Remembering Roz Wyman, the youngest person ever elected to the Los Angeles council

To some who knew Roz Wiener Wyman, she was a trailblazer. To others, she was a stalwart, an entrepreneur, and even an icon. But perhaps most importantly, to her son Bob Wyman, she was simply “Mom.”

“Looking back, I was probably in college when I realized how different my experience was and the scope of what Mom did,” Wyman said. “As I got older, I got a broader perspective from outside the house that she was a remarkable woman.”

Rosalind “Roz” Wyman, the youngest person and second woman ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council, died Oct. 26 at her Bel-Air home at age 92. The USC alumnus spearheaded the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles for a time. when few major professional sports teams played on the West Coast and brought a wave of other professional sports teams to the West.

But his contributions to the sport only tell a fraction of his story. A dedicated public servant, Wyman served on the City Council for more than a decade before becoming an influential voice in the Democratic Party, serving as Chairman and CEO of the 1984 Democratic National Convention.

In a public statement, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Wyman “a godmother of the Democratic Party” who “nurtured the young, mentored candidates and helped elect dozens of women.” for public office.”

One such woman is former U.S. Representative Jane Harman, who served in California’s 36th congressional district from 1993 to 1999 and from 2001 to 2011.

Iconic is a big word for Roz, iconic for the city and iconic for the women.

jane hamanUSC Price Resident Scholar

“Iconic is a big word for Roz, iconic for the city and iconic for women,” said Harman, Presidential Scholar-in-Residence at USC Price School of Public Policy and USC Honorary Trustee.

“In the past, it’s hard to imagine how a woman could have done what she did. I can’t imagine another woman I know, including the most powerful ones, who at 22 could have done what she did.”

Roz Wyman: Early Life, Road to USC, and Political Career

A Los Angeles native, Wyman attended Los Angeles High School, where she was a student government leader. She became known to the vice principal for regularly coming up with “crazy ideas”, such as bringing lonely students together for potlucks and hosting school dances for those who couldn’t afford country club gatherings.

After high school, Wyman ’52 majored in public administration at what was then called the USC School of Citizenship and Public Administration. She was elected to the Los Angeles City Council a year after graduating at just 22, making her the youngest legislator ever elected in a major US city.

While running for office as a student at USC, Wyman recruited numerous student volunteers and used his own living room as his campaign headquarters. That early experience would prepare her not only for her role on the City Council, but also when she served as acting mayor of Los Angeles. She later led a campaign to create more parks in the city and became the first woman to lead a national political convention.

Roz was a force of nature.

nancy pelosispeaker of the US House of Representatives

“Roz was a force of nature – she broke barriers for women in California politics, while forging new ways to bring people together through politics, the arts and baseball,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Her leadership helped bring her beloved Dodgers to Los Angeles, and my Giants to San Francisco, so California families could experience the excitement of the American pastime.”

According to Wyman’s son Bob, that love of baseball was ingrained in his mother from the moment he was born. The story goes that his grandmother, originally from Chicago, asked the doctor a question when Roz was born: “What’s the Cubs’ score?”

“I guess that’s where my mom’s love of baseball was passed down,” he chuckled.

Bringing professional sports to Los Angeles

One of his biggest campaign promises when he first ran for office was to bring major league sports to Los Angeles, at a time when the West Coast was still an untapped market.

“She always felt that big cities needed big sports,” her son said.

He contacted then-Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, who initially refused to speak to a young councilman from across the country.

“I didn’t quit,” Wyman told USC News in 2018.

Eventually, Wyman was able to convince O’Malley to visit Los Angeles, where during a helicopter tour of the city, the latter saw the perfect site for a baseball stadium. O’Malley moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn and the team played its first game in Los Angeles on April 18, 1958. A year later, construction began on the new stadium, not without controversy from the surrounding community, and in 1962 Dodger Stadium opened to the public. fans.

O’Malley and Wyman remained lifelong friends, and when the former died in 1979, his family, at his request, presented Wyman with a key that fits all the doors at Dodger Stadium.

“Tommy Lasorda was yelling at mom from the sidelines,” Bob Wyman said. “That’s a cool experience for a little kid.”

His efforts also had a ripple effect that caused the New York Giants to move to San Francisco in 1958. Two years later, Los Angeles received another professional franchise when the Lakers moved to the city from Minneapolis, another project in which Wyman He participated.

Billie Jean King's tweet about Roz WymanRemembering LA icon Roz Wyman

In addition to Pelosi, other well-known political figures and celebrities paid their respects to Wyman on social media.

US Senator Dianne Feinstein called Wyman a friend and “someone who made a real difference to Los Angeles and to Democratic politics.”

“Roz was a true force of nature every time she set her mind to something,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Whether it was politics or dragging a baseball team 3,000 miles across the country, Roz had an infectious passion and really got things done.”

Tennis legend and activist Billie Jean King took to Twitter to pay tribute to a friend and inspiration.

“One of my Sheroes has passed away,” King said in a tweet.

“Roz Wyman was the youngest person ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council, at age 22, in 1953 and the reason we have the @Dodgers in Los Angeles. May she rest in power. Thank you Rose.”

Harman hopes that Wyman’s impact can continue on the next generation of women in politics and that Los Angeles remembers the icon she lost.

“She was my role model in politics,” Harman said. “She was just the North Star, not just for me, but for a lot of people.”

More stories about: Alumni, baseball, government, obituaries

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