L.A.'s Most Powerful Unelected Official

Los Angeles Magazine profiles environmentalist Joe Edmiston, who may be the most powerful unelected official in the city.

Read Time: 1 minute

August 5, 2005, 5:00 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


"Edmiston is a patient man, but when a mountain property comes up for sale, he can move fast. The history of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is Joe Edmiston’s history—he’s the only boss the 25-year-old organization has ever had. During that time he has brokered, threatened, cajoled, lobbied, networked, orchestrated, and generally outplanned, outthought, and outfought anyone who has stood in the way of the acquisition, restoration, and opening to the public of 55,000 acres of once-private land.

...There are, however, a range of people, from environmentalists to community leaders to property rights activists, who don’t see Edmiston as at all Olmstedian. They’re more likely to compare him to Robert Moses, the youthful idealist who came to exercise almost absolute power in New York City in the middle of the 20th century. Moses reshaped the city, creating thousands of acres of suburban parks but bulldozing entire neighborhoods."

Thanks to Chris Steins

Thursday, August 4, 2005 in Los Angeles Magazine

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