Concord’s first woman mayor, champion of open space

Concord’s first woman mayor, champion of open space

Concord’s first woman mayor, champion of open space
Portrait of Concord’s first woman mayor, June Bulman.

CONCORD, CA — As this is Women’s History Month, I want to share a bit of the story of Concord’s first female mayor.

June Bulman served on the City Council 1976-’89. She and Norm lived in Concord with their son Bill.

June was a member of the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) – two powerful women’s organizations. When Bill was young, she was also involved in the Wren Avenue Elementary PTA and became good friends with the volunteers.

When the league asked if she would monitor the Concord City Council meetings for them, she fell in love with city politics. As a result, she was quickly appointed to the Planning Commission.

Earlier, June had applied for a job in the Planning Department and was not accepted because she didn’t have a degree in architecture. That would turn out to be a blessing for Concord residents.

She and a group of friends sat around her coffee table discussing her campaign to run for City Council. She won and started serving the city in 1976.

Open Space on the ballot

Along with sidekick Lynnet Keihl, she quickly got to work laying out a plan to get open space on the ballot – hoping to act before developers bought up all the land.

Her friends from the AAUW and League of Woman Voters hurried to her side to volunteer their time and effort. The bond created what is now the Lime Ridge Open Space.

Lynnet’s husband Tony served coffee as the team figured out the details. Bond measures were failing at this time, so they were skeptical and a little fearful.

Tony made a huge sign that said “Open Space Area” and suggested putting it up on Treat Boulevard so people could see what the measure was about.

The bond passed with 73 percent, allowing the city to buy 194 acres. After the landslide vote, Tony made a big sign that said “Thank You.”
June was intelligent and full of integrity and soon became well-respected and loved.

Serious about politics

Concord’s first woman mayor, champion of open space
Plaque dedicated to June Bulman can be found along Lime Ridge trail in Concord, CA. (Pete Cruz photo)

She met Mark DeSaulnier through his TR’s restaurant and told her compadre Lynnet that she had just met a young man with potential who should be on the council. She encouraged him to be serious about politics, and he was.

She was also very involved with recycling, including the landfill wars, and the Sister City program, to name a few of her other endeavors.

When the council appointed a committee to work on artwork for the medians on Concord Avenue, the group chose the artist who made the spirit poles. The community was embarrassed and outraged and demanded they be taken down. June stood by the committee’s decision and lost her council seat to Byron Campbell – shifting the path Concord was taking.

Next time you’re enjoying a bike ride or hike on Lime Ridge, think of June. Sit on the bench, read the plaque and give thanks to a woman who kept open space available for all of us.

Carol Longshore has been a Concord resident since 1950. She is a community leader and past president of the Concord Historical Society.