Marvin Braude

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Marvin Braude (1920–2005) was a member of the Los Angeles City Council for 32 years, between 1965 and 1997—the third-longest-serving council member in the history of the city. He was known for protecting the open space of the Santa Monica Mountains and successfully pushing the city to ban smoking in restaurants and government buildings.

Braude in 1988

Biography[edit]

Braude was born on August 11, 1920, in Chicago, Illinois, the only son of Benjamin and Rose Braude, and attended the University of Illinois in 1937. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1941 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He was a research assistant with the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics in 1941 and an instructor in social science at the University of Chicago in 1942. He owned and operated small businesses and a small investment firm until he was elected to the City Council in 1965.[1][2]

Braude was married to Marjorie Sperry of Chicago on September 26, 1948; they went to Yosemite on their honeymoon and decided then to move to California, which they did in 1951. She became a medical doctor and specialized in psychiatry. The couple moved to the Brentwood district of Los Angeles in 1952. They had two children, Liza, born in May 1953, and Ann, born in July 1955. Marjorie Braude, who became head of the Los Angeles Domestic Violence Task Force, died in February 2005, ten months before her husband.[1][2]

He was co-founder and first president of the Santa Monica Mountains Regional Park Association, founder of Capital for Small Business in Los Angeles and president of the Crestwood Hills Association.[1][3]

He was described as being "professorial, cranky and wonkish . . . abrupt and cantakerous, especially with those who stood in his way." "The polyester suits he ordered from Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs were one of his trademarks. He brought health food in plastic containers to the banquets he was obliged to attend."[2]

Braude died at the age of 85 on December 7, 2005, in Rancho Mirage, California, after breaking his leg in a fall and contracting pneumonia while in the hospital. He chose to be cremated, said his daughter Ann, because he believed using open space for cemeteries was "poor land-use policy." A memorial service was held at University Synagogue in Brentwood, Los Angeles, and donations were asked for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.[2]

City Council[edit]

Elections[edit]

See also List of Los Angeles municipal election returns, 1965 and after.

In April 1965, Braude took on conservative incumbent Karl L. Rundberg in Los Angeles City Council District 11 and finished the primary election with less than half the votes of Rundberg (11,033 against 22,397), but in the May 1965 final, a "wave of public indignation over plans to carve a major highway across the Santa Monica Mountains" carried him into office:[4] he beat the veteran Rundberg by 22,023 votes to 18,976.

Braude was not seriously threatened in succeeding elections until 1997, when he faced "a strong challenge" from Cindy Miscikowski, his former chief of staff, among others. In 1996 he said he would begin to donate large sums of money from his $100,000 salary and his extensive financial portfolio to fund city projects within his district if he were reelected.[5] He decided, however, to retire instead of campaigning.

In that era (1971), the 11th District covered Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, West Los Angeles, with sections of Tarzana, Encino, Rancho Park, Westdale, Mar Vista and Venice. It covered 52 square miles and had some 210,000 residents.[1]

Positions[edit]

  • Mulholland Drive. Braude said in 1967 that he would continue a push for Mulholland Drive to be turned into a major parkway, with hiking and riding trails, picnic and camping facilities and other things of scenic, historic and recreational value.[6]
Braude in front after a 19-mile bike ride from his Brentwood home, 1974
  • Bike trails. An avid bicyclist, Braude worked to establish bicycle paths along the Pacific Ocean beachfront, in 1968 leading a contingent of 350 bike enthusiasts from Venice to Playa del Rey[7] and in 1974 leading 175 bikers along the 19-mile bikeway that the county was building along the beach, only to be stopped by sheriff's deputies at the entrance to a Marina apartment complex in what the owner contended was an "unlawful invasion of private property."[8]
  • Auto Club. Braude ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board of directors of the Automobile Club of Southern California after he learned that the club had spent $22,000 in 1970 to help defeat a state ballot proposition that would have allowed some state gasoline tax receipts to go for fighting smog and building rapid transit, which he favored, instead of being strictly limited to laying streets and building highways.[9]
  • Gun control. He called for a "broad-range" attack on the "widespread ownership and use of guns"—saying he would push for legislation to prevent gun violence. "This is something that will take four of six or maybe even 10 years," he said. Council members Jackie Goldberg, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Ruth Galanter and Laura Chick seconded his proposal.[12]
  • Leaf blowers. On two separate occasions, he asked the City Council to ban the use of noisy gas-powered leaf-blowers, used by professional gardeners.[13]
  • Suit blocked. In 1990 a Superior Court judge ruled that Braude's position as a City Council member precluded him from being able to sue as a private citizen against construction of the Watt City Center, a two-story office complex planned for Downtown Los Angeles,[14]
  • Smoking ban. In 1973, he first introduced an ordinance against smoking in restaurants and government buildings. It didn't pass then, so he reintroduced the measure in 1991. "If doctors and the vast majority of Los Angeles nonsmokers will rise up and support this proposal, we can tell the tobacco industry to shove off and take its sleazy act back to North Carolina," he said.[2][15] This time it passed.

Post-council[edit]

In September 1997 Braude became at the age of 76 a "distinguished practitioner in residence" at the University of Southern California, giving lectures and advising students on research projects and papers.[16]

Quotations[edit]

  • "I truly believe that we will have a smoke-free society by the year 2000."[17]
  • "When restaurants suffer from declining sales it's because their prices are too high, their food is not very good and the service is poor. There is no evidence whatsoever that [their bad business] has anything to do with the prohibition of smoking in restaurants. If you provide good food, good service and prohibit smoking, your business is going to be better."[18]
  • "What Proposition F did [removing the Los Angeles police chief from civil service protection] was to make our police chief the people's servant, and not the unquestioned ruler of an empire in blue."[19]
  • "I still think elected office is the highest calling." [20]

Legacy[edit]

The Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park in Tarzana, California, the Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center at the Government Center in Van Nuys and the Marvin Braude Bike Trail (formerly the South Bay and Santa Monica Bike Paths) are named after him.

Hilarious Goings On[edit]

Perhaps Councilman Braude's most infamous legacy was his problem with intestinal gas. Mr. Braude would pass gas almost continuously in and out of City Council meetings. The other members of the City Council would argue or cast lots to decide who would have to sit next to him at the horseshoe shaped council table in the main hearing room at City Hall, called Council Chambers. I liked Marvin Fraude. He was an intellect among several morons when I served as the Chief Legislative Analyst for Business and Taxation, under the Chief - Ken Spiker in the 1970s. Now that I am old enough to tell the truth, I hope that others who were in City Hall at that time will corroborate this memory will join in roasting Marvin - who could be quite a pain to staff in those "olden days". (see “If City Hall’s Walls Could Talk” by Greg Smith, Page 91 - also for verification at http://books.google.com/books?isbn=1456807048 OR {http://books.google.com/booksid=7D5I7tl4f3gC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=marvin+braude+farted&source=bl&ots=Ne_Z7cpTRs&sig=bNXF89Tbfbatv6S5Ega0o9vTok&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yt0RVOzFBuf9iwLj0IDgCg&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=marvin%20braude%20farted&f=false

References[edit]

Access to some Los Angeles Times links may require the use of a library card.

  1. ^ a b c d Los Angeles public library reference file
  2. ^ a b c d e f Steve Hymon and Patrick McGreevy, "Marvin Braude, 85," Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2005
  3. ^ "Crestwood Hills Group to Picnic on Labor Day," Los Angeles Times, August 31, 1958, page WS-4
  4. ^ Jeffrey L. Rabin, "This Time," Los Angeles Times, March 28, 1993
  5. ^ "Braude Vows to Donate $426,000 for District Projects," Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1996.
  6. ^ "Support Promised for Mulholland Parkway, Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1967, page 4
  7. ^ Noel Greenwood, "350 Cyclists Join in Sympathy for Beach Bikeway," Los Angeles Times, June 20, 1968, page 1
  8. ^ "The Rediscovery of the Bicycle," Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1974, page C-6
  9. ^ Richard West, "Braude Bid for Auto Club Appears Lost," Los Angeles Times, February 23, 1971, page C-2
  10. ^ Rich Connell, "Prop. U Backers See It as Start of Land-Use Revolt," Los Angeles Times, October 12, 1986, page 1
  11. ^ "L.A.'s Slow-Growth Measure Wins by Wide Margin," Los Angeles Times, November 5, 1986, page 3
  12. ^ "Braude Calls for Attack on Ownership, Use of Guns," Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1993
  13. ^ Kay Hwangbo, "Braude Proposes Ban on Gas Leaf Blowers," Los Angeles Times, August 21, 1995
  14. ^ "In Court," United Press International in Los Angeles Times, March 5, 1990
  15. ^ Louis Sahagun, "New Smoking Ban in City Buildings, Restaurants Urged," Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1991
  16. ^ Hugo Martin, "Ex-Councilman Braude Accepts Position at USC," Los Angeles Times, September 20, 1997
  17. ^ Greg Krikorian, "Braude's Made a Habit of Scorching Smokers," Los Angeles Times, June 3, 1993
  18. ^ In the Los Angeles Daily News, quoted in Kathie Jenkins, "Marvin Braude Nibbles While Restaurateurs Burn," Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1993
  19. ^ "Prop. F and LAPD Accountability" (letter), Los Angeles Times, January 26, 1997
  20. ^ Farewell letter to his supporters, in Scott Harris, "He's a Public Servant, and He'd Do It Again," Los Angeles Times, October 17, 1996

Preceded by
Karl Rundberg
Los Angeles City Council
11th District

1965–97
Succeeded by
Cindy Miscikowski