Edmund D. Edelman, a political force in Los Angeles County for more than 30 years and an experienced mediator, attorney and former RAND senior public policy fellow, has been tapped to lead the charge on homelessness for Santa Monica and the region.
The Santa Monica City Council is expected to approve a one-year contract with Edelman at the December 13 City Council meeting, on the recommendation of retiring City Manager Susan E. McCarthy.
Edelman will attend the meeting.
“The key things Mr. Edelman will bring to this engagement,” said McCarthy, “are credibility and contacts in the mental health field, with the County Sheriff, with elected and appointed officials region-wide and with members of the judiciary.” His principal work is expected to be in the areas of advocating for establishment of a mental health court and for effective regional governance and high-level leadership on the homeless issue, according to McCarthy.
As L.A. County Supervisor from 1974-1994, Edelman was responsible for creating the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which brought the city and county together to deal with problems of homeless people, establishing the Skid Row Mental Health Center in downtown L.A., creating the Detox program at the Weingart Center, creating the first Drug Court in L.A. County and assisting U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson in expanding services to homeless veterans at the West L.A. Veterans Administration facility.
“I look forward to building a coalition of elected officials, community and business leaders, faith-based representatives, and non-profit providers,” said Edelman. “We have a unique opportunity at this time to make a real impact on the problems of the homeless and the effects of homelessness in Santa Monica and countywide.
“While this is a challenging assignment, I am encouraged by the work-in-progress in Santa Monica and the recent attention to the issue among top officials in the both the city of L.A. and Los Angeles County.”
In addition to his service as a County Supervisor, Edelman served on the L.A. City Council from 1965-74 and held many intergovernmental posts, including chairing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board in 1994 and the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee, which he founded. Edelman has a political science degree from UCLA and is a graduate of UCLA Law School.NOTE: Mr. Edelman plans to be available for interviews the evening of December 13 at City Hall.