Five Questions: Former Roseville mayor turning 90 this year

By: Daniel Wetter Press Tribune Correspondent
-A +A

Paul J. Lunardi was the mayor of Roseville — 57 years ago.
He will be 90 in September and was awarded a resolution on the California state Senate floor by Sen. Ted Gaines on Monday.
Lunardi was the youngest mayor of Roseville at the time, at age 32.
After serving the city of Roseville, he went on to become a state assemblyman and a state senator.
While serving the state, he was involved with the California Water Plan from start to finish and passed legislation for Highway 267, linking Kings Beach to Truckee.
“Mr. Lunardi is a native son of California, a patriot and a public servant in the finest sense of those words. His accomplishments and legislative foresight have served the state and the community of Roseville well,” said Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville. “It was with great respect and honor that I presented Mr. Lunardi with a well-deserved resolution on the Senate Floor.”
We had the opportunity to talk to Lunardi about his experiences.

1. Why did you decide to go into local and state politics?
It was sort of accidental. I just kind of expressed myself about what was happening in Roseville … I didn’t do a lot of campaigning. I put up a few posters. There weren’t any debates. It’s not as expensive as it is today.

2. What was Roseville like when you ran in the 1950s?
Roseville was a small railroad town. That was the main industry in Roseville: the railroads. We also had the ice plant. I worked there one summer while out of high school at 25 cents an hour, 12 hours a day.

3. What are some of your proudest accomplishments as mayor of Roseville?
I think one of the biggest accomplishments was when I spearheaded the job of trying to get a hospital in Roseville … That started the building of a hospital in 1954 on Sunrise … When PG&E came in and introduced a new contract, I rejected it because we were not getting the same rate as Redding. (I worked with the state senator) and he called me and said that we had been granted the federal power. So we still have federal power going into the city. I was instrumental in pushing that.

4. If you were mayor of Roseville now, what would you do?
It’s hard to say what I would do. I would surely try to keep up with the fantastic growth of the city … And try to keep costs down on utilities.

5. What was getting the resolution from Senator Gaines like, and how did he find out about you?
It was very nice, he made the presentation and then I made some acceptance remarks. He basically briefly read the resolution … He took me to lunch one day and we talked about Roseville. I guess he got interested in what my background was … His office called me about two weeks ago and they told me that he wanted to award me with a resolution on the senate floor.