Mayor Rich Carlston was appointed to the City Council in November 2014 (no election was held that year as there were only two qualified candidates for two open seats). In December 2016, he was selected to be Mayor for 2017. The following is his autobiography.
My Formative Years
I was born in Denver, Colorado, the third child in a family of six children. My father was a lawyer and my mother was an artist. From an early age, I enjoyed nature and the outdoors as my family camped every summer in Rocky Mountain National Park and drove extensively throughout the West. Between my father’s photography and my mother’s paintings, I quickly learned to see beauty in the world and to deeply appreciate our unique and very special natural environments. Indeed, it was because of my love of nature that I spent two summers working at Glacier National Park while in college.
My parents, along with my Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and Scouts, were instrumental in instilling in me those character traits which have guided me throughout my life, including integrity, dedication, determination, and a desire to serve others. Music, Scouting, and sports rounded out my childhood. I was never particularly talented in music, but I was given opportunities to participate in several piano and choir performances. I enjoyed virtually all sports and loved participating in softball, football, basketball, and competitive swimming.
Sue and I met in college at the University of Colorado. We married in our senior year and recently celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. After my military service and law school, we moved to Walnut Creek. We have spent the past thirty-five years in this very special city raising our family.
Our older son, David, graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) and received a master’s and doctorate in psychology from the University of Ohio. Dave currently teaches at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. Dave and his wife Debbie each served missions in Curitiba, Brazil, at the same time, and later met at BYU. Debbie graduated from BYU with a master’s degree in English as a Second Language. Dave and Debbie have three beautiful children, Madison, Nathan and Allison.
Benjamin, our younger son, also graduated from BYU. He received his master’s and doctorate in statistical economics from Duke University. He currently teaches at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Ben served his mission in Northern Italy. Ben and his wife Liz met at BYU. Liz received her undergraduate degree from BYU and a master’s in health education from the University of Utah. Ben and Liz have two daughters, Emilia and Francesca.
While obtaining an academic education is critical, one’s education encompasses more than knowledge and grades. While I always did well in academics, an important lesson that I learned early was the need to reach out to those who were less outgoing. Through the resulting friendships, I learned how valuable everyone is. I expanded social networks. And I usually learned more from them than they likely learned from me.
After high school, I attended the University of Colorado and received a BA in mathematics. (Sue also received a BA in mathematics.) I was invited to join the prestigious National Honorary Mathematics Society.
After graduation, my academic education was put on hold while I served in the United States Army. Four years later, I attended the George Washington University National Law Center in Washington D. C. I was selected to be on The George Washington Law Review, where I served as Topics Editor. I was also privileged to receive an academic scholarship toward the end of my time at law school. Upon graduation, I was awarded the Order of the Coif as one of the top law school graduates.
After graduation from law school, Sue and I moved to California, choosing Walnut Creek as our home because of the quality of life provided here.
My Military Service
I spent four years in the United States Army during the Vietnam conflict. I enlisted upon graduation from University of Colorado. I was selected to attend Field Artillery Officer Candidate School. During that six-month training, I was selected as Candidate of the Month, became an Honor Graduate, and received the Artillery Award. I attended Airborne Training, earning my paratrooper qualification; then attended Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic and trained in the Army’s air defense systems. During the course of this training, I received my Nike Hercules Weapon Qualification. I was an Honor Graduate and received the Missile Award.
Upon completing my military training, I was assigned to the 507th USA Artillery Detachment in Northern Germany. This detachment was assigned to provide weapon support and control to a Belgian Air Force Nike Hercules Missile Battery. I received Top Secret Clearance given the nature of my job responsibilities. After being an Assistant Team Commander for Team A for several months, I was assigned as the Team Commander for Team D. I was the only Second Lieutenant, and the youngest officer, given a command in the United States Army Europe. In addition to the responsibilities of command at Team D, I was also the U.S. Officer assigned to the NATO Air Defense Control Center for Northern Europe.
As Team Commander, I established liaisons with not only the Belgians, with whom we worked closely, but also German Airborne Units and British Air Force Units. These outreach efforts came to the attention of NATO’s High Command and our unit was frequently visited as an exemplary NATO unit.
I ended my military service as a First Lieutenant (promotable) to attend law school. Upon leaving the service, I was awarded the Army Commendation Award.
My experience in the service was invaluable for the leadership training it provided and for the lessons in working cooperatively and productively with many different types of people from different cultures and nationalities.
I am a lawyer by profession—my practice has focused primarily on real estate law. Before retiring, I had the privilege of working for Miller Starr Regalia for more than thirty years. During the course of that time, I represented some of the nation’s largest real estate brokers, lenders, and title insurers. For many years I had the privilege of representing the title insurance industry through the American Land Title Association, the national association for the title industry located in Washington D.C. This representation took me to approximately forty different states and to Congress. I had the honor of assisting state regulators in the drafting of their laws, assisting the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in their evaluation of issues involving the title insurance industry, and acting as an expert witness for different states.
Throughout my professional career, I provided service to my profession as:
- Member of the Legislative Section of the Alameda County Bar Association and delegate for that association to the California State Bar Convention.
- President of the Corporate Counsel and Business Attorney Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association.
- Chair of the Northern California Subsection on Title Insurance for the Real Property Section for the California State Bar Association.
- Member of the California State Bar Association committee considering the question of certifying real property attorneys for the California State Bar Association.
- Member of the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section for the California State Bar Association.
- Vice-chair of the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section for the California State Bar Association.
- Master in the Robert G. McGrath Inn of Court for Contra Costa County.
- Mediator for the Superior Court for Contra Costa County.
- Arbitrator for the United States District Court, Northern District of California.
- Author of several legal articles.
- Keynote and featured speaker at more than 100 presentations throughout the country related to a variety of legal issues.
My Community Service
Community service has always been an important part of my life. When the kids were young, my community service tended to focus on activities beneficial to them. I was a soccer coach for eight years, a baseball coach for two years, and a Scout Master for three years. As time passed, the focus of my community service shifted to broader and more expansive areas benefiting larger segments of the community, including:
- Commissioner, Walnut Creek Park, Recreation & Open Space Commission; in that capacity, I served as the Commission Chair for one year.
- Member, Walnut Creek Chamber Board of Directors, where I served for eleven years; in that capacity, I served as the Chairman of the Board for one year—a year in which we turned around the financial difficulties the Chamber was experiencing and established the now hugely popular East Bay Women’s Conference and Walnut Creek on Ice; during my time as a director, I spoke at the Chamber’s Ethics Day program.
- Member, Walnut Creek Aquatics Assessment and Preliminary Plan Steering Committee.
Member and presenter for the Financial Abuse Specialist Team for Contra Costa County, focusing on Elder Abuse.
- Member, Walnut Creek Library Foundation Board of Directors; in that capacity, I was the Chairman of the Live! From the Library Committee, which organized and presented a variety of literary programs for the public.
- Member, Diablo Symphony Board of Directors.
- Member, Walnut Creek Library Bond Finance Committee.
- Member, Co-chair, and Chair of Yes! For Walnut Creek, a citizen group focused on protecting and promoting the quality of life in Walnut Creek.
- Volunteer, Walnut Creek Community Service Day.
- Active member and volunteer with significant service within my Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That service includes:
- Elder’s Quorum President o Seventies Group Leader
- Member, Stake Seventies Presidency
- High Priest Group Leader o Executive Secretary
- Church instructor
- Organizer of numerous Ward Activities and Youth Fund-raising events
- Organizer, Mormon Helping Hands projects
As you can see, service to others has always been an important and significant part of my life. That service has been manifested in service to our youth, service to my profession, service to my Church, and most importantly, service to my community.