Former L.A. City Councilman Hal Bernson, who represented the 12th District in the San Fernando Valley from 1979 to 2003, has passed away, a representative from the office of 12th District Councilman John Lee confirmed to the Business Journal.
Bernson died Monday. He was 89.
Bernson is known for leading the establishment of seismic safety and retrofitting laws on masonry buildings in the 1970s and 1980s, eventually earning the nickname “Mister Earthquake.”
“No one in the council’s history did more to prepare L.A. for the next major earthquake,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said of Bernson in a statement.
A conservative Republican, Bernson was a leading proponent of the Valley region’s secession from the city of Los Angeles. He also took special interest in transportation and planning issues, having served as chair of the council’s Transportation Committee and a board member of the L.A. County Metropolitan Transit Authority, or Metro, and the Southern California Regional Rail Authority.
According to Encino attorney Lee Kanon Alpert, who worked with Bernson on the City Building and Safety Commission, “He wanted no special credit or recognition and throughout his career in politics remained humble, down to earth, a man of the people. … Hal will be dearly missed by all.”
Bernson is survived by his wife, Robyn, and his daughters, Nicole and Sarah.