Donna Ellman-Garber interviewed by Abby Waldrop, January 23, 2016, Beverly Hills, California, Oral History #5805, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history of Donna Ellman-Garber, former Beverly Hills Mayor and 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 spent in office as well as her time spent working in the community. Specifically, this interview talks about Ellman- Garber’s childhood in Chicago, Illinois; shares memories of her parents education and employment; her exposure to local politics and ties to the Chicago mafia; shares how she met her first husband in Chicago; explains why she attended business college; describes the experience of husband joining the military and accompanying him to Japan during the Korean War; talks about serving as Gray Lady in Japanese hospital; talks about sea voyage to Japan; explains why she and her husband settled in Beverly Hills; shares how Glenn Anderson’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor peaked her interest in politics; explains why she ran for city council; talks about being the only woman in a male-dominated city council; shares about her predecessor Phyllis Seaton’s experience of being on the city council and how their leadership styles differed; recalls her first campaign and influence of councilmember George Morgan; describes the challenges of serving on the Beverly Hills City Council including: infighting, land battles, and creating new hotel ; shares what political accomplishments she’s most proud of she’s most proud of: creating in-lieu parking, senior housing, and art; talks about her relationship with fellow councilwomen; explains why she helped found California Elected Women’s Association for Education and Research (CEWAER); reads portions of her speech, “The Road to Politics”; compares how constituents treat male and female officials; talks about legal ramifications of accepting free flight to London while serving on the council; shares stories from time as mayor including attending U.S. Conference of Mayors in D.C. and meeting King Gustaf of Sweden; explains why she took a break from the city council; talks about meeting her second husband; describes her life post-politics; shares what it takes to be a successful political official; describes her leadership style; describes adapting to political life post-divorce; defines feminism; talks about current state of American politics; explains how political experience shaped who she is today; and finally, comments on why there aren’t more women in elected office. Bulk Dates: 1974-1988
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