What I Owe Bill Rosendahl … My Friend and So Much More

A LIFE POSTSCRIPT--Whether it's common sense, common decency, or common courtesy, there is just often too little of such "common" commoditites.  But sometimes there are individuals who stand out and show that YES, those sorts of things can be achieved ... with honesty to boot.  As my friend and colleague Gary Walker of the Argonaut reported so well, we've lost a great man who's earned a cherished and lasting memory within our hearts:  Bill Rosendahl. 


Death is so inevitable, and so damnably unfair, and so equally and damnably unpredictable.  Some of us live long lives, and some of us just don't.  Some great people get cruelly denied the benefit of a long life, and some horrible people make the rest of us suffer until they inevitably get shoved out of our lives and thankfully into the history books. 

All we can do is hope that those who wanted to make a difference--and not just to themselves but to the rest of the world--got to do so while they had the chance, and leaving the rest of us with a role model of how to get it done in our own lives.  Bill Rosendahl was one such guy. 

Bigger than life, tall and with a booming voice, he transitioned from the rough and tumble world of journalism into a political sphere that he "wasn't supposed to" enter, and made it clear to Westside developers, slumlords, and wealthy residents that CD11 wasn't going to be a place where citizens were denied a voice. 

Openly liberal but equally and openly embracing (that was Bill's word--"embracing") both the conservative and liberal elements of his constituencies, and both the Republican and Democratic portions of his constituencies. For example, he was an openly liberal Democrat but demanded that pro-transportation, pro-grassroots empowerment Republicans like myself and others to be empowered and represented...and that's an example we've seen so well with Bill's successor Mike Bonin as well. 

Because as we've all seen with the rise of both the Democratic and Republican "Establishments", there are a lot of people who claim to promote "leadership" and "representation" without doing any of the sort.  Ask any Bernie Sanders and/or Donald Trump supporter, and you'll see that there are true liberals and true conservatives and that they probably are just two avenues to addressing the ills of the world that Bill Rosendahl tried to tackle: 

Bill Rosendahl knew, just as we also know, that there is true evil and true good in the world, and that there are those who blatantly say they'll do good when it's obvious their statements and efforts are just B.S. 

Bill Rosendahl wasn't the kind of person who would use the term "B.S." but just say the word outright.

There are too many hard-working, rule-abiding individuals all over the political and economic spectrum who've been betrayed and ignored by their "representatives", and too few empowered individuals who will call out truth to power while showing that Americans have both the rights and responsibilities to defend their hard work and protect others. 

Both liberals and conservatives--and I mean HONEST liberals and conservatives--have no problem protecting and helping the homeless while demanding all of us, including the homeless, do our part to protect the health, welfare, rights, and dignity of others. 

Both liberals and conservatives--and I mean HONEST liberals and conservatives--have no problem protecting the rights of both heterosexual and homosexual couples who choose to live a life of devotion, love, and moral righteousness in our society. 

Both liberals and conservatives--and I mean HONEST liberals and conservatives--have no problem supporting health initiatives that expand the health, happiness, and dignity of those who physically and mentally suffer...and that includes medical marijuana (particularly for those with cancer or degenerative disorders). 

Both liberals and conservatives--and I mean HONEST liberals and conservatives--have no problem supporting the rights of business, individuals, and developers who earn an honest buck while not trampling on the rights of others. 

Bill Rosendahl WAS such an honest man, and that's why everyone who has learned of his recent death is both heartbroken and sad...yet happy that one of our own was courageously able to get the grassroots behind him and get not only Bill but the rest of us into some measure of political equity in a City of the Angels that too often ignores the callings of its own higher angels. 

And speaking of angels, I concur with my friend and "bro" Mike Bonin, current Councilmember of CD11, that Heaven is now a little more exciting with Bill's passage into that Higher Realm. 

I was quite misty-eyed when I last saw Bill, who had only enough energy to say "I love you" to those who visited with him during his home hospice, but there is nothing to be ashamed of with tears for the departed...and not all tears are of grief. 

Sometimes tears can be of joy, too.  Aren't we glad we had Bill's leadership and presence into our lives, for those of us lucky to know Bill and his efforts? 

And aren't the tears evidence of a bittersweet reality that Bill (or any other departed) is so cherished, and that the departed led such a wonderful and exemplary life? 

Thanks for the example, and thanks for the good fight, Bill.  I'm sure you're already praying for the rest of us from Up Above...which is what you always did when living amongst the rest of us. 

And may the rest of us do what we can to emulate what Bill always fought for: live a life well-lived, and be an example for others when it's time for the rest of us to leave this crazy, unpredictable world ... so that these others can have their own fortunate opportunity to follow suit.


(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee.  He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at  [email protected].   He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)