John Charles Houlihan (October 31, 1910 – July 31, 1986) was the 43rd mayor of Oakland (1961-1966) until he resigned from office facing embezzlement charges. He had previously served on the City Council from 1959 from the 7th District.

Houlihan was born in San Francisco and his father was a San Francisco police officer. Raised in San Francisco Mission District, Houlihan went on to graduate from the University of San Francisco and obtain his law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

After law school Houlihan first practiced law in San Francisco, then went on in 1944 to move his firm across the Bay to Oakland. Two years later, Houlihan soundly defeated Rishell in a "torrid" mayor's race (53,340 to 36,423).

Mayor Houlihan from 1961 to 1966, actively oversaw several major civic accomplishments including the construction of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena, the building of the new Oakland Museum of California, and both the Oakland airport and the Oakland port were significant improved under Houlihan's leadership. On the other hand, there was also a lot of "urban renewal" in West Oakland.

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"Houlihan was both a nationally renowned theorist on urban issues and a convicted felon. He served as a researcher and administrator for major studies on inner-city problems funded by such prestigious think tanks as the Fund for the Republic and the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions before and while he was mayor, and he taught local government at Sonoma State and other Bay Area schools following his release from prison. Houlihan, who had stated publicly and often that his $7,500 mayoral salary was inadequate, finally resigned in February 1966 (effective April 30), because of the salary issue, two months before he was indicted for embezzling $95,000 from the estate of an elderly widow, Sarilla Whitlock (as a private attorney, but while in office as mayor). He was eventually convicted of this charge, and it was also discovered that he had embezzled a further $100,000 from other estates, including a Catholic order in Oakland. He was imprisoned at the minimum-security California Medical Facility in Vacaville 1967, paroled in 1969, and pardoned in 1973 by Governor Ronald Reagan. A Republican and Catholic (St. Pascal's Church)."

Mayor Houlihan and his family lived at 4994 Stacy Street, Oakland.

John Charles Houlihan died in Santa Rosa at the age of 75.

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