Approximately 150 people gathered to honor Westchester residents Denny and Nan Schneider for their longtime community service and opposition to the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) over the years.
Many of the attendees have worked alongside the Schneiders in their opposition to expanding LAX further into the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey.
Denny has been the president of ARSAC (Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion) for the past three years and was vice president for six years.
Local residents and airport expansion opponents Nora and Doug MacLellan hosted the event at their home in Playa del Rey Sunday, November 23rd.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the 11th District, which includes LAX, presented a proclamation of appreciation to the Schneiders.
Rosendahl noted at the gathering that Denny and Nan Schneider have worked tirelessly for many years, informing and educating the community about LAX issues, which includes a proposal to relocate the northern runway further to the north, affecting businesses and residences in the Westchester-Playa del Rey area.
The councilman added that when he was first campaigning to run for the City Council, his chief of staff, Mike Bonin, suggested that he get to know the people involved with ARSAC and their consistent work in opposing expansion at LAX.
“I said, ARSAC, what is that?” Rosendahl told the audience, eliciting a great deal of laughter and applause.
He said that he soon learned how critical ARSAC was to the community and how much he has learned and benefited from his interaction with ARSAC.
The proclamation, personally crafted by Rosendahl and signed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the full City Council, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and City Controller Laura Chick, was read aloud by Rosendahl.
The proclamation lauded Denny and Nan Schneider, residents of Westchester for over three decades, for recognizing their call to public service and answered it by committing their talents and skills to enhancing the lives of men, women and children of the greater Westchester community.
“Denny and Nan Schneider embraced the community as a collective being; possessing something deeper, something more permanent, something larger than the sum of its parts; looking beyond individual concern and recognizing the common bonds essential to its future; and have established that a community, like a person, has a body that must be nurtured, a mind that must be stimulated and a spirit that must be invigorated; and has integrated such a vision with a singleness of purpose addressing a varied number of issues,” said the proclamation. “Denny and Nan Schneider have consistently demonstrated how the principles that teach how hard work, sacrifice, loyalty, self-confidence, selflessness and individual commitment to group efforts serve not only as an enduring source of personal fulfillment, but also showcases how the indispensable link between learning and leadership are essential to the success of any community.”
The proclamation stated that the Schneiders understand that progress is not an accident but a necessity — a part of nature — and carries that attitude throughout all their activities; reflected in the manner in which they meet their responsibilities as volunteer civic custodians with such organizations as the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC) and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.”
The proclamation continued with the statement that the Schneiders “have always understood that the community is a servant of the individual, with each individual serving as a source of progress for the community; and incorporated such a practice with the human touch of encouragement, order, support and respect; always promoting the principle values, and benefits of embracing the beauty of diversity that is so much a part of the character of Los Angeles.
“Now therefore be it resolved that by adoption of this resolution, the Los Angeles City Council, along with the Mayor, City Attorney and City Controller, expresses sincere appreciation to Denny and Nan Schneider for their commitment and contributions to the Westchester community and commends them for measuring the best of their talents and skills on behalf of the City of Angels.”
Attorney Edgar Saenz, who represents Congresswoman Maxine Waters on LAX matters, also presented a certificate of special recognition to the Schneiders. Waters represents the 35th Congressional District, which includes LAX.
The certificate from Waters stated, “On the occasion of the community tribute honoring your years of selfless and devoted volunteer service to Westchester and Playa del Rey; and in appreciation of the steady leadership you have shown in the fight against airport expansion.”
Saenz spoke about the warmth and friendliness of Westchester community members and said jokingly, “I came here from another country, Texas.” Saenz said he’s learned how a community can work together and develop close friendships.
The gathering included local community members, those who have worked alongside the Schneiders, friends and family, and individuals such as Joe Vitti from Valley Vote; Vic Viereck, who was on the mayor’s budget advisory committee with Schneider and other people who have worked with Schneider on various issues.
More than one attendee said that if anyone has questions about LAX, “Just ask Denny and Nan. Their deep knowledge over the years has educated the rest of us on what’s going on about LAX.”
Many at the event said it felt like a family reunion and part of that included the fact that family members attended — brothers, sisters, Denny’s mother and Nan’s father — joining in the well wishes and the genuine appreciation of this couple who have given so much to their community.
Rosendahl told The Argonaut that he also felt that the gathering was like a family reunion and that the event was like “kicking off the holidays with family members.”
“I looked out and saw the love and inspiration in the faces of those attending and the high regard in which they hold Denny and Nan,” said Rosendahl. “I’m truly gratified to be working with them and they are an inspiration to me as well.
“Denny and Nan are two remarkable citizens that are joined at the hip and are givers of talent, energy and life. Their contributions as community organizers and commitment to the common good have added a quality to the life of the community.
“Nan and Denny have such integrity and treat the political process and people with such respect, contributing to the political process such as the modernization of LAX and opposing the expansion.
“Denny and Nan are truly dedicated to their fellow human beings and give truth to the saying, ‘the more you give, the more you get back’.”
Beth Schneider, Denny and Nan’s daughter, was in attendance but son Aaron and daughter-in-law Julie were out of the state and unable to attend.
Nan Schneider’s father, Dr. Sheldon Siegel, was there to join in the celebration. He is the founder of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, West Coast and is on the national board.
The Schneiders’ family includes his mother Fritzi; sister Sandye Linnetz; his brother and sister-in-law Rob and Marty Schneider; and Nan’s sister Linda Brown.
“I am so energized and inspired by the many loving and caring people who attended the party to recognize us. They are the ones who are doing so much for so many,” said Denny Schneider.
“It always surprises me when we’re honored for doing what I feel is the right thing to do and I have the best friends ever,” Nan Schneider said.
Schneider said he has been informed that he and his wife will also be receiving a scroll from Don Knabe, the Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor, and commendations from U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman and California State Assemblyman Ted Lieu. Harman represents the 36th Congressional District and Lieu represents the 53rd Assembly District.