|Pat (Von) Williams Clark & her baby
|Ritch Woods with his 66 mustang "Miss Blue"
|Fred Hearn and his hobby
|Ankeny IA Little Theater
|Jo Fenton directs Lil Abner - hubby Jerry as Lonesome Polecat
|Mary Peters Rucker with one of her award winning quilts
|Mary's award winning original design tranquil garden
|Sandra Prowell with her Sweet Adeline quartet - High Time
|Bob Estes buys & sells old cars and parts.
|His 32 Ford roadster he's restored since the reunion
the following article appeared on the front page of a California newspaper - THE
- thought you might enjoy reading about our class celebrity
In this campaign, money talked: Fawnskin voters ante up to elect former Navy SEAL mayor
There's a rumor in this tiny town in the San Bernardino Mountains that Cindy Swartz tried to buy her husband the mayor's
office in Fawnskin. She knows all about the rumor. She started it. "Hell yes, we twisted people's arms," she said. "It worked."
Just how much it took to get Richard Swartz elected mayor nobody is saying. "I put in more than a dollar," Cindy Swartz said,
"but less than $100." Mayoral votes sell for 25 cents apiece in Fawnskin, with the proceeds going to community projects
sponsored by the nonprofit North Shore Improvement Association. With word about this year's election spreading at least as
far away as San Francisco and with two Los Angeles disc jockeys running as a publicity stunt, the campaign raised $1,966.
That's three times normal, says treasurer Peg Allen, and nearly six times what they raised last year. They won't have
to spend the money as planned, buying a defibrillator for the Fire Department. The company that makes them got caught up in
the spirit of the campaign and donated it free of charge. Mayor Swartz has no big plans for spending the money. In fact, the
63-year-old former Navy SEAL says he intends to keep his campaign promise "not to change anything." "This is a 1920s town
in every way," he says. "People are very friendly and if anybody gets in trouble, we help out. I leave the keys in my truck;
don't lock it; don't lock the house when we leave. Would you change that?" As honorary mayor of an unincorporated community
where a homeowners association is the closest thing to government, Swartz sees it as his solemn duty to make sure that Fawnskin's
population stays at 630 people. "We keep it that," he says, "because I think they don't want to change the sign at the
entrance to town."
* * *
in a small town near Kansas City, Mo., Swartz headed west after graduating from high school and enlisted in the Navy in downtown
Los Angeles. When his six-year hitch ended, Swartz took a job as a bartender. Eventually, he opened his own bar, the
Shellback Tavern in Manhattan Beach, where he met Cindy, a private investigator, in 1978. They mixed careers and Bloody Marys
until they started visiting a friend in Fawnskin and attending chili cook-offs there in the 1980s. Fourteen years ago they
bought a cabin in Fawnskin. She runs her business from there and he turned over the day-to-day operation of an offshoot
of his business -- making Bloody Mary mix -- to a partner in Tustin. He didn't give much thought to running for
mayor at first, he said, because "no one knew me. They don't give you the secret handshake around here until you've been here
about six years." Even then, you don't choose to run for mayor of Fawnskin. The improvement association board chooses
you. They ran Swartz last year and he lost. "At that point in time Richard and I just thought it was fun
that he was nominated," Cindy Swartz said. "We could care less about winning. This year it was different." The
call came from Kathy Murphy, a former mayor, now a Fawnskin Realtor and one of the town's biggest promoters.
"He said he would really work hard for the community," Murphy
said. "A lot of people don't want to do it." Swartz had formidable opposition. Officially, he faced Sue Crockett,
a retired part-time resident, and Art Voltz, the sitting president of the improvement association. "She is a good person.
He is a fine man," Swartz says. "Both of them would have made great mayors." Then there were the carpetbaggers.
Mark Larson and Larry Marino, a pair of personalities at Los Angeles radio station KRLA, swept the town off its feet, broadcast
a live show from downtown Fawnskin, and raised a ton of money for their own co-mayoral campaign. He's grateful for the
cash and the attention, Swartz said, "but they were a little off base. They said, 'You're elected by money. A quarter is a
vote.' So they ran. But they were told that they're not residents, they don't do business here, they can't be mayor.
Somehow that got lost." All ended well when, tongue in cheek, they agreed to serve as honorary deputy mayors and
Fawnskin kept the money.
* * *
Lighting the tree
received his official badge of office, a hat, at a pot-luck dinner Monday, two nights after performing his first official
act: lighting the town Christmas tree. His next big task will be to help the town's reigning celebrities, singer-actor Shirley
Jones and husband-comedian Marty Ingels, to decorate the half-acre downtown park they rescued from development.
While Richard Swartz is low-key in his approach to the job, Cindy is gung-ho. "I think he is going to be a mayor who
is very outgoing and proactive," she said. "Since he's become involved in the North Shore Improvement Association, he's become
aware of more things going on. He won't be the type of mayor who will only show up for the three things: light the Christmas
tree, ride in the (July) Doo-dah parade and attend the mayor's prayer breakfast. You'll see him involved in doing things in
There's an unwritten rule, however, that you only get one term as mayor of Fawnskin. When his is done, Richard
Swartz said, he could see getting behind Cindy as a candidate.