Culver City mourns the longtime leader of its Chamber of Commerce
By Gary Walker
Steven J. Rose, a lifelong Culver City resident who led the Culver City Chamber of Commerce for three decades and concurrently spent a year as the city’s mayor, died on March 5 after an extended battle with leukemia. He was 71.
Rose’s family emigrated from Europe before the Holocaust and opened an upholstery shop on Sepulveda Boulevard, where Rose worked as a teenager before running the business with other family members. He led the chamber for three decades as president and CEO until retiring last November.
“He was an amazing giant in our industry, whom I found to be an even bigger and better person to our community. Though my time with him was especially short, I am thankful that his work, impression and impact will be shared with me for years to come,” said Culver City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Colin Diaz, who succeeded Rose.
Culver City voters elected Rose to the City Council of Culver City in 2000, and he served as mayor in 2004. Over two four-year terms, Rose consistently stood firm on including deferred maintenance funding for all new city projects.
And there were many in his tenure. During Rose’s time on the council and running the chamber, Culver City revitalized its downtown, constructed its popular senior center and oversaw the buildout of Corporate Pointe in Fox Hills. In 2007, Rose cast the deciding vote to bring the homeless services and housing organization Upward Bound House to Culver City.
“Steve cared deeply about Culver City — it’s past, present and future,” former Culver City Mayor Andy Weissman told the Culver City News.
Rose was buried at Hillside Memorial Park on March 7.
Culver City Councilman Jim Clarke, who knew Rose for more than two decades, last saw him on March 3.
“I had the opportunity to visit him and say goodbye. I told him I loved him and thanked him for his many years of service to the city. I know I was his favorite local liberal Democrat, because I was probably the only liberal Democrat he knew or admitted to know,” Clarke said with a smile. “But if the two of us could find common ground, it gives hope for all of us.”
Despite his typically serious countenance, Rose is remembered for having a great sense of humor.
“Steve and I would also heckle each other [at chamber events] in good fun. I once proposed that we sell tickets for people to watch us go after each other and provide the proceeds to his favorite charity,” Clark recalled.
Rose’s favorite charity was the Exceptional Children’s Foundation, an organization that works with children and adults with special needs. Donations can be made in his name at ecf.net.