A Visit with Leon Huntting
"Had enough?" This call for change by Leon Huntting propelled him to his 1982 election to the Sausalito City Council. After 48 years in Sausalito, Leon has not had enough of the city he loves.
Leon grew up in Los Gatos in an era when "school didn't start until the prunes were picked." In high school, he played football against future Dallas Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton and also participated in basketball, track, and baseball. He was an Eagle Scout and student body vice president. He still has the bearing of an All-American athlete.
Leon met his wife Sally in an acting class at Los Gatos High School, and they have been married 55 years. Sally has been active in philanthropy throughout her life and is a community leader in her own right. Leon and Sally had been renting in San Francisco when, in 1970, Sally told him she was interested in buying a home in Sausalito. Leon's initial reaction was, "I am not going north."
Leon holds a degree in business from Santa Clara University, attended two years of law school, and went on to a successful career in financial services. He was busy with his professional career and did not get involved in Sausalito politics during his first 10 years here. His first foray into politics was sparked by his concern about the impact that commercial development was having on the character of the community.
In 1981, Leon attended his first City Council meeting, about a proposed hotel on Bridgeway. He says he's always been a "sit in the front row person" and spoke out against the project. Velma Gamble, a longtime resident, liked what he said and offered to be his campaign manager if he ran for City Council. He won and was on the Council from 1982 to 1986. Protection of Sausalito's community character has been a theme of his ever since.
During his time on the Council, Leon served as mayor pro tem, founded the Sausalito Sister City program with Sakaide, Japan, and represented Marin County on the executive board of the Association of Bay Area Governments. His accomplishments as a Councilmember include leading the effort to stop office construction on the north end of town, helping arrange the purchase of the MLK Campus by the City of Sausalito, and helping to get the Napa Street pier approved for waterfront residence.
Leon is a lifelong runner and has found time to write poetry and a novel. He remains active in local affairs and in recent years has served as the chairman of the Butte Street Task Force and as a juror on the Marin County Civil Grand Jury. He has also been active in the Ice House Plaza project now under construction in downtown Sausalito. Leon's guiding light remains to "preserve the character of our community, which includes the people, diversity, and natural beauty."
This is another installment in a regular series of articles about longtime Sausalito residents who have made an impact on our town. This is the first article in the series written by Tom Theodores. Previous articles may be found on the Age Friendly Sausalito website. Age Friendly Sausalito is a task force of the Sausalito City Council dedicated to advancing Sausalito as an age-friendly city so that its residents can actively age in place.