Election 2017: West Hollywood City Council

Ten candidates are running for two open seats on the West Hollywood City Council in an election that will be held on March 7. On this page we will post news about their campaigns and the candidates’ responses to questions raised by WEHOville readers about significant local issues on the Citizens Agenda. Earlier stories about the March 7 City Council election are also here.




Opinion: WeHo City Council Needs to Listen to Residents on Overdevelopment

Opinion: WeHo City Council Needs to Listen to Residents on Overdevelopment

Thu, Feb 23, 2017

I have been a resident of West Hollywood for 25 years and I am currently a candidate for West Hollywood City Council. But I am writing this article not as a candidate, but as a resident of our city for a quarter of a century.
If there is only one good thing that comes from this city election on March 7, other than my joining our City Council, I wish for it to be that our council LISTEN to our residents. There is, right now, a great disconnect between the council and the residents of the city they serve. And so I ask the council to pause and LISTEN to our neighbors.

Most commonly, over the last decade or so we see this great disconnect with regard to the discussion centered around overdevelopment.

I will give you the most recent example of just such disconnect. Last week I had the opportunity to meet with the architects,…

Blatt/Martin Advocacy  Committee Accused of Violating Campaign Reporting Law

Blatt/Martin Advocacy Committee Accused of Violating Campaign Reporting Law

Thu, Feb 23, 2017 3 Comments

A committee formed to support challengers Cynthia Blatt and Steve Martin and oppose incumbents John Duran and John Heilman in the March 7 WeHo City Council election has violated state and local election laws according to a complaint by local activist James Duke Mason.

The West Hollywood Money and Politics Committee (WeHoMAP) distributed mailers and created a website that don’t list who paid for them, which is required by state law, according to a letter from Mason’s lawyer that has been sent to West Hollywood’s City Clerk and the enforcement officer of the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

The mailers also do not note that they were “not authorized” by the candidates for whom they advocate. Under the law, independent expenditure committees are not supposed to coordinate their activities with the campaigns of the…

Not Registered to Vote? Do It Now! Deadline Is Tonight

Not Registered to Vote? Do It Now! Deadline Is Tonight

Tue, Feb 21, 2017

Election? What election? Yes, there’s another one. It is on March 7 to fill two seats on the West Hollywood City Council. And while we won’t be choosing a president, we will be choosing two of the five people who make decisions that in one way or another can affect everything from our rent to crosswalk safety to what we’ll have to pay the next time we forget to turn the wheels of our car when parking on a hill.

But today’s most important news is: You have to register now. Voter registration for the March 7 election closes at 11:59:59 PST tonight.

If you aren’t yet registered to vote (you can check here to see if you are), the fastest way at this late date is to register online.

To register to vote in California, you must be:

— A United States citizen,
— A resident of California,

As the WeHo Council Election Nears, the Fight Gets Intense (And a Bit Nasty)

As the WeHo Council Election Nears, the Fight Gets Intense (And a Bit Nasty)

Tue, Feb 21, 2017 11 Comments

With the West Hollywood City Council election only 16 days away, efforts to defeat the two incumbents are ramping up, with at least one of them taking a nasty turn.

The most prominent opposition is in the form of an independent expenditure committee named the West Hollywood Money and Politics Committee (WeHoMAP). It is supporting challengers Cynthia Blatt and Steve Martin and opposing incumbents John Duran and John Heilman.

One of WeHoMAP’s organizers is Scott Schmidt, the former campaign manager for Mayor Lauren Meister. While Meister has not endorsed anyone in the March 7 election, she has donated to the Blatt campaign. Blatt is known for her opposition to development in West Hollywood and has praised Meister for also opposing what she sees as overdevelopment in the city. Political insiders have identified Bill Resnick as a major…

Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to  WeHo’s Sidewalks

Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to WeHo’s Sidewalks

Mon, Feb 20, 2017 7 Comments

It can be annoying to watch your trash can overflow with those mailers touting candidates in the March 7 WeHo City Council election. Then there even more mailers about the L.A. County Unified School District election. With candidates portrayed as “the Billionaires’ Puppets,” a headline saying “FBI seizes LAUSD records related to troubled iPad program” and an anti-Steve Zimmer mailer titled “Making of a Scandal” that creepily alludes to the “Making of a Murderer” documentary, at least those are entertaining.

But now it’s not just your trash cans. Two battling billboard companies are stopping voters on West Hollywood’s sidewalks asking them to sign petitions. One petition, backed by Regency Outdoor, demands the City Council reconsider its Feb. 6 approval of the Ace Outdoor Advertising billboard at the Rainbow Room on Sunset Boulevard….

Citizens Agenda Week 7: How to Deal with Parking and Traffic in WeHo

Citizens Agenda Week 7: How to Deal with Parking and Traffic in WeHo

Mon, Feb 20, 2017 6 Comments

In this last of a series of questions, candidates in the March 7 election for WeHo City Council address residents’ concerns about parking and traffic.

Opinion: Money and the 2017 City Council Election

Opinion: Money and the 2017 City Council Election

Fri, Feb 17, 2017 4 Comments

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics…” said Tip O’Neill. Carleton Cronin says what we can do about that in WeHo.

Citizen’s Agenda Week 6: Should City Council Members Limit Donations from Developers and Vendors?

Citizen’s Agenda Week 6: Should City Council Members Limit Donations from Developers and Vendors?

Mon, Feb 13, 2017 7 Comments

Candidates for the two seats in the March 7 WeHo City Council election say how they would deal with perceived conflicts in campaign donations.

WeHo Chamber PAC Endorses Incumbents Duran and Heilman in March 7 City Council Race

WeHo Chamber PAC Endorses Incumbents Duran and Heilman in March 7 City Council Race

Thu, Feb 09, 2017 5 Comments

The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee (PAC) has endorsed incumbents John Duran and John Heilman in the March 7 WeHo City Council election.

The endorsements came after interviews by five PAC trustees of each of the ten candidates running for the two council seats. They were anticipated by political observers, given that most of the challengers are running campaigns against what they perceive as over-development in West Hollywood under the current city council.

“I would like to thank the members of the PAC committee for the time and effort they have dedicated to production of the candidate’s forum as well as the comprehensive candidate review process that has led up to these endorsements,” said Keith Kaplan, a real estate agent and chair of the chamber board, referring to a recent forum involving…

West Hollywood West Residents Group to Host ‘Meet and Greet’ with City Council Candidates

West Hollywood West Residents Group to Host ‘Meet and Greet’ with City Council Candidates

Wed, Feb 08, 2017 1 Comment

t least eight of the ten candidates in the March 7 West Hollywood City Council election will be attending a “meet and greet” hosted on Feb. 19 by the West Hollywood West Residents Association. The event is open only to West Hollywood West residents.

The event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at 8924 Dorrington Ave. There will be free ice cream and beverages. Those candidates who have confirmed that they will attend are: Cynthia Blatt, Michael Cautillo, Nate Clark, John Duran, Amanda Goodwin, John Heilman, Steve Martin, Reed Stillwell. Candidates Joel Quaresimo and Carla Romo have not confirmed that they will attend.

The 10 candidates, including incumbents Duran and Heilman, will run for two seats on the five-member council.

West Hollywood West Residents Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of homeowners and tenants…

Here’s How to Get Ready to Vote on March 7

Here’s How to Get Ready to Vote on March 7

Wed, Feb 08, 2017

If you haven’t registered to vote, there is still time.

The deadline for registering for the March 7 election is Feb. 21. On the ballot will be 10 candidates running for two seats on the West Hollywood City Council and a proposal (Measure H) to impose an additional sales tax across L.A. County to provide benefits to homeless people. Also on the ballot will be candidates for four seats on the L.A. County Community College board of trustees and one seat on the L.A. County school board.

The City of West Hollywood is taking steps to make registration easier with registration “pop-ups.” On this coming Monday, voters can register at the Helen Albert Farmer’s Market from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is located on the north end of Plummer Park at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd east of Vista. On Feb. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. residents can…

Incumbents Duran and Heilman Lead in Donations to WeHo City Council Election Campaigns

Incumbents Duran and Heilman Lead in Donations to WeHo City Council Election Campaigns

Tue, Feb 07, 2017 9 Comments

One third of all donations to candidates in the March 7 election for the West Hollywood City Council have come from real estate development interests according to an analysis by WEHOville.

Reports filed with the city clerk covering donations through Jan. 21 show a total of $267,218 has been donated to the candidates and to independent expenditure or political action committees supporting them.

Incumbent John Duran has raised the largest amount of money, with 46% of donations made directly to his campaign. Duran also will benefit from spending by Standing Up for West Hollywood, an independent expenditure committee (IEC) formed to support Duran and Councilmember John Heilman that has raised $36,500, 14% of overall contributions.

Coming in second is Heilman, who has received 22% of all donations, or $57,600. A separate political…

Sluggish WeHo City Council Race is Gaining Steam

Sluggish WeHo City Council Race is Gaining Steam

Tue, Feb 07, 2017 12 Comments

Campaigning for the WeHo City Council has been sluggish according to some who have followed the oft-contentious elections over the years.

However the campaign is gaining steam as mailboxes in recent days have been flooded with flyers promoting John Heilman, one of two incumbents in the race. Signs backing Heilman also are popping up around the city. Incumbent John Duran also has begun to push signs out. Residents have observed only a few promoting challenger Steve Martin and no signs or flyers to date for the other seven challengers in the race.

The once sluggish campaign also has begun to generate verbal and social media slugs (not, so far, any that are physical). That was evident at last night’s city council meeting.

One speaker, who identified himself as Brian Hamilton, stepped up to the podium last night to denounce John…

Citizens Agenda Week 5: How Can the City Make WeHo a More Affordable Place to Live?

Citizens Agenda Week 5: How Can the City Make WeHo a More Affordable Place to Live?

Mon, Feb 06, 2017 6 Comments

Earlier this month WEHOville asked West Hollywood residents what issues they wanted candidates in the March 7 City Council election to address. We received hundreds of responses and boiled them down to 11 key issues. We have asked each of the ten candidates in the election to offer his or her positions on these issues. On each Monday over the next few weeks we will publish one or two of the questions and the candidates’ responses.

8) West Hollywood was founded by advocates for rent control who wanted to preserve the city as an affordable place to live. State law has gutted some of the protections provided by city law, and West Hollywood now is an expensive place in which to rent or own. Now, what can the city do to make West Hollywood a more affordable place to live for everyone, and specifically for the young, the disabled and…

Citizens Agenda Week 4: Should WeHo Curb More Development?

Citizens Agenda Week 4: Should WeHo Curb More Development?

Mon, Jan 30, 2017 12 Comments

Candidates in WeHo’s March 7 City Council election discuss whether the city has too much development and how it should be regulated.

Opinion: I Use Digital Media to Bridge the WeHo Voter Gap

Opinion: I Use Digital Media to Bridge the WeHo Voter Gap

Mon, Jan 30, 2017 7 Comments

Has communication between West Hollywood residents and their local politicians changed? Digital media has been rapidly growing as a form of communication with the modern-day citizen. Most of us have even experienced politics and digital media first hand. Along with many others I cried as I watched President Obama’s farewell speech on Facebook live. I attended the Women’s March, now known as the world’s largest protest organized through social media. I was introduced to Bernie Sanders through a Facebook video, which contributed to the increase of his millennial vote, ultimately giving him a 29% lead of voters under 30 years old.

We must face the fact that traditional politics is shifting; how we connect with WeHo citizens is, naturally, part of this result. This method of communication has proven to be effective on a national…

WeHo Councilmember John D’Amico Endorses Incumbents Duran and Heilman for March 7 Election

WeHo Councilmember John D’Amico Endorses Incumbents Duran and Heilman for March 7 Election

Wed, Jan 25, 2017 30 Comments

In the first major endorsement of candidates in the March 7 West Hollywood City Council election, City Councilmember John D’Amico has given his support to incumbents John Duran and John Heilman.

“I have a history of endorsing outsiders,” D’Amico said, “and yet I have been thoughtful in considering this election, and I decided to endorse John and John.”

“I just see that John Duran’s eloquence and speaking up for people and keeping alive the history of our people and what matters to them is unmatched,” D’Amico said. “John Heilman’s deep history with elected and appointed officials across the city at all levels of government is unparallelled.”

D’Amico said that given the turmoil in the country with the election of Donald Trump as president, it is especially important to have elected officials with Duran’s and Heilman’s sense of…

Citizens Agenda Week 3: Should It Be Easier to Attend and Participate in Council Meetings

Citizens Agenda Week 3: Should It Be Easier to Attend and Participate in Council Meetings

Mon, Jan 23, 2017 2 Comments

Earlier this month WEHOville asked West Hollywood residents what issues they wanted candidates in the March 7 City Council election to address. We received hundreds of responses and boiled them down to 11 key issues. We have asked each of the ten candidates in the election to offer his or her positions on these issues. On each Monday over the next few weeks we will publish one or two of the questions and the candidates’ responses.

6) Some residents are concerned that the WeHo City Council has made its meetings difficult to attend and participate in. For example, since August, the council has reduced its twice-monthly public meetings to once a month, which results in a much longer agenda for each meeting. Also, council members continue old practices such as calling out the names of members of military from across the country who have…

Shunning the Forum, One WeHo Council Candidate Took to Facebook Live

Shunning the Forum, One WeHo Council Candidate Took to Facebook Live

Fri, Jan 20, 2017 11 Comments

You missed Carla Romo at Wednesday night’s city council election forum? You should have checked Facebook!

Romo, the only one of 10 candidates for two seats on the council who didn’t appear at the debate, took to social media instead. Her Facebook live broadcast appeared at the same time as the election forum, with Romo answering questions posed to the forum participants and also taking questions from people on Facebook.

Romo’s Facebook live broadcast garnered 33 “likes” and 805 views, two measures of its reach.

WeHo City Council Candidates Offer Their Opinions at Public Forum

WeHo City Council Candidates Offer Their Opinions at Public Forum

Thu, Jan 19, 2017 15 Comments

Allotted only 45 seconds each, the nine candidates participating presented quick summaries of their views on various issues such as overdevelopment, homelessness and historic preservation.

Citizens Agenda Week 2: The Size of City Events, Restoring the Council Deputy System and Entitlements for Developers

Citizens Agenda Week 2: The Size of City Events, Restoring the Council Deputy System and Entitlements for Developers

Mon, Jan 16, 2017 3 Comments

Candidates in the March 7 WeHo City Council election address three questions you raised in the WEHOville Citizens Agenda survey.

Citizens Agenda Week 1: WeHo City Council Candidates on Whether Experience Matters (and  Donald Trump)

Citizens Agenda Week 1: WeHo City Council Candidates on Whether Experience Matters (and Donald Trump)

Mon, Jan 09, 2017 6 Comments

Earlier this month WEHOville asked West Hollywood residents what issues they wanted candidates in the March 7 City Council election to address. We received hundreds of responses and boiled them down to 11 key issues. We have asked each of the ten candidates in the March 7 City Council election to offer his or her positions on these issues. On each Monday over the next few weeks we will publish one or two of the questions and the candidates’ responses.

1) If you haven’t participated in civic life or taken public positions on major city issues in the last few years, why should we believe you’re willing to devote the time required to adequately represent us on the city council? And why should we believe you have the background and knowledge of local issues necessary to make important city decisions?

CYNTHIA BLATT

I have been…

WeHo Chamber and L.A. League of Women Voters to Co-Host City Council Election Forum

WeHo Chamber and L.A. League of Women Voters to Co-Host City Council Election Forum

Fri, Jan 06, 2017

The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the L.A. League of Women Voters are sponsoring a forum among candidates for the March 7 WeHo City Council election.

The forum will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Place. It will be moderated by Robert Kovacik of NBC4 Southern California. All 10 candidates have been invited to participate.

The forum is open to the public. It can be viewed on the city’s WeHoTV cable and web channels. WeHoTV is available to Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) customers within West Hollywood on channel 10. AT&T U-verse customers across Southern California can access WeHoTV on channel 99. The forum will also be available for live streaming and on-demand replay on the City’s website www.weho.org/wehotv and on WeHoTV’s YouTube Channel at…

The 2017 Citizens Agenda: Questions from WeHo Residents for City Council Candidates

The 2017 Citizens Agenda: Questions from WeHo Residents for City Council Candidates

Mon, Jan 02, 2017 7 Comments

Here is a list of questions residents of West Hollywood want candidates in the March City Council election to address.

Opinion: Should We Restore the WeHo City Council Deputy System?

Opinion: Should We Restore the WeHo City Council Deputy System?

Mon, Jan 02, 2017 20 Comments

t has been eighteen months since the West Hollywood City Council voted to eliminate the five council deputies. The decision to dismantle the council deputy program that had existed since the founding of the city was rushed, made during a period of what can most charitably described as a highly charged period of political stress. But over the last several months I have heard more people questioning the wisdom of that vote and asking if the residents of West Hollywood have been well served by that decision.

At the time, eliminating the deputies seemed like a solution to the ongoing dysfunction on the third floor of City Hall. People were shocked by the deputies’ salaries, which had escalated in recent years and seemed excessive. While I made a rather lonely public argument that the council should not make a decision in haste,…

Opinion: Previous Experience Is Not What It Takes to Serve on the City Council

Opinion: Previous Experience Is Not What It Takes to Serve on the City Council

Wed, Dec 28, 2016 37 Comments

WeHo City Council candidate Amanda Goodwin says overdevelopment is the issue, not whether candidates have previous experience on the council.

The Citizens’ Agenda 2017: The Issues WeHo Residents Want City Council Candidates to Address

The Citizens’ Agenda 2017: The Issues WeHo Residents Want City Council Candidates to Address

Mon, Dec 26, 2016 40 Comments

Ten candidates will be on the ballot for the March 7 West Hollywood City Council election. One incumbent has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the race and the other already has held at least fundraising event.

So now it’s time for West Hollywood residents (rather than campaign consultants and major donors) to begin setting the agenda for the 2017 race.

As in 2015, WEHOville wants to know what questions you think candidates for the two seats on the City Council should address in their campaigns. What matters to you? What matters to the future of our city?

Please email me at Henry@WEHOville.com with your ideas about what the candidates should be addressing if they want to get your vote. (Next Monday, Jan. 2, we’ll post on WEHOville a list of the most frequently mentioned issues and will begin soliciting responses from…

Opinion: In WeHo’s 2017 City Council Election, Experience Counts

Opinion: In WeHo’s 2017 City Council Election, Experience Counts

Thu, Dec 15, 2016 39 Comments

Larry Block argues that experience is needed to be a viable City Council candidate.

Final Tally:  10 Candidates for 2 Seats on the WeHo City Council in March

Final Tally: 10 Candidates for 2 Seats on the WeHo City Council in March

Wed, Dec 14, 2016 13 Comments

Ten candidates will be in the run in the March 7 election to fill two seats on the West Hollywood City Council. The final list was released today by the city clerk.

The candidates include incumbents John Duran and John Heilman, both long-time members of the Council, with Heilman having served since 1984 and Duran since 2001. Their best-known challengers are Steve Martin, an attorney and former council member who failed in his 2003 bid for re-election, and Cynthia Blatt, an employee of the federal Housing and Urban Development Department who has actively campaigned against new housing development in West Hollywood. Larry Block, owner of the Block Party apparel store and a civic activist, was widely expected to be a candidate in the March election. Block decided late last week not to run and said he is supporting Heilman and deciding…

WeHo Municipal Elections Will Move to November in 2020

WeHo Municipal Elections Will Move to November in 2020

Tue, Nov 29, 2016 5 Comments

It’s official. The City of West Hollywood will move its municipal election date from March of odd years to November of even years beginning November 2020.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors endorsed the move at its meeting on Nov. 15. The move means WeHo elections will coincide with state and national elections, which have much higher voter turnouts than do those focused solely on West Hollywood. Those elections take place on the first Monday of November in even years.

The change is mandated by a state law that requires cities and counties with a low voter turnout to reschedule their elections to coincide with general elections, where the turnout usually is higher. A memo prepared by City Clerk Yvonne Quarker in August showed that the average turnout of West Hollywood voters for statewide elections for the last four years has…

WeHo’s March City Council Race Likely to Be Crowded

WeHo’s March City Council Race Likely to Be Crowded

Mon, Nov 28, 2016 3 Comments

The race for two seats on the West Hollywood City Council is likely to be exceptionally crowded, with 14 people already having formally expressed their interest in running.

Those people have to collect the signatures of at least 20 registered WeHo voters to actually be put on the ballot. The registration process ends on Dec. 9.

The latest to have “pulled papers” from the City Clerk’s office include incumbent John Duran and Steve Martin. Martin, like Duran, is a lawyer. He served on the WeHo City Council from 1994 to 2003, losing in his re-election bid to Abbe Land. Larry Block, another well-known activist, also has begun the registration process.

Less well-known are Scott Cook, Carla Romo and Francesca Jacobs. Cook is a real estate agent currently working with Architecture 8, a firm in Beverly Hills. Jacobs identifies herself as…

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