Nominees for 2011 Marina del Rey Patch 'Person of the Year'

Be sure to participate in our poll and leave comments to help us choose the 2011 Marina del Rey Patch 'Person of the Year.'

The nominees for the 2011 Patch "Person of the Year" for Del Rey, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey have been submitted and we'd like your feedback to help us decide.

We'll use the poll below to help measure the community's thoughts, so make sure to vote and also leave comments to help us with the decision.

The poll and comments will be open until 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26. We'll follow up with a profile of the 2011 Marina del Rey Patch "Person of the Year."

The nominees (in order of nomination) include:

  • Liz Greenberger, who is the founder of the non-profit group RowLA. The group teaches high school girls how to row and provides academic tutoring to help them get college scholarships. Her nominator said, "I refer to RowLA as the 'Gateway to College'."
  • Patricia McPherson, who the nominator said has "voluntered countless hour researching, educating, and lobbying for the welfare of the Ballona Wetlands and surrounding environment." 
  • , the editor of Marina del Rey Patch. The nominator said, "Mr. Paul Chavez does a very good job bringing us together and keeping us informed of the developments that affect our area."
  • Wayne Yoshimura, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy on the Harbor Patrol of the sheriff's Marina del Rey station. He's a gold medal winner in judo at the Police Olympics and the nominator said that Yoshimura has "saved more lives and property in his career than any other person."
  • Dave Barish, of We ARE Marina del Rey, an organization dedicated to preserving the recreational nature of Marina del Rey. The nominator said, "He really loves this land in the Marina that we all share and he has done a lot of grassroots community service that helped our community."
  • Benjamin Arreola, the owner of Mexican restaurant Senor G's in Playa del Rey. The nominator said that Senior G's "is a family business that has a business acumen that makes every customer fee like family!" The nominator said that whenever short on cash, Senior G's "allows me and others to pay our tab at a later date" and always aims to please customers.
  • Kevin Davis, of Marina del Rey, who along with his wife produces spiritual healing music and prayers on their Web site. The nominator said, "Kevin has spent so much time with disadvantaged people over the last year, helping communities with infrastructure projects, health programs, hunger relief, restoring clean waters to native peoples of Peru."
  • Susan Aver of Marina del Rey, who is a mother of two and a first-grade teacher at Coeur d'Alene Elementary School in Venice. The nominator described her as a "hard working, caring person."
  • Marie Atake, the founder of Marina del Rey-based Forte Animal Rescue. The nominator said that Atake oversees rescued dogs and "has gone above and beyond to be an asset to the community." She started an outreach program that strives to stop owners from taking their pets to the pound by advising them of options and introducing them to trainers for behavioral problems. Forte Animal Rescue, which has saved the lives of some 900 dogs, was named in honor of Forte, Atake's Shiloh Shepherd that she rescued and cared from 1992 until its death in 1999. Atake was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the Los Angeles Animal Services Commission and served from 2005 to 2007. She also served on the city's Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee.
  • Brigitte Burdine, a posthumous nominee who ran a casting agency in Marina del Rey. Burdine was killed in a hit-and-run accident in December 2010, but her memory and legacy of selfless acts has continued to inspire others. Her nominator said, "As Brigitte moved through the years all one has to do is speak with anyone who has had the blessing of Brigitte’s company in person, over the phone or via other types of media to understand how gracious and giving Brigitte lived her life. Brigitte opened her own company called BB Casting (www.bbcasting.com) that casted talent for various types of productions in the movie industry. Brigitte used her gift to promote and hire others over the many jobs she was clearly was cut out to perform herself. She adored seeing others shine and always … and I say always with a clear and concise truth because she always put others before herself and she loved to watch the careers of others blossom and thrive. It is what made Brigitte so different from her counterparts. Brigitte also taught many children and adults the business of acting and voice-over in her many decades of employment and formed friendships with her students that live on to this very day."

Editor's Note: Atake's entry was updated to clarify that she was the founder of Forte Animal Rescue.

Michael December 19, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Never forgotten -- one of the most accepting spirits I have ever encountered. Much love to her memory... (Michael M.)
Jan Book December 19, 2011 at 06:11 PM
David Barish has dedicated the past several years to save the Marina by stopping the LA County and the Coastal Commission Staff from violating the Coastal Act. It will be because of David Barish and WAM that we now have the record from which we can sue the Coast Commission and the County for violating the Coastal Act. And when we win in court to have the 2011 LCPA ruled in violation of the Coastal Act, we have David Barish to thank. Thank you David Barish.
apmarina December 19, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Marie Atake is not just a "volunteer" for Forte Animal Rescue, she is the FOUNDER and soul of the operation, and works it 24/7. She pours not only her heart but her money into it and works hard to save every dog she can. As a long-time volunteer myself, I'll add a shameless plug for the group: www.farescue.org.
Luv of dogz December 20, 2011 at 02:40 AM
Marie Atake helps animals that are abused and abandoned and gets them medical care and finds loving second chance homes for them. She has helped dogs in her hometown as well as helping dogs in crisis in other states as well. She is very deserving of this award. Where is the link to vote?
Sherry "Pawnuts" Brewer December 20, 2011 at 02:46 AM
Marie Atake's work and compassion for the welfare of homeless and helpless animals is endless. How do you thank someone for saving lives? You vote Marie Atake "Person of the Year."
Julie Hoff December 20, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Marie Atake, the founder of Forte Animal Rescue, is a selfless and devoted Angel, who has diligently worked to be the voice of thousands of helpless animals in need. Her tireless work is not only to save, but to help educate others on how to prevent the overpopulation of homeless animals. It is a wondrous thing when someone has the courage to not only start a non-profit rescue, but what sets her apart, is that she also strives to find the solution, so someday, hopefully, we won't have this epidemic problem. She is a hero in my eyes, and it is truly an honor to volunteer with her organization.
Ina December 20, 2011 at 04:33 AM
The passion with which David has worked is tremendous. Since 2006, David has spent countless hours researching, attending meetings, writing reports, doing outreach and developing strategy -- at the cost of his business, family and leisure time. David cares more about Marina del Rey as a renter than the homeowners that are directly affected by egregious projects such a 19 story hotel on Tahiti and Via Marina. We can thank David for preserving the picnic tables at Mother's Beach when they were threatended by a business hotel. Thank you David for all the you have accomplished and tried to accomplish! It isn't easy being David fighting the institutional Goliath with seemingly limitless resources.
Francine December 20, 2011 at 05:54 AM
Marie Atake has my vote. Her dedication to her rescue work has saved many wonderful dogs' lives. Because of Marie's tireless efforts, countless dogs have survived and have gone on to be placed in loving homes. Francine Melsler
Patsy Linda December 20, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Marie Atake has my vote as well. We lost our beloved Joey last year and was amazed to learn that Marie remembers all her rescues. She's quite the angel in my book.
Dorit Hahn December 20, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Marie Atake works tirelessly in her efforts to save abandoned dogs and educate the public about spay and neuter programs. She does not shy away from speaking out for the dogs while always remaining true to her ideals. Marie and her organization have inspired many young adults who were able to volunteer at Forte Animal Rescue through their Junior Volunteer program. Over 900 dogs have found loving homes through Forte Animal Rescue, and Marie has met and knows every single one of them by name. She is an amazing woman and a much needed role model in today's society.
Jan Book December 20, 2011 at 08:56 PM
I now understand why this "is not a scientific poll" when the voters can vote as many times as they want in support of their choice for the "Person of the Year".
Paul Chavez December 20, 2011 at 09:13 PM
I can tell from the number of unique visitors versus the poll numbers if people are stuffing the ballot. Also, comments are being given a lot of weight.
Jan Book December 20, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Paul, thank you for responding.
Jason Charles Miller December 20, 2011 at 10:16 PM
Brigitte touched and inspired SO many lives in her too short life (including mine). At her memorial service, people spoke about how she changed their lives for over 3 hours. The line never seemed to shorten, any many of us never even had a chance to speak! She was one of those rare people that believed EVERYONE could succeed and flourish. Her killer has still never been found. - Jason M.
Marcia Hanscom December 20, 2011 at 11:08 PM
David Barish has organized and led a very important effort to keep our region in a livable condition -- and he respects all residents, human or otherwise, which counts a lot in my book. Wishing the Herons and Egrets could vote!
Yuri Lowenthal December 21, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Brigitte Burdine was a sweet soul and a supportive advocate of actors who was taken from us too soon, and whose death is still felt by many. Her killer was never brought to justice. In the quickly growing video game industry, she helped bring important business to Marina Del Rey and I hope that we can honor her in this way even though she won't be here to celebrate with us. Thank you.
melissa pope December 21, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Brigitte Burdine was and is still an amazing spirit. Her legacy still lives on and forever will. She was an amazing teacher and friend to everyone who she crossed paths with. She was an inspiration to all! Brigitte, you ARE my person of the year!!!
Kim Early December 21, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Brigitte was an amazing person,friend and sister. She always put others before herself. This year has been very difficult for my family especially my parents. She will be missed for the rest of our lives. It does help to know she was so well thought of. Thanks everyone who voted for her.
Dan Woren December 22, 2011 at 07:27 AM
Brigitte Burdine. A woman who shared her rare and selfless blend of kindness, compassion and encouragement with everyone she encountered. And that smile... You would be hard pressed to find a more deserving candidate for "Person of the Year" in Marina Del Rey....or anywhere else. Her light will always shine!
Clark Burdine December 22, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Briggitte Burdine was one of the most genuinely good people I have ever known. I do not recal her ever saying an unkind thing about anyone, even if a person had wronged her in some manner, she was quick to forgive and forget any offense and to embrase anyone. She was always a peacemaker. To meet her was to have an instant and life-long friend. Her warm smile in greeting friend or stranger was exceeded only buy the warmer hug that generally accompanied it. She was a selfless soul; always placeing the needs of others above her own. She was kind and giving of her time to the elderly, to animals, to children and to anyone in need. She was an asset to the community and to her chosen industry that she loved and help to expand. Her work with children was extraordinary and showed her love and patience for others. Even a year after her untimely death she has had a great impact on the area by inspiring efforts to increase safety measures for pedestrians along highways. Such an accolade as this is not something she would have sought in life; always wanting to see others honored instead, but would be a fitting honor for someone who had such an impact for good in a world so often lacking such qualities as those she exemplified in life.
Joni Kimbrell December 24, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Marie Atake founded Forte Animal Rescue, a 100% volunteer dependent organization, and has dedicated herself to finding loving homes for homeless dogs. She does not turn away from special needs dogs and works every day to save as may lives as possible. She puts the welfare of the dogs before herself and participates whenever possible bring awareness to huge problem of pet overpopulation. She enriched the lives of many people who have adopted dogs she has been able to save. Many of these dogs would never have had the opportunity for life in a loving home without Marie Atake and Forte Animal Rescue.


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