.
The political implications of Royce, Ahmad and Klein's agreement on core issues changed the city: the Belmont-San Carlos fire JPA was disbanded and a deal was struck to partner with Redwood City; the city outsourced police to the county; the synthetic turf lawsuit was finally settled and Highland Park was renovated.
The city's claims to being a trailblazer on issues of public safety outsourcing and money saving are not unfounded.
Then came the tragic and sudden death of Ahmad in May 2011, followed by Royce's re-election loss that November, and Klein's resignation last month; a trifecta of departures that changed the political landscape of San Carlos, and thrusted Grocott and Grassilli back into the forefront.
How Grocott and Grassilli will fare in their respective positions remains to be seen. These two veterans of San Carlos politics face a citywide deficit and a council short one member. Circumstance brought them into the positions they hold, time will determine which direction they lead the city.