Every politician eventually presents him or herself within the framework of some archetype - be it policy wonk, the wise elder, the officious servant to order, the young upstart, the visionary, and so forth. Very rarely does someone come along with something really unique, but that is exactly what we have in Bill Rosendahl.
Love or hate his actions as a council member, you cannot deny his impact on our city and his tenure will reverberate within it for decades to come. He embodies the concept of effusive warmth and it is always obvious that he holds close to his heart a larger than life enthusiasm for people.
I've lived here in Westchester for the past 9 years, including all of Bill Rosendahl's time as councilman. He came into office with great promise, energy, and fortitude - governing with a genuine desire to please everyone.
There are two things for which I wish to thank him today. The first is the passage of the Master Bike Plan - a cause he championed with gusto. For all of us who have suffered the dangers of cycling without lanes, the indignities of cars bearing down on us with seeming impunity, and the isolation of living outside the conventional automobile lifestyle, we owe Bill Rosendahl a debt of gratitude because he brought our movement to the forefront of the city's focus. While we aren't finished making Los Angeles a biking city safe for anyone ages 8-80, we would not have made this much progress without his support.
The second thing I am grateful to him for is more about his character than any accomplishment and it centers on an interaction he had with my oldest daughter, Georgia. She's 6 and so we did ANOPI Nation through the YMCA last year. It's an alternative to the girl scouts and pretty popular in my neighborhood. At the end of the season, they always walk in Westchester's Fourth of July Parade.
This past summer, she and I were waiting for the parade to start when Bill Rosendahl showed up to say hi to everyone. This was about a month before he announced his illness. He had been having back pain and you could tell that he was really feeling it that day. But despite what must have been extraordinary pain, he turned on all the charm and joy he carries with him for my daughter and it meant something. He connected to her and for just a second, the long hot wait for the parade was suddenly special to her again.
He taught me something important that day; that public service is not job. It's a lifestyle. And I was made to realize that it's much easier to corner politicians into archetypes than it is to see them as people. But I saw Bill Rosendahl for what he truly is that day, an innately decent human being who wants to bring his people happiness. For that, I will always be thankful... and hopeful.