Wednesday, April 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Gary Falati: The unofficial ‘Mr. Fairfield’

16 gary falati 1

Former Fairfield mayor Gary Falati stands in his office in Fairfield, Wednesday. Falati has lived in Fairfield most of his life and also served on the city counsel and school board. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page B5 | August 16, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — “Mr. Fairfield” is not a title given out in a local beauty pageant and in fact, it isn’t an official title at all. A personalized calendar given to near-lifelong Fairfield resident Gary Falati dubbed him as such after listing his numerous accomplishments.

Falati was on the Fairfield City Council for 19 years (1974 to 1993), 16 of them as mayor. As mayor, he was instrumental in bringing the mall to Fairfield, which many point to as the time when Fairfield was “put on the map.” Falati also served two terms on the Fairfield-Suisun school board.

He has been a local businessman for 30 years working as a State Farm insurance agent, and in the past was a teacher, football coach and principal at his alma mater, Armijo High School.

Falati, who will turn 74 this month, grew up in a very different Fairfield than the one he later served politically.

“I was president of the Future Farmers of America at Armijo my senior year of 1958,” Falati said. “I had 100 head of breeding sheep and that’s how I paid my way through college. I sold registered Suffolk blackface ewes and rams and they went for like $100 a head. That was a lot of money.”

Falati comes from families with deep roots in Fairfield: the Lambrechts, Bells and Chadbournes. After being born in Vallejo, his family moved to Fairfield when he was 2.

From 1942 to 1945, Falati’s family lived on a ranch where CVS Pharmacy on Travis Boulevard is now located. Some of his various uncles’ homes are still standing, including the house that is now Archway Recovery Services on the corner of Travis Boulevard and Union Avenue, as well as the one that is now Lam’s Acupuncture on Travis Boulevard.

In 1951, Falati, then a sixth-grader at Fairfield Elementary School, attended the Fairfield City Council meeting where the donation by his uncle, Lee Bell, of 10 acres for the development of a city park was approved – narrowly.

“It was a split vote, 3-2. Two council members felt it was too far out in the country,” Falati said.

During the summers of Falati’s youth, most kids had jobs cutting fruit in Suisun Valley. In sixth- through eighth-grade, Falati had a shoe-shine stand in Allan Witt’s downtown barbershop.

As a teen in the 1950s for fun, it was all about cruising.

“You would wash your car all day then drive by Manuel Campos’ Food Fair and look at your reflection in the big glass window and see your car with the spinner rims,” Falati said.

Former Fairfield City Manager B. Gale Wilson hired Falati as recreation department supervisor and he worked as a lifeguard at the Fairfield plunge and did tours at Rockville Hills Park among other duties from 1968 to 1974.

“In 1974, my friend since I was a child, Tommy Hannigan, suggested I run for City Council and take his seat because he was running for the board of supervisors,” Falati said. “We knocked on 8,600 doors and children of potential voters knew me from the plunge and from playgrounds. The kids helped me to get elected because they vouched for me to their parents.”

In 1976, when he was the vice mayor, Falati had an opportunity, through a foreign exchange program at Chico State, to go behind the Iron Curtain.

“We spent three weeks in the Soviet Union studying comparative economic systems. We stayed at Red Square in a hotel with 5,000 rooms and you didn’t get to keep your keys. You checked them in with the person at the end of the hall,” Falati said. “We figured everything was monitored. You didn’t travel from city to city unless you had permission. What a life experience.”

On the City Council, Falati sought counsel from his elders and took lessons to heart. Once he came to a council meeting directly from coaching football at Armijo and was wearing shorts. Mayor Manuel Campos gave him a dressing down and he never made that mistake again.

These days, candidates seeking local political offices often seek Falati for his counsel.

“I give people a read and tell them what I think is in their best interest to do. I don’t just tell them what they want to hear,” Falati said. “I had a guy ask me what his chances were if he entered a race and I told him he had two. He said, ‘I know: slim and none.’ I told him no, none and none. He said, ‘Do you have to be so damned honest?’ ”

Besides the park named for his uncle Lee Bell, the trust of his cousin Irving Lambrecht’s estate donated 80 acres to the city of Suisun City to create the Irving H. Lambrecht Sports Complex on Scandia Road. In 2010, Falati himself became the third member of his family to be honored with a park. The 6.8-acre, $1.1 million Gary Falati Neighborhood Park on Falati Lane in the Gold Ridge neighborhood was dedicated that year on Sept. 11.

The title of Mr. Fairfield, unofficial as it is, makes Falati a bit uneasy. He points to so many who went before him, including Arnie Digerud, Loyal Hanson, Frank Cruz, Allan Witt, Tom Hannigan and others.

“You grow up in a community and the community matures and hopefully you mature a little bit as a person with it,” Falati said. “I know my roots here and they are strong.”

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at [email protected].

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Eugene BorghelloAugust 16, 2014 - 9:40 am

    Please, come back! We need you

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • P.J.August 16, 2014 - 1:28 pm

    Before Gary became Mayor, that position was generally held by the highest vote by public or by council. I think...Gary was the first publicly elected Mayor. Is that right??? Happy Birthday on August 21st to you, Gary...YES! Come back!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tony WadeAugust 16, 2014 - 3:35 pm

    Actually, Falati was the second. Bill Jenkins was the first.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • P.J.August 16, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    I also forgot that Gary appointed my husband to several positions such as the planning commission, and he took over as 2020 Vision Chairman....thanks for the "memories" Gary!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tom ChalkAugust 16, 2014 - 3:54 pm

    Well-deserved recognition. And as mayor and school board president, he ran public meetings better and more efficiently than anyone else I can recall in the last forty years or so.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Records detail shooting victim’s court history

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 38 Comments | Gallery

 
Vallejo youth wins county spelling bee

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
25th annual Rush Ranch Open House on April calendar

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2

 
 
Saturday Club schedules Shower of Flowers event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Symphony opportunity, scholarships available

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Searchers find 84-year-old missing nearly a day

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Free Healthier Living workshops begin this week

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Music teachers receive program grants

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Group plans Haiti missions fundraisers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Travel presentation ready to roll in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Vallejo woman hit, killed by vehicle

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

Workshops offer information on child support process

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

 
 
Helen Mirren film set for debut

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Frazier to deliver keynote at Solano EDC event

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10

WIB to host regional career fair

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

Fairfield police log: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

Suisun City police log: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

 
Man struck by car, injured

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

 
Family: Man dead at Hollywood Hills home is Andrew Getty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Tuskegee Airman Leslie A. Williams dies in California at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
3D print technology provides ‘robohand’ to 7-year-old girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Endangered bighorn sheep moved to Yosemite, Sequoia parks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Defense rests in 1st phase of Boston Marathon bombing trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Woman charged with stabbing boyfriend after salsa argument

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Police: Prisoner who stole gun, fled hospital found in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Dress-wearing man killed by NSA police had lengthy record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Exercising critically ill patients may help speed recovery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Nigerian troops prevent Boko Haram attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Iran nuke talks extend past deadline

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Transportation strike shuts down Argentina

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Relief program paid millions for ‘flawed’ work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Buhari defeats Goodluck Jonathan in Nigerian election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: April 1, 2015

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
Should we sent wedding invitations to relatives we know can’t come?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

Dressing up spring asparagus with an easy brown butter sauce

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
‘General Hospital’ leads Daytime Emmy nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Olympic champ Gabby Douglas’ family to get reality show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Randle sets record, leads Stanford past ODU in NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vanden’s Orme strikes out 16, tosses no-hitter

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep boys golf preview: All 4 city teams are young

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1

 
Short-handed Miami rallies to beat Temple 60-57 in NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Tennessee hires former Texas coach Rick Barnes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Thunder star Kevin Durant has bone graft surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey showing off versatility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NASCAR driver Kyle Larson released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Barry Zito’s scoreless streak ends; A’s beat Angels 13-10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cubs will track noise so Wrigley rehab doesn’t disturb fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lincecum pitches into 6th in Giants’ win over Rockies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP’s Run to the Roses: Mubtaahij No. 8; Dortmund still No. 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Michigan State title would be worth $1 million to Vegas man

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP study projects average MLB salary tops $4M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
University of North Dakota begins campaign to find nickname

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge rules Ernie Banks will is valid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kentucky’s platoon system gives way to traditional rotation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Chris Mullin returns home to coach St. John’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Soccer player at center of search killed crossing LA freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Frozen Four will be old home week for BU coach David Quinn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rio Olympic tickets go on sale despite football uncertainty

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tiger Woods plays practice round at Augusta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US gives up another late goal in 1-1 tie at Switzerland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NASCAR finds Ryan Newman’s race team for manipulated tires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patriots owner: Aaron Hernandez told me he was innocent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders release DT Antonio Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Many trucks being driven beyond designed top speed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Buffet expected to buy dealerships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

San Bruno supports higher fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Google to release their cheapest laptop yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10, 2 Comments

Several charged in Medicaid shoe fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10, 2 Comments

 
Fast food organizers expand their campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10, 1 Comment

Online craft retailer Etsy preps for IPO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

Gordon Davis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carlos Penados

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7