Here’s Some Background on West Hollywood’s New Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem

Fri, Apr 18, 2014   By Staff    5 Comments

The West Hollywood City Council on Monday will officially inaugurate John D’Amico as the city’s mayor and John Heilman as mayor pro tempore in a ceremony at Plummer Park. D’Amico will succeed Abbe Land, who will retain her seat as a council member. Heilman succeeds D’Amico in the pro tem role. The Council fills those positions from among its members once a year, with the position generally rotating so that everyone on the Council has an opportunity to serve.

The mayor runs the twice-monthly City Council meetings and his signature is required on certain city documents. The mayor pro tempore fills in when the mayor isn’t available. The day-to-day affairs of the city are managed by Paul Arevalo, the city manager.

While the position of mayor is without much formal power, it is an influential position in that the person holding it becomes the public face of West Hollywood. So who is the city’s titular leader and who is his ready substitute (and next in line for the position when the year ends)? We’ve extracted some background information about both of them from their official biographies:

JOHN D’AMICO

D’Amico was elected to the West Hollywood City Council for the first time in 2011. A resident of West Hollywood for over 20 years, he is former chair of the West Hollywood Planning Commission. As such, he was involved with developing goals and incentives for the green building ordinance, enhancing affordable housing incentives, creating higher design standards and participated in long-term city-wide planning efforts.

John D'Amico

John D’Amico

In the past 15 years, D’Amico has chaired the design review subcommittee of the West Hollywood Planning Commission and served as vice-chair of the Human Services Commission, a member of the Disabilities Advisory Board and the CES representative to the Eastside PAC. D’Amico served three years on the Los Angeles County HIV Health Services Commission and two years on the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV Prevention and Planning.

D’Amico holds two Master’s degrees, one in Architecture and Urban Planning and the other in Aesthetics and Politics. He has over 20 years experience with large scale project planning and development and management including work at UCLA, ABC, the Walt Disney Studios and the affordable housing developer of the Los Angeles Housing Partnership. In his position with the Los Angeles Housing Partnership, D’Amico was responsible for overseeing the renovation and construction of over 300 affordable housing units. D’Amico was the co-director of policy and planning at APLA and did planning and outreach work with Tierra Concepts.

In his current position as principal project manager for the UCLA Orthopedic Replacement Hospital, D’Amico’s responsibilities include managing the design and engineering professionals and construction management team, as well as serving as the liaison to the hospital management team for over 60,000 square feet of renovation, 330,000 square feet of new construction, and overseeing the design and installation of three city parks.

D’Amico met his husband Keith Rand in West Hollywood in 1992. They registered as domestic partners at West Hollywood City Hall and were married in August 2008. D’Amico was a renter on Genesee Avenue and Ozeta Terrace from 1991 to 1999 and currently lives with Rand and their two dogs, Cody and Dodger, in a home they own on Rugby Drive.

JOHN HEILMAN

After receiving a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University, Cleveland native John Heilman moved to Southern California to attend the University of Southern California Law School. He was an editor of the school’s Law Review and graduated in 1982. He currently teaches law at both Southwestern Law School and the University of Southern California Law School.

John Heilman

John Heilman

Heilman was active in the incorporation of the City of West Hollywood. He was elected to the first City Council in November 1984 and has served continuously on the City Council since that time. Heilman was chosen as the city’s second mayor in 1985. He also served as mayor in 1990, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2010.

Heilman was instrumental in the establishment of the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, a city-funded organization that develops affordable housing in West Hollywood. He also helped develop the city’s rent stabilization ordinance and inclusionary housing policy.

Heilman has been an active member of the National League of Cities. He has served on the board of both the National League of Cities and the California League of Cities. He is a past board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Local Government Commission. He is also the past president of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Local Officials Group and past co-chair of the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials.

Heilman helped create the city’s recycling program and Senior Advisory Council. He founded the city’s Russian Advisory Board in an attempt to integrate the city’s Russian-speaking residents into the city’s decision making process. Heilman received the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Award in 1990 in recognition of his leadership on the issue of AIDS. Heilman serves as the City Council’s liaison to the West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau. Heilman lives on La Cienega Boulevard.

The installation will take place at 6 p.m. Monday on Vista Lawn at Plummer Park.

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5 Comments

  1. Larry BlockFri, Apr 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

    And an all around great guy . Proud to be his appointee to the Disability Advisory Board. He encourages conversation, transparency and community service.

  2. Brian HamiltonFri, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:31 am

    John D’Amico is the best West Hollywood City Councilman we have seen in decades. D’Amico is knowledgeable, diplomatic, accessible and motivated by a genuine desire to carefully guide the City into the future. We are all very lucky he has chosen to serve the community. Congrats Mr Mayor!

  3. JESS K Registered VoterFri, Apr 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Sure wish we had permit parking on every residential street in WeHo!!! Fighting for parking spaces with the employees and customers of all the restaurants is a real challenge! You can bet that the streets where the council live all have permit parking!!!!

  4. Brian HamiltonFri, Apr 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Jess K: Here’s how to get permit parking on your street. Get started Monday!
    http://www.weho.org/city-hall/city-departments/public-works/parking-services/parking-permits/frequently-asked-questions
    Q: “Who decides what areas become permit parking?”
    A: Preferential Parking Districts are initiated at the request of residents who petition the City. If the petition represents a majority (51%) of the residential dwelling units on a street, a study of parking demand in the neighborhood is done. The results of the study are presented at Public Hearings before the Transportation Commission and the City Council, who ultimately approve the boundaries of the district.

  5. AlisonFri, Apr 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Brian Hamilton – thank you for leaving an answer that is actionable for the whiney comment left by JESS K that was totally off topic.

    I agree that John D’Amico is the best Councilperson we have seen in years. It is time to vote out all the rest when they come up for re-election. We need new blood on the Council.

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