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L.A. councilman burns political bridges in speech to colleagues

October 9, 2012 |  2:15 pm

Cancer-stricken Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl came to City Hall on Tuesday to formally announce that he would not seek reelection to a third term. But in a long speech to his colleagues, he focused less on his health than on enumerating his disappointment with various elected leaders and their policies.

He attacked President Obama for continuing to wage a war overseas and had choice words for two California members of Congress -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) -- who he complained haven't done enough to provide housing for homeless veterans.

The openly gay councilman faulted President Clinton for instituting the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that urged service members to not divulge their sexual orientation. "That guy's an idiot," Rosendahl said of Clinton.

Rosendahl reserved his harshest criticism for Philip Anschutz, the Colorado billionaire who recently announced that he was selling Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company seeking to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

Rosendahl referred to Anschutz as "that punk in Denver that wouldn’t even come and visit with us."

"Who does he think he is?" Rosendahl asked.

At the end of Rosendahl's nearly 20-minute speech, Council President Herb Wesson jokingly asked another lawmaker to "please confiscate the microphone from Bill."

"Suppose you wake up and decide you want to run again," Wesson told Rosendahl. "You've just [ticked]  off half the world!"

Rosendahl, a Democrat who represents a swathe of the Westside that stretches from Westchester to Pacific Palisades, announced in August that he was undergoing treatment for stage four transitional cell carcinoma. Initially he vowed to seek a third term. But on Monday he said he was not running for reelection and was endorsing his chief of staff, Mike Bonin, to succeed him.

Rosendahl said Tuesday that recent medical tests have shown positive results. He said his oncologist told him Monday night: "You're on your way to recovery."

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-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall

twitter.com/katelinthicum


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