The California Hall of Fame was established in 2006 under then-Gov. Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver. During the first several years, there was a decided bent toward Hollywood celebrities and other stars.
Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, have brought a keener eye and more eclectic taste to the hall, which is part of the California Museum in Sacramento. The class inducted earlier this month included some luminaries 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, actor Warren Beatty and the Warner Brothers of movie fame Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack.
But the seventh class included Gregory Bateson, a University of California at Santa Cruz social scientist who later served on the UC Board of Regents; Charles and Ray Eames, groundbreaking furniture and furnishing designers with Sacramento ties; Ishi, who was believed to be the last of the Yahi people; and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers who grew up in Stockton.
The Hall of Fame does include a few people with valley ties besides Huerta, most notably filmmaker George Lucas and the late jazz musician Dave Brubeck, who attended the University of the Pacific. We would like to see still more diversity, especially people from the San Joaquin Valley and from the state's tremendous agriculture industry.
We're thinking of Ernest and Julio Gallo, whose contributions to the wine industry were as significant as those of Robert Mondavi, who was in the second year of inductees. The Fresno Bee suggests that the Hall of Fame is incomplete without Bob Mathias, who was an Olympic gold medal winner as a 17-year-old and again four years later; who later served in Congress; and who was the first director of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
We would like to see Ralph M. Brown in the Hall of Fame. The Modesto attorney-assemblyman wrote the state's open meeting law, something that is vital to this day.
The selection committee has chosen some people who are early or midway through their careers, such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (2011), tennis star Serena Williams (2011) and golf great Tiger Woods (2008). The stories of young inductees positive or negative have yet to be fully written. We urge the committee to look to the past, toward some deserving people who might not have contemporary star power but who have left a lasting impact on our state.
California is a big state with people doing great things in varied fields of endeavor. The Hall of Fame should reflect that diversity more than it does so far.
NOMINATE A FAMER
The public is invited to submit nominations to the California Hall of Fame. Nominees must have:
Lived in California for at least five years;
Transcended the boundaries of his or her field to make a lasting, significant contribution to the state, nation and world;
Embodied the spirit of California and the California Dream;
Motivated and inspired people to further their dreams through his or her unique story and accomplishments
The nomination form and information on previous inductees is available at www.californiamuseum.org