(March 25, 2007) -- As a WWII "We Can Do It" icon looked on, women in their teens and twenties at the time were cheered by WWII vets, their families and city officials as LB renamed the greenspace at the SW corner of Clark Ave. and Conant Street "Rosie the Riveter" Park.
The renaming was the brainchild of 5th district Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske who sought to honor War II "Rosie the Riveters" who worked at LB's wartime Douglas aircraft plant and others across the country. During the war years, LB's Douglas plant churned out B-17 "Flying Fortresses" and other aircraft that helped bring the Allies victory over the Axis powers.
LB's "Rosie the Riveter" Park is now the first park in the U.S. named in honor of women who worked at aircraft plants during World War II. (A Richmond, CA park was named last year to honor "Rosie the Riveters" who worked at the shipyards.) The event drew plenty of LB and L.A. media, including KNBC/4.
Boeing Senior Manager of Community Relations, Steve Chesser, commended Councilwoman Schipske for renaming the park to honor the former Douglas plant's historic war effort.
As first reported in May 2004 by LBReport.com, the park (which is mainly greenspace) was nominally listed in city records as "Douglas Park" to honor aircraft plant pioneer Donald Douglas...and renaming it eliminates potential confusion: "Douglas Park" is now Boeing Realty's name for its mixed-use development coming west of Lakewood Blvd. and north of Conant St.
Roughly 75 people attended the March 24 ceremony...including a number of real-life original "Rosie the Riveters."
Among the former "Rosies" were LB Parks & Recd. Commission member Bea Antenore (red scarf).
Rose Morales worked at Lockheed's Burbank plant and helped built P-38ís.
Among other "Rosies" [we regret not having a complete list as we post] was the mother of Signal Tribune publisher Neena Strichert. [Ms. Strichert says she'll graciously provide us with additional photos that we'll post here in the coming days.]
Among city officialdom attending: Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal, Councilman Patrick O'Donnell...
...and Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga.
Councilwoman Reyes Uranga is openly running for the 54th district Assembly seat (to succeed termed out incumbent Betty Karnette). As LBReport.com was first to report last week, Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal is also expected to enter the race. Like the incumbent, Reyes Uranga and Lowenthal are Dems.
Former Vice Mayor/Councilman Frank Colonna was also present. He's a Republican and now heads LB's GOP Lincoln Club. So...is he running for the 54th district Assembly seat [as LBReport.com reported is expected]? "Really, no decision has been made, it's early," he said. [Our translation: bet on it.]
Another Republican openly seeking the Assembly seat is ELB/5th district resident Michael A. Jackson. Expect to hear more from him in the coming weeks.
Also attending: power-couple Harbor Commissioner Mario Cordero and Mayor's office Deputy Director of Community Affairs, Gloria Cordero (foreground).
Watching from the background: Parks & Recd Chief Phil Hester (red shirt) and (not in photo) Chief of Staff to Mayor Bob Foster, Becki Ames.
Also spotted: Civil Service Commission member and retired LB Deputy City Manager Herb Levi (foreground). To the side and in the background, LB Machinists Union [city employee] rep Janet Wright.
Ceci Julian (a former WWII singer who's performed with Les Brown's Band of Renown, Frank De Col Orchestra and others) opened with a rousing rendition of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby"...and quipped "Not bad for an 84 year old broad!" Ms. Julian then launched into the classic "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing"...
...and it drew a visible positive response that spanned generations. Ms. Julian invited volunteers to join her in the song's "Doo-Wahs"...
...and among those who came forward and got in step were Councilwoman Reyes Uranga, 5th district Council office Executive Ass't Liz Miramontes and Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal. [Sorry, we don't know who the tall blond is.]
To hear the finish (including someone from the audience shouting "Show 'em how to do it, Tonia!") click here.