Friday's Council meetings offer us an opportunity to honor great work done by members of the community. Local heroes and marching bands, performing artists and youth groups have all taken turns in front of the assembled councilmembers to receive the recognition that is their rightful due. For me, one of the most remarkable pleasures of serving on the city council comes in the opportunity to showcase the work that goes on every day, under the radar. And one of the opportunities afforded by the council-blog is to show you just a sample of the folks who we bring before the council.
After the success of La Gran Limpieza (the L.A. River clean-up), it was a good time to honor the people who have dedicated their careers and lives to improving it. Maria Lopez represents All Things River when it comes to L.A. County government: as the Los Angeles River Master Plan project manager since 2000, she has led the way on bracketing the river's concrete embankments in bright, leafy green. She's developed signage and landscaping guidelines for the river and she's developed a reputation for bringing groups into the process, a vital characteristic for a government project leader.
From left: Lewis MacAdams, Ed Reyes, Maria Lopez, me
Gloria Stevenson-Clark is someone I met shortly after I took office, and she had been an important ally of the people of the 13th Council District and all of Los Angeles for many more years. In the Community Development Department, where she recently retired as an assistant general manager, Gloria designed the L.A. Bridges program that has guided so many young people away from gangs. She's also mentored countless public servants in the department. She will be sorely missed by CDD, but her effect will continue to resonate among the leaders she inspired. At the council presentation, I introduced her boss, CDD General Manager Clifford Graves, by wondering aloud just how he could possible be smiling when Gloria was leaving. His response: “I'm smiling because I have Gloria's phone number programmed into my phone.”
Gloria Stevenson-Clark, family and friends
We often adjourn council meetings in memory of district residents or notable figures who have passed away. When Broadway legend John Raitt passed away earlier this year, we made a formal tribute. On Friday, his widow Rosemary, his stepdaughter Sally Lokey and his good friend Paul Gleason joined us in council chambers. (Paul runs the American Center for Music and Theater out of the John Raitt Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.) At the end of the meeting, I made one last presentation in his honor, and his family and friend each made a small tribute. We closed by having our audio technician play “Soliloquy” from Carousel, the first show Raitt starred in on Broadway.