Activism came easy. Mark Batterman saw a need, and he became the local Champion of the Parks in Studio City, Calif.
It got rather hot while he was coaching the little league T-ball teams during the summer at Beeman Park, and there wasn’t a water fountain.
So, in 1995, he contacted the city officials and got one installed, and then he helped form a group that oversees the coaches in the park.
“We began to change the culture of the park,” he recalls.
On Wednesday night, Batterman was honored by Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian and Studio City Neighborhood Council President John Walker for his work with the local parks as he finally retires from his social activism and volunteerism. State Assemblyman Nadrin Azarian also offered a certificate of accomplishment to honor Batterman.
(See the video where Mark Batterman is speaking, and the photo gallery.)
“He saw the need for a drinking fountain and became the champion of our parks,” Krekorian declared. “There are few people who have contribute as much to their community as Mark has.”
It is in his blood, Batterman says. He grew up in Northern California in the political atmosphere of the 1960s where activism was encouraged. His father was a doctor and his mother worked as a political operative who ran (former U.S. Congressman) Ron Dellums’ first campaign for the Berkeley City Council. Batterman’s wife, Nancy, and son Danny—who is now at University of California, San Diego— had to deal with his being away four or five nights a week at community meetings, and Batterman was their cook.
“I was the family cook, and I have to thank my wife, Nancy, for tolerating a lot of fast food while I was involved in these meetings,” Batterman quipped.
He was one of the first members of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, has served on the board of the Studio City Residents Association, is a member of Save L.A. River Open Space, has helped with the Bridges Academy School and joined the Studio City Park Advisory Board in 1996. He worked as an executive producer at Buena Vista Television, and he conquered some serious health issues that would have halted most people’s activism work.
He not only got the administration to approve the improvements, he helped find the money to pay for the fitness trails, jogging paths and new facilities and Beeman and Woodbridge parks.
“Mark Batterman not only represents the best of what Studio City has to offer, but shows that with great perseverance, comes even greater results,” Krekorian says.
He credits one of his greatest accomplishments with saving Woodbridge Park when it was going to be used by the city’s Department of Public Works as a construction staging area for the city’s sewer system upgrade. He rallied the community against the plan and helped save the park.
Krekorian points out: “Everything that matters in Studio City, Mark has had something to do with.”
Walker adds, “We know you are still going to make things happen in your post-activism career.”
Batterman says, “I learned through our politically-active house that if you were going to do something, you did it with dedication, and maybe you could affect positive change for your community.”
He held up his certificates and said, “This tells me that is what I did, thank you.”
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