The pending retirement of Sean Quinn as Fairfield’s city manager ends an era. Quinn led the city for the past six-plus years, but spent decades as one of the powerful hands behind the scenes, shaping how the fast-growing city of the 1980s and 1990s changed in a new millennium that included the Great Recession. (And if you want my opinion, I didn’t think it was all that great.)
Quinn, the fourth city manager in city history, lands just outside the top five of the most influential political figures in the history of Fairfield and Suisun City. Why? Because I say so. And this is my column.
So here are my top five political figures (not necessarily elected officials) in Fairfield-Suisun history.
5. Tom Hannigan. From Fairfield mayor to state assemblyman – including Majority Floor Leader for a decade – he had the greatest success beyond city limits. Hannigan was also the head of the Department of Water Resources for California.
4. Capt. Robert Waterman. The guy who founded Fairfield also set it up to be the county seat by donating land that led to that title moving from Benicia in 1858. Waterman’s town didn’t surpass Suisun City as a regional city until after World War II, but he certainly deserves credit for setting the stage.
3. Gary Falati. Longtime mayor of Fairfield (16 years) and member of the school board, he was “Mr. Fairfield” for most of its boom-growth 1980s and 1990s. People who want to know how to get things done still try to arrange a meeting with Falati, who has a park in the northeast side of town named after him.
2. Jim Spering. Oversaw the development of the Suisun City waterfront as mayor, then became county supervisor for most of Fairfield and Suisun City. No one has ever been plugged into as many regional organizations.
1. B. Gale Wilson. He was the undisputed king of Fairfield when he was city manager from 1956 until 1988 – as the city grew from about 10,000 people to 70,000, added the Budweiser plant and the Solano mall and built thousands of houses. While Wilson supposedly worked for the City Council, most observers say the opposite was true.
• • •
Here’s something to make you feel dumb: Advertising Age reports that ready-made popcorn is a hot trend for a simple reason: American’s are too lazy to microwave it.
“Microwave popcorn at its inception was all about convenience, having only to wait three minutes to get warm, delicious popcorn,” said Colleen Bailey, Orville Redenbacher’s brand director in an article. But she added, “as times have changed, the definition of convenience has changed.”
Beth Bloom, a food and drinks analyst (how do I get that job?) said of the ready-made popcorn, “you don’t have to take the extra step of opening the box, opening the wrapper,” and you don’t have to “hope you have the skill to watch it appropriately so you don’t ruin the product.”
Yeah. We don’t have the skill or patience to watch popcorn get microwaved, so we just eat the already-made variety.
God bless America.
• • •
Dave Madden, who played Reuben Kincaid on “The Partridge Family,” died a couple of weeks ago, on the same day as Russell Johnson, the professor on “Gilligan’s Island.” Just when it appeared that the old adage about death coming in threes might be wrong, my friend Joe reminded me that Ruth Robinson Duccini, the final surviving female munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz,” died, too.
• • •
I got coffee at Starbucks a couple of weeks ago and the server asked my name. When I got my coffee, the cup had “Bratt” written on it.
I suspect one of my older sisters got to the folks at Starbucks.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.