George Wolfberg and his wife Diane

George Wolfberg and his wife, Diane Wolfberg

The Wizard of the Palisades

Potrero Canyon Park was brought into existence under the careful guidance and leadership of George S. Wolfberg. A renowned public servant and Pacific Palisades community volunteer, George devoted his life to the people and open spaces of Los Angeles. A native Angeleno, he treasured our City’s multi-cultural fabric and advocated for accessible parks, beaches, bike paths, and nature trails for all to enjoy. Whether you are involved in the community or are visiting the park and the region for the first time, George would have welcomed you as a stakeholder with his trademark smile.

In his professional life as a City of Los Angeles Chief Administrative Analyst, George safeguarded the public trust while ensuring City departments had the resources they needed. He worked in quiet ways leaving an enduring mark on the City’s legacy. In preparing the City’s successful bid for the 1984 Olympics, he added women’s Olympic cycling as a new Olympic event. He also wrote and enforced a contracting policy modeled throughout North America to see an end to Apartheid in South Africa. George guided the first new City Charter Commission process since 1925, including promoting public participation in City governance through the creation of the modern Neighborhood Council system.

As an avid swimmer, surfer, cyclist, hiker, volunteer, respected and nationally ranked AYSO soccer referee, and mentor for 40 years, he strove to protect the environment and improve our parks and other open spaces.

He served on local boards for over 40 years, including the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) and Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association. He worked to preserve the historic Eucalyptus Grove in Rustic Canyon, hand watering the trees weekly for several years. He received the PPCC Community Service Award in 2008, was Citizen of the Year in 2011, and was named Pride of the Palisades in 2019. Local volunteers called him "the Wizard" for what he was able to accomplish (and, in good humor, he and his wife Diane created a Wizard Halloween costume, seen below, which was used for several public events to get a laugh).


As Chair of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, George led a collaborative, community-driven effort using his wealth of experience throughout a process that spanned decades. His toolkit included active engagement, perseverance, a steady temperament, and a deep well of patience. He provided advice and guidance so that the park is serving the area residents to the fullest, as well as providing a destination for all Angelenos.

With dignity, boundless energy and enduring optimism, George embodied what any citizen and activist can achieve. He strove to leave everything he touched better than he found it. We invite you to do the same, and to enjoy your visit here at George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon.

George Sander Wolfberg, April 22, 1938 - February 5, 2020

Links to Further Information

- Palisades News, Park Naming, Palisades News, By Sam Catanzaro, January 26, 2021

- Obituary, Los Angeles Times

Obituary by Bill Bruns, Circling the News

Obituary, Palisades Post

Paperwork Helped Bury Apartheid, Los Angeles Times, by David Ferrell, 9/25/93

- Around the Nation: Spending on the Olympics Was Under Budget, September 10, 1984, New York Times