Have you ever encountered a person you sensed had a special quality?
I first met Linda Lucks when she served as field deputy and Venice community liaison for Councilwoman Ruth Galanter in 1991. I remember thinking there was something that made her a little different. In the ensuing years I’ve come to realize that Linda’s focus is to accentuate the positive, making life better for others.
Linda was born in New York, but grew up in Monterey Park and then Pacoima, where she taught kindergarten at Pacoima Elementary School after graduating from UCLA.
She left teaching when her daughter Cameron was born, followed by the birth of her son, Justin. She is a grandmother of six girls, with a seventh due in November by way of her stepson and daughter-in-law, Venice residents Paul Rosenfeld snd Sara Howell.
She is also stepmother to Gabriela and John Rosenfeld and is married to attorney/businessman, Michael Rosenfeld.
“I love being a grandmother most,” she says.
Linda’s first political job in the 1960s was to volunteer organizing coffees in the San Fernando Valley for Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign and as a volunteer at the Valley Peace Center. Since then she has been involved with many political campaigns and issues.
Linda moved to Venice in 1970 and not long afterwards began working for a single-parent education program, as she was then the single mother of two young children.
She also worked for three years in the mid-1970s on the Free Venice Beachhead newspaper collective and she began her involvement with local politics as a way to “help maintain the character of the diverse Venice community which I had grown to love,” she says.
Linda was recently elected vice president of the Venice Neighborhood Council, after serving for two years as an at-large member.
Last year, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Linda to the City Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, where she was recently elected president for a second year. The commission is responsible for policy oversight of the 89 Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles.
“My experience on our own Neighborhood Council has helped me to understand the complexities, roles and responsibilities of elected members and gives me a unique perspective in helping the entire NC [Neighborhood Council] system to become effective and influential,” she says.
Linda’s interest in healthcare started when, as a patient, she realized the need for accessible, affordable healthcare for women. She served as board member and president of the Westside Women’s Health Center (now Westside Family Health Center) on Ocean Park Boulevard. Years later she was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to the Medical Board of California, which licenses and disciplines physicians. Prior to that, she served on the Board of Psychology and the Dental Board, state licensing and regulating bodies.
“I was most interested in the enforcement area of the boards,” says Linda. “My job as a public member was to be the voice of the patients. The work is interesting because public members have an equal vote with licensed professionals and do affect the way cases are handled, making sure that decisions protect the public.”
She currently serves as a member of the Health Professions Education Foundation, a state agency that administers scholarships and loan repayments to individuals in the health profession.
Activism in Venice has been a large part of Linda’s positive approach to life’s endeavors. During her time with the Sixth District City Council Office in the early 1990s, she initiated a transitional housing facility on Westminster Avenue for women and children by locating an empty city-owned lot on which to place a beautiful Craftsman home that was scheduled for demolition.
She contacted VCHC (the Venice Community Housing Corporation) and LIEU-CAP (Low Income Elderly United-Community Assisted Project) which jointly operated the 28-bed facility on Westminster Avenue.
After leaving the city job, Linda became a board member of the Venice Community Housing Corporation and the Neighborhood Youth Association, which operates the Las Doradas Children’s Center in Venice and at another location in Mar Vista.
She admires “the great accomplishments of both organizations in providing services in our community.”
She co-founded the Venice Garden and Home Tour 14 years ago with Jay Griffith and Jan Brilliot to benefit Las Doradas Children’s Center.
“By 2007 we raised well over $1 million and have built a signature Venice event,” she says.
Over the years, Linda served as chairwoman of the County of Los Angeles Beach Commission and chairwoman of the Venice Beach Area Police Advisory Council.
She is a member of the Women’s Political Committee, which raises money for women candidates. During the last presidential election, she and other women founded SheVotes.org to register women to vote.
Linda intends to do as much as she can to get a woman elected President of the United States.
Linda is also a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus LA Westside which is honoring her and 11 other Westside women as “remarkable women” in an Inaugural 2008 Women Leader’s Calendar. The mission of the caucus is to mentor women elected and appointed to public office by offering campaign training, fundraising and endorsement.
“Linda is definitely someone who has not only contributed to seeing more women get elected and appointed to office but she, herself, is an accomplished person,” says Robyn Ritter Simon, president of Westside caucus. “Each of these women has made a difference in their own community and they are continuing to help further our mission because they’re in the calendar and people will buy the calendar.”
Proceeds from the sale of the calendar will fund their PAC (political action committee).
A special calendar reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 25th, at the Beverly Hills Country Club, 3084 Motor Ave. in West Los Angeles.
Ticket information and invitations, (310) 836-8550.
Other honorees are Karen Bass, Debra Bowen, Julia Brownley, Flora Gil Krisiloff, Jane Hasler Henick, Nancy Krasne, Abbe Land, Georgia Mercer, Joyce Rey, Valerie Sobel and Daphna Ziman.
As impressive as Linda’s list of accomplishments may be, she does have a life. She has a community relations firm with Venice resident Barbara Baumann, which specializes in fundraising and special projects for nonprofit organizations.
Traveling, reading novels and walking on Ocean Front Walk most mornings are favorite pastimes.
What makes Linda tick? “I do want to right wrongs when I see them and promote just causes and a better society,” she says. “I feel that it is very important for people to share what they have with others and I have a hard time saying ‘no’.
“I am most fortunate that my husband, Michael, is supportive of me in all ways.”