Bummed ‘bout (Bill) Bauer – A tribute to a community activist!      

It was with equal parts great surprise and sadness that I read in Wednesday’s SMDP that Bill Bauer had died. I always read his column in your paper whenever I could. Not getting his perspective is a loss for me. While I wasn’t a personal friend, I certainly had many occasions to talk with him, listen, disagree and settle into understanding his viewpoint. Viewpoints he rarely hesitated to express, wherever and to whomever he felt needed to hear them.

As a resident and community volunteer, I got to hear from Bill across a landscape of different settings. As a member and one-time chair of the Santa Monica Social Services Commission, I became accustomed to his fairly regular presence at our meetings. If I walked into our meeting and saw him sitting there I would take a breath because I knew at least three things – (1) we were strategic enough to have an agenda item important enough to bring him out, (2) we might have to “tough-out” a heated discussion – it could get “Hot in Heeere!” (3) I would learn something from him. At other political, educational or community dialogues throughout the years, he was there tirelessly wading into the mix. Were there contentious moments? Check. Did he and I always agree? Nope. Was it good that he showed up? Yep.

As I remember him with appreciation, I will recall his tenacity and commitment to what he believed. Whatever the nature of our exchanges, he always left me with a twinkle in his eye and a respectful “good-bye.” I believe he thought it’s not about “you,” it’s about the issue. I couldn’t dismiss his passion or disregard his conviction. I believe your resolve to address your concerns as a community activist deserves a thoughtful, 360 review of viewpoints. Bill provided me with that input for my full-spectrum overview. Whatever your beverage of choice, hoist it up to honor him. Rest in peace, Bill Bauer.

Karen S. Gunn, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita – Santa Monica College
Chair – Human Relations Council, Santa Monica Bay