Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 – 10:02 AM
By Victoria Talbot
Bill Rosendahl, the big-hearted, big-toothed and grinning councilmember whose infectious enthusiasm propelled him to a career that focused on solutions for homelessness, traffic and overdevelopment, has died following a four-year battle with cancer. He was 70.
Rosendahl was openly gay, serving in the Los Angeles City Council from 2005-2013 when he retired after his diagnosis with fourth-stage cancer in the summer of 2012.
“Our city and world lost a great friend and giant of social justice, Bill Rosendahl,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “He had the biggest heart I know and I will miss him deeply.”
He was well-known for his hands-0n style, bringing eggs from his own chickens to neighborhood council members in his district while making the case for the issues he was passionate about.
Rosendahl was well known for his outreach to the community, to solicit the opinion of his constituents before he made a stand in City Council. He made friends with his critics, and reached out to find the areas where compromise was possible.
Before becoming an elected official, Rosendahl was already a well-known figure in politics. He was an award-winning producer and moderator for critically acclaimed public affairs television. He hosted Local Talk, Week in Review, and Beyond the Beltway.
He won the Cable Ace Award, the Diamond Award, the Freedom of Information Award, the Los Angeles League of Women Voters Public Service Award, the Beacon Award for Cable’s Free Air Time Project and more.
He chaired the California Commission on Tax Policy under Governor Gray Davis, served as president of the Los Angeles Press Club, chairman of the Cable and Telecommunications Association and president of the City of Los Angeles Health Commission.
His beaming smile and booming voice have been a fixture in local politics for decades, and his presence brought a spirit of cooperation to Los Angeles.
Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending, but will include a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Monica’s Church in Santa Monica and a memorial celebration at Mar Vista Park, where he made his home.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to his favorite organizations helping the homeless: Safe Place for Youth, New Directions for Veterans, and the Jeff Griffith Youth Center at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center.