The iconic former Councilmember, a victim of a knife attack and slow-growth supporter for change was responsible for the transformation of the historic Venice Canals
By Nick Antonicello
Ruth Galanter, the popular former city council member who was part of a new wave of women to serve in city government in the late 1980’s and 1990’s has endorsed Venice local Erin Darling, a tenant’s rights attorney looking to succeed the retiring Mike Bonin here in CD-11.
Darling, who is making his first bid for public office has been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, the LA County Democratic Party, Senator Ben Allen, Assembly member Tina McKinnor, Bonin and climate change enthusiast and Oscar winning actress, Jane Fonda.
A life-long Venetian, Darling attended law school with Senator Allen as well as Senator Henry Stern. A husband and father of a three-year old son, Darling is demanding new solutions and approaches to solving the homeless debacle here in Venice and the rest of the council district.
Calling homelessness the “crisis of the district,” Darling is offering a 5-point plan to end the current scourge of encampments here in CD-11.
“Rental protections must be enforced. Right to legal counsel ensured. Rapid rehousing to restore one’s dignity. Mental Health support as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation while providing a room with a door,” offered the first-time candidate for LA Council.
Darling pointed to the fact that every elected official representing Venice at the state and county levels were supporting his candidacy.
“I’m running against a former Republican and arguably the most conservative candidate seeking a seat on the LA City Council this cycle. For me this is not a political stepping stone, but an opportunity to serve some 250,000 residents in a responsible and effective fashion. This is a chance to change the status quo and finally end the scourge of homelessness.”
Galanter, a native of New York City and the Bronx is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Yale University who was part of the transformation of the historic Venice Canals in 1988 and served on the LA City Council from 1987 until her retirement in 2003.
Ruth Galanter rode in on a wave of anti-growth sentiment when she unseated 18-year incumbent Pat Russell to represent the 6th Council District on the Los Angeles City Council.
A stranger to the city’s political machine, Galanter was already well known in environmentalist circles. She had served as a director of the California League of Conservation Voters and on the South Coast Regional Coastal Commission. As councilwoman, Galanter successfully introduced many “slow-growth” measures and played a key role in saving the endangered El Segundo Dunes habitat area and restoring the Ballona Wetlands. Galanter’s willingness to approve certain projects, especially those with developer-funded community amenities, drew the ire of some anti-development groups. Nonetheless, she won her reelection bid in 1991. The victim of a near-fatal home invasion just prior to her election, Galanter also focused on public safety measures, such as organizing Neighborhood Watch clubs throughout her district, overseeing the opening of a new LAPD substation at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, and arranging for increased security in area parks.
She went on to be reelected in 1995 and 1999, serving as President Pro Tempore, oversaw improvements like the construction of libraries, restoration of the Venice canals and pier, and installation of recycling facilities.
Galanter also cited an ordinance requiring low-flush toilets in homes as her most lasting legacy. In 2002, Galanter was redistricted away from the Westside and into the San Fernando Valley. Although displeased with the decision, Galanter endeavored in getting to know the community and working on projects to clean up large amounts of illegally dumped refuse. After leaving the Council in 2003 due to term limits, Galanter worked as a lecturer and distinguished scholar at local universities and ran her own consulting business. She continues to volunteer for wetlands restoration projects.
Galanter also served on the SC Regional Coastal Commission and was appointed by then California Governor Jerry Brown in 1980.
Galanter also voted to ban overnight beach sleeping while as a city council member.
Darling was humbled by Galanter’s endorsement and said in a ZOOM debate Saturday before the Mar Vista Community Council that he would ensure his council deputies would be residents of the areas they represented.
“I am my own man. I’m offering a real, 5-point plan to solve the homeless crisis while endorsing a timeline regarding climate change. My constituent services will offer real time customer service and will get back to residents within 48-hours of contact,” promised the candidate.
Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian covering the race to succeed Mike Bonin in CD-11. Antonicello has filed more stories on the race in CD-11 then any other media outlet. Have a take or tip on the race? Contact Antonicello online at firstname.lastname@example.org