Ex-congressman Steve Horn dies at 79

DOWNEY - Former Congressman Steve Horn, the Republican politician who played a pivotal role in helping the city of Downey acquire the sprawling former NASA property that would become home to Downey Studios and the Downey Landing shopping center, died at his home last Thursday of complications from Alzheimer's disease.He was 79. Funeral services will be private, family members said. A memorial will be held at a later date. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nini Moore Horn; their two children, Marcia Horn and Steve Horn, Jr.; and one grandson, Jonathan Horn. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to the University Library, California State University, Long Beach, c/o CSULB Foundation, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840. Horn was former president of Cal State Long Beach. "Congressman Steve and Nini Horn were a huge inspiration to me and I'm sure many others. The representation that our cities received was second to none," former Downey mayor Kirk Cartozian said in a comment on The Downey Patriot's website. "As an independent, I found it refreshing while working as an intern for Congressman Horn in Washington D.C. because half of our complaints were from Republicans who felt he wasn't doing enough to 'toe the party line.' I would say half of his loyal supporters were actually blue-blooded Dems. "The reason why I mentioned partisanship is to elucidate how Congressman Horn did things," Cartozian continued. "He voted based upon what he felt was right for people and, specifically, for the 38th District. Ironically, it was this former district which no longer exists because the Congressman was unwilling to accept outside help (i.e. $$$) from the Republican Party. They were looking to stregthen this seat held by, quite possible, the only person who could have continued to get re-elected in a 60/40 Democratic district. Eventually, after the 2000 Census, the two parties compromised our 38th District in favor of each's interests to secure greater re-electability in newly created districts. He was forced into retirement in 2003 and never once complained about it." Horn represented the 38th District from 1993 to 2003. He represented the most Democratic district in California (and one of the most Democratic in the country) to elect a Republican. He chaired (1995-2002) the Subcommittee on Government Management of the Committee on Government Reform and led a major effort to improve the management and financial practices of the federal government that saved billions of taxpayer dollars. Known for his bipartisan approach to issues, he focused on balancing the budget, reforming campaign finance, and increasing funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences. He created and led the bipartisan coalitions in Congress that secured funding for the C-17 Airlift program, the Alameda Corridor, the Los Angeles River flood control project, and major projects at CSULB and other educational institutions. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34), who represents Downey which used to be part of the 38th Congressional District before redistricting, issued the following statement after Horn's death: "I extend my condolences to the family of Congressman Steve Horn. He was a dedicated public servant, and I was honored to serve with him as part of the Los Angeles Congressional Delegation. Congressman Horn was respected and admired on both sides of the aisle for his willingness to work in a bipartisan manner on behalf of his constituents. As an elected official and as a distinguished college president, his legacy will live on for many years to come through the thousands of lives he touched for the better through his leadership and advocacy." Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said he was "saddened" to hear of Horn's passing. "Congressman Horn was a special man, and a special friend. I had the pleasure of working with Steve on many projects throughout Los Angeles County and was witness to his enthusiastic diligence for public service," Knabe said. "Whether he was serving his constituents in Washington DC as a Congressman, or serving his students at California State University, Long Beach as president, Steve was dedicated, passionate and selfless. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nini and his family during this difficult time." Horn was president of California State University, Long Beach from 1970 to 1988, a time of tremendous growth for the university. He strengthened existing academic programs, reformed the General Education requirements, and created innovative programs including the student internship program, faculty development, student learning assistance, the senior citizen program, the Disabled Student Resources Center, and the Honors program. His fellow college presidents recognized his leadership by electing him Chairman of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 1985, and he was cited as one of the 100 most effective college presidents in the country in a 1986 national study. Among the buildings Horn established were Social Science/Public Affairs, Student Services Administration, Engineering/Computer Science, Business, Industrial Technology, Microbiology, Music, the International Houses, and the Parkside Residence Halls. For his efforts in helping Downey secure the former NASA property, the city named a street - Steve Horn Way - in his honor. Horn was also active in the community. Among many positions, he chaired a regional United Way campaign, was a Founding Member and Secretary of the Long Beach Economic Development Corporation and the Long Beach Economic Development Commission (the two groups that began the economic renaissance of Long Beach in the 1970s), Vice Chair of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Member of the Mayor's Task Force to save the Long Beach Symphony. Horn was married for 57 years to Nini Moore Horn. They have two children, Marcia Horn and Steve Horn, Jr., and one grandson, Jonathan Horn. In May 2003, CSULB honored both Horns for their long service to the campus with the naming of the Steve and Nini Horn Center. Horn was born on May 31, 1931 and raised in San Juan Bautista, California. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in 1953, his Master of Public Administration from Harvard in 1955, and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1958.

********** Published: February 24, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 45