Bill Rosendahl Remembered by Locals

Bill Rosendahl Remembered by Locals

(Editor’s note: Bill Rosendahl, the popular former L.A. City Councilman representing Pacific Palisades, died at his home on March 30. A service was held at St. Monica Catholic Church on April 5 and a celebration of life was held on Saturday.)

Rosendahl’s Generosity Recognized

Everybody who knew Bill Rosendahl has at least one good Bill story. Depending on how long you knew him, most likely you have lots of stories.

Bill was the most inclusive person I ever met. His heart and doors were open to all, unconditionally. I knew Bill for more than 30 years, since his career in the cable television industry, but got to know him better in the past decade.

In return for my encouragement when he first ran for office, he agreed to install me as Chamber of Commerce president in 2005. He told the story dozens of times of how my optimism and belief in him helped him to get elected.

He came to my wedding in 2007 and scolded me for not asking him to officiate.

His generosity was unparalleled. Always helping the underdog and fighting for the marginalized. Truly one of a kind. There are no words to describe how much you will be missed, Bill. You were beyond great, great, great . . .

Sandra Eddy

Rosendahl Will Be Missed

I was formally introduced to Bill Rosendahl by my son Jorge, who was often a guest on Bill’s public affairs program. I even appeared once on his show, and went home in tears because I was so terrible! Bill called me to tell me that I had done a good job, and not to be upset. This was my first big “you are so totally amazing, Bill Rosendahl” moment.

I got involved in his campaign, and loved every minute of the work so many of us did to get him elected. At the election night celebration, when it was clear Bill had won, I told him I had to excuse myself from the party, because the following day I had to put my beloved lab, Pete, down.

Bill called me for almost a week thereafter, to make sure I was okay. That was the second big “you are so totally amazing, Bill Rosendahl” moment.

The third such moment came after the election. I worked with Bill as City Councilman as a volunteer for a few months, and one day, during one of our chats, he offered me a job.

Here I was, retired from my professional life, quite a bit older than most of the other staff workers, with no real experience working with the city, and clearly, not on a civil servant career path. Bill welcomed me, taught me, listened to me and endured me. He gave me the chance to have a wonderfully exciting new experience, and work with some of the brightest people.

He allowed me to spend one day a week with my new grandson, Luca, and allowed me to tell him some of my dad’s jokes, that made us both laugh. We had a lot, politically, in common, and our shared experiences made us realize how old we both were.

One day he asked me to “staff” him at a Hillel dedication ceremony in Westwood. On the drive over, I was telling him about my maternal great-grandmother who had been a part of the Breed Street Temple in Boyle Heights.

When Bill was announced as the speaker, he gently told the congregation that I was going to speak . . . about my great-grandmother. As they say, OY!! I stumbled, but got through it. On the way back to the office, Bill was kind enough to tell me I had done a “great, great, great, great, great” job. WHEW. Another “you are so totally amazing, Bill Rosendahl” moment.

After two and a half years of working for Bill, I decided it was time to be a grandparent to my now four grandchildren. Over the years, Bill and I talked every so often, I took him to lunch and brought him homemade matzo ball soup, which he swore he loved.

At the end, I hugged him, rubbed his head, and told him how much I loved him. He mouthed back that he loved me too, and gave me “two thumbs up.”

Laurie Sale

(Editor’s note: Sale is the executive director of the new Palisades BID.)

Classic Rosendahl

(The following letter appeared in City Watch.)

A few years ago, a friend got into a beef with a well-known multi-millionaire when he loudly protested the mysterious building project happening on the entrepreneur’s sprawling L.A. property. The police were summoned by the big-shot’s entourage, including bodyguards, and my friend called me, frantic and scared, asking for help.

So whom do you call to stop an injustice leveraged by a rich guy’s bullies? L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, that’s who. I reached Bill at City Hall and described my friend’s situation; his reaction was immediate and emphatic. What Bill told the LAPD brass I never knew. Nor did I ask. I do know the LAPD never showed up to investigate that totally bogus complaint.

I saw Bill a few days later to thank him. “Hey,” he laughed. “You know how I hate these rich guys who think they’re above the law.”

It was vintage Bill Rosendahl, elected in 2005 as L.A. City Council’s first openly gay lawmaker.

Bill had many of the instincts of politicians but didn’t share some of their worst shortcomings. “I like him personally,” he once told me after a City councilman got into a conflict-of-interest controversy. “But he’s like all politicians—they get too much power and they can’t help themselves. They’re like kids around candy.”

I can’t recall anyone ever saying the same about Bill’s tenure at City Hall.

Bill often reacted viscerally to society’s privileged. Even more reliable was his instant affection for society’s underdogs.

John Schwada

Palisades News welcomes all letters, which may be mailed to Please include a name, address and telephone number so we may reach you. Letters do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Palisades News.

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