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LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl decides against run for re-election (updated)

L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl (second from the left) will not run for a third term of office. The Westside councilman is undergoing cancer treatment.
L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl (second from the left) will not run for a third term of office. The Westside councilman is undergoing cancer treatment.
Betsy Annas/City of LA.

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L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl will not run for a third term of office. The decision comes as the Westside representative is battling cancer.

The 67-year-old councilman had pledged to run next Spring for a third term of office, but after undergoing more than 13 radiation treatments and multiple rounds of chemotherapy, Rosendahl has decided he must remain focused on his health.

He explained his decision in an e-mail to constituents.

“I promise you that I won’t stop getting things accomplished for you, for our neighborhoods, and for our city as long as I remain in office,” he said in his email. “It is because of these accomplishments and the promise of many more to be realized that I have decided not to seek a third term as your councilman.”

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released a statement that said: "I was saddened to learn that Bill Rosendahl will not seek re-election. He is the Conscience of the Council, and City Hall will miss his energy and dynamism. I wish Bill a full recovery and good health."

Rosendahl will finish out his current term, which ends on June 30, 2013. He addressed his decision during Tuesday's Los Angeles City Council meeting.

The councilman also endorsed his chief of staff, Mike Bonin, as his successor. Bonin formally announced his candidacy via a press release on Tuesday:  

“I am determined to continue Bill's tradition of community empowerment and creative problem-solving. Bill is a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration. His conscience, his boundless optimism, and his passion for serving our neighborhoods has set a gold standard for what it means to be a servant of the people.”

In his retirement message, Rosendahl vigorously endorsed Bonin: “On every issue that is important to this district, Mike has been a leader. On police hiring, modernizing LAX, and building mass transit, Mike was there and engaged.  When it came to improving our parks, balancing the budget, and housing the homeless, Mike was involved at every step.  Mike Bonin has the heart, the smarts, and the guts to be the voice of this district on the City Council.”

Bonin is a long time City Hall staffer who spent seven years with Councilwoman Ruth Galanter. He was also a deputy chief of staff to then-U.S. Rep. Jane Harman. Bonin lived in Venice from 1992 to 2010. He is a resident of Mar Vista.

His campaign is already backed by Council President Herb Wesson. 

"I am supporting Mike Bonin to succeed my dear friend Bill Rosendahl on the City Council. For years, Mike has been Bill's smart and trusted chief deputy, working diligently and effectively for the people of the 11th District," Wesson said. "Mike knows how to work with people and get things done. Just like Bill Rosendahl, Mike Bonin will be a powerful voice on the Council and a fierce advocate for his district."

Bonin also announced endorsements from UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents hotel workers, and campaign co-chairs Sheila J. Kuehl and Steve Soboroff.

The primary is set for March of next year. Also running in that race are Odysseus Bostick and Frederick Sutton.

Two months ago, Rosendahl told the public he had cancer. He returned to City Hall in September — 45 pounds lighter and with the assistance of a walker — and revealed he has cancer of the ureter, a cavity that connects the bladder and kidney. 

Rosendahl is a former cable TV executive who became known for hosting public affairs programs. He ran for office in 2005 and was the first openly gay man elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Once his disease is cured, Rosendahl plans to return to the airwaves.

“I want to create a space for honest and open dialogue on the important issues facing our city, our state, and our country; a space where people can finish their sentences, share their thoughts, and contribute in a positive way to the public discourse,” he said. 


This post has been updated.