Editor’s note: Daily Press Columnist Charles Andrews has organized the efforts to establish a Bill Bauer scholarship. The following piece is an addition to Andrews’ regular Wednesday column.
Bill Bauer is now memorialized as I believe he would want to be.
It was a curious thing to hear the various tributes to longtime Santa Monica Daily Press columnist Bill Bauer at his memorial service on the Pier last November. It would seem so many knew him as a different part of himself — the jaunty Anglophile cruising around town with pulled down hat in his cool old Triumph TR6 convertible (red, of course), the empathetic citizen getting up at 3 a.m. once a week for the SMPD homeless patrol, the body builder, the softie who really, really loved squirrels and fed them and birds from his apartment’s third-floor balcony, the closet artist, the Police Athletic League (PAL) volunteer for so many projects to help kids.
But most would agree that the first way Bauer and others saw him was as a journalist, as Santa Monica’s dean of columnists with more than a dozen years of his “My Write” columns (more than 750) addressing mostly local issues involving politics. He loved the written word and he held journalism in the highest regard.
So it’s not hard to picture the big grin on Bill’s face that would have come from last Thursday’s PAL Recognition Dinner 2017, held at Le Meredien Delfina Hotel, when his name and legacy were on the first Bill Bauer Journalism Scholarship, presented fittingly to Jessica Ramirez.
When the scholarship was finally put in place in late February, there was doubt that a
good candidate for something so specialized could be found on such short notice. But
when Ramirez sat for her interview for a general PAL Chris Carrey scholarship, the last
question they asked her was, what will you do after you graduate from college? And that
one line answer netted her an additional two grand, on top of her earned $1,000 scholarship. (The BBJ scholarship big “check” was made out for $1,500 but during the awards someone who wanted to remain anonymous came up behind and whispered they wanted to throw another $500 in. I was so excited I almost forgot to eat my chocolate cake, which was sensational.)
“I hope to be able to pursue journalism,” she replied, “because it has become an important part of my life and studies the last few years, and I feel it’s very important, especially now.” Bingo. The interview committee gave a secret sly grin and knew they had almost accidentally found the perfect Bill Bauer Journalism scholarship recipient.
Ramirez is the first in her family to go on to college, but probably not the last. Her younger sister and brother seem to really love and admire their big sister, and now they have an example to follow. They told me so, that evening. And her mother and father seem smart, solid, and supportive of their children’s ambitions.
Ramirez will be attending San Diego State University. She said she chose that school because its journalism program has such a good reputation, and also because it’s fairly close to home. So Mom, Dad, expect a huge load of laundry and a hungry student most weekends. She said she is thrilled and so thankful for the boost that the scholarships will give her, but hasn’t yet decided how the money will be spent.
When I asked her if she will be getting a degree “in journalism, or communications…”
(what most schools call it in these modern times), she shot right back, “oh no —
Old school. Another big smile on Bill Bauer’s mug.
Photo credit: Samuel Tello
AWARD: Santa Monica Daily Press columnist Charles Andrews (center) presented the first Bill Bauer Journalism scholarship award last Thursday to Samohi senior Jessica Ramirez (left). Also presenting, an additional scholarship from the Chris Carrey Scholarship fund given through the Police Athletic League (PAL), is Barker Hangar owner Judy Barker, board member and past president of PAL.