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Faith Frazier, San Leandro councilmember and women’s advocate

By Eric Kurhi
Friday, February 25th, 2011 at 10:37 am in History, Politics, San Leandro.

From a April 13, 1974 story after Frazier was elected to the City Council.

From a April 13, 1974 story after Frazier was elected to the City Council.

We had a story in today’s paper about the passing of Faith Frazier. For space reasons, we couldn’t write more than that, but I received a lot of information that is included below. The bio is courtesy of former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young.

“I’ll tell you something,” said her son, Carl. “My mom has devoted more years in San Leandro to civic issues, political issues than probably anyone else other than Jack Maltester. My mom goes back to before the city was really a city.”

“She passed away peacefully at Kaiser Hospital last Sunday, February 20, 2011, with her family by her side,” wrote Young in an e-mail.  “She was an incredibly gifted woman who helped numerous people throughout her lifetime learn things about government and how it affects us all. She will be missed by scores of electeds throughout the city of San Leandro and Alameda County. Clearly, she was a legend in her later life and accomplished much by way of leadership and knowledge sharing.”

Faith Frazier – short bio history

Faith Frazier attended college grades at the University of Cincinnati and Memphis State before she settled on U.C. Santa Barbara, where she received her elementary and junior high school teaching credentials and her Bachelor of Arts.  Over her career, she ultimately taught school for more than 20 years in the cities of Hayward, San Leandro, and Oakland.  At one time her assignment in San Leandro included substituting as a “San Leandro Prep Teacher.”  Only she could tell you why that was so critical for regular teachers but apparently it was where she felt she contributed a great deal of information to her students about learning and writing poetry.  And speaking of poetry, during the early 60’s, Faith wrote for the Morning News, a front-runner local newspaper similar to our San Leandro Times.  She wrote a column called “Poetically Speaking” and invited teachers to submit poetry written by students and then published it on their behalf.  Apparently, it spawned a whole generation of students who grew up and embraced poetry in San Leandro.

Faith was a pioneer for women’s rights and women in government in her own way.  During 1954 and 1955 she and Harriett Engberg brought women in the community together for purposes of educating them about local city government.  The group was called “CIEG” – Civic Information and Education Group. She wanted to help women become part of government, including working in management at City Hall and also running for different elective offices.  This was real groundbreaking for moving women into the system. 

Much of the 60’s and 70’s she spent as a campaign coordinator with Dave Hauser and Jim Zeno, who were the “official” campaign consultants for candidates who won seats on the San Leandro City Council, years before she ran herself.  She worked on behalf of  Al Kant, who won a seat on the SL City Council and served as Vice Mayor several times in his career with San Leandro.

Alternately, during her career and in no particular order here, she served for the following groups.

As a member of the Board of the San Leandro Service Center – a community based group for helping citizens in SL in need of assistance.

Charter member of the first San Leandro Arts Council – which was reconstituted in 1998 and is still active today.

As a member of the Library Board of Trustees – 1962.  She was on this committee for almost 12 years and was required to resign when she decided to run for the San Leandro City Council in 1974.   She won her seat on the City Council and served two full terms and left in 1982. While a member of the SL City Council, she served as a member of ACAP (housing) and ACTEB (a job training board) in 1975.

She was also a Founding member of Bonaire Civic League and a Charter Member of San Leandro League of Women Voters.

Served as a Commissioner on the Alameda County Commission on Status of Women.

She helped found the Southern chapter of the National Womens Political Caucus.

Member of Peralta Chapter of OWL (“Older Womens League”) which keeps track of legislation affecting women (in Sacramento and Washington), an organization still around today.

She was an original founder of PACE (Political Action Committee for Excellence), still an organization which supports women for elective office affecting San Leandro.

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