The Los Angeles City Council adjourned in memory of Michael Rosenthal on Friday, September 11, on a motion made by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. Rosendahl represents L.A. Council District 11, which includes Venice, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, and parts of West Los Angeles, and so surrounds Santa Monica (or “embraces” it, as he is fond of saying). The motion, as adopted by the Los Angeles City Council, is as follows:
Michael was born July 30, 1953 in Los Angeles and graduated from Cal-i-fornia State University, Chico.
Michael was a businessman and entrepreneur who not only had a good mind for business, but he also had a social conscience and a heart.
He took over Instant Replay in the early 1980s, a company based in Marina del Rey that provided video security largely for commercial buildings, such as The Grove.
Successful as he was with Instant Replay, Michael truly found his heart and followed his passion when he started the weekly newspaper the Santa Monica Mirror, for a city he cared deeply about.
Michael was not a journalist, and he had no experience in the newspaper business, but he was intent on starting a newspaper to fill a gap left in local news coverage when Copley Newspapers shut down the Santa Monica Outlook.
A member of the Green Party in California, Michael was committed to including a variety of different political and social perspectives and voices in the Santa Monica Mirror.
He may not have been a journalist to start, but early on Michael ended up writing 600 to 800 words in each issue of the Mirror and taking some of the photographs, an opportunity he valued, allowing him to express himself in new ways and to speak out on issues that mattered to him.
Prior to starting the Santa Monica Mirror, Michael had an understanding of journalism, albeit from the other side. He had handled press relations from 1998 until 2000 for Green Party candidate Dan Hamburg, who ran for California Governor.
In addition to his business ventures and his social conscience, Michael loved the outdoors. He was influenced by Native American culture and teachings, he loved to camp and to hike, and he was a strong supporter of organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and Heal the Bay.
Michael was an appointed member of the Green Party County Council in Los Angeles County. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Vote for the Environment, a nonprofit that Dan Hamburg founded.
Michael passed away peacefully early Wednesday morning in his sleep.
He is survived by his wife Laurie, their son Dylan, his father Carl, sister Marcia, and nephews Bryan and Jason. He also leaves behind his beloved Corgi, Chloe, and was preceded in death by his companion for many years, his Rottweiler, Bruno.
“May 14, 2008, while in the Capitol Rotunda in Sacramento for the Inauguration of Karen Bass as Speaker of the California State Assembly, Michael and I had a long conversation about his childhood relationship with Karen. July 30, 2009 I was able to spend some precious moments at his home sharing stories about Santa Monica while enjoying the incredible panorama of the Santa Monica Bay. Sunday, September 13, 2009 at Mount Sinai, Forest Lawn, while attending his funeral service, filled with music and tributes, from family and friends, I realized just how lucky I was to have been one of those friends.”
—Nathaniel Trives, Former Santa Monica Mayor
Michael inspired trust and had a way of engaging people. After being with him only a few times, he had become a friend. In discussions of important issues.
He listened, he offered his own wonderful insights, and he communicated respect for yours. When Nat Trives and I visited him a few weeks ago…Michael wanted to talk about politics and education—not himself. His courage was extraordinary.
—Paul Cummins, President of New Visions Foundation
“While I worked with Michael on variety of political issues inside the Green Party, and related to him as I was an elected official while he was a newspaper publisher, what stands out the most to me was how generous he was with his spirit, time, and friendship….
“Michael was the kind of friend who I would only see so often, but when we did get together it always involved going far beyond small talk to truly catch up on where we were in our lives and seek valued advice from the other on life’s next steps. I will miss the joy he brought to living and the depth of character he brought to our friendship.”
—Michael Feinstein, Former Santa Monica Mayor
“I have lost a dear childhood friend—someone who has been at my side at every milestone in my life. He suffered and fought valiantly, and now he is gone and we all know that he is at peace.”
—Karen Bass, California Assembly Speaker
speaking from Washington D.C.,
leading a delegation to press key budgetary and policy issues
“Michael was a devoted family man and dedicated friend to even those he recently met. He was passionate about journalism and the newspaper business. He took great care in making sure that the community was well served by coverage and cared deeply about inclusion in the formation of opinion.”
—P. Lamont Ewell, Santa Monica City Manager
“I liked it when Michael told me I was wrong. He criticized me on the trees and on medical marijuana. His criticism was succinct and truly felt: he never tried to score points or look smart. He just thought I was wrong and told me so. That’s newspapering and citizenship at its best.
—Bobby Shriver, Santa Monica City Councilmember
“Michael and I became friends while collaborating on [the Chamber of Commerce] business directories. He was a funny, warm man who had cared deeply about the environment and the culture of Santa Monica. He was loved and respected in the community and I, like many others, will miss him very much.”
—Laurel Rosen, President and CEO,
Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce
My first meal with Michael was a celebration of shared interests and ideas. I soon learned that all times with Michael were celebrations of life, of ideas, of friends, of writing, and of his beloved family. To know him was a gift and I am grateful.
His enthusiasm for all things Santa Monica, and especially for our parks, the new Beach House, and the beach translated into great support for the City. For that also, I am grateful. Thank you, Michael. —Susan Cloke, Chair, City of Santa Monica
Recreation and Parks Commission