60th Anniversary Parade
The City of Saratoga and the 60th Anniversary Hometown Parade Committee invites the community to celebrate the City's sixth decade of incorporation with a parade down Big Basin Way! The parade will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 10 a.m.

If you would like to participate in the parade, please send the following information to Marlene Duffin at marlduffin@aol.com:

-Name
-Email
-Phone Number
-Organization
-Will you march, ride on a float, drive a dignitary in a historic car, or other?
-Can you volunteer on the day of the parade?


A Summary of Saratoga's History
By Annette Stransky, Saratoga History Museum

The History of Incorporation
According to the late Saratoga Historian Willys Peck who wrote that back in the 50’s, “The incorporation movement really was hatched in the Saratoga Lions Club, at that time the only national service club in town. The membership included a number of movers and shakers,
among them an impressive roster of retired military officers who knew all about the chain of command. The club had sponsored a study into the matter of incorporation in 1953 and this led to a detailed study by the non-profit Coro Foundation the following year. The Coro Foundation did not make any recommendation as such; the report simply laid out the probable results in terms of taxation, local control and the various requirements of city government.

Early on the battle lines were drawn. The pro-incorporation group under the banner Save Saratoga! was opposed by the Saratoga Protective Committee, which compiled a list of arguments as to why the town didn’t need to become a city.

The deciding factor in this controversy was the City of San Jose and its aggressive annexation policy of the 1950s. There had already been two defensive incorporations, Campbell in 1952 and one failed incorporation vote, and Cupertino in 1955. While it was true that legally “inhabited” territory, notably orchards, could be annexed with the concurrence of the owner.

Keep it Rural! Rallying Cry
This was at a time when there was still substantial orchard acreage in the valley, and, to an orchardist ready to move on to land development, the siren song of San Jose was hard to resist. Minimum residential lot sizes, generous commercial zoning policies, these things made big bucks into bigger bucks. They also scared the pants off pro-incorporationists. “Keep it rural” was a dominant theme. The possibility of strip commercial zoning along a street like Saratoga Avenue, where San Jose could have annexed well into present Saratoga boundaries, was just one of the factors that prompted a nearly 75 percent voter turnout on September 25, 1956.

Each side had done its work well in terms of persuasion. The vote, including the absentee ballots, was 1,729 to 1,570 in favor of incorporation, a margin of 159 votes.” Reprinted from a Stereopticon Column, 2008
First Mayor

Dr. Burton Brazil was the first mayor of Saratoga. The Stanford graduate had a 36-year faculty career at San Jose State where he served as chair of the political science department, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and executive vice president of the university. After helping incorporate Saratoga, as a city, he was appointed its first mayor in 1956 and served two four-year terms.

The first city hall office was located on Saratoga-Los Gatos Road and was known as “the doll’s house” due to its petite size. The little building was moved to the present location of the city hall and used for five years until a larger facility was built. The mayor and city council used a wooden picnic table for holding meetings. Construction for the new Saratoga City Hall began in 1960. In 1962 a council chamber-auditorium was designed by architect Warren Heid.

Building Legacies
The former mayors of Saratoga have dealt with development and change. They have faced budget crunches and struggled with business downturns. They have sought to maintain and improve infrastructure, retain open space, save the hillsides, and keep the streets safe.

They have left legacies, such as the Saratoga Library, Hakone Gardens, Quarry Park and have put in place policies that have made Saratoga one of the country's most pleasant places to live.

The city council consists of five council members elected by the public for four-year terms. Elections are staggered, with three council members elected in one year and two elected two years later. Each year, the council selects one of its members to serve as mayor. The mayor leads meetings and sets the council agenda.

In the early years, the process was more informal. Well-liked mayors could serve a number of years before being replaced. Brazil was mayor for seven years, from 1956 to 1963. His successor, William Glennon, was mayor for five years, from 1963 to 1968.

In later years, council members rotated annually through the mayor's chair, with the council usually selecting the next mayor in line by seniority.