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Tributes

Al Gore, Former Vice President
“Joe Cerrell was a great personal friend and one of the pioneering political consultants in California and the U.S. Throughout his life, he was also a great champion of progressive political causes. He advised presidents, candidates for many offices at the national, state and local level, and used his skills and knowledge to help average Americans through times of triumph and trouble. A proud Italian-American who was intensely proud of his adopted home of Los Angeles, he worked tirelessly to promote its many civic institutions. I will miss him a great deal and I extend my sympathies to the entire family.”

Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator, CA
“Joe Cerrell is a true California legend. He is the indefatigable wise man of California politics, and he served in the administrations of some of the most revered elected leaders of our time. You can always count on Joe to give it to you straight, and with a big dose of his characteristic humor. It is a privilege and an honor to call him my friend.”

Janice Hahn, LA City Councilwoman
“The loss of Joe Cerrell is profound. He was a gentle giant who was one of the best political minds of his generation. Joe was a proud Italian and a mentor to me and so many others. He was a longtime friend of the Hahn family and I join with his family and friends in mourning his loss. There will never be another Joe Cerrell.”

National Italian American Federation Board of Directors (Official Statement)
“Active in the Italian American community, Joe was admired and respected by Italian and international leaders and all ethnic groups. His visionary leadership and support have advanced the mission of NIAF. Joe’s tireless efforts to stop ethnic stereotyping of any individual or group will be long remembered by all who served with him on the Foundation’s Media Institute and his chairmanship of NIAF’s Public Affairs Committee. Power broker, veteran campaign consultant, political kingmaker, policy confidant, opinion leader, advisor, professor, mentor and role model are just a few titles that describe the numerous roles Joe played during the more than 50 years he was involved in public affairs. He was one of the most respected and admired individuals in his profession.”

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa*
“Joe Cerrell was an icon in Democratic politics. From an early age, Joe understood that democracy demands the participation of people from all walks of life. He was a sage mentor and trusted advisor who unselfishly shared his good counsel and firsthand memories of historic moments. I extend my sincere sympathy to Joe’s wife, Lee, his family, and many friends and colleagues. He has left an indelible mark on California politics and will be missed.”

Paul Krekorian, LA City Councilmember*
“When I was an 18-year-old student at USC, Joe was my professor and my mentor. When I restarted the first USC Trojan Democratic Club in many years, and served as its president, Joe was my guide, helping to impart the lessons community empowerment that have been the cornerstone of my public service career. Joe was the dean of political consultants and personified honest, ethical and responsible campaigning. While I am deeply saddened to lose Joe, I know that his influence on me and everyone whose lives he touched will never be forgotten and will be his lasting legacy.”

Richard Alarcon, LA City Councilman*
“Joe Cerrell was an institution. Despite the fact he was behind the scenes, he had as much impact as any elected official in shaping in Los Angeles and he will be sorely missed.”

Paul Koretz, LA City Councilman*
“It was just this past June that I brought Joe into LA City Council Chambers to declare June 19, 2010, the day he turned 75, ‘Joe Cerrell Day’ in the City of Los Angeles. On that day, my colleagues and I highlighted his legendary career and remarkable years of devoted and productive public service. We presented Joe with a resolution honoring him and his work at Cerrell Associates, stating in part that ‘His shrewd generalship, dynamic team-building and innovative strategizing have won the day and made for a better future on countless critical issues and key causes. In a city of epic diversity and constant change, Joe Cerrell has been an enduring and creative force for progress.’ He will sorely be missed by me and the City of Los Angeles.”

Ed Reyes, LA City Councilman*
“Joe Cerrell was a mentor who would share his understanding of how to get solutions, and how to achieve consensus with me. He was also a lot like a historical icon. When John F. Kennedy was president, Joe shared a story about when he rode alongside JFK. And that reflects Joe’s understanding, the influence he had on people and politics, that has helped me throughout the years.”

LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky*
“Today I join the entire Los Angeles political community as we mourn the passing of Joe Cerrell. Joe Cerrell was a legend and a giant in the world of politics and public affairs. More than that, he was a great personal friend to me and to my family. Joe gave politics a good name. He loved the game, and he was a master at it. Joe and I often found ourselves on the same side of issues, and from time to time, on the opposite side of issues. Nevertheless, our friendship never wavered.”

Los Angeles County Young Democrats* (which awarded Cerrell the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008)
“Starting as a USC college Democrat himself, Joe never forgot his roots. Even as his legend deservedly grew and he became increasingly influential in Los Angeles politics, Joe always sought to ensure that the next generation of leaders stayed involved and politically engaged. Joe Cerrell was a role model to us all and he will be very dearly missed. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family, his friends and colleagues at Cerrell and Associates and the countless people whose lives Joe touched through his passionate involvement in Democratic politics.”

Michael D. Antonovich, LA County Supervisor
“Joe Cerrell was a friend, a talented strategist and political icon whose sense of fairness and generosity earned him the admiration and respect of leaders of all political stripes — at all levels of government. When I was in Rome to sign the friendship agreement between Los Angeles County and the Roman government, Joe arranged for a private tour of the Vatican where I met and received a Blessing from Pope Benedict. While he was a lifelong Democrat, he was a supporter of mine and introduced me to his friends, the late journalist Robert Novak and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who became friends of mine. His work on behalf of the Italian community and the various charities he supported is legendary and will benefit many future generations.

Christine and I send our prayers and condolences to Lee and Joe’s children Steve, Sharon and Joe and his grandchildren Kim, Chris, Danny, Lauren, Sal, Josie and Chase.”

Nicola Faganello, Consul General of Italy in Los Angeles
“Joe Cerrell’s leadership, vision, kindness, passion and wisdom, as well as his outstanding professional and personal qualities were as crucial as his love for Italy and for his Italian origins in furthering the United States’ relations with Italy at both, local and national level and in championing the cause of the Italian American community in Los Angeles and throughout the country. In Joe Cerrell, the Italian Consulate General in Los Angeles has always had a sincere friend and a wise and valued advisor, whom I felt privileged and honored to come to know, as did, I understand, all my predecessors. His keen insights and valued counsel will be greatly missed as will his seemingly boundless enthusiasm and capacity to care for great and small alike. A proud Italian American, President and Vice Chairman of NIAF, member of the Sons of Italy, UNICO and the Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California, Chairman of the Board of the Italy America Chamber of Commerce of the West, Joe Cerrell has always generously and relentlessly worked for stronger ties between Italy and the United States and embodying the concept of “ideal bridge” between the two Countries. It was for these reasons and for his deep attachment to his Italian heritage and for his exceptional merits and good services in favor of our Country that the President of the Republic of Italy, HE Giorgio Napolitano, has decided recently to bestow upon Joseph Cerrell the honor of Grand Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, elevating the honor of Commendatore (Knight Commander) of the same Order that he had already received in 2002. Personally and on behalf of the Italian Government and of Italian Consulate General in Los Angeles, I extend my deepest and sincere condolences to his entire family, my wife, myself, my staff and the entire Italian community in Los Angeles will miss him sorely. ”

Kim Rouggie, News Reporter at KTLA
“Joe Cerrell will always have a special place in my heart. I was probably one of thousands of Italian Americans who Joe befriended over the years. But to me, Joe was one in a million. It was a privilege to know Joe. We met at a Sons of Italy meeting and he instantly became like a father figure to me. Soon after, he stopped by the KTLA newsroom where I worked to say hello to me. I felt so touched that he even remembered me.

Joe was a class act, a true gentleman and a great friend who’s simply irreplaceable. Please accept my sincere condolences to the Cerrell, Bullock and Levy families as well as everyone at Cerrell Associates.”

*tributes compiled by thecitymaven.com:
http://www.thecitymaven.com/2010/12/03/reactions-to-joe-cerrells-death/