WeHo Councilmember Prang Hires City Hall Lobbyist Steve Afriat to Manage his Campaign for County Assessor

Steve Afriat
Steve Afriat.
West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang has engaged City Hall lobbyist Steve Afriat to manage his campaign for Los Angeles County Assessor.

Prang, who made public his intention to run for the assessor seat in August, formally announced that he is running on Tuesday. The announcement came from Afriat, who has managed Prang’s past council campaigns and those of three other council incumbents in years past. Afriat also has represented companies seeking to do business with the city, such as Ace Outdoor Advertising, Marriott, and the Pacific Design Center. His City of Los Angeles clients include Walmart and Clear Channel, a major billboard company in the County and in West Hollywood. Clear Channel was a major funder of the group “Concerned Neighbors Against Illegal Billboards” that helped defeat Measure A, a controversial West Hollywood billboard tax and regulation ballot initiative in 2011.

That dual role has sparked criticism by advocates for good government. In response to that criticism, council member John Heilman in March introduced legislation that would bar campaign consultants such as Afriat from also lobbying the council. Faced with opposition by councilmember John D’Amico, the council named Prang and Heilman to an “ad hoc” committee to return in six months with a proposal to deal with that issue and other campaign ethical concerns. To date, Prang and Heilman have not responded to the council request.

Prang is running for the seat held by John Noguez, who is accused of accepting bribes from property owners in exchange for lower tax assessments. Prang was hired by Noguez and currently is employed by the Assessor’s office.

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Jeffrey Prang
6 years ago

For the record, I hired Ross Bates as my campaign manager and chief strategist for Los Angeles County Assessor, not Steve Afriat. I appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight.

Randy Matthews
6 years ago

I don’t understand this criticism that elected officials serving office should not be able to run for another office. Elections take a considerable amount of time. Should we expect every politician in office to quit their current position at the risk not having a position at all, should they lose the upcoming election? As long as Prang can perform his duties effectively while also running for Assessor, I see no problem with it. And I’ll bet that some of those people who have been critical of this voted for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election, not caring one bit… Read more »

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
6 years ago

Hi Luca, if you care to reread the remarks carefully there was simply a statement of the nature of the beast, a conflicted dilemma. No cries of foul play and nothing illegal inferred nor references to your other suppositions. Have you ever put yourself out in the community to solve a problem or help find a solution? If so, perhaps you could share your expertise or vision because that would allow interested parties to connect on the positive. Perhaps you could collaborate with Larry whom I don’t know as I definitely have no interest nor time to run for any… Read more »

Snarkygal
Snarkygal
6 years ago

Personally, I can’t see Larry Block representing us all. I see him representing the gay population of WeHo, not all of the population.

luca d
luca d
6 years ago

I expect and am never disappointed with the usual cries of foul play and patronage. when larry and lynn run for office, then i’ll have more respect for them after their ‘drive by’ knee jerk posts about how ‘disappointed’ they are. I have no idea who steve afriat is, except for his being a political mover in weho. until he or prang or any of the others are convicted felons or found to have harmed animals in their campaigns, focus on what you would do as a leader. as for finance reform, that is the whining that occurs when you… Read more »

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
6 years ago

I agree with Larry Bloch that Jeff Prang is a good and well meaning individual and has demonstrated a high level of dedication to his position in West Hollywood. However, when he took a patronage position with the assessor’s office he naturally lost sight of true public service goals and responsibilities. To achieve a position based on merit is always the optimum choice. His task is now complicated by serving two masters and bringing a shadow on the integrity factor. The need to continue up the ladder requires the services of a machine provided by the likes of Afriat, who… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
6 years ago

Well, there goes honest campaign reform. Instead of electing community leaders to represent our community we elected politicians seeking higher office. Prang is a good man but he put his personal agenda ahead of being an honest steward of the people with good faith campaign reform. Kind of turns your stomach to know that our elected local representatives are not representing us 100%.

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