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Roz Wyman, History-Making LA City Councilwoman, Dies at 92

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Rosalind "Roz" Wyman, the youngest person and second-ever woman to be elected to Los Angeles City Council in 1953, has died at age 92, her family said in a statement to the LA Times on Thursday morning.

Wyman made history as an enterprising civic leader, in her presence on City Council and in her efforts to build up the city -- especially LA sports -- during her time in local government.

She "will forever be remembered as the person who brought major league sports to LA, as the architect of the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles from Brooklyn and the Lakers’ move from Minneapolis," her family's statement said.

When she was elected in 1953, Wyman was just 22 years old. She held that post for "a dozen years," California Senator Dianne Feinstein in a statement released Thursday.

"Roz’s roots in politics were already deep when I met her," said Feinstein. "She would go on to shape JFK’s 1960 Democratic National Convention, work on Robert Kennedy’s campaign and, most important to me, serve as my Senate campaign co-chair and close advisor – my ‘field marshal’ – for decades."

U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi also released a statement about Wyman's death.

"Paul and I are heartbroken by the passing of our dear friend, a visionary leader of Los Angeles and godmother to the Democratic Party, Roz Wyman," Pelosi said. "Roz was a force of nature: breaking down barriers for women in California politics, while forging new ways to bring people together through politics, the arts, and baseball."


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Baseball, and other LA sports, were one of her biggest passions -- as many who knew her can attest.

"There was nowhere Roz would rather be than Dodger Stadium, holding court from her seat at the end of the Dodger dugout," Feinstein said. "Roz was a major reason the Dodgers moved to LA in the 1950s – she braved death threats and political attacks, but she persevered and became the Dodgers’ biggest booster."

"If you bleed Dodger blue, you can credit that love to Roz as she helped bring the Dodgers to Los Angeles," Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement after the board's Oct. 4 vote to celebrate Wyman on her 92nd birthday. "She was also behind the idea of connecting Los Angeles City Hall up to Grand Avenue through a park where all Angelenos could gather. That idea took 60 years to become a reality, but that is why Roz is a visionary whose dreams changed both this city and county.

"I'm grateful for Roz's friendship, inspired by the legacy she's paved, and honored to move this action forward -- especially on her 92nd birthday. Today we celebrate Roz and her love for Los Angeles," Solis said Oct. 4.

Wyman was also a strong advocate for the arts, advocating for the construction of the Music Center in the 1960s. She was a member of the National Endowment for the Arts, and served two terms as president of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Commission.

Wyman was honored last month at Dodger Stadium, receiving the inaugural Tommy Lasorda I Bleed Dodger Blue Award, recognizing a member of the Los Angeles community that embodies the passion, enthusiasm and love for the Dodgers Lasorda possessed.

The award will annually be presented on or around the anniversary of Lasorda's birth.

"The name Tommy Lasorda is synonymous with the Dodgers, so it's only fitting that we introduce a new award which encompasses his incredible passion for the organization," Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten said at the time.

"For the inaugural award, we have selected Roz Wyman because without her, there might never have been a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team."

Wyman made history by breaking barriers as a woman in office, becoming "the first elected official to become pregnant and give birth while in office AND the first woman to serve as acting Mayor of Los Angeles," her family's statement read.

She died in her home Wednesday night, according to her family. She is survived three children, three grandchildren, "in-laws, numerous nieces and nephews and many friends across Los Angeles," her family said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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