December 5, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Bill Rosendahl service held in Santa Monica

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses the crowd at St. Monica's Church.

LOS ANGELES (BY CNS with supplemental reporting BY TROY MASTERS) – A Catholic mass was held today Santa Monica today to remember the life of former City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the city’s first out gay councilmember.  

Rosendahl died last week after a long and courageous battle with cancer (read Karen Ocamb’s obituary here).

Hundreds of friends, dignitaries and elected officials packed a Santa Monica church today to celebrate the life of former Los Angeles City Councilman, hailing him as a public servant with a zest for life and an open door to the rich and poor alike.

Rosendahl died March 30 at age 70 after a four-year battle with cancer.

City Councilman Mike Bonin, who served as Rosendahl’s chief of staff and ultimately succeeded him representing the 11th District, asked attendees at the St. Monica’s Church serve to pray for Rosendahl, “a cherished friend and exemplary public servant, beloved partner, a brother, an uncle, a mentor, a colleague, a boss, a role-model and an inspiration.”

Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who delivered the eulogy, invoked one of Rosendahl’s favorite catch-phrases in describing his former colleague.

Bill_Rosendahl_Worship_Aid-1“Billy was great, great, great, great, great, great, great!” he said, prompting applause from mourners.

Villaraigosa said Rosendahl had an “unbridled enthusiasm for life” and was the type of man who welcomed people of all backgrounds into his home.

“You could go to Billy’s house and see a billionaire and a homeless person there, and Billy holding court,” he said.

Rosendahl once also “found a place to live” for Zuma Dogg, a well- known City Hall gadfly, Villaraigosa said.

“Zuma Dogg would beat us all up, he certainly beat me up!” he said.

“He would beat Billy up from time to time. But that was Billy. He was a man (who) embraced love and embraced people. He was someone committed to working for the homeless, someone who understood that to whom much is given, much is expected.”

One of Rosendahl’s legacies was in bringing the “safe parking concept to Los Angeles,” which would have allowed those who are homeless to park and live in their vehicles in a lot overnight, Villaraigosa said.

He said the idea was “foiled by petty politics and bureaucracy,” but there is now another chance to implement this idea under Rosendahl’s successor, Bonin.

“We owe it to Bill’s legacy to make it happen this time,” Villaraigosa said.

Villaraigosa also hailed Rosendahl for his ability to be civil, even in the midst of political debate.

“Even when we argued he made sure we did it with civility and respect,” he said. “It was never personal for Billy. And in this political season when too much is personal, not enough of our debate is civil, we should
think about Billy. He made me proud and I know he made you proud to have him as
a colleague.”

Rosendahl, a former cable television executive and public affairs broadcaster, served on the council from 2005 to 2013, when he retired to fight stage-four cancer. Toward the end of his tenure in office, Rosendahl was an ardent supporter of medical marijuana, which he used to fight the side effects of his cancer treatments.

He was often referred to as the “conscience of the City Council.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who could not attend the Catholic mass service because he was traveling back from a trip to Washington, D.C., is expected to speak at another event honoring Rosendahl, “GREAT GREAT GREAT: A Celebration of Life,” which is also set for 2 p.m. April 16 at Mar Vista Park.

The public is welcome to RSVP for the service and make donations to three organizations in lieu of flowers at http://www.11thdistrict.com.   The organizations, which serve the homeless, are Safe Place for Youth,
New Directions for Veterans and the Jeff Griffith Youth Center at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center.

In July 2012, after collapsing suddenly, Rosendahl was diagnosed with cancer of the ureter, a tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. He was told he did not have long to live.

He said that for several months, he would suffer from delirium and underwent numerous chemotherapy treatments, which reduced him from 225 pounds to 170.

It was only after his doctor suggested he use marijuana to help him ease the pain and get more sleep that he began to recover. The extra rest helped save his life, Rosendahl said in 2013.

He resumed his City Council duties in September 2012, throwing himself into getting a medical marijuana law passed and becoming the only council member to oppose a plan to expand an LAX runway closer to some of his constituents. In April 2013, Rosendahl announced he was in remission.

“The amount of love I’ve gotten has been phenomenal,” he told his colleagues on his first day back from medical leave. “People have brought food to the house. People have prayed with me, people have sung with me. They put all kinds of positive energy toward me.”

Rosendahl was at one time a vice president of communications company Adelphia and arrived on the council to represent the 11th Council District in 2005 after years as a cable channel host covering public affairs. Prior to that, he worked on presidential campaigns for Robert Kennedy, Fred Harris and
George McGovern.

Rosendahl ran for office as openly gay, which was something that had never been done before. Two previous council members, Jackie Goldberg and Joel Wachs, came out after they were elected.

Rosendahl came out as gay in 1995 when his partner, Christopher Lee Blauman, died of complications of AIDS.

Rosendahl is survived by his partner, Hedi El-Kholti; brother Thomas and sister-in-law Sheila, and their sons, Robbie-Paul, Ricky-Luke and Arthur; brother Steven; sister Mary LeMothe; sister Helen Davoren; and nephew Christopher.

Related Posts

WeHo’s 31st Annual Toy & Food Drive

November 30, 2021

November 30, 2021

The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station are partnering to help give back to those in...

WeHo Wins ‘Most Business-Friendly City Award’ from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation

November 30, 2021

November 30, 2021

The City of West Hollywood has been awarded the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s 2021 Most Business-Friendly City Award....

County Board Of Supervisors Approves $3.6 Million To Serve LGBTQ Foster Youth

November 16, 2021

November 16, 2021

L.A County Board or Supervisors has passed a supplemental budget to its fiscal year 2021-2022, which includes an allocation of...

LGBTQ Car Show In Long Beach

October 26, 2021

October 26, 2021

Great Autos car club got a chance to show off its Rainbow Car Show to the Marina Pacifica parking lot...

LA County Votes To Increase Services For LGBTQ Jail Populations

October 26, 2021

October 26, 2021

On Tuesday, Oct. 19 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to expand mental health treatment and other...

New Senior Housing From LA LGBT Center’s Ariadne Getty Foundation

October 26, 2021

October 26, 2021

The LA LGBT Center has completed construction of a new senior housing complex next-door to its Anita May Rosenstein Campus...

Los Angeles LGBT Center Opens New Facility In South Los Angeles

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Los Angeles LGBT Center has opened a new facility in South Los Angeles to serve the health needs of LGBT...

AIDS/LifeCycle Kick Off Ride

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

AIDS/LifeCycle is kicking off it’s 2022 training season to end AIDS on October 16th.  Riders can sign up for the...

OUT On The Mountain At Six Flags Magic Mountian

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

Six Flags Magic Mountain celebrated LGBTQ Pride with its annual OUT on the Mountain event on Friday, September 17th.  Out...

Caitlyn Jenner Expresses Outrage After California Recall Vote

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

Republican candidate Caitlyn Jenner received only one percent of the California recall vote.  The 2021 California gubernatorial recall election was...

Elvira Shocks Fans By Coming Out Of The Closet

September 28, 2021

September 28, 2021

Just in time for Halloween, the spook queen herself, Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, has come out of the closet.  In...

Britney Spears Announces Engagement

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Britney Spears and boyfriend Sam Asghari have announced their engagement.  Asghari’s talent manager Brandon Cohen of BAC Talent confirmed in...

MS-13’s Stronghold On MacArthur Park And Transphobia

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

MS-13, a vicious street gang, continues its stronghold on MacArthur Park making it unsafe for many who visit but specifically...

California State To Outlaw “Stealthing”

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

California could soon become the first state to outlaw “stealthing”, the vile practice of removing a condom during sex without...

Teacher Removed After Having Class Pledge Allegiance To The Pride Flag

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Kristin Pitzen, a teacher at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa, who posted a video to social media of...