L.A. Now

Rosendahl makes it formal that he won't seek reelection

Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl came to City Hall Tuesday to formally announce that he will not seek reelection to a third term as he battles cancer. He burned some political bridges while he was at it.

In a wide-ranging council meeting speech, the famously candid politician complained about a variety of public figures who have disappointed him over the years.

He disparaged President Obama for continuing to wage a war overseas and complained about two California members of Congress — Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Henry Waxman — who he said haven't done enough to provide housing for homeless veterans.

Rosendahl, who is gay, faulted former President Clinton for supporting the Defense of Marriage Act and for instituting the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which urged service members to not divulge their sexual orientation.

"That guy's an idiot," Rosendahl said of Clinton.

He reserved some of his harshest criticism for Philip Anschutz, the Colorado billionaire who recently announced that he was selling Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company seeking to build an NFL stadium on city-owned land in downtown Los Angeles.

Rosendahl referred to Anschutz as "that punk in Denver that wouldn't even come and visit with us."

"Who does he think he is?" Rosendahl asked.

After nearly 20 minutes, council President Herb Wesson jokingly asked another lawmaker to "please confiscate the microphone from Bill." Wesson told Rosendahl that if he changed his mind and decided to run for a third term after all, he would have a hard time winning because he had just alienated "half the world."

Rosendahl, who represents the beach-adjacent communities stretching from Westchester to Pacific Palisades, announced about two months ago that he was undergoing treatment for stage four transitional cell carcinoma.

Initially, he vowed to run for reelection. But on Monday he said he was bowing out of the race and was endorsing his chief of staff, Mike Bonin, to succeed him.

Another candidate to replace Rosendahl, political consultant and community activist Mark Ryavec, on Tuesday accused the councilman of illegally using city resources to help Bonin's campaign. In a letter to the city Ethics Commission, Ryavec cited an email sent from Rosendahl to constituents that included a link to Bonin's campaign website.

Tony Arranaga, a spokesman for Rosendahl, said the letter was sent out to people on Rosendahl's personal email list, not a city list. He noted that the letter had been posted on Rosendahl's personal blog, not the city's website.

Rosendahl said Tuesday that he plans to continue working until June, when his term expires. Recent medical tests have shown positive results, he said, noting that his oncologist told him Monday: "You're on your way to recovery."

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