Judge John Sutter

Judge John Sutter Dies: Former Oakland Councilmember Was A Quiet Giant, Good Listener


ONN – Judge John Sutter Dies: Former Oakland Councilmember Was A Quiet Giant, Good Listener – video by the YouTube channel in the video’s upper left hand corner.

Judge John Sutter Dies: Former Oakland Councilmember Was A Quiet Giant, Good Listener

John Sutter Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Oakland
John Sutter Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Oakland (Photo: EBRPD)

Judge John Sutter graduated from Oakland High School, went to Harvard, and then to Stanford Law School. Following military service, Judge Sutter served as the Alameda County District Attorney. In 1961, John helped save Oakland’s Snow Park at Lake Merritt, and helped create the nonprofit group today known as Greenbelt Alliance. While on the Oakland City Council in the 1970s, Judge Sutter helped lead the effort that prevented the proposed Shepherd Canyon Freeway from being built. John also chaired the committee that prevented large trucks from operating on I-580, the MacArthur Freeway, through the Oakland hills.

The East Bay Regional Park District Reports that “before he was elected to the EBRPD board of directors in 1996, where he served for 20 years, Sutter advocated for the East Bay shoreline. John forged community alliances against filling San Leandro Bay. Judge John also helped to preserve the 741 acres that have become the Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline, an area not far from the shore park that now bears his name.”

I refer to Judge John Sutter as just that and because for 14 years he was an Alameda County Superior Court Judge. As Oakland Councilmember, John was elected for three terms to the Oakland City Council. John was also a five term member of the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors.

I met John just about 3 decades ago in 1992 at a Christmas Party thrown by Bob and Barbara Schaaf at their place in the Bellevue Staten. That was not the only time I saw the Judge as there were many more occasions over the years; the events were frequent, always a party. The stories I will keep to myself but they involved people like the late Mary Morris Lawrence and her husband Harrold Lawrence. But it was fun to spend time with the Judge. Libby Schaaf, who’s now our Mayor, once said “You know, you should do something with John.” She meant interview him. It was always I my mind to do so, and I am sad that I never did. I always though “He’ll be around.”

Stay tuned.


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