After three decades, Lund says goodbye

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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She won six elections to Rocklin’s City Council, but next month Kathy Lund will be retiring from three decades of service to the city. “It’s time for someone new,” Lund said. Rocklin Recreation Commissioner Diana Ruslin won the election on Nov. 2 to replace her. Lund said Ruslin reminds her of herself, who also started as a Recreation Commissioner. “I went to city council meetings for years and I said, ‘I could do that,’” Lund said. “I was a decision maker not a recommender.” Lund moved from Carmichael with her husband and young twin boys in 1976. She said growing up in Sacramento she was always interested in politics. “When I was a kid my girlfriend and I would go shopping downtown and I would always drag her to the Capitol and say, ‘I’m going to work here some day.’” She won her first election to the council in 1985 at the age of 39. “I really enjoyed it,” Lund said. “I liked being mayor, serving on the council and running for office because I like talking to people. Even when they slammed the door in my face.” Lund said she never backed down from a challenge. In 1990, Lund testified against Willie Brown’s proposal for regional government, which would have combined Placer, Sutter, Yolo, Sacramento and parts of El Dorado counties. “That’s a lot of difference of opinion,” Lund said. “I went in to testify against the bill and Willie Brown and the Democrats just ate me up and the Republicans just sat back and watched. I left the meeting at the Capitol and I was crying all the way down the stairs to the car. I called my husband and he said, ‘grow up.’” Lund was emboldened and came home early from vacation for the next hearing. “They remembered me,” Lund said. “If I stayed away, they would think they won. They didn’t win because the bill died.” In 1989, in her first year as mayor, a white supremacist group was planning a recruitment rally for skin-heads in Rocklin and the John Brown Anti-Defamation League was going to protest. “It was scary stuff,” Lund said. “I was saying, ‘Why am I doing this?’” The council found a way to defuse the situation. “We told them they would have to pay a safety fee to hire extra police,” Lund said. “So they didn’t want to pay it and went away.” Four years later, during her next appointment as mayor, she had the NAACP. “The NAACP said we were a racist city because we didn’t have a black church,” Lund said. “We took it head on. That’s how I think you handle it.” The leadership was invited to Rocklin and the situation was defused. When she looks back, she was proud of her debate with R.C. Collett’s attorney during a packed Placer County Commission meeting in 1988 “The people were really upset,” Lund said. “Here I am, a high school graduate with some college (experience) and this man is an attorney and I’m debating him.” The strip mine owner wanted to move his operation closer to Stanford Ranch. But the city persuaded him otherwise. The quarry site has since been covered up behind Rock Creek Elementary as development boomed and the property was annexed. She was proactive too. The first press conference she ever called was to combat gangs. “The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department put on a gang seminar at Rocklin High School,” Lund said. “It made me decide to do something, even though we didn’t have a gang problem. I put together an anti-gang task force.” The movement initiated new city ordinances on graffiti, cruising and teen curfews still used today. “We don’t have a gang problem and I’d like to think it had a part in it,” Lund said. She said she was proud to fight for 15 years of funding for the Safe Routes to Schools redevelopment project, which installed sidewalks and infrastructure to downtown neighborhoods so school kids could avoid the mud and traffic to get to school. She also spent two decades getting the Sierra College Interchange completed. Lund said she prided herself on being a big advocate for property owners’ rights. She also helped to get the Park Tax that helped fund maintenance of city parks. The biggest missed opportunity, she said, was losing the proposed Galleria Mall after lawsuits from the Sierra Club and Loomis pushed developers to Roseville. “We even offered to share sales tax revenues with Loomis if they didn’t sue us,” Lund said. “It was a big miss at the time.” As mayor, she also had some interesting ceremonial duties like the mayor goat milking at the county fair. “I didn’t win, but I had fun,” Lund said. Lund said being mayor was a challenge, especially when she had to put her fear of heights aside to accept a hot air balloon ride. “I had to do it because I was mayor. The Mayor of Roseville was going to do it and I wasn’t going to chicken out,” Lund said. Lund offers advise for new city council members. “When you are sitting up there, you need to listen, listen, think and think and then talk,” Lund said. “Then you have to be consistent and stay on track. I always tried to.” Kathy Lund’s Awards 2009-Rocklin Kiwanis Community Citizen of the year 2005-Great Valley Leadership Institute Graduate 2001-Fourth Assembly District Woman of the Year 1996-Daughters of the American Revolution award for Excellence in Community Service 1994-Tierra del Oro Girl Scout Council honor as a Girl Scout Role Model Nominee 1993-Rocklin-Roseville Business and Professional Women — Woman of Achievement Award