Community Mourns Death of Former LA Supervisor Edmund Edelman

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In response to the recent passing of Edmund Edelman, who was a staunch advocate for the LGBT community while he served as Los Angeles County Supervisor, Los Angeles LGBT Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings issued this statement:

“On Monday we lost a fearless ally of the LGBT community. When thousands of gay and bisexual men were dying of AIDS in the 1980s and most politicians did little or nothing to make a difference, former Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund Edelman was a fierce advocate to fund some of the county’s first HIV/AIDS programs. Edelman helped to establish the City/County AIDS Task Force to monitor the AIDS epidemic and appointed Judge Rand Schrader—a former Center board member—to the County AIDS Commission.
“In 1985 we renamed the Center’s clinic the ‘Edmund D. Edelman Health Clinic’ to pay tribute to the man who showed tremendous compassion to our community. It’s no wonder the Edelman Health Clinic became the largest HIV clinic in the country within a year of its opening—it was a reflection of Edelman’s big heart.
“We will always remember Ed for being a kind, compassionate, and effective leader who was among the earliest elected officials to support LGBT equality. He has left a lasting legacy for LGBT people and for all people of Los Angeles.”

Edelman retired in 1994 after 30 years in Los Angeles politics.

“There are two things you can do with power that are bad,” Edelman once said. “The first is to abuse it. The second is not to use it.”

After retiring from the board, Edelman continued in public service as a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, as a representative on Homelessness for the City of Santa Monica, and as facilitator for the Hertzberg-Davis Crime Laboratory and the Colburn School of Music.

Once a serious amateur cellist, he helped re-establish the Pilgrimage Theater–now known as the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, and established the Sundays Live music series at LACMA, the Clark Library Chamber Music Series and the planning of Disney Hall. He also authored a bond measure that raised funds for renovation of the Hollywood Bowl.

For more than a decade Edelman suffered from a rare, debilitating disease, Atypical Parkinson’s.

His life and political impact is documented in the hour-long film “The Passions and Politics of Ed Edelman,” produced and directed by his wife, Mari Edelman. It aired in Southern California on PBS.

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