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The Great Bill Rosendahl: A Man Latino Leaders Should Emulate

LATINO PERSPECTIVE--I want to dedicate my column this week to a great man. A man who lived his life with dignity and integrity. A man who deeply cared about his country, his city, his fellow man and a man who never betrayed his beliefs and convictions.

 

In this age of political circus many candidates and politicians will say and do whatever to get elected, but not Bill Rosendahl. He ran for office as openly gay, which was something that had never been done before. Two previous councilmembers, Jackie Goldberg and Joel Wachs, came out after they were elected. Bill had the courage of his convictions.

I first met Bill in 2004 at a Young Stonewall Democratic party event in downtown Los Angeles, I was VP of communications for the group. I didn’t know much about him before that night. But he made quite an impression on me as a person who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and do the right thing. Time would prove that impression to be reality.

The next time I ran into him was just a month before he took office at the soon to be gone Roosterfish Bar in Venice. I congratulated him on his win, wished him luck and great success. He responded with a line I’ve never forgotten: “Fred, running for office is a pain in the ass, but man it was worth it.” We both laughed so hard and drank a beer together.

I saw Rosendahl only occasionally after that night. When I ran for Los Angeles city council in 2015, I contacted him to see if I could visit him and get his advice for my campaign. Not long after that initial meeting he endorsed me for City Council. When the Stonewall Young Democrats and the Stonewall Democratic club threw me under the bus, Bill stood up for me.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet and get to know Bill, a man of great wisdom and kindness. He had the world’s biggest heart. He himself ran for City Council because he genuinely cared about his community. He was so full of life. I will forever be grateful for the moments I’ve got to spend with him and learn from his experience. Bill was a great man, the kind of person we desperately need in politics these days.

Bill Rosendahl encouraged me to be strong, to not take anything in politics personal, to not get discouraged when things don’t go as planned, to always give my best, to always be grateful, and to always have the courage of my convictions. A philosophy, in a nutshell, that all Latino leaders should endorse … from a man that all Latino leaders should emulate.

May he rest in peace.

 

(Fred Mariscal came to Los Angeles from Mexico City in 1992 to study at the University of Southern California and has been in LA ever since. He is a community leader who serves as Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition and sits on the board of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council representing Larchmont Village. He was a candidate for Los Angeles City Council in District 4. Fred writes Latino Perspective for CityWatch and can be reached at: [email protected]) –cw