LA HABRA : Child-Care Advocate Memorialized

The late Claire Brown, who spent her life advocating safe, affordable child care, was honored Monday with a ceremony at which the city's newest child-care center was named for her.

Brown, who died in February, 1994, was known in La Habra as the person who successfully lobbied City Hall to start child-care programs. Councilman James Flora said she also was known for her work with the League of Women Voters and for tirelessly volunteering in the community. He said she got the city to install its first and only bicycle lanes on Lambert Road.

When Brown began her 30-year campaign for child-care centers, the city had none. Today there are six, including the new Claire Brown Child Development Center, behind the Children's Museum on Euclid Street. The centers serve 616 children.

Former City Manager Lee Risner challenged the city to build more centers and aim to serve 1,000 children as a living tribute to Brown.

"We can honor her memory by achieving that goal," Risner said.

Brown served as the League of Women Voters of La Habra's first president in 1963. In 1969, she organized summer day camps for Mexican-American girls. During the 1970s and 1980s, she pushed for low-income housing, child-care grants, free meals for the poor and senior citizen programs.

In addition, she was named Citizen of the Month by the city's Chamber of Commerce for her political and social activism in 1977 and was named Advocate of the Year by the Orange County Child Care Coalition in 1989.

"Claire Brown exemplified the powerful difference one person can make," said Bette Frazier, a spokeswoman for the League of Women Voters.

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