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L.A. Native Becomes Bay Area Mayor

Rafu Staff Report

PIEDMONT — Margaret Fujioka was unanimously elected by her City Council colleagues to become Piedmont’s first Asian American woman mayor in the city’s 107-year history.

Located in Alameda County, Piedmont is a small residential community surrounded on all sides by the City of Oakland. The population in the 2010 census was 10,667.

Margaret Fujioka (Photo by Paul Kuroda)

Margaret Fujioka (Photo by Paul Kuroda)

Fujioka has served as a City Council member for four years and vice mayor for two years. Her term as mayor is two years.

Born in West L.A. to Yoshiro “Babe” Fujioka and Shizuko Fujioka and raised in the Mid-Wilshire district, Fujioka attended Wilton Place Elementary, John Burroughs Junior High and Fairfax High.

Her father was the youngest of 12 children, many of whom attended Hollywood High. He attended Le Conte Junior High. After the family was sent to the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming during World War II, her uncle Ted Fujioka volunteered to serve with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and was killed at the age of 19 in France in November 1944, just after the unit rescued the “Lost Battalion” of Texas.

After the war, the family returned to Hollywood, but Yoshiro Fujioka finished high school in Minnesota.

Margaret Fujioka graduated from UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. She worked as a deputy city attorney in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office from 1987 to 2008 and is currently an administrative hearing officer for the City of Oakland.

She served as president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area in 1994 and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association in 1997, and currently co-chairs the NAPABA Women’s Leadership Committee.

After years of volunteering in Piedmont, Fujioka ran for City Council in 2008. In a hotly contested election with three candidates running for two seats, she received the most votes, sweeping all six precincts and raising the most campaign funds.

In 2012, she ran for re-election in another hotly contested race with three candidates running for two seats. She again received the most votes and raised the most campaign funds.

This year, Mayor John Chiang and Councilmember Garrett Keating were termed out, and Fujioka now serves with Vice Mayor Jeff Wieler and Councilmembers Teddy King, Robert McBain and Tim Rood.

“In the six years that I have been on the council, I have worked to make Piedmont safer, strengthen the city’s finances, make the city greener, improve public facilities, all so that the city maintains the high level of services and quality of life residents enjoy,” Fujioka said. She outlined her accomplishments in the following areas:

Public safety —  “I was instrumental in creating the City of Piedmont’s first Public Safety Committee in 2010. The committee was charged with investigating ways to increase public participation in crime reduction strategies and disaster preparedness, including the design and implementation of public education and training programs. Since its inception, it has organized public events such as town hall meetings, public safety fairs, and neighborhood safety programs. It evaluated and recommended license plate readers as a crime reduction tool. The council approved the purchase and installation in 2013.

“The committee was set to expire in 2014. I recently led the charge to make the committee permanent so that it can continue its vital work.”

Finances — “I supported the 2012 passage of Measure Y, the city’s municipal services tax, which brings in over $6.5 million over four years to the city’s general fund. I worked with my fellow council members to execute employee labor contracts that reduced pension and fringe benefit costs to the city without costly litigation and disruptive labor strikes.

“I supported council adoption of a risk management plan and a long-term facilities maintenance plan. I supported the creation of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee, which reviews the city’s budget and finances on a yearly basis and makes recommendations to the council.”

Environment —  “I supported legislation that reduces water consumption in landscaping.  I encouraged the council to adopt recommendations of the city’s Environmental Task Force that would educate residents on the importance of energy reduction, re-use, recycling, and disposing of waste in an environmentally conscious way.”

Public facilities — “I supported the city’s participation in public-private partnerships to renovate the Japanese Tea Garden and Deck and the new Piedmont Center for the Arts.  Both facilities enhance the community and increase the quality of life in Piedmont.”

Fujioka added, “I have five initiatives for the next two years: Strengthen finances, improve public safety, improve aging infrastructure, enhance communication through technology, and encourage greater civic engagement.

“As the only woman on the council in the last six years, I believe it important to support and encourage women to reach their fullest potential.  I plan to organize a Piedmont Women’s Forum to highlight the achievements of extraordinary women as powerful role models for others.

“Finally, I announced the creation of the Piedmont Civic Volunteer of the Year award to acknowledge a super volunteer for his/her efforts to make Piedmont better.”

One Comment

  • Darrell Kunitomi
    March 4, 2014 | Permalink |

    Proud day for our fam back here in L.A., that’s our niece!

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