Just as the inauguration of Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday as Mayor of Los Angeles was a near-perfect reflection of L.A., the inauguration of the newest L.A. City Council member, Bill Rosendahl, Saturday morning on Venice Beach was a near-perfect expression of Council District 11, which includes Westchester, Playa del Ray, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, as well as Venice.
Rosendahl, who won the seat previously held by Cindy Miscikowski, was sworn in on the site of the Windward Pavilion at the junction of Windward Avenue and Ocean Front Walk. Judge Katherine Mader administered the official oath of office.
Villaraigosa attended the ceremonies, along with, L.A. Police Chief William Bratton, Santa Monica mayor Pam O’Connor and City Council member Kevin McKeown and many other local and area officials.
The Great American Yankee Freedom Band and the Venice Koshin Taiko performed prior to the ceremony and Venice beat poet Philomene Long read a poem about Rosendahl.
Last week, Rosendahl said, “This ceremony will set a tone for my administration. It will be open, diverse, and showcase the talents and the creativity of the constituents of the 11th District and the people of Los Angeles.”
Rosendahl garnered more than 56 percent of the vote in the runoff election for the 11th District seat, and was endorsed by nine current City Council members, including the sole Republican, Ruth Galanter who represented Venice on the Council until a hotly debated redistricting two years ago, and the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters.
His priorities, as a Councilman, include improving municipal services, increasing affordable housing stock and preserving historic buildings, enlarging the LAPD, halting LAX expansion, easing traffic congestion, promoting mass transit, protecting the environment, and halting Phase II of the Playa Vista project until Phase One is completed and analyzed.
Rosendahl chose Venice for the site of his inaugural to coincide with its 100th anniversary.
Founded a century ago by Abbot Kinney, Venice has traditionally been one of L.A.’s major arts hubs, and its boardwalk is second only to Disneyland in drawing tourists.
“We are honored that Councilman Rosendahl chose to honor Venice and its 100th birthday,” said David Buchanan, co-chair of the Venice Centennial and the head of the Rosendahl Inaugural Committee. “We have responded by making the event as eclectic and diverse as possible, in keeping with the character of Venice and the entire 11th District.”
Rosendahl, a longtime political activist, was producer/host of a series of cable TV public affairs programs in L.A. for 16 years, and more recently taught at CSU Dominguez Hills.
His introduction to politics was as a poll watcher in Cleveland in 1967 when Carl Stokes became the first African-American mayor of a large U.S. city. The following year, he took part in Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Southern California, and, in 1972, he worked on Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern’s campaign.
During his extended campaign, he issued “A Constituents’ Bill of Rights:”
“As I have campaigned through our neighborhoods over the past several months, I have heard a constant refrain: ‘City Hall doesn’t listen.’
“Everywhere I go, residents tell me they feel distant from their elected leaders. They say they feel disenfranchised from decision-making. They say they feel the process is an obstacle to protecting and improving their quality of life.
“We need to change that. Our city government must be responsive and efficient. Decision-making must be inclusive and transparent. When I am elected, I will institute a ‘Constituent Bill of Rights.’ It will include the following: I. The right to prompt, professional and courteous service. II. The right to be treated with dignity and respect by friendly, courteous and attentive City employees. III. The right to ask questions and receive accurate and useful answers. IV. The right to prompt return and follow-up calls concerning complaints and requests. V. The right to be educated about the services provided by the City and how to obtain such services. VI. The right to an inclusive and transparent process for community development, parks, and transportation decisions. VII. The right of all constituents to meet with their councilmember at weekly ‘open office hours’ in the district. VIII. The right to advance notice and reports for all neighborhood projects and deliberations.“Democracy is a sacred trust between the people and the government. As your elected official, I want to ensure that the government of the City of Los Angeles honors that trust.”