Wednesday, November 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Suisun City had Solano’s 1st woman mayor

Vaca City Council_women

Vacaville City Council group photo with the council's first city councilwomen Carolyn Van Loo (left) and Barbara Jones (center). The two women served a single term on the council before they were defeated in the 1980 election. (Courtesy photo City of Vacaville)

By
From page A1 | March 22, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — The first woman in Suisun City to be elected to a city council got only a single paragraph in the local Election Day coverage and her elevation to mayor six years later didn’t get much more ink.

“Suisun, for the first time, named a woman to the city council,” the April 10, 1952, Solano Republican tersely stated of the newly elected Clare McFall.

McFall was first mentioned as a Suisun City Council candidate in a March 1952 Solano Republican newspaper as Mrs. A.D. McFall, her husband’s name and the tradition of that time. She lived at the end of Line Street, according to longtime resident Guido Colla, who was working in his father’s store on Main Street when McFall would come in.

“She was a customer of Dad’s grocery store,” Colla said. “She was a very delightful, statuesque woman who always dressed neatly and she was a person who commanded a lot of respect. She may have worked for the county.”

McFall got the seat with 187 votes. Four years later, she was re-elected with 147 votes. Two years after that, her fellow council members appointed her to a two-year term as mayor, according to Suisun City Councilwoman Jane Day.

During her 1956 re-election, she was quoted as saying that the top of her list for issues to tackle in town was “the beautification of the entrance to our business district.”

McFall was the second woman in the county to be elected to a city council. She was appointed mayor from April 1958 to April 1960.

She was preceded by the election of Marion L. Randall to the Vallejo City Council in 1951. Randall stayed on the council for one term. Vallejo would not see another woman on the council until Florence Douglas became mayor in 1963 and kept the job for the next 16 years.

The honor of being the first elected woman mayor in a California city belongs to no-nonsense Sunnyvale Mayor Edwina Benner, who had already served 18 years on the Sunnyvale city council when she ran for and got the top job in 1938. Prior to that, she served two years as an appointed mayor from 1924 to 1926.

Fairfield got its first woman city council member in April 1972 when Robbieburr Berger’s campaign promise to be “an active citizen for an active council” got her elected, unseating Allan Witt.

Berger, who was born in Portland, Ore., moved here with her husband Steve in the early 1960s. A renowned harpist, she got involved with the town’s arts community. She also “became a people’s advocate,” according to former Fairfield Mayor Gary Falati.

In her campaign, she contended that government was becoming closed to average citizens and called for the establishment of an ombudsman who would not be subject to the city manager if a resident came in with a complaint.

“The taxpayer deserves expert help in dealing with government officials,” said Berger in her campaign literature. “We have to return government to the people – that’s where it belongs.”

“She felt that growth was out of control,” said Falati, and she supported only limited development in Cordelia, according to statements in pre-election forums.

Her civic accomplishments included the fight to get a directly elected mayor in the city, trying to save the old Armijo High School auditorium and serving on the Association of Bay Area Governments with now-U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

When she ran against Bill Jenkins for mayor, she lost by only 61 votes.

Berger stayed on the council for four years, but stayed involved with the arts community afterward. She was one of those who formed the Fairfield Fine Arts Council, serving as its president. She died of a heart attack in 2000 at age 75.

Benicia’s first woman council member was Mary McKay, who served from 1972 to 1980. She was also a founding member of the Benicia Historical Society.

The honor being the first women elected to the Vacaville City Council went to Barbara Jones and Carolyn Van Loo, who were both elected in 1976. Jones later sat on the Solano Community College governing board for 22 years, representing Vacaville, Dixon and Winters.

During her first meeting, Jones said that many of the constituents she talked to during campaigning wanted to see a popularly appointed mayor and asked that the city put that idea before the electorate in the next election.

Jones served for a one-year term as mayor from 1977 to 1978, selected for that seat by the rest of the council to succeed Bill Carroll. The next year, Carroll was elected to that seat by the residents.

Both Jones and Van Loo were interested in better community planning and preventing urban sprawl. This included their push to ensure that adequate infrastructure was put in to support any growth.

“There was a lack of good planning at that time,” said David Fleming, who joined Jones and Van Loo when he was elected to the council in 1978.

When Solano Community College opened its Vacaville campus, the college district’s governing board named the facility after Jones because she was instrumental in getting the 60 acres for the college extension, working with Vacaville city officials.

Fleming recalled then-Solano College board member Jones telling him, “We need to act fast to get this land and we don’t want to have to pay for it.”

Jones was among those who helped persuade the Mission Land Co. to donate 60 acres to the college as the firm was planning its North Village housing project in the early 1990s.

Both women tried to run for a second term, but were defeated by Bill Maher and John Vasquez. Jones went onto become a Solano College governing board member and later moved to North Carolina. Van Loo retired to Oregon where she lived until her death.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

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

.

Solano News

 
Groups distribute Thanksgiving food

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
County fair proposal, budget topics of scrutiny

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police: Vehicle burglaries not new for Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Fairfield police offer free gun locks

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police investigate shooting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Library schedules soap-making program

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Vacaville PD seeks VIPS program volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Science comes to libraries – for all to see

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Soroptimists seek award applicants

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Church’s holiday soiree on Vacaville calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

 
Nichols plans free family concert in Napa

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

Suisun City police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Nov. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Weather for Nov. 26, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

.

US / World

 
Anger at Ferguson case based on emotion, evidence

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 11 Comments

Tough to make a case against police in shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Protesters return to riot-scarred Ferguson streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

Heirloom ring flushed; sewer workers retrieve it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Ohio family recovers missing Sasquatch statue

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Auction fetches $28K for 1st batch of new bourbon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
In Seattle, tofu turkeys get Thanksgiving pardons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

Los Angeles freeway sign unveiled with typo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Agreement: LA jails to improve wheelchair access

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Cosby philanthropy shadowed by sexual allegations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Oakland police arrest more than 40 protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
Lawmakers target Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk fee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Arkansas, Mississippi gay marriage bans overturned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Calorie count to appear with many prepared foods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

WWII Museum opening new pavilion in New Orleans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Police: Students ran high school prostitution ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Wet basements in Buffalo as flooding fears ease

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Soldiers to spend Thanksgiving in Ebola isolation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

2 teen female bombers kill more than 40 in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
8 shoes of Holocaust victims stolen in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Activists: Syrian strikes kill 60 in IS-held city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
AP sources: Top candidate for defense job bows out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Official: Afghan president orders military review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Nov. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscope for Nov. 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

The man I’m seeing makes no effort to get to know my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead cornmeal biscuit to sop up your gravy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Fresh take on an herb-roasted Thanksgiving turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Turn turkey leftovers into a healthy dinner salad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
‘Birdman’ leads Spirit Awards nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Vacaville Christian wins 3-0, advances to state quarterfinals

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Curry powers Warriors past Heat 114-97

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers rookies shine in big roles, out of necessity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cousins, Kings beat Pelicans 99-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Red Sox bring in Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Messi sets European record with 74 goals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge OKs Hernandez trial delay in 2012 killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kurt Busch wins delay of Delaware court hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants third base coach Tim Flannery retires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP source: Left-hander Jon Lester, Giants to meet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pats are unanimous No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL, union discuss personal conduct policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bama, FSU, Oregon, Miss St keep playoff rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

New iPhones push Apple’s market cap past $700B

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Twitter lets merchants offer deals to its users

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US economy posts even stronger growth in Q3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Thanksgiving travel woes? There’s an app for that

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US home price gains slow for 10th straight month

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Barbie dethroned by Team Elsa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Rain, snow could mess up Thanksgiving travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
.

Obituaries

Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Glenita Reyes McLaughliin

By Daily Republic | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5