Alan G. Sieroty, former state senator who helped create the Coastal Commission, dies at 93


Former state Sen. Alan G. Sieroty, a Democrat from Beverly Hills who championed disability rights and efforts to protect California’s coast, died Saturday. He was 93.

Sieroty died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, surrounded by his family, according to his niece Eve Meltzer and longtime friend Evan Kaizer.

Sieroty, whose family founded the Eastern Columbia department store chain, was elected to the California state Assembly in 1966 and served until 1977, when he was elected to the state Senate.

A man in a dark suit sits and looks to the left.
Former state Sen. Alan Sieroty has died at 93.
(Courtesy Evan Kaizer)

“He was just a brilliant legislator in a time when you could actually work across the aisle to get things done,” said Kaizer, president and CEO of the Sieroty Co., a Southern California real estate firm for which Sieroty served as chairman of the board.

“He authored over 100 bills,” Kaizer said. “He was responsible for so many important environmental pieces of legislation.”

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Perhaps his most famous work in that arena, Kaizer said, was his role in the initiative and legislation that led to the creation of the California Coastal Commission.


“One of the things that brought Alan incredible pleasure was being at the beach … and seeing people enjoy the beach and knowing that he had a little small place in creating those open spaces,” Kaizer said.

When Sieroty retired from the Senate in 1982, the California Legislature honored him by naming a state beach in Tomales Bay State Park in Marin County after him.

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Sieroty was also a huge fan of art and jazz music, and blasted George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in the days before he died, his niece said. In earlier years, when he loved a new jazz album, Kaizer said, he’d often buy multiple copies to give out to friends and family who came over.

Sieroty served on the boards of several nonprofits, including the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California and the Venice Family Clinic. Recently, he and his family worked with the homelessness services nonprofit L.A. Family Housing to transform a former motel into a temporary housing facility for unhoused seniors called the Sieroty.