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L.A.'S `GENTLE GIANT' REMEMBERED.

Byline: Rick Orlov Daily News Staff Writer

Former Mayor Tom Bradley was remembered Tuesday for his role as a pioneer for African-Americans, a healing force in a city that was racially divided and an energetic leader who drove Los Angeles into becoming a major international financial force.

Bradley, who died Tuesday at the age of 80, also was saluted for his efforts to bring diversity to the city work force and for developing a cadre of loyal supporters who went on to jobs all the way up to the White House.

Gov. Pete Wilson called Bradley ``a gentle giant, a leader among big-city mayors.

``His love of Los Angeles was second to none. Today we have lost one of the great statesmen of California. He truly was a California success story.''

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein described Bradley as a powerful advocate for America's cities.

``His forceful presence was matched by a wonderful and soft gentleness that I personally will never forget.''

Feinstein and others noted Bradley's role in bringing the 1984 Summer Olympics to Los Angeles.

``No Californian - and particularly Angeleno - will ever forget the pride of hosting the 1984 Olympics,'' Feinstein said. ``Tom Bradley showed that an American city could host a profitable and spirited Olympic ceremony.''

Peter Ueberroth, selected by Bradley to run the 1984 Summer Games, said his vision was unique.

``It was Bradley's idea to take the Olympic Games private, which really saved the Olympic movement when no city in the world would take the Olympics on,'' Ueberroth said.

``In a time when people are having mixed judgments about politicians, Tom Bradley stands out as someone that everyone could trust.''

Richard Riordan, who followed Bradley as mayor, hailed him ``for loving Los Angeles and for making Los Angeles a world-class city.

``While this is a sad day in the City of Angels, it is also a day for us to rejoice in the legacy of the great Tom Bradley,'' Riordan said.

City Council President John Ferraro, who has known Bradley for some 45 years and worked both with and against him, said the former mayor had an ability to work with all people.

Even though Ferraro challenged him unsuccessfully in 1985, the two remained friends.

``Ever since he retired, he would stop by my house to visit with me and my wife, Margaret,'' Ferraro said. ``Even after he had the stroke and couldn't talk, he would come by to visit.''

Ferraro arranged a special City Hall birthday salute for Bradley, which the former mayor attended when he turned 80 this year. Bradley also continued to attend a variety of other events, from the Los Angeles Tennis Open at the University of California, Los Angeles, to the city's recent presentation to the Democratic National Committee in hopes of luring the party's national convention to Los Angeles in 2000.

Councilman Nate Holden, who narrowly avoided forcing Bradley into a runoff in 1989 and was frequently at odds with the former mayor, said Bradley offered hope to young African-Americans.

``I remember when he became a lieutenant in the Police Department . . . that said to all of us we could be something,'' Holden said. ``Tom Bradley was the catalyst needed to heal Los Angeles when he was elected mayor. He was a man of the people of all ethnic persuasions.''

Police Chief Bernard C. Parks said Bradley, as the first African-American member of the police force to become a lieutenant, provided hope and promise to other minority officers.

``He showed that with hard work we could accomplish anything,'' Parks said. ``And, from his days as mayor, he was able to make the city work force as diverse as it should be.''

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky - who worked on Bradley's mayoral campaigns in 1969 and 1973, then became his ally when Bradley was mayor and Yaroslavsky was on the City Council - described him as ``a towering figure in the history of Los Angeles.

``For a quarter of a century, he defined politics in this region,'' Yaroslavsky said. ``He taught all of us the value, in the political sense and in human terms, of coalition building. Pound for pound, the man was more human being than politician.

``His whole life was a mural of courage, of overcoming indignities and discrimination - something he didn't forget when he became mayor.''

City Attorney James Hahn has had a long relationship with Bradley through Hahn's father, the late county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn.

``Tom Bradley was a great unifying force in this city, who brought us together like really no one else had done before,'' Hahn said. ``His passing leaves a void that will never be filled.''

Even though most of the City Council members are new and served only briefly, if at all, with Bradley, each said he or she was touched by him.

Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. recalled that Bradley visited his high school and Svorinich was part of a 40-member welcoming committee.

``He could have gone straight into the building. Instead, he came over to us and thanked us for greeting him. Then he shook everyone's hand and asked us our name. It was truly impressive.''

During a City Hall tribute to Bradley, Councilman Richard Alarcon, a one-time aide to Bradley, said: ``If God was to select a mayor, he would have selected Tom Bradley.''

Daily News Staff Writer Douglas Haberman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 30, 1998
Words:897
Previous Article:BRIEFLY : WANTED MAN CAUGHT AT AREA HEALTH CLUB.
Next Article:THE WAY HE SAW L.A.; BRADLEY'S FAREWELL FROM OFFICE IN 1993 REVEALS A MAN PROUD OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, PROUD OF HIS CITY.


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