Memorial arrangements were pending Monday for Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser, 59, who died over the weekend from "multiple complications," according to the Santa Monica city manager.
Genser was a three-time mayor and a longtime leader in the city's ruling political organization, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR), a group co-founded by Jane Fonda and former state Sen. Tom Hayden. Genser was revered by many residents for his stances against big developments such as the city's Water Gardens office complex on Olympic Boulevard and high rises along the beach.
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The Archinect website credits Genser with helping to solidify Santa Monica's ultra-liberal reputation, stating he was "partly responsible" for the city's "'Peoples Republic of Santa Monica' designation."
Genser had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since Oct. 30 as a result of pneumonia and other complications. In 2006 he underwent a kidney transplant. In our days of covering the Santa Monica City Council in the early 1990s, we remember him walking with assistance of forearm-braced canes.
"It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of our Mayor Ken Genser, an indefatigable champion for quality of life in Santa Monica,'' Mayor Pro Tempore Pam O'Connor and City Council members said in a statement. "Ken distinguished himself with a fierce intellect, passion for progressive social policy and compassion for people. He served the Santa Monica community throughout his lifetime and will be greatly missed."
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