Brea Old and New: Tick-Tock, History Isn't So Boring After All™ ~ Charlie the Clock

Don Schweitzer

  • Brea’s former mayors set the pace for our future

    3 years ago by

    Did you know Brea has 14 living former mayors, all appointed by their peers, 10 who still live in Brea?

      They have presided over Brea during different eras and often under challenging conditions, but I am only highlighting former mayors not currently on council.

        Mayor Lynn Daucher is seen in this 1998 photo at the helm of a bulldozer for the groundbreaking of Brea Downtown. (Courtesy of Lynn Daucher)

          Our living former mayors date back to 1964, when then 28-year-old Thomas Speers was appointed mayor for a two-year term. Speers now lives in Colorado, and recalled how he and his council were successful in changing the position of city administrator to a full-time city manager and other professional staffing needed for a growing city.

            During Rex Gaede’s turn as mayor in 1977, he was instrumental in changing the mayoral term from two years to one year so more council members could serve in the center seat. Gaede’s most memorable mayor moment was presiding over the opening of the Brea Mall, a very big deal for the community.

              Ron Isles, who now lives in Arkansas, served on the council two times, and as mayor in 1982 and again in 1992. He said he worked with the city manager and finance manager to set minimum budget constraints to assure that Brea would always have money and be able to pay its bills. That seems to still be the case today.

                A big change came in 1984 when Norma Arias Hicks Buckeye, now of Fallbrook, was appointed mayor. She was the first woman and first Hispanic to be elected to Brea’s City Council. She was instrumental in getting Sacramento bigwigs to create Chino Hills State Park, and also fought the landfill expansion.

                  Carrey Nelson, our oldest living mayor at age 90, served as mayor in 1984 and 1990. He served 14 years on council, and the downtown’s huge transformation came under his watch.

                    Mayor in 1990, Wayne Wedin said working with a strong team of staff, council and the community was successful as was developing a strong relationship with the school district. He was also instrumental in starting Brea’s Art in Public Places.

                      Burnie Dunlap became mayor in 1992, 1993 and 1996. A highlight of being mayor was the completion of the Brea Community Center. He now lives in Anaheim Hills, but says he still loves Brea!

                        Bev Perry, mayor in 1995, 2000 and 2003, became mayor in 1995 and the next day Orange County declared bankruptcy. She spent much of that year in meetings with other O.C. cities who also had money invested with the county. In the end, she said, they were able to craft a deal that returned nearly all of Brea’s money back to the city.

                          Lynn Daucher, mayor 1997-98, said her most memorable mayor moment was at the downtown groundbreaking in October 1998. She said it was culmination of years of hard work by several city councils, but the best part was Daucher at the controls of the bulldozer. Something I doubt she has repeated.

                            John Beauman, mayor in 2004 and 2009, especially enjoyed commemorating the Brea Sports Park opening in 2008, and also serving as president of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities.

                              Former police chief Bill Lentini was mayor in 2004. His goal on council was to help bring civility back to our local government and finally make the sports park a reality. During his mayoral year, he saw the revitalization of South Brea Boulevard and safeguards set for the hillsides.

                                Don Schweitzer was mayor in 2008 and 2012, following in the mayoral footsteps from the past of his father and grandfather. His favorite accomplishment as mayor was presenting the idea of a Brea war memorial, getting it funded and finally built.

                                  Ron Garcia served as Brea’s mayor in 2006. Unfortunately he did not respond to my requests.

                                    Brett Murdock served as Brea’s mayor in 2014 and worked hard on the Lagos de Moreno Park rehabilitation project at Laurel School. “It will be an incredible addition to our great city and school district,” he said.

                                      Murdock is the only former mayor who stated he is seriously considering running again for office. Which one? He didn’t say.

                                        Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at

  • Centennial Celebration Honoring the People of Brea – John Beauman

    4 years ago by

    John Beauman's City Hall portrait.

    John Beauman's City Hall portrait.

      As we countdown to our centennial year in 2017, Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON) is celebrating the people of Brea and those who are responsible for moving Brea forward while maintaining our charming atmosphere, we are known for.

        Our guest writer featured this evening is former Mayor, John Beauman, who served nine years on the Brea City Council.

          It isn't often I get an opportunity to reflect on my tenure on the Brea City Council. December 7, 2010, was my last Council meeting concluding nine-years of service to the community, being appointed in November 2001 to fill the final year of Lynn Daucher's term following her election to the California Assembly. I was elected to a four year term in Nov. 2002 and reelected in 2006, serving as Mayor in 2004 and 2009. Both of those years were economically challenging for the City. 2004's challenges were due to the State's efforts to balance its budget at the expense of California’s cities, and 2009 because of the national recession. It was a time of learning and a time of doing. A number of bold steps were taken to balance our budget, cutting expenses and exploring opportunities to generate new revenue. Installation of solar panels at the Civic and Community Centers and water/maintenance facilities, resulted in an estimated energy savings of $42 million over 25 years, with $1/2 million annually to the general fund budget. Another source of revenue came from negotiations with Orange County, Brea being the host city for the Olinda Alpha landfill, which generates about $30 million in new revenue to Brea over the life of the landfill, with $10 million paid up front. Former City Manager Tim O’Donnell and I served on the O.C. Waste Management Commission, gaining insight and knowledge of landfill operations that benefited us in the negotiations.

            My last Council meeting on December 7th, 2010 was a memorable sendoff—a full house with Brea residents, friends and family in attendance. I’m pleased at what we accomplished during my nine years on the Council. One memorable project is the Brea Sports Park, a long-standing community dream. Brea obtained mineral rights to the land with oil revenues paying up to 70% of the Sports Park maintenance cost. Councilmember Don Schweitzer and I negotiated the contract for installation of the City’s solar panels, with guaranteed minimum savings for the first five years. Brea has consistently exceeded those savings. Other projects that helped give Brea a fresh look included renovation of the Brea Plunge (pool), Brea Lofts on south Brea Blvd, and La Floresta, serving as our east-end gateway. The new Fire Station 2 on Brea Blvd heightened community safety. I was blessed to serve with council members who shared a similar vision and believed as strongly as I did in those projects. We were blessed with competent and forward-thinking-staff who did the leg work in bringing them to fruition.

              My most memorable year was as Mayor in 2004, with former Police Chief Bill Lentini serving as Mayor Pro-Tem. He often referred to himself as my "wing man." I appreciated the “wing man” reference, but I especially appreciated his friendship and dedication to the community. Bill and I spent time together just prior to council meetings soliciting God's blessings on our community and asking for wisdom and guidance to make the right decisions for the City and people of Brea. When Bill served as Mayor in 2005, he brought honor, integrity and respect to the office.

                Brea isn’t amongst Orange County’s largest cities, but has significant regional influence. Brea council members and staff have taken active roles in regional organizations and decision making. During my tenure on the City Council I served as Representative for Brea, La Habra, Yorba Linda, and Placentia on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG). Other broader regional involvements included the multi-county Four Corners Transportation Coalition (as Chair) and Wildlife Corridor Conservation Authority (WCCA). Many of those involvements I inherited from Bev Perry who was very active on Brea's behalf, when she left the Council. I participated in the establishment of the Hillside Open Space Education Coalition (HOSEC) to protect local open space.

                  My most noteworthy regional involvement was serving on the Board of Directors and as president of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities. Both Bev Perry and Marty Simonoff had previously held that position. Each City Council must decide Brea’s role in regional affairs and leadership. Past Councils took that role seriously, opposing bad decisions that could have negative impact on Brea, and supporting good decisions that benefited Brea. My prior corporate experience served me well in each of these positions. I consider my council newsletter, first published and distributed via email in 2001, and my on-line blog created in Aug. 2005 as important accomplishments for providing transparency in keeping the people of Brea informed on issues and explaining why we voted as we did.

                    Prior to my appointment to the City Council, I served on the General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC), which provided a wealth of information and insight into the complexity of the City and its operations that served me well as a member of the City Council.

                      When asked why I decided not to run for a third term, I frequently responded "8 is enough" In my case it was nine. The Council needs to be in tune with the community. I tend to believe lifetime politicians loss sight of that essential component of representative government. But, I think I can also make an argument for “let the people decide.” Thank you BREA for supporting me. It was an amazing part of my life serving you.


                          John Beauman

  • Video: Brea Chamber of Commerce celebrates,”100 Years of Brea.”

    7 years ago by

    100 Years of Brea

    Historic iconic sign "Brea Welcomes You." photo by Orange County Register

      Celebrating 100 years, Brea Chamber of Commerce with the help of the city, esteemed contributors and volunteers, including Brea Olinda High School students, put together a video celebrating 100 years in Brea. From a mighty gusher - the start of a thriving town in 1898 - to the origins of Brea Chamber of Commerce, local historic organizations, Brea Mall to Brea Downtown, and a look to our future, it’s “Good Old Brea.”

  • Brea Chamber of Commerce celebrates community excellence and 100 years in Brea

    7 years ago by

    Citizen of the Year - Don Schweitzer

    Innovation award given to Chevron Corporation

    Every year the Brea Chamber of Commerce hosts a Membership & Awards Gala and this year was no different than past events with the exception of including a milestone celebration, 100 years in serving the business community in Brea! The gala held on Friday, January 25, 2013 was the first of many events planned by the Chamber to celebrate their centennial this year.

      As part of celebrating community excellence the Chamber recognized and acknowledged those individuals and companies that have made a significant impact from generating a unity of community involvement, creating jobs, to advocating for a strong local community. Following is a list of 2012 award recipients:

        Business of the Year – Manufacturing UTC Aerospace Systems

          Business of the Year – Retail Mother’s Market & Kitchen

            Business of the Year- Service Coldwell Banker Excellence/Alex Horowitz

              Innovation Award - Chevron Corporation

                Outstanding individual in the Brea Community:

                  Citizen of the Year Don Schweitzer

                    Ambassador of the Year The Rudy Rodriguez of the Direct Mail Network

                      Chairman’s Award of Excellence Veterinary Pet Insurance Company

  • Ron Garcia named Brea’s Mayor for second time

    7 years ago by

    Brea Council Member Ron Garcia named Mayor

    Yesterday during a regular scheduled Brea City Council Meeting it was announced that council member Ron Garcia is Brea's new Mayor and Brett Murdock will continue as Mayor Pro Tem for the second time. Roy Moore, Marty Simonoff, and the recently elected Christine Marick are fellow council members. Don Schweitzer retired from council as mayor after serving eight years.

    Mayor Ron Garcia just finished serving a one-year term as a council member, and this is his second time serving as Mayor.

    The Brea City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Plaza Level, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea, California. Live and on-demand broadcasts of the council meetings are available on the City of Brea’s website,  Live presentations and replays of the meeting are broadcast on Cable Channel 3. For more information, please call the City Clerk’s office at (714) 990-7757.

  • BBON interviews the dynamos responsible for “The Making of the Mall.”

    8 years ago by

    Back in the mid 1970's, Wayne Wedin, former city manager and mayor, and Rex Gaede, former mayor, were the gutsy go-getters responsible for the construction of the Brea Mall, which brought significant growth to little old Brea! Mayor Don Schweitzer (Mayor Pro Tem at the time of the interview) is our gracious host for this fascinating interview!

  • The Schweitzer Family: A Long Legacy of Serving Brea, Pt. 1

    8 years ago by

    When Wilhelm and Maria Schweitzer immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1864, they arrived at New York Harbor, most certainly excited at their prospects for the future in their newly adopted country.

    Eventually settling in Toledo, Ohio, the Schweitzer's set about raising a family and by 1877, Franz (Frank) Schweitzer was born. Pre-ceeded by a sister, Ana Bertha in 1873, the young Schweitzer's were soon joined by another sister, Emma Rosa in 1880.

    Wilhelm and Maria Schweitzer, ca. 1870's

    Young Frank Schweitzer. Jr (right front), with his Grandparents in Toledo, Ohio









    Near the turn of the 20th century, Frank, then in his late 20's, learned of an opportunity for a position at a machine tool company in Olinda, CA, owned by W.D. Shaffer. He sent Shaffer a resume of his qualifications, as well as a letter of introduction. Later, he would learn Shaffer was not only impressed with the resume, he was equally impressed by his clear, neat penmanship. Frank was hired, and by 1905, after traveling by rail and wagon, Frank and his new bride Julia Schweitzer were settled in Olinda, CA living on an oil lease, where they made their home until 1912.

    By 1912, the township of Brea began to flourish and had officially become a city. After several years of fits and starts, newspapers in the area ran advertisements describing Brea as "the best located townsite in all the country" and recommending Brea as "a rare opportunity for businessmen hunting a location". With homesites priced at $225 to $450, and water piped to the lots, within months twenty-five residential lots had been sold. One of those was a site on Madrona, near todays Edwards Cinema 2. It was here that Frank and Julia built their first home and where Frank Schweitzer,Jr was born.

    Frank and Julia Schweitzer, 1907 Olinda, CA

    Soon Frank, Sr. and Julia became leaders in their new community. Julia was involved in women's service groups, who organized to provide transients and the less fortunate with food and clothing. Frank, after filling a vacancy on the city council,  helped find ways to bring more much needed water to Brea, as well as participating in the design of City Hall Park and designing the landmark “Brea Welcome’s You” sign that once spanned Pomona Ave (now Brea Blvd). Frank, Sr's Brea City Council career spanned 21-years, and during that time he also helped Brea form it's first Fire Department.

    In the midst of Brea's growth, Frank Schweitzer, Jr was also growing with the city. After attending Brea-Olinda High School and Fullerton Junior College, Frank continued his education at UC Berkeley. On one of his trips home while attending Berkeley, he met Ruth Huntington, an Anaheim girl. They soon became engaged and married in 1939.


    Frank Schweitzer, Jr, BOHS Graduation Picture 1929

    In 1950, Frank, Jr. was elected to a City Council seat and served the city for twelve years. In 1960, while serving  as Mayor, Frank oversaw the renaming of Pomona Ave to Brea Blvd, and the naming of the rose as the official city flower. As Brea continued to flourish, Frank, Jr saw an opportunity and became the leading advocate for annexing Olinda into Brea's city limits. The City of Fullerton also had designs on annexing Olinda, and had they succeeded, Brea would be bordered by Fullerton on it's East, West, and South sides. Beating the county filing deadline, and Fullerton, by one day, Frank Schweitzer, Jr became instrumental in helping shape todays modern Brea.

    Frank, Jr and Ruth Schweitzer

    The Schweitzer Family, 1963. From left, clockwise; Frank, Jr, Charles, Don, Ruth, Jim





    Among Frank's other notable accomplishments, he served as Co-Chair of Brea's Golden Jubilee, co-founder Chair of Brea Bonanza Days (today's 4th of July Country Fair), and co-founded the Brea Historical Society with LaVeta Daetweiler.

    BBON would like to thank Mayor Don Schweitzer for his time and assistance with this history. All images are used with permission of the Schweitzer family.

  • Brea Pays Respects to Shirley Bickel

    8 years ago by

    Shirley Bickel, 2011

    When I left my apartment on Saturday morning to attend the Mass at St. Angela's for Shirley Bickel, I knew I would see many well-known Breans in attendance. And why not? Shirley is well-known in the city, herself. As a volunteer at the Senior Center, serving on various Boards and Committees, investing her time and energy in so many projects, Shirley has been such a familiar face in the city for so long, I knew OF Shirley Bickel, before I ever even met her. And when I met her, just like everyone else, I loved her bright smile.

    When I arrived at the Church, even half-an-hour before the service, the parking lot was already full. I parked on the street, and with others, walked up the sidewalk to where people were gathered. As I watched, more people were walking from their cars to queue up, like me, to sign the guest book. I was pleased to see we had all followed Shirley's wishes and dressed in bright colors. Then, as we were ushered in and seated,  waiting for the service to begin, I started to notice the well-known Breans who had come to pay their respects. Mayor Don Schweitzer, Councilmembers Marty Simonoff and Roy Moore, city leaders past and present, Pastors Dave Rader and Doug Green; all of whom not only counted on Shirley's no-nonsense opinion, they counted her as a friend.

    Then, I noticed something else. There were many well-known Breans at the service, but the number of UNKNOWN Breans...Breans just like me...was staggering!

    Looking around me, I saw people young and old, smiling, teary. All of us unknowns, there to honor a woman who had touched our lives. Someone we count as a friend.  What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady. I think Shirley would have smiled.

  • BBON interviews Cy Young winner Randy Jones – part 2!

    8 years ago by

    Part 2 of the FASCINATING story of how Randy Jones grew up in Brea and his storied baseball career!

  • Brea War Memorial

    8 years ago by

    The Brea War Memorial is a project 93 years overdue. On October 16, 1918, Private Homer T. Pumphrey was killed in action while in France during World War I. He was the first of about fifteen Brea residents we have identified thus far that have been killed while defending our country. We will finally have a memorial to honor them and properly recognize their sacrifice. read more