Councilman Bill Rosendahl, battling cancer, won't seek reelection
In a statement that will be sent to constituents early Tuesday, Rosendahl said it was time to "pass the baton." He named his longtime chief of staff, Mike Bonin, as his preferred successor, saying: "With Mike ready to fill my shoes, I can step aside with confidence."
Rosendahl, 67, represents the coastal communities that stretch from Westchester to Pacific Palisades. The first openly gay man to be elected to the council, he has been a loud advocate for gay and lesbian rights. During his seven years in office he has pushed for the modernization of Los Angeles International Airport and has grappled with chronic homelessness at Venice Beach.
In recent months, Rosendahl has become a passionate advocate for medical marijuana dispensaries. Last week, he helped convince his colleagues to overturn a recent ban on storefront pot shops with a speech on the council floor about his personal use of the drug to help relieve nerve pain.
A longtime City Hall staffer who has been running the day-to-day operations of Rosendahl's office, Bonin was recently named by the City Council to be the alternate for Rosendahl on the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority board, allowing him to attend meetings when the councilman cannot. It was Bonin, not Rosendahl, who stood behind Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at an event staged last month by organized labor calling on Latino voters to turn out in the Nov. 6 election.
Bonin said Tuesday he plans to officially declare his candidacy Tuesday. At least three other people have announced they also plan to run for Rosendahl's seat. One is Mark Ryavec, a former legislative analyst for the City Council who says Rosendahl hasn't done enough to address the issue of homelessness in Venice.
Before running for office, Rosendahl was a television executive and public affairs talk show host. In his statement, he said he would like to return to television or radio if his health improves. "I want to create a space for honest and open dialogue on the important issues facing our city, our state and our country," Rosendahl said, "a space where people can finish their sentences, share their thoughts and contribute in a positive way to the public discourse."
-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, seated, rests earlier this month after making an emotional plea to lift the city's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. "Where does anybody go, even a councilman go, to get his medical marijuana?" said Rosendahl, who is battling cancer. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times