Edmund D. Edelman

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Edmund D. Edelman (September 27, 1930 – September 12, 2016) was an American politician. He was a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1965 to 1974 and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from 1975 to 1994, he was known as an "unabashed liberal" with strong Democratic Party support.


Born in Los Angeles, Edelman attended Burnside Avenue Elementary School, Los Angeles High School and Beverly Hills High School, he grew up in a traditional Jewish family.[1]

He served in the Navy in 1951 and 1952, after which he attended UCLA, where he graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, he earned a bachelor of laws degree at the same university in 1958.[2]

He was an arbitrator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, deputy legislative counsel with the California State Legislature in 1961-62, counselor to the Subcommittee on Education of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1962–63; and special assistant to the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, 1963–64, after which he served on the Los Angeles City Council.[2]

He was married at age 37 to Mari Mayer, 25, of Beverly Hills in 1968, they had two daughters, Erica Nancy and Emily Rose.[2][3]

Edelman died on September 12, 2016.[4]

Public service[edit]

City Council[edit]


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

In 1965, Los Angeles City Council District 5 stretched from Fairfax Avenue on the east to the San Diego Freeway on the west and from Bel-Air and Beverly Hills on the north to Washington Boulevard on the south,[5] it included the communities of Westwood, Beverlywood, Pico-Robertson and Beverly-Fairfax.[6]

Edelman engaged in a rough election race to unseat incumbent Councilwoman Rosalind Wyman in the 5th District. Supported by Mayor Sam Yorty, he won the runoff vote of May 25, 1965, by 37,291 to 12,201[7] and became the then-youngest member of the council at age 35,[6] his residency had been unsuccessfully challenged in court on the grounds that he had lived in Washington, D.C., for 2½ years.[8]

Wyman and her husband, former Democratic National Committee member Eugene L. Wyman, sued Edelman for libel in 1965, claiming that his campaign had issued a brochure linking them with organized crime and using political power for personal gain, they asked for $400,000, but in the end settled out of court in 1970 after Edelman sent a $5,000 check to a scholarship fund at Northwestern University.[9]

Edelman was reelected in 1969 over minor opposition, and in 1973 he would have faced opposition from actor William Lundigan, but the latter failed to turn in enough valid petition signatures, so the councilman went into that race unopposed.[10]


  • Politics. Edelman was described as "an unabashed liberal," with "loyal Democratic Party support and little Republican appeal."[11]
  • Stadium. Edelman condemned a 1965 proposal to build a 44,000-seat football stadium on the UCLA campus in Westwood.[12]
  • Tax. He played a prominent role in defeating a proposed city payroll tax.[6]
  • UCLA. "When a parking dispute flared between UCLA students and residents east of the campus, the councilman quietly backed the students, most of whom are not registered voters in his district, an act which infuriated the residents.".[6]
  • Police. He distributed a proposed list of rules for police to follow in handling citizens' demonstrations, which he said could be "conducted as safely as the Rose Parade."[13] Edelman voted against a request by the Police Department to have the city attorney defend two policemen who were indicted for murder in the course of their duty, he explained that the city had never before defended its employees who were charged with crimes. "I am not antipolice," he said, "but police are not above the law."[14]
  • Tennis. Bowing to neighborhood pressure, Edelman abandoned his support for a proposed $1.2 million tennis complex at the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center.[15]
  • Library. He attacked a decision by the Library Commission to ban all issues of Evergreen Review magazine from open shelves as a "very dangerous precedent to . . . intellectual freedom." The commission made the decision at the request of Councilman Donald Lorenzen, who had complained that a constituent had read a "very dirty story" in one of its issues.[16]
  • Nudity. He aroused controversy when he was the only council member to oppose new city rules prohibiting nudity in places serving food and beverages. "No one is forced to look at nudes," he said. "The people who are frequenting these topless places are doing it of their own will."[17] He also was the lone council member who opposed an ordinance requiring adult magazines to be covered up on news racks.[14]
  • Charter. Edelman was the chairman of a committee that drafted an overhaul of the Los Angeles city charter and favored plalcing an initiative measure for its adoption on the November 1970 ballot.[18][19]
  • Fluoridation. He was responsible for the policy of fluoridizing the city's water supply.[14]
  • Commissions. Edelman was a member of nine sanitation district boards and sometimes "sat in on five different boards the same day in back-to-back meetings, collecting $50 per meeting." Council President John S. Gibson, Jr., said he asked Edelman to take on the sanitation district duties because he, Gibson, "didn't want the job myself."[20]

Board of Supervisors[edit]

Edelman was elected in the general election of November 1974 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors over his remaining opponent, fellow Councilman John Ferraro, he was sworn into office on December 2 of that year, succeeding Ernest E. Debs, who retired.[21]

Edelman led successful drives to establish several new departments and agencies, among them the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Community Youth Gang Services agency, he has been recognized for his support of social services agencies dedicated to aiding the homeless, battered women, abused children, the disabled and the mentally ill, people with AIDS, and those recovering from substance abuse.[22]



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

  1. ^ http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/honoring_ed_edelman_a_man_of_vision
  2. ^ a b c Los Angeles public library reference file
  3. ^ "Councilman Edelman Tells Plan to Wed," Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1968, page B-3
  4. ^ Ed Edelman, 85, retired supervisor and LA councilman
  5. ^ Richard Bergholz, "Seven in Council Seek Re-Election," Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1965, page 3
  6. ^ a b c d Ken Reich, "Two Councilmen Give Views of Their First Year in Office," Los Angeles Times, June 30, 1966, page WS-1
  7. ^ Los Angeles Times, May 27, 1965
  8. ^ "Wyman-Edelman Race Gets Hot," Los Angeles Times, May 12, 1965, page A-1
  9. ^ Carl Greenberg, "Wymans Settle Libel Suits Against Edelman," Los Angeles Times, June 3, 1970, page A-10
  10. ^ Kenneth Reich, "Edelman's Rival for Council Disqualified," Los Angeles Times, February 2, 1973, page C-1
  11. ^ Doug Shuit, "Edelman-Ferraro Contest," Los Angeles Times, September 22, 1974, page 2
  12. ^ "Edelman Joins Officials Against UCLA Stadium," Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1965, page WS-17
  13. ^ "Edelman Offers Guides to Avert Clashes Between Police, Protestors," Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1968, page WS-4
  14. ^ a b c "Edelman and Ferraro Engage in Heated Debate," Los Angeles Times, September 13, 1974, page B-1
  15. ^ Seymour Bubis, "Tennis Center Doomed, Edelman Drops Support After Big Protest," Los Angeles Times, November 7, 1968, page WS-1
  16. ^ "Edelman Attacks Library Commission Ban on Magazine," Los Angeles Times, August 15, 1969, page B-1
  17. ^ Seymour Beubis, "Edelman Votes His Conscience, Suffers the Consequences," Los Angeles Times, October 30, 1969, page WS-1
  18. ^ Erwin Baker, "Edelman Answers Yorty Charge of Weaknesses in New Charter," Los Angeles Times, July 30, 1970, page A-1
  19. ^ Erwin Baker, "Reformed City Charter, Under Preparation for Year, Unveiled," Los Angeles Times, July 2, 1970, page A-1
  20. ^ Doug Shuit, "Ferraro, Edelman Hit Each Other on Use of Public Funds," Los Angeles Times, September 26, 1974, page C-1
  21. ^ Ray Zeman, "Edelman Sworn In as Supervisor," Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1974, page C-8
  22. ^ Los Angeles County Library Public Policy Collection website Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Passions and Politics of Ed Edelman: An Untold Story of Leadership". Ededelman Documentary. PBS. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  24. ^ Superior Court website Archived 2009-02-19 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  26. ^ Rand Schrader (letter), Los Angeles Times, August 10, 1991

Reports and publications[edit]

Building a New Vision for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: Options for Key Policy Decisions - 2000
(Full report - Rand)

Governance in a Changing Market: The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power - 2001
(Full report - Rand)

How Expensive are Unlimited Substance Abuse Benefits Under Managed Care?
(Full report - Rand)

Preceded by
Rosalind Wiener Wyman
Los Angeles City Council
5th District

Succeeded by
Zev Yaroslavsky
Preceded by
Ernest E. Debs
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
3rd District