In Memory of Michael Owens
This weekend we lost our friend and my District Director Michael Owens. The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for Michael’s family, friends and all of us on Team Blumenfield. For those who were not fortunate enough to know him, I wanted to share a few memories and let you know what he meant to us.
Michael joined Team Blumenfield back during my first term in the State Assembly, over 13 years ago. Ever since, he has been a true force for good in the West Valley and the City of LA. Starting as intern and then Director of Constituent Affairs, he built partnerships and friendships with so many residents and nonprofits and had such a unique gift for guiding residents through the civic issues and finding solutions. He truly had boundless empathy, patience and a deep passion for public service. We affectionately gave him the title of ‘constituent whisperer.’ As a former paralegal, he was undaunted by bureaucracy and knew how to turn “no” into “yes” and breakdown the barriers so that constituent problems could be solved.
He was a formidable force in our office, always elevating causes dear to him and using the tools of the state and city to make lives better for the most vulnerable. In crises like the COVID-19 emergency or Woolsey Fire, Michael was working closely with local senior organizations and groups assisting folks with disabilities to make sure they were safe and had every resource they needed. As someone who had long suffered from diabetes and physical disability caused year’s ago when he was struck by a car, Michael's empathy came from first hand experience.
An issue that was always dear to him was standing up and protecting the rights of our LGBT community, especially for youth who had been kicked out of their homes for being who they are.
Raised by two parents in the military and having grown up all around the country with roots in the south, his southern twang went everywhere with him and greeted everyone he met with immense kindness. Before he joined our team, he worked as Director of Legal Affairs at the Motion Picture Association. His deep appreciation of the entertainment history translated into his city work as our liaison to organizations like FilmLA- helping bring so many film and TV shoots to the West Valley. It was always a joy to visit sets with him, meet production crews and see how his outreach and industry friendships assisted in making it happen. I’ll never forget a trip he organized with about two dozen location scouts where we rented a bus and drove around CD3 highlighting how the West Valley has something to offer to practically every project. He loved the ins and outs of the industry and we could always rely on him for great stories from inside the industry.
Michael’s sense of humor was legendary. He could make a whole room laugh with just a look and god help you if you set him up for a double entendre joke- because he never missed. He was always able to bring resilience and determination to stay upbeat and moving forward, no matter what obstacles got in his way.
Eternally kind, caring and looking for ways to help others, I can’t express the hole his passing has left in our team. While plans for a memorial are underway, I hope you all can join me in remembering Michael and think about his family during this difficult time. There will never be one like him and I hope that he and his late husband Camron are at peace and again united. We will always love Michael.
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