Longtime L.A. civic leader and South Los Angeles development booster John Mack died on June 21 at age 81, according to media reports.
Mack, who for 36 years was president of the Los Angeles Urban League and was also a key voice for police reform, died late on June 21 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a battle with cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In his role heading up the Los Angeles Urban League, Mack pushed for more economic development in South Los Angeles, especially after the 1992 riots. He also joined Rebuild LA, which was formed in the aftermath of the riots to raise funds and guide the redevelopment of the portions of Los Angeles that had been impacted by the riots. After Rebuild LA disbanded in 1997, Mack helped guide the renaissance of the Crenshaw district in South L.A.
In 2005, Mack was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Commission, where he served eight years – including a term as commission president – and pushed for more community-based policing.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 named Mack to the nine-member city Planning Commission, where he pushed for more affordable housing to be included in major development projects.
“John Mack’s wisdom, integrity and kindness helped transform Los Angeles,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “As a civil rights warrior, police commission president, and ally to all who love freedom and fairness, John made history with a fierce determination to pursue justice, an unshakable commitment to equality, and an unbreakable bond with the community he worked tirelessly to uplift every day of his remarkable life. He moved both spirits and systems — by merging his gentle bearing with a fearless resolve to make change that has touched and saved countless lives.”
Mack’s wife of 57 years, Harriett, died in 2016.
Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.