Santa Monica City Councilmember and former Mayor Kerb Katz passed away January 7. He had been battling cancer for some years and was hospitalized and then taken off life support before his death.
The City Manager’s office released a statement on January 7 that Katz “passed away peacefully this afternoon with family and close friends by his side. The family appreciates everyone’s prayers and condolences and requests privacy at this time. Once funeral arrangements are made details will be released.”
Mayor Ken Genser told the Mirror that he remembered Herb Katz as “a very spirited guy,” and that Genser had “so much respect for him and the way he fought this battle in a very spirited way.”
Katz, who was the senior principal and president of RTK Architects in Los Angeles, was reelected to the City Council in November 2008 after serving a one-year term as mayor. He had been elected to the City Council for four-year terms in 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004,as well as 2008.
In his most recent campaign for the Council, Katz, a Democrat who was not on the SMRR endorsement list, described himself as “an independent voice of reason on the Council,” and pointed to his work in co-founding the Third Street Promenade, orchestrating the purchase of the land needed for Virginia Avenue Park, fighting for a sign ordinance to reduce urban blight, and strongly supporting police and firefighters.
His service to the City was not limited to his many years on the City Council. Katz served as a member of the Planning Commission, which he chaired from 1977 to 1982; he also chaired the Architectural Review Board in 1974. And he served Santa Monica College in a variety of capacities over the years and was a Director of the Pier Restoration Corporation in 1983 and 1984.
Beyond government service, Katz volunteered his time to sit on the board of directors of the Santa Monica YMCA and of Step Up on Second and on the Legislative Committee of the California Council of the American Institute of Architects.
Professionally, Herb Katz, AIA/CCIDC, worked in architecture with RTK Architects since 1966, beginning as an apprentice and continuing through architectural design, planning, contract documents, specification writing, construction administration, and client relationships. He received his Bachelor’s degree in architecture from USC in 1958 and later taught and lectured at Santa Monica College, the College of Southern Nevada, and Public/Private Partnership Master Planning in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Katz’s work encompassed commercial projects, educational facilities, and industrial, governmental, and residential projects, as well as working as an expert witness in forensic architecture.
Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser and the City Council issued a statement saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Herb Katz, one of Santa Monica’s great leaders and friends. Herb distinguished himself in his personal, professional, and public life. He will be greatly missed.”