L.A.'s Gay Council Member Steps Down to Battle Cancer

BY Michelle Garcia

October 09 2012 4:14 PM ET UPDATED: October 09 2012 6:15 PM ET

Los Angeles's only openly gay City Council member, Bill Rosendahl, said he will not seek reelection so that he can concentrate on battling cancer.

Rosendahal, 67, announced that he was diagnosed with cancer in his pelvic area in August.

"My doctors feel there is abundant reason for optimism," he wrote two months ago. "The cancer is slow-moving, has not spread to any vital organs, and does not affect my digestive system."

Rosendahl became the first openly gay man to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council seven years ago. His major projects while in office have been updating Los Angeles International Airport, increasing public transportation, and building more support systems for homeless people. He also became an advocate for medical marijuana dispenseries.

Rosendahl, who represents the coastal District 11 (from Westchester to Pacific Palisades, according to the Los Angeles Times) named his chief of staff, Mike Bonin, to succeed him.

"With Mike ready to fill my shoes, I can step aside with confidence, knowing the issues we have worked on and the vision that we share in rebuilding our local democracy will move forward without interruption, without hesitation, and with a genuine appreciation for the needs of this district and it's amazing constituency," Rosendahl said in a message to supporters Monday evening.

UPDATE: Bonin announced Tuesday afternoon that he will run for the seat being vacated by Rosendahl.

"Bill is my friend and mentor," he wrote to Rosendahl's supporters. "Today, he announced he will not seek r-election in order to focus on his battle against cancer — a battle I know he will win. I have promised him that I will carry on his tradition of community empowerment and continue his fight for our neighborhoods and for positive change for Los Angeles."
 

Tags: Politics

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