Rosalind Wiener Wyman

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For other people named Wyman, see Wyman (disambiguation).

Rosalind Wiener Wyman (born 1930) is a California political figure who was the youngest person ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council and the second woman to serve there. She was influential in bringing the baseball Dodgers from Brooklyn, New York, to their new home in Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. She has been active in national Democratic Party politics.

Biography[edit]

Rosalind Wiener was born October 4, 1930, in Los Angeles to Oscar and Sarah Selten Wiener. Her father was a pharmacist, and her mother also studied pharmacy so she could help run a drugstore with her husband at 9th Street and Western Avenue (in today's Koreatown).[1] Sarah Wiener volunteered at juvenile hall in Los Angeles, where a room was named in her honor. Rosalind had a brother, George, thirteen years older than she, who died in 1972. Rosalind was graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1948 and from the University of Southern California in 1952, with a bachelor of science degree in public administration. She was a recreation director and had plans to go to law school before being elected to the City Council in 1953.[2][3][4][5]

Wiener was married to attorney Eugene Wyman in 1954, and they had three children—Betty Lynn, Robert Alan and Brad Hibbs. She is a Conservative Jew.[2][6] Her husband, who, like his wife, was influential in national Democratic politics, died of a heart attack in January 1973.[7]

City Council[edit]

Elections[edit]

See also List of Los Angeles municipal election returns, 1953 and after.

In the 1950s Los Angeles City Council District 5 was part of the Wilshire Boulevard area, extending to Westwood and West Los Angeles.[8] In 1965 it covered an area from Fairfax Avenue to the San Diego Freeway and from Bel-Air and Beverly Hills south to Washington Boulevard.[9]

In 1953, Rosalind Wiener campaigned in the 5th District to succeed Councilman George P. Cronk, with the aid of a swarm of University of Southern California students, and she "pulled a surprise" to finish first in the primary election, ahead of public accountant Elmer Marshrey.[10] In the final, she won just 52% of the vote and took her seat for a four-year term as the youngest council member ever elected and only the second woman—the first having been Estelle Lawton Lindsey in 1915.[5]

She was reelected in the primaries in 1957 and 1961. She was soundly beaten, though, by Edmund D. Edelman in the final election of 1965. One writer opined that it was Wyman's stand on the council to turn over Chavez Ravine to the baseball Dodgers, and the resulting expulsion of displaced residents, most of them Mexican-Americans, that was "a major—if not decisive— reason" for her loss.[5] Another said it was "a bitter battle with Mayor Sam Yorty" that "brought about her defeat."[11]

In 1975, after she was widowed, she campaigned to win back her old seat, "but the race turned ugly when Wyman was attacked . . . as an out-of-touch imperialist, more impressed with her national endorsements than with local issues." Wyman finished third, after Fran Savitch (Mayor Bradley's choice) and Zev Yaroslavsky, the eventual winner.[5]

Highlights[edit]

Coliseum. The first resolution she introduced in the council a week after she was seated in 1953 called on the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission to permit the local American Legion to stage a baseball game in the Coliseum as a demonstration that the venue would be "a proper place to stage major league baseball."[12] In 1958 she was named the City Council's first representative on the Coliseum Commission as a result of a referendum vote by citizens that the council should be represented along with the city Recreation and Parks Department, the county Board of Supervisors and the state's 6th Agricultural District. At that time the Dodgers were preparing the stadium to use as a temporary field before Chavez Ravine was ready.[13]

Honor. Wyman was chosen "Woman of the Year" for 1958 by the Los Angeles Times.[6]

Feud. She was "so critical of [Mayor] Sam Yorty that a columnist wrote, 'their vendetta has replaced the La Brea Tar Pits as one of our major tourist attractions.' "[5]

Leader. By the end of her third term, Wyman had emerged as enough of a leader on the council that she was elected president pro tem.[5]

Baseball. She remained attached to the Dodgers and purchased eight season tickets directly through owner Walter O'Malley, paid for by her husband's law firm. After he died, she had to sue the firm to get them back.[5]

Comic books. She worked to ban "horror comic books" from public sale in drugstores and "other places frequented by children."[14]

Commissions. She urged the abolition of commissions with any authority over departments and installing "appeal and advisory boards" in their place.[15]

Post-council[edit]

In 1974 Wyman was named to head fund-raising for the Democratic Congressional campaigns, and she was chair and chief executive officer of the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. She co-chaired the senatorial campaigns of Dianne Feinstein. She was employed as motion picture executive and was a consultant to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.[2]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]

  • [1] Photograph of Rosalind Wyman at Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2011

Preceded by
George P. Cronk
Los Angeles City Council
5th District

1953–1966
Succeeded by
Edmund D. Edelman