Honoring Our Community

Dr. Marcy
Senator Ben Allen speaks at the memorial of Dr. Steve Marcy.

In Memoriam

I want to take a moment to honor a few community leaders who passed away in recent months. These people have not only meant so much to me personally, but their impactful service had such uplifting ripple effects. We are exceedingly saddened at these losses, but celebrating the fact that our community is home to so many incredible individuals. May their memories continue to be a blessing.

  • Dr. Steve Marcy was a longtime beloved Boy Scouts Scoutmaster and Lincoln Middle School math teacher. Husband to Janis and father to my good friends Jenny and Matt, he made so many young peoples’ lives better. See my Adjournment in Memory of Dr. Marcy on the Senate Floor here.
  • David Morena was a husband, father, grandfather, and business and community leader. He cofounded the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, served as president of the Castellamare Homeowners Association, and was active in his local Catholic community. See my remarks about David on the Senate Floor here.
  • Carole Meltzner was a mother, wife, educator, and caretaker. She was an wonderful teacher at her synagogue community in Los Angeles and touched the lives of countless people. See my comments about Carole on the Senate Floor here.
  • Fred Ross Jr. was an amazing community organizer, following in the footsteps of his trailblazing parents. He led the Neighbor to Neighbor organization in the 1980s to support Central American refugees and pushed Congress to end support for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. See my Floor remarks here.
  • Michael J.B. Allen was an incredible teacher, husband, and most importantly to me – father and grandfather. He lived a full and wonderful life, whether enjoying a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains or teaching at UCLA. I miss him so dearly and appreciate everyone who has reached out to share their condolences.


Woman of the Year

In a floor ceremony on March 20, I recognized Maryam Zar as the Senate District 24 Woman of the Year. The Iranian-born Zar is a strong advocate for human rights as well as empowerment both at home and around the world. She has been proactive in speaking in support of the women’s movement taking place in Iran. Currently, she is president of the Pacific Palisades Community Council, chair of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils Land Use and Planning Committee, secretary of her local Park Advisory Board, and chair of the board of her community YMCA.

Over this past year, the courageous women of Iran have taken to the streets fighting for their rights. Here in the United States, Persian-American women have led the fight to make sure their struggle is not ignored. Maryam has been a leader in this effort. Her leadership builds upon years of community service in the Palisades and broader LA region. She has been putting in the hard work of finding local solutions for homelessness, leading the Community Council with strength and energy.

Maryam said, “I’m thrilled to be receiving this accolade from Senator Ben Allen, who is a pleasure to work with and represents the kind of public servant all districts should be lucky enough to have. This year, with the Woman Life Freedom movement for civil rights inspired by women in Iran underway, the WOTY award is particularly meaningful to me and I’m grateful and humbled to have been chosen.”

Our celebration of Maryam and the wonderful Women of the Year was also an opportunity to celebrate the courage of the women of Iran on the floor of the Senate and through a special Nowrooz presentation in the State Capitol.