LAPL Reads is committed to reviewing books, however this week we are recommending a DVD, The passions & politics of Ed Edelman an untold story of leadership. Former Los Angeles City Councilman (nine years) and former Los Angeles County Supervisor (twenty years), Edmund Edelman died last week. This documentary is not being reviewed because of Mr. Edelman's death. It is being reviewed to bring attention to a civic leader and elected official who was dedicated to serving the public.
The Los Angeles Times obituary states that among the numerous civic goals which he championed are, "The county AIDS Program, a children’s dependency court, a revamped Department of Children’s Services and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.” As a determined negotiator in resolving labor conflicts Edelman was instrumental in averting several labor strikes. The Edmund Edelman Children’s Court “ ... was designed to be more sensitive to the needs of neglected and abused children.” His activity in evironmental conservation resulted in the Santa Monica conservancy naming several hundred acres the Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman Park. A passionate supporter of the arts, he was an early supporter to renovate the Hollywood Bowl, and for construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. All of these achievements and many more were from a man, " ... described as cautious and deliberative, but sometimes bland." He admitted to not being a grandstander. For many who worked with him, and did not necessarily share his political views, they credit Edelman with being a behind-the-scenes negotiator and consensus builder, all of which created benefits for the public. This is what elected officials are supposed to do--serve their electorate. As an elected official Edmund Edelman was not without critics, however he is more universally honored and respected for his enormous contributions to city, county, state and federal government.
At the present time, nationally and internationally, the political climate is contentious and inflammatory. Edmund Edelman's years of public service were during past times of social and political unpheaval, but he was a man determined to work with other civic leaders to find ways and means to make government work for everyone. Edmund Edelman's life of public service is an example and reminder that there are ways to disagree with the policies, ideologies, and actions of political opponents, but find the means to work with them, and definitely make significant political and social changes.
The Los Angeles Public Library owns five copies of this documentary. In addition the complete documentary can be viewed at PBS-SOCAL KOCE-TV.