Ruth Galanter interviewed by Natalie Fousekis, March 21, 2016, Venice, California, Oral History #5843, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history of Ruth Galanter, environmental activist and former Los Angeles City Councilwoman. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding her time on the L.A. City Council as well as her efforts advocating for the environment. Specifically, this interview talks about Galanter’s childhood in New Jersey; what it was like attending Michigan State University during the Civil Rights Movement; explains why she is a Democrat; how life changed after her father passed away; recalls participating in a D.C. youth march for integration; why she was involved with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); talks about her university experiences; why English is the best major for a political career; shares about her student-wife job at Yale and the political climate in New Haven; documents her work with the Health Policy Advisory Center (NYC), National Health Law Program; explains why she moved to Los Angeles; talks about her work with the California Coastal Commission, Coastal Conservancy and appointment as coastal commissioner by Governor Jerry Brown (1977); talks about her decision to run for L.A. City Council; shares memories of being assaulted at her home, recovery, and being elected while in the hospital; recalls her early days on the council including being assigned office space and electing a council president; talks about memorable issues she faced on the city council including moving the homeless encampments on Venice Beach; describes the relationship between female city council members and gender differences in how women were treated on the dais; talks about supporting the low-flow toilet ordinance and fluorinating water supply, city-wide recycling program, smoking ban in L.A. city facilities and restaurants, and her motion to build a Japanese American memorial at the Manzanar War Relocation Center; describes her work on Venice Canal improvements and the Playa Vista/ Ballona Wetland project; shares experience of being presumed to be a lesbian because she was single and childless while on the city council; talks about what it takes to be an effective city councilmember; why it’s important to have a mixed gender city council and why she encourages women to run for office; shares advice to young women considering running for political office; comments on why more women aren’t in elected office; how Hillary Clinton winning the presidential election will impact future women running for office; recalls collecting money for Adlai Stevenson as an eleven-year-old; describes her leadership style; describes what kept her motivated on the city council; talks about when her district was reapportioned and experience representing the northeast San Fernando Valley; how she defines feminism; talks about her involvement with Mono Lake; shares what she’s most proud of; and finally, talks about her childhood role models.
Ruth Galanter, 2016.
Ruth Galanter and interviewer, Dr. Natalie Fousekis, 2016.
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