WEST HOLLYWOOD NEWS & POLITICS

WeHo Saw 16% Increase in Condo Prices in 4th Quarter of 2016

WeHo Saw 16% Increase in Condo Prices in 4th Quarter of 2016

Fri, Feb 24, 2017

West Hollywood saw a 15% decrease in condo sales and a 16% increase in condo prices in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to data from Multiple Listing Services Los Angeles (MLS).

The MLS report shows that 81 condos were sold at a median sales price of $725,000 in October through December last year. In the same period the year before, 95 were sold at a median price of $725,000. Median is the middle value in a list of prices of condos, not the average price, which is calculated by adding all of the prices and dividing that by the number of condos sold.

In terms of price increases, WeHo’s 16% puts it below 12 other areas. Prices in Ladera were up 38% according to the MLS report. Belair-Holmby Hills had an increase of 37%, and prices were up 30% in Silver Lake-Echo Park, 23% in Hancock Park and 17% in Westwood.

In terms of…

Iconic Sunset Tower Hotel Is On the Market

Iconic Sunset Tower Hotel Is On the Market

Fri, Feb 24, 2017 1 Comment

The Sunset Tower Hotel, one of Sunset Boulevard’s most iconic buildings, reportedly is on the market.

The New York Post yesterday reported that Jeff Klein and Elevated Returns, owners of the hotel, have engaged JLL, the Chicago-based real estate broker, to find a buyer and is asking $100 million for the property. WEHOville has learned that there are three offers for the property, one somewhat above $100 million, one near that mark and one somewhat below it.

The building opened in 1931 as an apartment hotel and was designed by Leland Bryant, a prolific architect who specialized in luxury apartments, and it is noted for its Streamline Moderne style. It has been described by Robert Winter and David Gebhard, authors of “An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles,” as being “as much an emblem of Hollywood as the Hollywood sign.” It was…

Dick Blons: Short in Stature But Large in Character

Dick Blons: Short in Stature But Large in Character

Thu, Feb 23, 2017 12 Comments

This will be a short appreciation for a man who was not large in stature, but was large in character. Dick Blons was an old-fashioned sort, with manners and the firm views of one who had a good start at home. He was full of the little homilies that are the props with which he expressed his thoughts about – well, everything. I can see him in his role as a school counselor, quiet yet commanding and at ease with the most troubled youth as he gave his carefully crafted assistance. Dick had a way about him that made everybody at ease and a quiet, happy view of the world. He was full of aphorisms with which he parried we who were more sour and fretful. That made him a friend to many in our community.

About 40 years ago Richard Blons and Michael Zannella became my neighbors across the street, having moving here from Manhattan. Dick…

Blatt/Martin Advocacy  Committee Accused of Violating Campaign Reporting Law

Blatt/Martin Advocacy Committee Accused of Violating Campaign Reporting Law

Thu, Feb 23, 2017 19 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…

United Against Trump, WeHo Council Differs on Wells Fargo

United Against Trump, WeHo Council Differs on Wells Fargo

Wed, Feb 22, 2017 18 Comments

The West Hollywood City Council is united in its opposition to Donald Trump. But it split last night in what to do about that and in what stand it wants to take, if any, on Wells Fargo’s investment in the controversial Dakota Pipeline.

After a somewhat contentious debate, the council agreed to ask city staffers to develop a list of businesses that Trump has a connection with and a policy for not doing business with Trump and his affiliated businesses. It also asked that city staff members develop standards of social consciousness for city vendors and business partners and use them to evaluate WeHo’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo.

Mayor Lauren Meister had proposed that the City of West Hollywood not have any dealings with businesses providing financial support or other benefits to Trump. That would include “any financial…

Debate on Educating About Pot Gets Hot at WeHo City Council

Debate on Educating About Pot Gets Hot at WeHo City Council

Wed, Feb 22, 2017 11 Comments

A proposal to fund an effort to educate people about the possible danger of marijuana to children and pets turned into a heated debate at last night’s City Council meeting.

In her proposal, Mayor Lauren Meister noted that the city was a supporter of Proposition 64, which was approved by voters in November and will let people grow and possess marijuana for personal use.

“There are many benefits to legalizing marijuana, including eliminating the black market associated with its use, alleviating pressure on courts for marijuana-related offenses, and providing local governments with the ability to regulate and tax marijuana-related activities,” Meister’s proposal said. “However, marijuana intake can be dangerous for children and pets. The proposed education campaign is intended to inform the public of these potential dangers and remind…

WeHo City Council Looks for New Locations for LA Pride Festival

WeHo City Council Looks for New Locations for LA Pride Festival

Wed, Feb 22, 2017 7 Comments

The City Council last night instructed city staffers to explore the possibility of further subsidizing the financially troubled Christopher Street West (CSW) and guaranteeing CSW access to city streets and West Hollywood Park for its annual L.A. Pride events through 2019.

It also asked city staffers to take steps to keep the Pride festival off Melrose Avenue by negotiating with the Pacific Design Center (PDC) and the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to see if CSW could use their properties for festival events. As much as 55% of the West Hollywood Park area typically used for the festival will be closed during its redevelopment. Metro owns the bus depot property on Santa Monica Boulevard near San Vicente and the PDC has a large plaza on San Vicente Boulevard.

Mayor Lauren Meister expressed concern about…

WeHo Saw $6,620 in Vehicle Burglaries Last Week

WeHo Saw $6,620 in Vehicle Burglaries Last Week

Tue, Feb 21, 2017

Below is the weekly crime report from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station that calls out incidents in WeHo from Feb. 13 to 19. The list also includes each case number.

Feb. 13

Aggravated Assault – Other Weapon (Suspect Arrested). 8400 block Sunset Boulevard at 11:30 p.m. A women was hit in the back of the head by a rock thrown by a male transient. Deputies responded, located and arrested the suspect. #00817

Grand Theft. 9000 block Elevado Avenue between 10 p.m. and 9:15 a.m. An unknown suspect removed a jacket from a vehicle parked in an unlocked vehicle storage area and both vehicle headlights. Loss $2,400. #00822

Vehicle Burglary. 9000 block Santa Monica Boulevard between 7:40 p.m. and 9:50 a.m. An unknown suspect smashed the rear passenger’s side window and removed a bag containing a laptop and checks from underneath…

Former WeHo Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads No Contest in Off-Duty Killing

Former WeHo Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads No Contest in Off-Duty Killing

Tue, Feb 21, 2017

A former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleaded no contest today to second-degree murder for the off-duty shooting death of his son’s neighbor in Sylmar nearly five years ago.

Francisco Gamez Jr., 45, was immediately sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison following his plea to second-degree murder for the June 17, 2012, killing of Armando Casillas, and the attempted murder of a second man who escaped injury, according to Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon.

Gamez had been set to go on trial March 1 in connection with the killing. Gamez confronted Casillas and another man after Casillas fought with the deputy’s 20-year-old son, who called his father, according to the prosecutor.

Gamez was arrested in November 2012 by detectives from the Los Angeles Police

Tonight WeHo’s City Council Will Be Getting Into the Weed, Not the Weeds

Tonight WeHo’s City Council Will Be Getting Into the Weed, Not the Weeds

Tue, Feb 21, 2017

Mayor Lauren Meister has been criticized for “getting into the weeds” when she takes a lot of time to quiz city staffers about the details of proposals before the West Hollywood City Council.

But tonight Meister will be “getting into the weed,” with a proposal that the city develop a campaign to educate people about the potential risks of marijuana to children and pets. The approval last year of Proposition 64 will allow adults to legally grow, possess and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes. It is expected to result in a major increase in marijuana sales.

An item from Meister on the council agenda notes that “there are many benefits to legalizing marijuana, including eliminating the black market associated with its use, alleviating pressure on courts for marijuana-related offenses, and providing local governments with the…

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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, […]

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 12 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…

The Factory Determined Eligible for National Register of Historic Places

The Factory Determined Eligible for National Register of Historic Places

Tue, Feb 21, 2017 6 Comments

The U.S. National Park Service has decided that The Factory building on West Hollywood’s Robertson Boulevard is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Its eligibility is based on the fact that it was home from 1929 to 1946 to the Mitchell Camera Co., manufacturer of Hollywood film equipment, and from 1974 […]

Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to  WeHo’s Sidewalks

Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to WeHo’s Sidewalks

Mon, Feb 20, 2017 10 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….

WeHo Taking More Than 8 Months to Prep Event Financial Transparency Rules

WeHo Taking More Than 8 Months to Prep Event Financial Transparency Rules

Mon, Feb 20, 2017

City Hall expects to present to the WeHo City Council in April a recommendation to address the issue of event producers’ reluctance to provide budgets or other financial information to the city that was raised by Mayor Lauren Meister in July 2016.

That recommendation would come only weeks before the June L.A. Pride parade and festival, which sparked controversy over the non-profit parent’s lack of transparency that prompted Meister in July of last year to ask city staffers to develop policies and procedures for special events. Those policies and procedures were supposed to include requirements for agreements or contracts, financial disclosure and collection of data to evaluate the events.

Given the late preparation and presentation of the policies and procedures it is not clear that the financial disclosure requirement and any…

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.

WeHo Solicits Suggestions from Small Businesses in Online Survey

WeHo Solicits Suggestions from Small Businesses in Online Survey

Mon, Feb 20, 2017

As it reviews options for supporting small businesses in West Hollywood, City Hall is seeking input from small business owners through a survey.

The survey, which is available online, will be open through next Sunday, Feb. 26.

In an announcement of the survey, the city said it will help to “prioritize initiatives that are most important to the small business community. Examples of prospective initiatives that the city’s Economic Development Department and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Small Business Task Force have identified as being potentially useful to small businesses are:”

— Issuing business licenses that allow of extended hours of operation beyond 2 a.m., thereby superseding the need for conditional use permits that are costly and time consuming to obtain;

— Streamlining the permit process and reducing…

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