Larry Block’s Paean to Jeanne Dobrin, and Her Thanks to Her Friends

Jeanne Dobrin, a longtime West Hollywood resident and community advocate, in her Cynthia Street condo.

Jeanne Dobrin, a resident of West Hollywood for 42 years, is known for her civic activism and a long and complicated relationship with the city she loves. She and Allegra Allison, another civic activist, successfully sued the city in 2008 to stop the Palm Project proposed for 9001 Santa Monica Blvd. The city had allowed the developer to build it to a height of 62 feet despite a 45-foot height limit (the city settled by reducing the height limit to 55 feet). Despite that fight, it’s clear the love Dobrin feels for WeHo flows both ways. The city proclaimed “Jeanne Dobrin Day” in 2010 and planted a tree in her honor in 2013. Larry Block, another local activist, made the following statement at the City Council meeting on Monday night.

Today I came to speak about somebody who could not be here — Jeanne Dobrin.

Jeanne Dobrin celebrated her 97th birthday about seven weeks ago at Cedars-Sinai. It was touch-and-go for a while, and they didn’t know if she would make it. Jeanne battled her way back to rehab and is now home with round-the-clock care and probably watching us from home on TV. “Hi Jeanne!”

The legendary Jeanne Dobrin has attended more City Council meetings than any other person in history, except for the ubiquitous John Heilman. While John spent 30 plus years on the dais, Jeanne Dobrin spent these past 30-plus years on this side of the public comment podium fighting on issue after issue.

Jeanne helped to shape this city we love. She was the original activist who stood up and sued City Hall to fight a development known as the Palms that paved the way for activist after activist to have confidence that “yes, we can stand up to City Hall, and yes we can win.” Jeanne’s voice will live forever in these Chambers.

Jeanne probably won’t be coming to any more City Council meetings. But her presence will fill this Chamber for years to come.

Jeanne asked me to say thanks to a few people. But it is all of us who owe you, Jeanne, a giant “thank you.”

Jeanne wanted to thank Tracy and Brittany Benson for always being there to help. Steve Martin for throwing her birthday party. John D’Amico for your patience and driving Jeanne home after most City Council meetings. And thank you too for listening when times get rough. You, my friend, have a heart of gold. John Altschul for his care.

Ana Collins and Ansonia Katsourus, the cleaning lady and the superintendent in her building, who is always there to help, and Lauren Meister, because she knows you always cared about her. And soon we are going to start a Go Fund Me page to help with Jeanne’s in-home care.

Most of all, Jeanne, we thank you for all that you are and all that you have done for us. You are the one and only matriarch of West Hollywood.


6 Comments
  1. Hi, Jeanne ! Wish I could wave a magic wand and you’d be fine. The City now faces a grave challenge and that is to do things right and fair without the wisdom of your input. Your
    voice and presence will be sorely missed at future Council meetings. I salute your courage and determination. Your friend, Ivy Bottini.

  2. You can always count on Larry to step up to the plate and try to help people. He once helped me when I was down and out and and couldn’t feed my kids and he was there to help at my lowest point. I’m forever grateful.

  3. What a great tribute from Larry Block to Jeanne Dobrin, who by refusing to play by City Council Meeting rules, gave us many laughs along the way…in addition to standing firm by WeHo ordinances. Happy Belated Birthday, Jeanne!

  4. Jeanne Dobrin, Happy Belated Birthday. Hope I last another 25 years. You are an asset to our community and who knows what a mess things would be in without your activism and historical knowledge. Get well, we miss you. Perhaps they can set-up a remote within your home so your valuable words can still be heard.

  5. I like Jeanne very much. One day a few years ago, I answered my phone to hear , “Jimmy Palmieri, this is Jeanne Dobrin…..I don’t know what a tweaker is, but I am awfully glad you are here to help them.” Jeanne has a lot of common sense and more knowledge about land use than almost anyone in Weho. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea….but who is?

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