Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oakley welcomes newest council member

OAKLEY — After losing his 20 year-old daughter to a traffic car accident in 2000, Jim Frazier dedicated himself to serving others. Since then, he's co-founded two foundations, and his peers say he's been a model community servant.

Now, after spending a year on the Planning Commission, the 25-year Oakley resident has been elected to the City Council, garnering the most votes among the three winners in November's election. He took his oath of office last week.

"I just wanted to be a part of Oakley's destiny," Frazier said. "I want to be involved and part of the solution to make Oakley what it needs to be."

Oakley residents would be hard-pressed to find someone more committed to philanthropy in the community than Frazier.

Frazier, an adviser to the Special Kids Foundation, said his dedication to helping others came from the outpouring of support he received when his daughter died.

"I realized I wanted to be just like them," Frazier said.

Frazier and his wife co-founded the Stephanie Marie Frazier Memorial Foundation to deliver food to families of children who are hospitalized. The traffic accident that killed his daughter left his youngest daughter hospitalized for weeks.

Frazier said the idea came after a moment his wife had in the hospital with a nurse.

"A nurse shared her sandwich with my wife and it just meant the world to her," Frazier said. "When we came home from the hospital, she wanted to be able Advertisementto help families in our situation and to realize someone was their with them."

Frazier said they've helped more than 35,000 people in 40 hospitals in California. This summer, Frazier and Councilman Kevin Romick formed the Friends of Oakley Community Foundation. Romick said the idea for the foundation came from believing some people may not have the means to adhere to an ordinance on property maintenance.

Volunteers haven't been afraid to get their hands dirty, sweeping gutters and pulling weeds around town on several occasions.

"It's just part of giving back and (having) community pride, and being involved," Frazier said.

He also attends all of the Nunn-Wilson family trust fundraisers to support those who want to get involved. Initially, he got people to come together to help out with raising money for the children of the late planning commissioner and his wife.

Planning commissioner Iris Obregon said Frazier has consistently shown the ability to connect people to meet the needs of the community. Because of that, Obregon said, Frazier is capable of getting positive things done for the city.

"(The council) has someone who's very passionate about making things happen," Obregon said. "That ability to meet with people and connect will bring action to Oakley."

As a planning commissioner, Frazier said he never missed a council meeting and decided to make a larger impact on the city.

His goal on the council is to help tackle blight and stimulate economic growth by attracting more businesses. He's worked with Romick and Pat Anderson before, and said he has a lot of respect for the council.

"I'm excited to work with them," Frazier said. "They've all been passionate about helping the city. I can learn from their knowledge and be a part of helping Oakley."

The council reciprocated that sentiment on Dec. 9, the night Frazier was sworn in, placing him on several transportation committees. It's an area in which he has a lot of knowledge in, Romick said.

"I'm delighted Jim is with us," Romick said. "I'm sure we'll have a very working relationship."

Frazier said he moved to Oakley to raise his family in a quiet area 25 years ago. One of the best aspects of the city is its amazing potential, Frazier said.

"We're a diamond in the rough," Frazier said. "We have the ability to be something very distinctive."

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