Undeterred by Failed Nomination, Larry Block Petitions His Way Onto WeHo Chamber Ballot

Larry Block
Larry Block.

The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is currently holding its annual election for its board of directors and among the 12 candidates vying for nine spots are the usual suspects.

But among the bunch, which includes nine incumbents, is a more unusual campaigner: Larry Block, the “Boystown” advocate and City Council rabble-rouser who serves on the Disabilities Advisory Board and owns the gay clothing store Block Party.

While the list does include two other newcomers, Carol Massie of the McDonalds at La Brea Avenue and Mark Olson of Souther California Edison, Block is unique in the way that he made the list.

Told by the chamber’s “Nominating Committee” that he had not been nominated to compete in the election, Block, never known to back down from a fight, instead collected 15 signatures from chamber members and made the ballot by petition.

While he readily admits he’s a longshot, in his corner is John Altschul, a WeHo attorney, planning commissioner and member of the chamber’s board of governors, which provides assistance to the board of directors.

In an email Block sent to board members, Altschul says “I have known (Larry) since 1987 and he will bring an energetic presence to the board. He has lots of ideas and lots of energy. He is willing to devote his time and skills to the chamber and will be an asset to Gen and her marvelous stewardship of the organization.”

Block, who is also running for City Council in 2015, noted in his email that at City Council meetings he can be spotted sitting “pretty close to Genevieve (Morrill) checking our notes and speaking our hearts.”

Apparently that line prompted Morrill, who is the chamber’s president and CEO, to note in the chamber’s election notification email announcing the candidates that “the WHCC CEO and its staff are non-voting participants and remain neutral on their position with any candidates. Any emails or solicitations where names were used were not authorized by this office.”

Of the 12 candidates, the top six vote-getters will serve three-years terms, and the next three highest vote-getters will serve two-year terms.

Voting runs until Nov. 8.

Running for re-election are Azi Kiani of Wells Fargo, Lin Schatz of the Andaz hotel, Maxine Tatlonghari of Vanity Girl Hollywood, Deborah Kallick of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Pat Rogers of Here Lounge, Layne Lawson of Clear Channel Outdoor, Owen Ward of Off World Entertainment, Ruth Tittle of Capitol Drugs and Hany Haddad, executive at US Bank and current board chair.

The board, currently composed of 25 members and elected by the membership, sets the course and helps the chamber staff, which includes Morrill, realize its goals.

The board of directors are volunteers for the chamber, which is a non-profit, and are “installed” annually at a reception in February.


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Liz Solomon
Guest
Liz Solomon

As a small business in WEHO, I must express how much I disagree with some of the comments pertaing to the Chamber. WEHO is not the retail friendly environment it once was. It has become more difficult by the day dealing with ban, after ban, after ban. We have had to turn to the Chamber on several occassions, and let me be clear in representing that we found the support and direction of the dynamic Chamber to be invaluable! To those that have expressed otherwise, you may not have a clear vision on the roadblocks the Chamber faces in its… Read more »

Abraham
Guest
Abraham

I am glad. Go Larry! Go! He should be more involved in the city government. He has CHARISMA, energy and a silver tongue. Mr. Block, I will vote for you, and know many more they will too. I will chant for you getting the seat. Larry block is not the BIG interests but the people of WeHo. I certainly can identify with him. My best wishes Mr. Block!

Robert Gamboa
Guest
Robert Gamboa

A vote for Larry Block is a win for the Chamber. Only good things will come of him being on the Chamber board. Larry is not afraid to go to bat for the underdog and with his passion for West Hollywood and the LGBT Community, we might all do just a little better.

victor
Guest
victor

Larry bring a lot to the table
an asset to weho-respect his determination & courage

Jim Hieron
Guest
Jim Hieron

Larry Block is the go-getter for the people that this city badly needs.
The passion and tenacity he brings to his business experience will
surely translate into positive energy for his involvement in all aspects
of the West Hollywood community for which he deeply cares.

Rob Bergstein
Guest
Rob Bergstein

While I think it’s always good to have a engaged constituency, Mr. Block’s comments at the public level are abrasive, argumentative and generally without merit. His recent comments about the changes in the types of businesses in West Hollywood show that he has little or no knowledge of how a free market business environment operates. There are many well qualified candidates for The Chamber’s board….Mr. Block is not one of them

Marco Colantonio
Guest
Marco Colantonio

I agree with Laurie and wish that Weho, like Beverly Hills would extend the one hour free parking offered in some of our city owned parking structures to two hours, but here is another case where size might really make a difference. Weho is 1.9 sq. miles with a population of approx. 35,000 and Beverly Hills is 5.7 sq. miles and also with a population of 35,000. Otherwise, I have also perceived Beverly Hills as a beacon of altruism and a bastion of acceptance and tolerance offering reasonably priced retail and restaurants and affordable housing.

Woody Bradshaw
Guest
Woody Bradshaw

The Chamber of Commerce has little voice in local politics, — take for instance the fur ban. Chamber stands firmly against the fur ban. Mayfair House is suing the city because they can no longer sell fur products but the Pacific Design Center now has the exclusive right to sell fur in the City of West Hollywood. John D’amico accepted over $25,000 from the animal rights groups in exchange for that support. Charles Cohen gets new tenants because his building has the exclusive right to sell products made of fur. Follow the money and you will see that the people… Read more »

Laurie
Guest
Laurie

Beverly Hills offers 2 hour free parking , 90 minutes in Santa Monica, it allows local people to visit their local shops or do some banking without paying for parking and supports local business. Just so there’s an understanding on how some local governments deal with regulating local parking issues. In WeHo it’s a money grab.

Marco Colantonio
Guest
Marco Colantonio

After a poor version of the “Soft Shoe” Liberace would say to the audience: “I may not be good, but I’ve got guts!” And guts got him a long way, so best of luck to Larry Block. I too admire Larry’s tenacity, but remember it was Liberace’s piano playing and not dancing that initially got him to the stage. I hear much ranting about Boystown not being retail friendly in the daytime, but in reality it has always been a nightlife destination driven by clubs, restaurants and entertainment venues. In the daytime, it is a commerce driven demographic with offices,… Read more »

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

In this political chess game of West Hollywood the Chamber is a pawn of the city council and Mr. Block has very little chance. Members of the Chamber are people such as Steve Afriat Consulting and Athens services etc etc.. with vested interests in influencing developers and other outside interests. While he has little chance of winning I admire his tenacity and independent streak.

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

In the West Hollywood chess game of politics the WeHo Chamber is a pawn. Members include Steve Afriat Consulting, Athens Services and other members who want to have influence over local projects. The chamber pac always endorses the incumbents so Mr. Block has little chance of gaining a seat. But, I personally admire his tenacity in getting on the ballot, his courage to put himself on the line and his independence is the kind of leadership and character that we need more of on the city council!