[PEOPLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD] Julie Stromberg: Agent for Change
If one were to put together a list of the most dynamic community activists in the Greater Wilshire area, Julie Stromberg would surely be on it.
Stromberg is on the board of several organizations that serve the immediate community, such as the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council (GWNC), the Ebell of Los Angeles and the Windsor Village Assoc., as well those that have a wider reach such as the Los Angeles City College Foundation, the Miracle Mile Democratic Club and the Women Lawyers Assoc. of Los Angeles. She is also an attorney at Obagi Law Group focusing on business litigation.
“I’m really good at multi-tasking and just finding time to do things,” she said. “And I probably don’t sleep as much as I should.”
Born in Montreal, Stromberg moved to South Orange County in her teens when her father’s job transferred him to the area. She went on to study English and Philosophy at Berkeley, but returned to Southern California after she graduated in 2001 to tend to her mother who had breast cancer.
She enrolled at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where she met her husband Winston Stromberg, who is also a lawyer.
The two moved from just south of Sycamore Square to Windsor Village in 2011 where they currently live with their two sons, Julien, 4, and Leo, 1.
Although Stromberg already had a history of working for causes that were important to her, such as the environment and animal rescue, she didn’t consider political office until 2012 when she became the chair of the Friends of Harold A. Henry Park.
“I was never a political person,” said Stromberg. “I’m very cause-oriented and I kind of stood away from politics until I chaired the park committee. And then other people were telling me, ‘You really should go into politics….’’’ said Stromberg. “So I thought, wow, people are really believing in me and they want me to do something.”
In late 2014, she was accepted into the inaugural class of Emerge California, an organization that trains and encourages Democratic women to run for office.
“I definitely have a good foundation after that experience,” said Stromberg. “And also a lot of inspiration.”
Recently, Stromberg ran as a member of the progressive Democratic Grassroots Slate to become a delegate for Assembly District 50, a district that roughly stretches from Malibu to the Greater Wilshire area.
With voting booths in Santa Monica and 1 ½ hour waiting times for the larger than expected turnout, the odds were not in Stromberg’s favor. She lost by six votes, but said she was pleased to be named an alternate.
A similar call for engagement can be seen in Stromberg’s work with the GWNC, where, she said, her goal is to involve more people in the organization.
Her strategy has been to pinpoint an issue that impacts many and organize a program to bring all together.
For example, last September, Stromberg organized a town hall meeting to discuss traffic issues on Highland Ave.
“It was a very hot [issue and] people didn’t know who to go to,” said Stromberg. “So I thought, okay, I’m going to get everybody who can do anything about this in one room and we’re going to talk.”
The town hall was well attended and featured panelists, including Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu and representatives from the Los Angeles Police Dept. and the Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation.
That night, pledges were made by some of the panelists to study the issue and, according to Stromberg, the results of those studies are expected in coming weeks.
As the first member in her family to go to college, Stromberg said education is a major issue for her. Through her work at Los Angeles City College, she has been involved in offering scholarships and working to solve the high attrition rate for student veterans.
“I’m on a committee to create the first-ever housing for student veterans on a community college campus in the nation,” said Stromberg. “They need the help and especially in this day and age, when education is becoming a privilege instead of a right, we need to really pull together and have a support system in place.”
Those who have worked with Stromberg have been impressed.
Ilissa Gold, president of the Miracle Mile Democratic Club, said Stromberg came to the organization in 2015 looking for ways to become involved.
“She has been such an asset to our club and our party…keeping us informed on issues facing the Greater Wilshire area and being such a strong advocate for women and working families,” said Gold. “She is a consummate public servant, devoted to her city and neighborhood, and we are lucky to have her as one of our leaders.”
Bill Funderburk, La Brea Hancock Homeowners Assoc. board member and co-founder—along with local Barbara Savage—of the GWNC Sustainability Committee with Stromberg is also a fan.
“Julie’s a big environmental and equity advocate and has tried to build bridges with all parts of the city with the leadership positions she’s held,” Funderburk wrote to his neighbors when encouraging them to vote for her in the delegate election. “She’s part of the next generation that will protect gains made on climate, gender equity and other important issues.”