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Former Mayor, Environmentalist Immortalized at City Parks  

By Jonathan Friedman
Lookout Staff

March 10, 2010 -- When he was not at City Hall or his architecture studio, City Council member Herb Katz could often be found at Joslyn Park, happily walking his two dogs and socializing with people. On Tuesday, the City Council renamed the off-leash portion of the park after Katz, who died in 2008.

Also, the council renamed Beach Park No. 1 after Dorothy Green, the founder of Heal the Bay. She too died in 2008.

"We maintain our beaches as a public trust for everyone," said Council member Richard Bloom as he motioned to Green's son Joshua, who sat in the audience. "And I think that was what your mom Dorothy was all about."

Joshua Green said, "I think it's a very fitting tribute."

The sites were selected for naming based on the results of a survey on the City's web site. The families of Katz and Green told City staff they support the selections.

"My father, Herb, would be overjoyed and so pleased and tickled that we're talking about this," Dana Katz told the council. "I know that was the activity that brought him a lot of joy.

"He loved dogs," she said. "Those were his favorite people, I think."


Katz served on the council from 1984 to 1996 and again from 2000 until his death. He was appointed mayor in 2007. The architect also served on the Planning Commission, Architectural Review Board, Pier Restoration Corporation and the Bayside District Board. In addition, he volunteered in the community.

Green founded Heal the Bay in 1985 during a meeting with some environmentalists that took place in her living room. The organization has become the top force in the fight for water quality in California.

"It's a very important thing to be able to commemorate people who have given so much of themselves to our community," City Council member Kevin McKeown said.

McKeown suggested City staff begin the process for naming a park after Mayor Ken Genser, who died in January. He said the future Palisades Garden Walk, which will connect the pier to City Hall, is an option.

Bloom said he supported McKeown's proposal, but he cautioned City staff about beginning the land-naming process for Genser, whose death is still fresh in the minds of many community members, including those on the council.

"We just want to be sensitive to the community," Bloom said. "I'm not sure I'm there yet ... a lot of us might not quite be there yet and through the mourning period, and ready to do the commemoration."


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