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Mayor Ken Genser Dies at 59:


UPDATE: A memorial service will be held for the public January 24, 2010 at 1 p. m. in Barnum Hall on the Santa Monica High School campus. The service details were released from the City manager’s office Tuesday.

Santa Monica’s beloved and long-serving city servant, Mayor Ken Genser, died late Saturday evening. A statement from the City said he passed peacefully, “with family and close friends by his side.”

The time of his death, funeral arrangements and many other details were unavailable. Expect more information in the Print Edition of The Santa Monica Mirror available Thursday.

Genser, 59, had been reported as being gravely ill in the days leading up to his passing after several months of speculation to his whereabouts. His death comes almost exactly one year after Council member Herb Katz died in office on January 7, 2008.

“It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of our Mayor Ken Genser, an indefatigable champion for quality of life in Santa Monica,” said Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tempore Pam O’Connor in a statement representing the City Council. “He served the Santa Monica community throughout his lifetime and will be greatly missed.”

Preceding his death, Genser had not sat on the City Council dais since October 27 and was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on October 30, 2009 “due to multiple complications” reported the statement from the City. Reports in Santa Monica indicated Genser was suffering “severe back pains and trouble breathing,” at the time of the hospitalization.

Genser served on the Santa Monica City Council for 21 years, since 1988. He was elected Mayor three times by Council in 1992, 2000 and 2008. Genser was Mayor Pro Tempore in 1991 and 1999. He led on issues ranging from affordable housing and tenant protection, land use and zoning policies to environmental quality, workers rights, parks, public safety and funding for the schools.

“If you sleep safe in a rent-controlled apartment, or your family enjoys the security of affordable housing, or you earn the dignity of a living wage, Ken touched your life directly,” said Council Member Kevin McKeown in a statement to the Mirror.

The city’s statement reported that Gensers’s family “appreciates everyone’s thoughts and condolences as they go through this difficult time. Once memorial service arrangements are made, details will be released.” In lieu of flowers, the family requested that any donations be made to the Ocean Park Community Center (click

HERE to make a donation).

Genser was the focus of a previous article in the Mirror’s reoccurring Hometown Hero column. Click HOMETOWN HERO: KEN GENSER to read that article.

Please direct any information or concerns regarding this article to the Managing Editor, Christopher Rosacker at chris@smmirror.com

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