Obituary: Michael Chavez Concord City Councilman

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 07/20/2013
Protect My Sons

Concord, Calif., City Councilman Michael Chavez, owner of the of the Charisma Salon, died Saturday after suffering a heart attack during a community meeting. - See more at:

Concord City Councilman Michael Chavez died Saturday shortly after collapsing at a packed public meeting that was broadcast live on local television.
Vice Mayor William Shinn said Chavez had a heart attack.
Chavez, a 61-year-old hairstylist, had just finished sharing his thoughts on the planning for the Concord Naval Weapons Station when his head suddenly slumped to his chest and his face turned blue, said Shinn, who was sitting next to Chavez.
"I was following up with my thoughts when I heard the city manager ask, 'Michael, are you all right?' " Shinn said. "I looked at Michael and thought he was having a seizure."
A former firefighter and a nurse who were among the nearly 200 people attending the meeting at the Concord Senior Center ran to Chavez's assistance and performed CPR, said Shinn, who assisted.
"We got him going a couple of times. He would gasp for breath and start coming around, but then he would fade out again," Shinn said.
Paramedics took him to Mount Diablo Medical Center in Concord, less than a mile away, where he was pronounced dead.
"He was not your typical politician," Mayor Mark Peterson said. "It wasn't like he had a big political machine behind him. He got elected because he knew a lot of people who knew he could help them."
Chavez grew up in East Los Angeles, where, as a teenager, he picked up a pair of scissors and instantly knew hairstyling was his calling, said Mary Jo Rossi, Chavez's longtime friend and campaign manager.
He ran a hair salon in San Francisco before moving his business and life to Concord about 27 years ago. Charisma Salon, his shop on Clayton Road quickly became a hub for local politics.
"You could walk in at any given time and find a politician inside the salon either getting their hair done or stopping in to talk politics with Michael. Getting a haircut from him was an event. By the end of 45 minutes, you always got to the bottom of something," Rossi said.
Before winning election in November, Chavez served on the Concord Planning Commission, chaired the Concord Parks and Recreation Commission, and was among the leading forces in rebuilding Todos Santos Park, colleagues said.
Chavez is survived by his wife, Vikki, and two children, Austin, 15, and Dallas, 13 - both adopted from Russia.
"He was full of life and just the best dad a guy could ever have," Austin said. "He changed my life and my sister's life. I miss him so much."

Memorial services are planned for later this month in Concord.

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