Rhoden, Cheryl

Former Santa Monica City Councilmember; Writer's Guild of America





Field Value
ID 56
Title An oral history with Cheryl Rhoden
Date 2016-05-13
OH ID OH 5849
Citation Cheryl Rhoden interviewed by Abby Waldrop, May 13, 2016, Pinon Hills, California, Oral History #5849, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
Restricted false
Created At 2017-07-30 19:18:12 UTC
Location Pinon Hills, CA
Language English
Subjects Family → Childhood Experiences
Gender and Sexuality → Gender Roles
Activism → Anti-War Activism
Military → Vietnam War
African American → Events → Civil Rights Movement (1960s)
Entertainment and Culture → Celebrities → Jane Fonda
Elected Officials → California State Legislature → California State Assembly → Tom Hayden
City Council → Santa Monica City Council
Elections → Propositions → Proposition 13
Elections → Campaigning
Elections → Election Campaign Strategies
Elected Officials → Gubernatorial (Governor) → Jerry Brown
Elected Officials → Congressional → U.S. House of Representatives → Alan Cranston
African American → Events → Civil Rights Movement (1960s)
Leadership → Female versus Male Leadership
Gender and Sexuality → Feminism
Elected Officials → City Council → Ruth Goldway
Elected Officials → City Council → Bill Jennings
Environmentalism → Solar Energy
Environmentalism → Water Toxicity
Locations → Santa Monica, California → Santa Monica Pier
Labor Organizing → Unions → Services Employees International Union (SEIU) → Local 660
Entertainment and Culture → Writers Guild of America (WGA)
Direct Action → Strikes
Entertainment and Culture → Film Industry
Discrimination, Racism, & Segregation → Ageism
Constitution → First Amendment
Elections → Presidential Elections → Election 2016 (Trump/Clinton)


An oral history of Cheryl Rhoden activist and former Santa Monica City Councilmember (1979- 1981). 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 Rhoden’s time on the city council as well as her work as a Civil Rights, anti-war, and environmental activist. Specifically, this interview talks about Rhoden’s family background and political ideology; moving to Southern California in the fifties; gender expectations imposed on young girls of her generation; her reaction to the feminist movement; involvement in the 1968 anti-war mobilizations in Washington D.C.; how her family’s prejudiced worldview encouraged her to become more enlightened; meeting Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden and supporting their Indochina Peace Campaign; talks about her involvement with the Santa Monica rent control coalition (Santa Monica for Renter’s Rights) and how that led to a run for the Santa Monica City Council; why she led a successful council campaign while simultaneously supporting No on Q (Proposition Q); challenges balancing political life with motherhood; shares about her city council memories including her relationship with fellow councilwoman Ruth Goldway; key issues she worked on while councilwoman: solar initiatives, the first toxic chemical disclosure law, purchasing a city- supported ambulance, and in-house testing of water wells; talks about gender discrimination women face as elected officials; why she did not run for re-election; challenges she faced on the council; talks about her work on the Santa Monica Planning Commission, Pier Corporation, and L.A. Local 660; recalls joining Senator Alan Cranston’s Los Angeles staff; L.A. County Assessor, Alex Pope; joining the Writers Guild staff in 1987, her efforts to enhance the image of writers and support First Amendment rights, and memories of the 2001 strike threat; how Councilwoman Wendy Greuel supported the Writer’s Guild’s efforts to exempt writers and artists from paying a business tax; talks about challenges women face in the film and television business; speaks about her work to credit writers blacklisted under McCarthyism for their work; compares 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump to Senator McCarthy; explains why she was ousted from the Guild in 2006; describes her leadership style; talks about how to be a successful local political representative; differences between how men and women lead; defines feminism; how women represent constituents differently than men; why more women don’t run for office; reflects on the current state of politics and presidential candidates; and finally, why she’s most proud of raising her son.


Field Value
File Name 5849_P03.jpg
Content Type image/jpeg
Size 14791
Description> Cheryl Rhoden’s city council photo, courtesy of Santa Monica city archives, 1979.