After 4 Months of Indecision, WeHo Council Picks Heidi Shink for Planning Commission

Heidi Shink
Heidi Shink poses with West Hollywood councilmembers Jeffrey Prang, left, and John Duran.

The West Hollywood City Council approved author and activist Heidi Shink as the new at-large member of the city’s Planning Commission during its Monday night meeting.

Shink, who has served as Councilmember Jeffrey Prang’s direct appointee to the city’s Human Services Commission since 2011, will take her seat at the next Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 15.

The at-large seat has been a matter of contention for the past four months with none of the nominated candidates able to secure a majority of the council’s vote. Previously retired paralegal Rob Bergstein and attorney Craig Charles were the top contenders for the seat.

Each of the three previous times the seat came up for a vote, Councilmember John Heilman and Mayor Abbe Land have supported Bergstein, a member of the city’s Eastside Task Force.

Meanwhile, Councilmembers John Duran and John D’Amico have supported Charles. Charles is D’Amico’s direct appointee to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and also Duran’s law partner in the Duran Law Group.

Prang had the deciding vote each time but was unwilling to support either Bergstein or Charles. In July, he suggested Shink as an alternative, but was the only one who voted for her.

Monday night, Shink’s fortunes changed. Bergstein, Charles and Shink were again all initially nominated. Shink and Charles made it to a runoff vote after Land shifted her support to Shink.

In the runoff vote, D’Amico joined Land and Prang in voting for Shink. Duran continued to support Charles, while Heilman abstained from the vote.

Shink is widely rumored to be running for City Council in 2015, but has not yet made an official announcement.

  1. I too, would like to see Lauren Meister on PC again AND run for City Council. But I think she has too many scrupples for City Government. I think the powers-that-be would smear her up one side and down the other as they will do to Larry Block if he runs…both were instrumental in the Term Limits measure and anyone who worked on that, even though it was clearly the will of the people with 62% of the vote, has become persona non grata. They are vindictive, petty and will do anything to hang on to their little piece of power that they bought and paid for. They preen like peacocks when they win saying it is clearly people who like things the way they are who voted for them, although if they add up people who voted for challengers they would realize that the challengers’ totals far outway their own totals. It is pathetic. If we want change, we are going to have to get it together and have one or two VIABLE candidates and not 9 who do nothing but split the vote. Sam Borelli could have won and SHOULD have won, while people like Rusty Whats-his-name, while a nice guy, should not be draining off votes.

  2. @WeHoMikey If only they would put Lauren Meister back on the Planning Commission. I was kind of horrified when John D’Amico “fulfilled a campaign promise” by booting her and putting John Altschul back on the Commission.

    This isn’t a knock on Altschul, as I think he’s qualified and has been a long-serving member of the PC. But to take Lauren off just for political payback was kind of sickening.

    I’d still like to see Lauren run for City Council again, but she’s probably had it with the City Hall Circus.

  3. We *DO* have a woman available – and very qualified – for the Planning Commission seat.
    Lauren Meister.
    And everyone on the Council will get their dresses in a collective knot at the mere mention of her name.

  4. still better than Donna Soar who D’Amico and Prang and are also pushing to be on the city council (against Larry Bock)

  5. The political machine is at work to try to raise Ms. Shink’s profile. But unfortunatley she has no land uee experience and it shows what the insiders will do to consolidate the power behind the money interests.. Suprised at Prang pushing this…he is the ultimate politcal guy and he just put the entire city in jeopardy by nominating and in-experienced person with no education or experience in development and land use. She has not spoken at one planning commission meeting that Im aware.. and has rarely attened a planning meeting. Suprised that we dont have a better candidate in this city. Suprised at Damico going back and forth wtih 2 insider picks in Craig Charles and then Shink. Looks like he is now bowing to the machine too. Somebody save our city!

  6. @ Todd Bianco – Excellent comment, Todd. She has no backgorund in planning as far as her resume and I suspect your hunch is right…she is running for council on the “I was in a rock band with the daughter of a famous person” platform. I watched the meeting online and was shocked how fast they threw Bergstein and Charles under the bus. Politics: It ain’t pretty.
    There was an article during the campaign in March where one of the council (D’Amico, maybe?) said none of the challengers were prepared to be on the council (one of whom had been on the council before). So, what will be the explanation for Shink’s rise to the dais?

  7. The article doesn’t mention Ms. Shink’s credentials for being on the Planning Commission. My understanding is that her land-use, architecture and/or real estate/building expertise are in short supply. Interesting how the votes shifted from 1 to 3 in just one month.

    It appointment has the whiff of “grooming” for future political aspirations, widely rumored to be City Council. While I applaud anyone willing to run for Council and it would be nice to see more women on the Planning Commission, I question as to whether or not this appointment was made with a lot of behind-the-scenes intense lobbying. I think that John Heilman isn’t going to run again (at the risk of suffering a loss) and that she will be an anointed successor.

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