Home | Columns | History Mystery | Books | Speeches | Time Capsules | Oral History | Biography | Links

Barry Schrader


I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;

  • Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
  • Valley Times : Do You Remember?
  • The Independent : Do You Remember?

The Articles appear in the Herald and Independent on Thursdays,
and the Times on Sundays.

They will also be found on this page each week as well.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

Archive Page

League of Women Voters reaches 50 year milestone

By Barry Schrader.................................June 9, 2005

The League of Women Voters of the Livermore-Amador Valley gathered last weekend to celebrate a half century of political involvement on the national, state and local levels. Probably no other group in the Tri-Valley’s history has had as much influence on the local political scene as these women, many of them activists and leaders in their own fields of endeavor.

From the outset they tackled controversial issues, never endorsing candidates, but having a profound impact on elections by holding candidate nights and sending out questionnaires to bring out the issues most important at that time. You could always separate the serious contenders from the lightweights by how they responded to those well-devised questions and if they showed up for the forums, many of which were fully reported in the newspapers and later aired on CTV Cable Channel 30. In the early days the League had a regular column called “Valley Voter” in the two local papers which was widely read and they produced a booklet entitled “Know Your Town” which listed all the local agencies as well as elected officials and how to reach them.

Reminiscing at their golden anniversary event members recalled such issues as the new junior college bond issue, the bond issue to include the Tri-Valley in BART, and support for becoming a part of the East Bay Regional Park District. The league is permitted to take stands on issues, but not partisan elections or candidates. But many women “cut their teeth” by studying local issues and then went off on their own to join campaigns or run for office.

One of those early activists was Margaret Tracy who was president back in 1965-66, then started Preserve Area Ridgelands (PARC) and was elected to the Zone 7 water board more than once. Margaret is an outspoken environmentalist, and was so, long before that became a popular movement. Without her perseverance and willingness to take heat for unpopular stands, much more of this valley would be paved over and we would be looking at rows of houses on our ridges instead of open space and public parks.

Other past League presidents sharing their experiences included Miriam Miller, Charlene Kehret, Joanne Angvick, June Perry, Eileen Barr, Mary Ann Hannon, and Barbara Hemphill. Each one made major contributions to the success of the group.

There were low points when no one would serve as president and they had co-chairs run the League. Over the years though they have registered thousands of voters and helped get out the vote at local and national elections.

Kay Honodel encouraged League members to carry the torch into the next half century, stating: “We can apply the PBS theme: ‘If we don’t do it, who will?’ May the League continue to ‘do it’ for another 50 years.”

Both men and women are welcome to join now. You can contact the LWV at  HYPERLINK "mailto:lavlwv@comcast.net" lavlwv@comcast.net to learn about membership. Thanks to Jane Staehle, Bernice Oakley and Ann Rathjen for helping me assemble all this data.

* * *

Another women’s group that has surpassed the 50 year mark in its history is the Mulberry Branch of Children’s Hospital in Oakland. A relatively low key branch, they have none-the-less raised thousands of dollars to help with the treatment of sick and injured children since 1954. Each year they sponsor the Alameda County Fair Preview, which has become a tradition for many in the Tri-Valley. If you want to get an advance look at the art, the collections in the Gem & Mineral Building, the landscaped gardens area or the agricultural produce displays, the date is June 23 and the time 6:30 p.m. The fundraiser includes live music, lots of hors d’oeuvres, wines, desserts and a chance to mix with old timers who have been attending this event for more than 30 years.

* * *

Since this is Rodeo Weekend in Livermore, it is appropriate that the history mystery be tied to this event. The year the rodeo was cancelled due to foot-and-mouth disease was 1924 and Michelle Calleja came up with the answer first. Now about the two riders in the celebrity calf-penning competition, no one had both names correct. The question: What two national lab execs competed for the silver belt buckle and now are heads of two Department of Energy labs? The answer is Bob Kuckuck who is now interim director of Los Alamos National Lab and Tom Hunter, the new president of Sandia National Laboratories. Kuckuck won the silver buckle that year and Hunter was runner-up. But when Tom left his post as vice president of Sandia/California a few years later the employees took up a collection and bought him a fancy western buckle so he could wear it with pride the next time he and Bob met!


The columnist can be reached via email at :


or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

Home | Columns | History Mystery | Books | Speeches | Time Capsules | Oral History | Biography | Links