Ellen Stern Harris
Nov. 2, 1929 — Jan. 2, 2006
Ellen Stern Harris,
a longtime activist on behalf of the environment, good government and
many other public-interest causes, passed away on January 2, 2006, after
a battle with cancer that sapped her body but not her spirit. She was at home with her family and
leaves her brother, Fred Stern; her son, Tom Harris; and her daughter,
Jane Harris, Jane's husband Michael Baumannn, and their son, Tom
Ellen's life was celebrated on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006,
at Greystone Mansion.
If you would like to add your remembrances,
please do so.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in her
be made to Fund For the Environment,
PO Box 228, Beverly Hills, CA 90213
to support the archiving at UCLA of Ellen's papers.
The Los Angeles Times
Ellen, editor of The
Beverly Hills Citizen and founder and executive director of Fund For The
Environment, received many well-deserved honors. Among these was a
salute from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on October 2,
2004. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a friend and supporter,
delivered an address which captured the highlights of Ellen's work as a
Following is an excerpt of his address.
"I asked Ellen Stern
Harris to come down this morning so that we could celebrate her 75th
birthday with her. I know everyone on this Board knows Ellen Stern
Harris is the founder and Executive Director of The Fund for The
Environment. She is a third-generation resident of Beverly Hills, and a
longstanding civil leader and environmental activist.
"Ellen has been
prominently involved in water quality and coastal protection issues for
many, many years, and was co-author of Proposition 20, an initiative
passed by the state’s voters in 1972 that created the California Coastal
Act. She served as Vice Chair of the State Coastal Commission for its
first four years.
"She previously served
on the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she
helped to clean up the heavily polluted Los Angeles and Long Beach
harbors, and worked to strengthen the State’s water quality laws for the
first time in 22 years.
"She was the lead amicus
in the federal lawsuit to clean up the Santa Monica Bay, and represented
the City of Beverly Hills and the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California. There she advocated for a fair
rate structure, so that residential rate payers would not have to
subsidize agricultural and other commercial water users.
"She also served on the
City of Beverly Hills’ first Recreation and Parks Commission, and served
on the city’s Cable Television Advisory Committee. She currently serves
on the city’s Technology Committee.
"She has taught public
policy at UCLA, and was named Woman of The Year by The Los Angeles
Times, where she wrote a consumer advocate column for seven years.
"She has been recognized
for her work with awards from The Sierra Club, The Audubon Society and
the United Nations Association.
"Ellen, you are a model
of civic involvement. If we had 10 people like you in this County, it
would be a different kind of place."
To see some of Ellen's
work, please look through the Beverly Hills