San Fernando politician, Cindy Montañez, dies at 50

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Cindy Montañez, the pioneering San Fernando politician and environmental advocate who had a local elementary school named in her honor on Tuesday, died Saturday at the age of 50, city officials announced.

“It is with inconsolable grief and deep sadness that we announce the passing of Councilwoman Cindy Montañez, current executive director of TreePeople and former member of the California State Assembly,” San Fernando officials wrote.

“…Cindy will be remembered as a fierce advocate and advocate for environmental justice throughout California. To her family, Cindy will always be a loving daughter, sister, aunt, and great-aunt, and she will be deeply missed.

“The family requests that their privacy be respected during this difficult time. Details regarding the memorial service and funeral will be shared as they become available,” the statement continued.

No cause of death was given, but Montañez was recently diagnosed with an aggressive terminal cancer.

Montañez was the youngest person elected to the San Fernando City Council in 1999, at age 25, and the youngest woman elected to the California State Legislature at age 28 in 2002. Two years later, she presided over the powerful Assembly Rules Committee, becoming the youngest person. she, the first Latina and first Democratic woman to hold that position.

She was named CEO of TreePeople in 2016. The environmental and educational advocacy organization works to support sustainable urban ecosystems in the greater Los Angeles area.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Assemblywoman Montañez. The Assemblywoman was a relentless trailblazer who led with conviction and a vision of a better Los Angeles for all,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement Saturday. late.

“I saw her tenacity up close many times. She stood by me when we fought together in Sacramento, making difficult decisions to help our state, and she advised me when I served in Congress on a variety of issues impacting our city. Throughout Through it all, one thing was always clear: Assemblywoman Montañez’s heart and soul were always dedicated to the people of Los Angeles,” Bass continued.

“It was an honor last month to recognize her before City Council members. I join so many Angelenos in holding the Assemblywoman’s memories close. My thoughts are with her friends and family as we mourn the loss of a great Angeleno.”

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School Board voted unanimously to change the name of Gridley Street Elementary School in San Fernando to Gridley-Montañez Dual Language Academy.

“I think it’s incredibly inspiring that the school community has come together around this potential change and would like to retain its connection to Gridley,” LAUSD board member Kelly Gonez said, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. “And the students talked about seeing themselves in Cindy’s story and were inspired by all the incredible accomplishments she had in her young life.”

In August, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously changed the name of Pacoima Wash Natural Park to Cindy Montañez Natural Park.

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party issued a statement mourning Montañez, calling her a “pioneer” who “broke multiple glass ceilings.”

“His lasting legacy of advocacy for environmental justice, climate change and housing will resonate for generations to come,” the statement said. “Our hearts go out to his family and may his influence continue with strength and purpose.”

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