Jackie Raymond died recently. In her heyday, Jackie Raymond was involved in anything and everything that moved in Brentwood.
Like a lioness protecting her cubs, she was particularly tenacious in her love of and protection for South Brentwood. She ran the South Brentwood Residents Association (SBRA) for years.
She rose to particular prominence in the immediate aftermath of the Nicole Brown Simpson/Ron Goldman murders, which took place in South Brentwood in June of 1994 on Bundy Drive.
Suddenly, South Brentwood (and Rockingham, where O.J. lived) were destinations for “lookey-loos” from all around the world.
For days, weeks, and months, streams of cars and pedestrians rolled by the site of the murder – and by O.J.’s house, north of Sunset, on Rockingham. Air travelers who had a few hours to kill at LAX hailed taxis and said, “Take me to the murder scene.”
Brentwood was national news, and many didn’t like it – especially Jackie. There was a feeling that Brentwood was now under siege, and she was quick to call in the police whenever she thought the crowds were getting out of hand.
A big sign was erected in the front yard of a resident two doors from the scene of the murder.
I know from talking to Jackie that, like many, she thought O.J. did it. She displayed a righteous anger whenever his name was uttered. She chose, after a while, to simply never voice his name. She called him “M,” for murderer.
This made for some awkward conversations, but most knew what she was trying to do – to not give O.J. any recognition – or oxygen.
Jackie was one of the founding board members of the Brentwood Community Council in 1998. She represented South Brentwood, a mixed area of apartments, condos, and single-family residences.
The South Brentwood Residents Association has a tradition of putting on some outstanding annual meetings, with just the right speakers each time. This all got started under Jackie.
Prior to the formation of the Brentwood Community Council, Jackie was an active member of the Brentwood Federation, a forerunner to the BCC.
Jackie was everywhere, day and night. Jackie’s husband, Andy – who died just a few weeks before Jackie passed – did his best to keep up.
A Brentwood News front page celebrating Jackie Raymond and Brentwood Green.
Jackie was instrumental in starting Brentwood Green, which converted part of Brentwood Science Magnet School into a park, open on weekends to the public – for a while, anyway. During Covid, the park closed down. There are efforts underway to open it again.
When Jackie said “jump,” the only acceptable answer was, “How high?”
In addition to Jackie’s being a great community leader, she was fun and always ready to swap a little gossip. I smile when I think of her.
If one ever wonders if one person can ever truly make a difference, Jackie stands as “Exhibit A” in the “Hell, Yes!” column.