Karen Ocamb

Rosendahl Not Seeking Re-Election to Focus on Fighting Cancer

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 09, 2012 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Bill Rosendahl, LA City Council District 11, Mike Bonin

Bill-Rosendahl.jpgOpenly gay LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl was missed at the big Freedom to Marry fundraiser Sunday afternoon. "How's he doing?" people would ask Rosendahl's chief of staff Mike Bonin in that kind of nervous near-whisper so often used when asking about cancer or AIDS. But Bonin just grinned broadly and said that Rosendahl was actually feeling very good - that he'd gone back to work at City Hall for four days last week and was doing three community events that Sunday.

That's Rosendahl. Ever since he was bitten by the political bug back in the day, working with Robert F. Kennedy, he's been ubiquitous at community meetings, getting genuinely upset at injustices - especially the cruelty of the Religious Right and the Church towards LGBT people. He seems inherently determined to do what he can to fix it and gets pumped by the sheer nobility and joy of being of public service. Being diagnosed with cancer of the ureter in August was a fright, a shock and interfered with his high expectations for the good he could accomplish.

But Rosendahl started treatment immediately and began doing better, thanks in large part to an incredibly supportive team. So it was surprising to receive news late Monday night that he would not be seeking re-election to a third term, something he had vowed to do.

Here are some excerpts from a letter Rosendahl sent out (read the complete letter below):

(LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. Photo courtesy of Rosendahl's office)

When I took my oath of office on July 1st, 2005, I gave you my heartfelt commitment that I would fight the good fights with you. Together, we made Los Angeles stronger and our communities safer by putting people first. We jump-started modernization at LAX, creating thousands of jobs for our city, while protecting local residents from excessive airport impacts. We laid the groundwork for a 21stCentury public transit system that will end historic LA gridlock by getting us out of our cars and reconnected to our neighbors in other parts of the city. We funded and built permanent supportive housing and moved more than 100 people from streets to homes. That's real progress!

There is no question that we still face plenty of big issues, but we are doing better by thinking outside of the box and coming up with new approaches to tackle difficult problems. I promise you that I won't stop getting things accomplished for you, for our neighborhoods, and for our city as long as I remain in office.

It is because of these accomplishments and the promise of many more to be realized that I have decided not to seek a third term as your councilman.

Jane-Lynch-Bill-Rosendahl.jpg

(LA city Councilmember Bill Rosendahl's chief of staff Mike Bonin with actress Jane Lynch at the Freedom to Marry fundraiser on Sunday. Photo courtesy Mike Bonin)

Rosendahl then endorses Bonin to replace him as Council District 11's next Los Angeles City Councilmember.

On every issue that is important to this district, Mike has been a leader. On police hiring, modernizing LAX, and building mass transit, Mike was there. When it came to improving our parks, balancing the budget, and housing the homeless, Mike was there. Mike Bonin has the heart, the smarts, and the guts to be the voice of this district on the City Council.

With Mike ready to fill my shoes, I can step aside with confidence, knowing the issues we have worked on and the vision that we share in rebuilding our local democracy will move forward without interruption, without hesitation, and with a genuine appreciation for the needs of this district and it's amazing constituency.

In his trademark upbeat fashion, Rosendahl says he has plans for the future:

Please know that I don't plan to fade away. On the contrary, once I have beaten this cancer I plan to return to public affairs broadcasting on television or radio. I want to create a space for honest and open dialogue on the important issues facing our city, our state, and our country; a space where people can finish their sentences, share their thoughts, and contribute in a positive way to the public discourse.

I am eternally thankful for the trust you have given me in electing me to represent you on issues that directly impact your lives, and the lives of your loved ones. I look forward to serving you and the public for many more years to come.

Rosendahl will make the formal announcement that he's ending his political career Tuesday morning at City Council. Bonin, who is also openly gay, is expected to announce his candidacy to replace Rosendahl shortly thereafter. With his resume and Rosendahl's backing, Bonin should be off to a good start. But this is Los Angeles and political opponents and machinations are to be expected.

But that's for later. Right now it's all about Bill Rosendahl, a walking testament to the wonderment of an authentic dedication to good works.

Rosendahl has posted the letter on his blog, too:

Dear Friends,

As most of you have heard, a few months back I received the difficult news that I have cancer. It was a shock but, like every challenge I have faced during my lifetime, I decided to meet it head on. Right now, I'm receiving treatment and I'm determined to beat this thing and join the ranks of millions of other cancer survivors!

What I discovered in the days that followed my diagnosis is the reassuring fact that I'm not fighting this health crisis alone. Thousands of you have showered me with well wishes, prayers, phone calls, letters, visits, emails, Facebook posts, and more. I feel the love and support in every message that comes my way. Those loving wishes have meant the world to me, and have given me strength.

When I took my oath of office on July 1st, 2005, I gave you my heartfelt commitment that I would fight the good fights with you. Together, we made Los Angeles stronger and our communities safer by putting people first. We jump-started modernization at LAX, creating thousands of jobs for our city, while protecting local residents from excessive airport impacts. We laid the groundwork for a 21stCentury public transit system that will end historic LA gridlock by getting us out of our cars and reconnected to our neighbors in other parts of the city. We funded and built permanent supportive housing and moved more than 100 people from streets to homes. That's real progress!

There is no question that we still face plenty of big issues, but we are doing better by thinking outside of the box and coming up with new approaches to tackle difficult problems. I promise you that I won't stop getting things accomplished for you, for our neighborhoods, and for our city as long as I remain in office.

It is because of these accomplishments and the promise of many more to be realized that I have decided not to seek a third term as your councilman.

When I first ran for office my goal was to rebuild our local democracy by putting the PEOPLE back at the forefront of local government, and raising the voices of community residents above the big bucks of lobbyists and special interests. I sought to empower neighborhoods by returning control over local decisions. For seven and a half years, that philosophy has been the cornerstone of how I approach my responsibility as your councilman.

While this style of leadership isn't nearly as common as it should be, I know that I share it with my dear friend and top adviser - Mike Bonin. Mike has served as my chief deputy from the day I took office. He has been a loyal public servant to the residents and businesses in CD 11 for over 16 years. That is why I'm endorsing Mike Bonin as Council District 11's next Los Angeles City Councilmember.

On every issue that is important to this district, Mike has been a leader. On police hiring, modernizing LAX, and building mass transit, Mike was there. When it came to improving our parks, balancing the budget, and housing the homeless, Mike was there. Mike Bonin has the heart, the smarts, and the guts to be the voice of this district on the City Council.

With Mike ready to fill my shoes, I can step aside with confidence, knowing the issues we have worked on and the vision that we share in rebuilding our local democracy will move forward without interruption, without hesitation, and with a genuine appreciation for the needs of this district and it's amazing constituency.

Please know that I don't plan to fade away. On the contrary, once I have beaten this cancer I plan to return to public affairs broadcasting on television or radio. I want to create a space for honest and open dialogue on the important issues facing our city, our state, and our country; a space where people can finish their sentences, share their thoughts, and contribute in a positive way to the public discourse.

I am eternally thankful for the trust you have given me in electing me to represent you on issues that directly impact your lives, and the lives of your loved ones. I look forward to serving you and the public for many more years to come.

Regards,

BILL ROSENDAHL

Councilmember, 11th District

http://councilmanrosendahl.com


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