Winner: Lea Rosenberg
Nominated By: Dave RosenbergThe Humanitarian Award recognizes significant efforts in improving the quality of life for Davis residents by directly addressing the needs of specific groups within the community in the areas of health, human services, housing or employment.Although Lea Rosenberg has volunteered in countless capacities throughout the community over the past quarter century, she was nominated to receive the Humanitarian Award because of her recent efforts with foster youth and emancipated foster youth. Her nominator Dave Rosenberg writes, “Lea…has raised a considerable amount in donations to provide funds for these foster kids to stay in school, to purchase bus passes and books, as well as clothing and school supplies. She has raised money so that the kids can live in apartments after they become adults. She has taken a personal interest in Davis’ own Progress Ranch – a home for 6 very hard to place foster boys – bringing them games and toys, and supplying the home with gifts when the kids have birthdays.”
Ms. Rosenberg has also worked to support the Yolo Food Closet, Meals on Wheels and All Things Right and Relevant.
When I first saw the list of Thon Hy Hunh award nominees, and saw that Lea Rosenberg had won the award for Humanitarian, I thought very little about it. After all, anyone who knows Lea, understand and appreciates the years of work she has done in our community.
She is a longtime volunteer who works very hard and is totally devoted to many non-profits who do humanitarian work.
It was only when I saw that her husband, a former Mayor but a sitting Judge, had nominated her, that I got an unsettling knot in the pit of my stomach.
It is inappropriate for a husband to nominate his wife for an award. It would be like nominating oneself. It is a conflict of interest and strikes of self-promotion if not more.
What makes this worse is that dozens in this community would gladly have stepped in to nominate Mrs. Rosenberg, who is a very appropriate nominee, but for judge Rosenberg to do so looks self-serving. And it cheapens the award which, has a distinguished history in this community, honoring people for public service and commitment to civil rights in our community.
Moreover, as a sitting Judge, in fact the presiding Judge, David Rosenberg ought to stay out of such trivial matters. This would be like Judge Mock nominating his wife Ann Hurd for Prosecutor of the Year. She may well be deserving of it, but family should not be nominating family.
What is amazing is the disconnect between Judge David Rosenberg who sits on the bench in Yolo County and the one who, for whatever reason, gets bogged down in these sort of self-promoting activities.
Judge Rosenberg, if I should have the misfortune of being accused of a crime, would be the judge I would want to preside over my case. He is fair-minded, he is caring, he knows the law and he treats people with respect and decency.
He is a good and decent person and has often used his positions to help people in need. He shows a level of compassion and decency that is often missing in our judicial system.
Many of our judges do not even pay lip-service to compassion. Judge Rosenberg has demonstrated it on a consistent basis from the bench in a way that not only brings humanity to the courtroom, but also a sense of fair play.
At the same time, for whatever reason, he is prone to enormous lapses in judgment. The building of the new courthouse is a good example.
Few people who utilize the current courthouse would doubt that the Yolo County Court facilities are badly in need upgrading, either through a remodel or a new building that would enable all of the courts to operate within a single building, without exposing the public and staff to the security risks of marching in-custody defendants through common-use hallways that the public inhabit.
Unfortunately, we have talked to many in the community who are just appalled that, at a time when public employees are being laid off and people are jobless, such a grandiose courthouse is being proposed.
Sadly, the court itself is not immune to such cutbacks. Court staff have been laid off. There are furlough days. And recently many of the law enforcement officers who provided security through the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department had to be laid off as well.
When such financing schemes were called into question by people like Davis City Councilmember Sue Greenwald, Davis Enterprise Columnist Rich Rifkin and myself, Judge Rosenberg took it upon himself to respond in an op-ed.
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