LET’S DISCUSS

Editor’s note: We believe debating the issues relevant to our city helps foster an informed and engaged community, and that’s why we invite you to submit guest commentaries to editor@wehoville.com. Selected pieces will run below. Opinions, commentary and other essays posted in “Let’s Discuss” are wholly the view of the author. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of WEHOville.com.

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.

Opinion: Access to Affordable Healthcare is a Right, Not a Privilege

Opinion: Access to Affordable Healthcare is a Right, Not a Privilege

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 10 Comments

Like many people in the City of West Hollywood, I read the morning news each day, stunned by the headlines out of Washington D.C. I shake my head in disbelief when I hear the President talk about healthcare.

Here are my questions to the President and his party:

— Why wouldn’t you want all Americans to have access to healthcare?
— Don’t you want the best for the people you’re representing?
— Don’t you want children to be born healthy and seniors to be well enough to age in place?
— Don’t you want to do not only “the right thing,” but also what’s most cost-efficient?

We’ve recently seen Congress take steps to roll back healthcare through its budget reconciliation process and one of the first executive actions taken by the President during his first days in office served to codify his intent to dismantle…

Opinion: ‘Alternative Facts’ Surface in the Debate Over the 8150 Sunset Project

Opinion: ‘Alternative Facts’ Surface in the Debate Over the 8150 Sunset Project

Mon, Feb 13, 2017 13 Comments

Is Donald Trump the investor behind the controversial project at 8150 Sunset Blvd.? Do “alternative facts” matter?

Some opponents of project have launched a vicious campaign against its developers, Townscape Partners, and three West Hollywood City Council members that they have labeled the “Townscape Three” and who they say are backing the 8150 Sunset project.

The assertion that Trump is backing the enormous multi-use project was raised again by a speaker during the public comment period at last week’s West Hollywood City Council meeting. The attacks on WeHo City Council members John Duran, John Heilman and Lindsey Horvath — the so-called “Townscape Three” — have been made in a flurry of emails over the past few months from someone who identifies himself as Michael Grace. Grace has not responded to emails from WEHOville to…

Opinion: Exactly Why is WeHo City Councilmember John D’Amico Endorsing Incumbents Duran and Heilman?

Opinion: Exactly Why is WeHo City Councilmember John D’Amico Endorsing Incumbents Duran and Heilman?

Thu, Feb 09, 2017 27 Comments

I empathize with those who are a bit dazed and confused by West Hollywood City Councilmember John D’Amico’s endorsements of incumbents John Heilman and John Duran, which seems to have blindsided many voters and observers.

I’m not implying that the council member doesn’t have a right to support and endorse whomever he chooses, but I think his own early and long time supporters have a right to feel at least a little bit betrayed by these endorsements, which suddenly dropped like a water balloon out of nowhere.

I also don’t mean to imply that all council members should not work together as a team. Of course they should. But I think it’s healthier for the process to have five council members with minds of their own, who constructively disagree but are willing to compromise and find common ground to accomplish a common purpose. If…

Opinion: WeHo’s Proclamation as a Sanctuary City Puts Politics Ahead of Public Safety

Opinion: WeHo’s Proclamation as a Sanctuary City Puts Politics Ahead of Public Safety

Mon, Feb 06, 2017 21 Comments

Jake Lee says that the issue that he and many other in West Hollywood have is that city officials believe that they have the right to speak on behalf of all of WeHo’s , and that is simply incorrect and in fact dangerous.

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…

Opinion: Sanctuary, a WeHo Tradition, Under Siege

Opinion: Sanctuary, a WeHo Tradition, Under Siege

Sat, Jan 28, 2017 4 Comments

Once a hallowed concept, even in the Dark Ages of Europe, when a fugitive could enter a church and ask for asylum and not be given up to the authorities, is now under siege by our new president and his band of “advisers”.

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California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Address New Lane Splitting Law

California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Address New Lane Splitting Law

Fri, Nov 18, 2016 4 Comments

While it’s been practiced and accepted by law enforcement agencies in California for decades, lane splitting has never officially been declared legal or illegal. The controversial and highly debated practice was officially legalized on August 19, 2016, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 51 into law. Many motorcyclists insist lane splitting is safe, […]

Slogging Toward Midnight, WeHo City Council Discusses the Length of Its Meetings

Slogging Toward Midnight, WeHo City Council Discusses the Length of Its Meetings

Tue, Jan 24, 2017 6 Comments

As another of its notoriously long meetings approached midnight, the West Hollywood City Council yesterday decided not to endorse a proposal by Mayor Lauren Meister to take steps to shorten them.

The council members did, however, acknowledge that meetings have become exceptionally long and that they should act to end them earlier and allow more comments from residents who attend those meetings.

Councilmember John d’Amico noted that the council had cancelled one of its two monthly meetings in every month since August, sometimes because they were scheduled on a holiday and sometimes because one or another council member could not be present. The council traditionally meets on the first and third Mondays of each month, beginning with a closed session at 6 p.m. and open to the public at 6:30 p.m. Going forward, D’Amico said, the…

Opinion: Let’s Laugh As We Head Past Jan. 20, 2017

Opinion: Let’s Laugh As We Head Past Jan. 20, 2017

Sun, Jan 22, 2017 4 Comments

I have been taking some time to assess and decide on an appropriate response to the presence of our new president-to-be, paying attention to the confused attempts that the media are having in being able to communicate a narrative that is coherent and effective. So far I have not seen one. But I have finally come to the realization, for myself, that as always, only the truth is appropriate and effective. And I believe the truth here is that our next president is, after all is said, little more than a decidedly pompous buffoon.

He is a laughing stock. It is my only way to appraise him. And I believe the only effective way to approach and respond to him is by acknowledging him as the laughing stock that he is, and that he will represent for this country.

He can accuse and he can threaten, but he is a coward. He can make declarations…

Opinion: Public Safety and Transportation Commissions Need to Work Together Over Pedestrian Safety

Opinion: Public Safety and Transportation Commissions Need to Work Together Over Pedestrian Safety

Tue, Jan 17, 2017 13 Comments

Meetings of the city’s various boards and commissions are open to the public and fun to attend. These boards and commissions are a liaison between the public and the West Hollywood City Council. At a grass roots level your voice can be heard at any of 15 different boards and commissions, which are as varied as the Human Services Commission and the Russian Advisory Board.

But I’ve learned that those boards and commissions don’t always work the way they are supposed to. For example, I’ve gone to the Public Safety Commission to express concerns over pedestrian safety for years and years dating back to 2009. (More people have been killed on one stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and La Cienega than all other streets in the city combined.)

In 2012 after two more deaths along Santa Monica Boulevard, I went to the…

Opinion: What Is the Identity of the Eastside of West Hollywood?

Opinion: What Is the Identity of the Eastside of West Hollywood?

Mon, Jan 16, 2017 13 Comments

If you are like me, in the last several years you have driven around Los Angeles and noticed these single-lot buildings being bought up and torn down, and these tall, eyesore boxes going up to replace them. They are blanketing L.A. with no real architectural design, nothing that speaks high-end originality or has a “wow […]

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: 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.

Opinion: It’s Time to Bury the Word ‘Homophobia’

Opinion: It’s Time to Bury the Word ‘Homophobia’

Mon, Dec 12, 2016 2 Comments

With the blood from the massacre in Orlando barely dry, let me strongly state that the word “homophobia” is wimpy, a misnomer, and needs to be retired. When it was introduced in 1969, the new word had a modicum of relevance. It quickly became the word to explain gay oppression, but no longer. Gay people are more awake now.

The word “phobia,” meaning “fear,” belongs to the lexicon of clinical psychology, not sociopolitical discourse regarding social privilege and societal change. The word “homophobia” trivializes and obfuscates what is really happening to gay people in the United States and globally now and historically. It says nothing about the source of a system that breeds gay and lesbian genocide.

I suggest “homophobia” be replaced by the words “the ideology of heterosexual supremacy,” a…

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