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L.A. politician/urban farmer puts all his eggs in one basket -- and then shares

June 15, 2009 | 11:43 am

Urban chickens

So what is an appropriate gift to give to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – just before you step into a throw-down, closed-door city budget meeting?


It turns out that LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl (below) is known among City Hall staff as being a bit of an urban homesteader. Since the mid-1990s, he’s raised chickens in his backyard and handed out eggs to friends and grousing neighbors, who aren’t as thrilled at the thought of clucking hens running around their Mar Vista streets. (Urban chickens -- like the handsome ones above -- are a nationwide trend, as we'll explain in just a bit.)

“Once they taste the eggs, they stop complaining,” said Rosendahl, who has a dozen hens at home, along with his rabbits and an aviary collection of finches and canaries. It’s a lot of birds -- and a lot of eggs – for any person to consume: The hens lay an average of 72 eggs a week.  City Hall egg man Bill Rosendahl

So every few days, eager to spread the joys of backyard farming, Rosendahl stops by different City Council members’ offices with a dozen eggs and a grin.

Last week, it was the mayor’s turn for a delivery from City Hall’s Egg Man. Rosendahl said he handed six eggs to Villaraigosa and, tongue firmly in cheek, said, “Sorry about only bringing a half-dozen, Mayor. But these are austere times.”

Villaraigosa had the eggs with him while they were debating how to balance the budget, Rosendahl said. “The eggs are kind of soothing. He kept looking at them, and turning them over, while we were talking about all these very serious items,” Rosendahl said.

Maybe the mayor was wondering how far he could throw them? Nah. ...

Want more on the politics of urban homesteading (yes, it's a point of contention)? Follow this link to learn more about raising livestock in the city.

-- P.J. Huffstutter

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Top photo: Dennis Harrison-Noonan and some of his chickens in Madison, Wis. Credit: John Hart / For The Times. Bottom photo: Bill Rosendahl. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times