I had to look up the date, but I’ll never forget the time I ran into City Council Member Bill Rosendahl on the evening of June 14. I ran into my Councilman in our usual place, the produce section of the Whole Foods on the corner of National and Barrington. The usually ebullient Rosendahl was actually a little sour faced. Earlier in the day, he had lost a vote on whether or not to give a tax break to a new downtown hotel. He voted no, everyone else voted yes.
After I stopped him to say hi, and tell him I appreciated the stand he took in defeat (as a father I’ll always support someone standing up for education and the Councilman noted that the tax break given the hotel would temporarily eliminate LAUSD’s deficit if redirected). He smiled, and cursed out one of his fellow elected officials whom he counted on for support “(s)he caved to the unions.” Then he smiled and thanked me. He said the chat had made his day. Then his face relaxed into the grin that we’ve all become used to and he resumed his trip.
I’ve always had a somewhat complicated relationship with Bill Rosendahl. On one hand, I’m a journalist and activist. Given his role as Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee, he’s someone who I both regularly cover and lobby. That alone is a complicated relationship.
But ever since I moved to the 11th Councilmanic District in 2010, things got more complicated. He became the guy I run into at the grocery store and Neighborhood Council meetings. His staff made sure the potholes in the alley behind our house got filled. He cut through an army of politicians and television cameras to pose with me and my son at the Bike Plan signing. The picture was his idea.
In short, he’s not just the Chair of the City Council Committee I cover. He’s not just my Councilman. I also really like the guy. There’s exactly one other politician I can say that about, and he was my friend before he was elected to office. Read more…