Ruth Galanter
American politician
Ruth Galanter
Ruth Galanter was an environmentalist who served on the Los Angeles, California, City Council from 1987 to 2003 and was known for supporting "slow growth" policies on the city's Westside and elsewhere. She was the victim of a knife attack by a home intruder in 1987 that left her severely wounded. She now has her own consulting business.
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Mayor Candidate: Don't Underestimate Me!
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Councilwoman Jan Perry's campaign for mayor is as much about overcoming perceptions as it is persuading people to vote for her. "I don't understand why people say I'm the underdog," Perry said during a recent interview. "With matching funds, I'll have about the same amount of money as the others. And I've been around as long as they have." The "others" in this race are City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who have been polling as the top two of the eight candidates running in the March 5 election to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. A November poll by Loyola Marymount University put Perry in third place, followed by Kevin James, a Republican former talk show host and former federal prosecutor. But the same poll also found that 67percent of voters hadn't made up their minds yet. Perry, 57, a three-term member of the City Council who is termed out in July, remains optimistic she will be able to persuade many of those undecided voters that she i ...
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Huffington Post article
Congresswomen Hahn, Bass Endorse Mike Bonin
Brentwood Patch - over 4 years
Less than 24 hours after Mike Bonin announced he would run to replace CD 11 Councilmember Bill Rosendahl on the Los Angeles City Council, two U.S. Congresswomen have thrown their support behind him. Both Janice Hahn and Karen Bass have chosen to endorse the Mar Vista resident who currently serves as Rosendahl’s chief of staff. Bonin is also Rosendahl’s personal pick to replace him after the councilmember announced he would not be seeking a third term on the council, in order to focus on fighting his battle against cancer. Bass, a former State assembly speaker who represents parts of West Los Angeles, said Bonin’s track record as a chief council deputy and community organizer has prepared him to be the Westside’s councilmember. "I enthusiastically endorse Mike Bonin to succeed Bill Rosendahl on the Los Angeles City Council,” Bass said in an official statement. “Mike is thoughtful, creative and he knows how to get things done. That’s the kind of leadership we need in a time o ...
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Brentwood Patch article
Female Genital Cutting
NYTimes - over 9 years
To the Editor: Re ''Voices Rise in Egypt to Shield Girls From an Old Tradition'' (front page, Sept. 20): Islamic scholars and health care practitioners have important supportive roles in addressing the social and physical consequences of female genital cutting, but it is in the collective decisions of communities that have traditionally cut their
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NYTimes article
Square Feet; A Glimpse of a More Vertical Los Angeles
NYTimes - almost 10 years
Long before ''the new urbanism'' became a tired phrase, Playa Vista, the last remaining large tract of undeveloped land on this city's traffic-choked West Side, was envisioned as a place where people could live, work, shop and play without leaving their neighborhood. Now a community of 4,500 people, Playa Vista is situated between Westchester
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NYTimes article
National Briefing | West: California: Confirming Police Chief
NYTimes - over 14 years
William J. Bratton, former New York City police commissioner, was confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council, 14 to 1, as police chief. Nate Holden, a supporter of former Chief Bernard C. Parks, was the lone member to vote against Mr. Bratton. He was confirmed after three hours of testimonials from citizens' groups and mostly gentle questioning from
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NYTimes article
A Little Piece of Los Angeles Is a Wide Open Battleground
NYTimes - over 15 years
When the architect Frank O. Gehry signed on recently to design a hip new office park at an immense development here known as Playa Vista, the combatants in a 20-year war over the site finally had something they could agree on. To each side, Mr. Gehry seemed a savior. For the developers of the project, which would combine offices, apartments, hotel
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NYTimes article
PUBLIC LIVES; A Quick Climb Up the Los Angeles Political Ladder
NYTimes - over 15 years
ALEX PADILLA grew up poor in Pacoima, which was pretty much the norm in that distressed section of the San Fernando Valley. But the young man, who can still vividly recount late-night excursions with his father to scavenge for recyclables, broke early on with what might be considered normal in that community. He went to the Massachusetts Institute
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NYTimes article
New Hollywood Studio Wrangles Over Project
NYTimes - over 18 years
It was the high-tech vision that was supposed to make the dream in Dreamworks come true, the first newly built Hollywood studio in nearly 60 years, nestled in a 1,000-acre tract amid the coastal wetlands where Howard Hughes built his giant seaplane, the Spruce Goose. But now Dreamworks SKG, the studio partnership of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey
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NYTimes article
5 Years After Los Angeles Riots, Inner City Still Cries Out for Jobs
NYTimes - almost 20 years
Five years ago, as this troubled city limped away from three deadly days of rioting, civic leaders seized on the idea that the best way to repair the damage and quell the discontent was to create jobs, particularly for inner-city residents like Johnny Sight. Mr. Sight, part Hispanic and part black, just like the smoldering South-Central Los Angeles
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NYTimes article
Giving Los Angeles an Airport Tower to Write Home About
NYTimes - almost 21 years
IT'S a departure," Daniel Olivas, a project manager for the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles, was saying the other day. He was not talking about one of the 1,100-or-so airplanes taking off daily from Los Angeles International Airport, but about the city's arresting, controversial $19 million air-traffic control tower, which will be
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NYTimes article
City of Angels Makes Peace in Water Wars
NYTimes - over 22 years
Clusters of pale, delicate limestone spires, stranded in the sagebrush that surrounds a shrinking, million-year-old lake, help tell the story of decades of water wars in which California's thirsty south has sucked dry some of the lakes and rivers of the north. These brittle fingers, aquatic stalagmites as tall as a man or taller, have been left
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NYTimes article
Developers and Environmentalists Join Forces on Wetlands
NYTimes - over 22 years
Developers and environmentalists, two groups that typically clash over land use, have found common ground in efforts to restore the largest remaining wetlands in Los Angeles. Once a fertile habitat stretching across 2,000 acres of the California coastline, the Ballona wetlands have over the years been reduced to a 200-acre marsh choked with
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ruth Galanter
    THIRTIES
  • 2005
    In 2005-06, Galanter occupied the Bellarmine College Visiting Chair in Los Angeles Urban Research at Loyola Marymount University.
    More Details Hide Details At that time she was the principal of Galanter and Company, a consulting firm specializing in "land use, urban infrastructure, environmental policy and political strategy." Galanter said when she left office she believed her "most lasting legacy" would be a law requiring low-flush toilets in homes. Access to some of the Los Angeles Times links may require the use of a library card.
  • 2003
    She was known as a "deft negotiator," working out "delicate compromises that allowed some construction by private landowners" but that saved "key ecological sites." When she was leaving public office at the age of 62 in 2003, a Los Angeles Times reporter described her as a "contrarian councilwoman, an irascible poet who pens verses during public meetings and is known for speaking her mind.... her blunt style could be alienating....
    More Details Hide Details Her sentences are often long and clause-filled, and she does not suffer fools." And she engaged in "insatiable consumption of detective novels." On May 6, 1987, Galanter was "brutally assaulted" in her Venice home in the 2200 block of Louella Avenue by an intruder who left her in critical condition with stab wounds in her neck. The intruder entered through a screen window at the back of the house. Neighbors heard screaming and the sound of a burglar alarm that Galanter was able to trigger after the attack. "One wound severed the carotid artery that supplies blood to the left side of the brain, and the other punctured the pharynx, part of the food tube near the esophagus." Police soon tabbed Mark Allen Olds, who lived in a rooming house across the street from Galanter, as a suspect. Police Chief Daryl Gates said Olds was "a former gang member with an extensive record of arrests, including two for a 1979 gang murder and others for drug use." At his trial Galanter testified that she had suffered "permanent damage" to her throat and was "too frightened to sleep through the night." A reporter wrote sixteen years later that the attack had left Galanter's "New York-accented voice with a slight croak."
  • 2002
    In July 2002, the City Council voted to move Galanter's entire 6th District into the East San Fernando Valley, including Arleta, Sun Valley and parts of Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Panorama City and Pacoima, because of the increase of population in the Valley.
    More Details Hide Details At first opposed to the move, Galanter later embraced it and "unveiled an ambitious plan to curb flooding in Sun Valley, remove hundreds of pieces of discarded furniture throughout the district, repair streets and energize the political culture of a district known for voter apathy." Galanter worked with the community to get a $50,000 sculpture installed at Van Nuys Airport—"a piece of public art demanded by some people who were outraged over a series of bronze statues that they said were a poor fit for the airport." The Los Angeles Daily News reported that: Galanter said the project represents the first time a Los Angeles community was able to select the kind of art it wanted under the city's program that funnels 1 percent of developers' fees to public art. The winning design is a 15-foot-high concrete replica of an airplane wing, adorned with a bronze eagle. Its base is surrounded by figurines from aviation and Hollywood —Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, Bobbi Trout—who helped shape the history of the 75-year-old facility where the final scene from the classic "Casablanca" was filmed.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1993
    Galanter declined to accept a pay raise, which was "automatically granted by City Charter, in 1993 and 1994, but accepted it in 1995, bringing her salary to the level of Municipal Court judges—$98,069 per year.
    More Details Hide Details Airports, 1998–99. She opposed expansion plans at Los Angeles International Airport but favored them at Palmdale Airport. Both sites are under the ownership of the city of Los Angeles. Venice Canals, 1991. Ruth Galanter inherited a neighborhood sponsored assessment for improving the Venice Canals, but the final design selection and ultimate canal improvements in 1991 can be credited to Galanter leadership as a Los Angeles City Councilwoman. The original assessment project was sponsored by the Venice Canals Association(VCA) in 1976 during Pat Russell's term as couincil member. Venice Canals Association board members Barbara Michalak, Les Otterstrom, Paula Tate, Marla Engel, Ruth Ann Steffens, Fred Hoffman, Anita Henkins, Joseph Smith, W. Reid Monroe, Bonnie Felix, and Murray Leral worked to establish the assessment district for the Venice Canal Improvement Project. The first attempted design for the 1977 Venice Canals Assessment district was prepared by City of Los Angeles public works under the direction of City Engineer Luis Ganajas. The design was known as the vertical wall plan, similar to the existing Marina Del Rey walls, and were vertical solid cement with a decorative end cap. At the time there were at least 3 historic attempts to restore or rehabilitate the Venice Canals, all eventually leading to failure or opposition. The last attempt was a deep water plan that was stopped in the 1960's. Mayor Tom Bradly publicly stated "The Venice Canals will not be improved in my life time."
  • 1992
    Animal shelters, 1992, Galanter sought a grand jury probe of conditions in the city's animal shelters, maintaining that animals in the city's six shelters "are treated inhumanely and are often destroyed within hours after arriving."
    More Details Hide Details Pay raise, 1993–95.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1987
    Strongly opposed to the plans of Summa Corporation for a 1,087-acre piece of prime vacant land at the foot of the Westchester Bluffs when she first entered the City Council in 1987—"one of the largest real estate developments ever contemplated for Los Angeles"—Galanter spent much of her time afterward in trying to mitigate the effects of the proposed $7 billion residential, retail and hotel package; she did, at the end, vote in favor of the deal as it was finally put forth by Maguire Thomas Partners in 1993.
    More Details Hide Details That "especially wrenching" vote caused dissension among her backers, but it was later noted that the deal "would preserve 270 acres of the Ballona Wetlands, create a riparian corridor, pour millions into easing traffic problems and put recycling facilities in place" and that "She also won commitments for affordable housing units." Beach sleeping, 1987. She called for tougher laws to ban overnight sleeping on the city's beaches. Nuclear reactors, 1988. Calling the Metropolitan Water District's idea of a nuclear plant near the Los Angeles International Airport a "bad April Fools' joke," Galanter called for a citywide ban on construction of that or any other reactor "not used for research." The MWD was making a preliminary study of locations for a nuclear plant to produce electricity and convert seawater to drinking water. Wildlife preserve, 1990. She asked that 200 acres be set aside near Los Angeles International Airport for a wildlife preserve because at least ten endangered species lived there.
    Galanter won the June 1987 final vote, 21,846 to 15,855 in what the Los Angeles Times called "a dramatic election that signals the rise of a new constituency in city politics and sends troubling signals to the mayor's office" (Tom Bradley).
    More Details Hide Details The Times added: Russell brought money, at least $400,000, and establishment backing into the race. They were no match for Galanter's army of neighborhood activists, made up of Democrats, Republicans, suburban homeowners and bohemian renters.... The election was also widely regarded as a harbinger of a new brand of politics in the city, with Galanter leading a protest against the effect of development on traffic, air and water pollution and neighborhood tranquility.... On the advice of three consulting firms hired after the primary, Russell sought to put Galanter on the defensive with a blizzard of campaign literature picturing her as a Hayden crony whose campaign was being run by Venice radicals. Four years later, a tough fight against six other candidates—including Tavis Smiley, later known as a radio and television commentator— forced Galanter into a runoff with Republican Mary Lee Gray, who was an aide to County Supervisor Deane Dana and who polled well "in portions of the affluent Venice Peninsula, as well as the Crenshaw District. Galanter had to "fend off charges that she has gotten too close to developers and lobbyists," and she was criticized for "large projects in her district, including the sprawling Playa Vista development near Marina del Rey."
    She was the victim of a knife attack by a home intruder in 1987 that left her severely wounded.
    More Details Hide Details She now has her own consulting business.
  • 1982
    She knew radical and anti-war activist Tom Hayden in college and endorsed him when he ran for the California Assembly in 1982.
    More Details Hide Details Some of her opponents suggested she was a pawn of left-wingers, a charge she rejected. Hayden said later he would make no endorsements in her race against Russell, but at the last moment did exactly that, impelling the Russell campaign to send out "mail informing voters of Hayden's endorsement."
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1980
    She was elected chairman in 1980.
    More Details Hide Details In projects that came before the commission, Galanter insisted on including low-income housing in every development. Decisions on affordable housing, she said, were "probably the most controversial facing the commission." After leaving the commission, she started her own planning consulting firm. One of her clients was the State Coastal Conservancy Commission, "an agency charged with restoring damaged coastal lands." As such, she "worked to preserve wetlands threatened by development in Long Beach and Huntington Beach." See also Los Angeles municipal election returns, 1987 and after. In 1987, Los Angeles City Council District 6 was a "diverse area" that included "racially mixed" Venice and Mar Vista, as well as predominantly white Westchester and mostly black Crenshaw. In the primary election of April 1987 against incumbent Pat Russell, Galanter "stunned Russell by capturing 29% of the primary vote to Russell's 42%." Battling for votes in the final election, the Russell camp made much of the fact that Tom Hayden, "a powerful and controversial 1960s figure" was supporting Galanter and that she also had the support of the Venice Town Council, a civic group "composed mostly of left-wing activists." It was said that Galanter was attempting a "liberal balancing act."
  • 1977
    Galanter was appointed to the South Coast Regional Coastline Commission by Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown in January 1977.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1976
    Living in Santa Monica at the time, Galanter was active in opposition to a 1976 plan to move two decrepit frame Carpenter Gothic houses from their Ocean Avenue addresses north of Wilshire Boulevard to a city-owned lot in Ocean Park, turning one into an upscale restaurant and the other into a historic museum.
    More Details Hide Details Both were built around the start of the 20th Century, one of them by Roy Jones, son of Senator John P. Jones, founder of Santa Monica. The opposition was enough to kill the project, dubbed Heritage Square, which was eventually finished years later under tighter regulations. In 1979, she became the Southern California director of the California League of Conservation Voters.
  • 1973
    In 1973, working as the newsletter editor with the National Health Law Program, a federally funded legal-services program for the poor, she was part of a group endorsing a statewide campaign for national and state health insurance.
    More Details Hide Details
    While a Yale student, Galanter and "scores of others" opposed a New Haven urban renewal program that would have bulldozed buildings and cut streets through poor and working-class neighborhoods. In 1973 she was the first California resident to file an appeal under the state's Coastal Preservation Act against an approved project—a Santa Monica plan "first proposed as 1,480 luxury residential units in the end wound up as 340 condos and 160 units for seniors."
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1970
    She moved to Los Angeles in 1970.
    More Details Hide Details
  • OTHER
  • 1941
    Galanter was born about 1941 in New York City, the only child of a teacher and an advertising salesman.
    More Details Hide Details She grew up in the Bronx, New York, "dreaming of becoming an artist, or maybe an investigative reporter." Ruth's father died when she was age 6. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her master's degree in planning from Yale.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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