Gone But Not Forgotten
SMRR Co-founder, Steering Committee member, and longtime SMRR Treasurer Roger Thornton died unexpectedly from a heart attack on October 27. He was almost 80 years old. Roger and his wife Chris have two daughters, Jennifer and Stephanie, and two grandchildren, Logan and Emilia.
In 1978 Roger was a member of Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda’s Campaign for Economic Democracy (CED) when he and Chris came over to Cheryl Rhoden’s apartment one evening after we had lost the first Santa Monica rent control campaign. Denny Zane, also a CED member, recognized Roger, who joined the meeting and became a member for life.
A few years ago, Roger was giving his speech for election to the Steering Committee, and he said “The day that Rent Control passed was the best day of my life.” And what a party we had that night!
In Memory of Ed Hunsaker
Ed Hunsaker played an important role in both the leadership and day-to-day operations of SMRR. For five years Ed was a volunteer on SMRR’s Tenant Hotline, our all-important lifeline for tenants in need of both vital information and moral support. Ed also served capably on the SMRR Steering Committee for approximately five years.
Ed always put his efforts where his values were and decided that SMRR was the organization most aligned with his personal values. In addition to SMRR, Ed was active in a number of other community organizations including Wilmont, the Santa Monica Democratic Club, and the Sierra Club. He was so well liked that, in an informal sense, he served as an ambassador for SMRR in the broader community.
Ed lived his beliefs, and he was smart. He thought deeply about issues and asked good questions before reaching a conclusion. A Santa Monica renter for 37 years, Ed cared a lot about tenant protections, community values, and, most importantly, what was best for Santa Monica.
Ed will be missed but not forgotten. May his memory inspire our important work moving forward.
In Memory of Catherine Eldridge
Catherine Eldridge, a fiery local activist, has passed. She fought like hell to save the 200-resident Village Trailer Park on Colorado. She helped the old and disabled at the Village get food and other necessities, including rides to doctors and dentists. She also worked for an agency that helped people with developmental disabilities.
The developer wanted to (and finally did) build a large number of market-rate apartments. The City Council changed the zoning to allow that to happen and approved the project. At the urging of an enraged community, they did set a condition, allowing time for the many low and moderate income residents to find other housing. Catherine was instrumental in getting a judge to push the developer to move trailers to the side of the lot, where some residents could live until they died. Catherine was one of those lucky few.
Catherine was appointed to the SMRR Steering Committee for a few years. Later she became a member of both the Pico Neighborhood Association and Mid City Neighbors’ Boards.
She tried so hard to save her neighbors’ homes on those peaceful walking paths, with 167 trees. We’ll miss Catherine and the Village Trailer Park.
In Memory of Betty Mueller