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Raphael Receives Key to City of Long Beach

Token of Appreciation

Political Science Professor Raphael J. Sonenshein Receives Key to City of Long Beach

April 2, 2007

By Mimi Ko Cruz

For his service as a member of the Long Beach City Council’s Charter Amendment Committee, Raphael J. Sonenshein recently received that city’s ceremonial key.

The professor of political science also received a proclamation, recognizing him. It reads, in part: “All members of the city council appreciated your facilitation, advice and wisdom. The experience and perspectives you gained from guiding other cities through municipal reform proved invaluable in deliberating our own city’s structure.”

Sonenshein, a long-time observer of politics in Los Angeles, served as the executive director of that city’s Charter Reform Commission from 1997 to 1999. He is an expert on American and urban government, campaigns and elections, and racial and minority politics, and is often called upon to offer news commentary.

His latest book, “Los Angeles: Structure of a City Government,” tells readers about city government — what it does, why it matters, what it costs, where the money comes from and where it goes.

Long Beach City Clerk Larry Herrera said Sonenshein explained the “whole charter amendment process to the city council.”

Long Beach’s charter had not been amended in at least two decades and the council needed advice, said Herrera. Sonenshein’s input helped council members draft measures — Propositions A through G — that will appear on the May 1 special election ballot.

A veteran researcher, Sonenshein has written extensively on the relationships among racial and ethic groups, as well as on the governance of American cities, particularly Los Angeles. His research on the biracial coalition that elected Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, resulted in his award-winning 1993 book, “Politics in Black and White: Race and Power in Los Angeles.”

Among his many accolades and honors, Sonenshein was the inaugural recipient of the Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award for 2005-06. He’s also been honored with the California State University 2005 Wang Family Excellence Award and the 2003 Distinguished Faculty Member for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Award.

Sonenshein earned his doctorate and master’s degree at Yale and his bachelor’s degree at Princeton, where he was a Woodrow Wilson School Scholar.
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