Who Owns WeHo? Help Us Fund a Look Into Who’s Paying to Elect the City Council

Who owns West Hollywood? You might think we residents and local businesses do. But the election campaigns of our City Council members, who decide everything from parking fees to development permits to whether to preserve (or tear down) historic buildings, are overwhelmingly funded by city vendors and developers and billboard companies from outside West Hollywood who want to make a buck off of us.

We strongly believe that West Hollywood needs managed growth and sound parking and traffic management. But it also needs to know whether the Council members who decide on those issues are influenced by the needs and desires of residents and local businesses or by out-of-town campaign donors.

For the 2013 City Council election, WEHOville sent hundreds of pages of contribution reports to India to have the data transcribed into a digital database. Then we hired researchers to find out who the donors really were. We learned that many of them were employees or relatives of outside business owners who had reached their own campaign donation limit. We also turned up evidence of campaign donation fraud. Our research showed us that more than two-thirds of the campaign donations made to Council incumbents came from outsiders looking to make money in West Hollywood.

Our Council members say that campaign contributions never influence their decisions, which if true would make them unique in human history. Maybe they are right, but the only way to know the truth of that is to see where the money is coming from and who it’s going to.

For the March 2015 City Council election, the campaign and fundraising for which already is underway, at least three seats are up for grabs. For this important campaign, WEHOville wants to continue to report real donor information to the residents and local business owners who really own this city. We’re asking for your help with this Kickstarter campaign, which will allow us to again transcribe campaign donation documents and do the rigorous (and tedious) research that has helped us identify “homemakers” in Utah as billboard company executives and “students” in New York City as the children of major developers. We also intend to publish a database you can search that lists donors categorized by the business or industry they represent.

Please donate whatever you can afford. Whether it is $5 or $500, this is the most important campaign contribution you can make. Given the reluctance of our City Council to adopt campaign finance reform, we have to work together to find out where the money is coming from and where it is going to.

By the way, while WEHOville isn’t a non-profit entity, at this stage in our development we aren’t profitable either (i.e. I continue to fund this business myself). So the only way we can continue to provide this important public service is with the help of West Hollywood’s residents and local business owners — the people who really do, and should, own West Hollywood. Two of our major contributors at launch are Joseph G. Daniels and Kai Aiyub of J. Daniels Productions, who generously produced the Kickstarter video for this campaign.

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bobcat
bobcat
6 years ago

where do I send my money

bobcat
bobcat
6 years ago

keep following the money you know somebody’s got it tucked in that bag somewhere or a new bathroom from a contractor or a new floor from a contractor

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

Bravo for anyone promoting campaign finance info. Follow the money.

ambiguousbodywork
6 years ago

I prefer the way West Hollywood was prior to cityhood. I am fortune it to have a honest perspective to have lived in West Hollywood in 1981 and again now. Progress is one thing but it has gotten ridiculously out of control with the development for such a dense, narrow street path that is heavily trafficked. All the purposed high rises will trap in all the smog, dirt in the air and we have to breath it. I would to see more environment friendly planning with open areas with some structures. There use to be a uniqueness about West Hollywood.… Read more »

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
6 years ago

@ambiguousbw, we DO have better rent control than LA does. good point about Heilman though.

ambiguousbodywork
6 years ago

I know it is an unpopular opinion but West Hollywood was better off before cityhood for numerous reasons despite what certain individuals would have you believe. They claim the city was dirty and run down, unpleasant…. Untrue. It was an urbanized city that gays gravitated to and made it an appealing place to live for gays around boytowns. The gay culture was alive and well. It was before the days of AIDS, so things were more sexaulized. There weren’t baby strollers and children around and gay rights was mostly militant gays and drag queens that were the most outspoken. It… Read more »

bobcat
bobcat
6 years ago

they all need kicking out and start again they bastardize the city and one of the reasons is Isabel condos and apartments these the people that don’t come out and vote. they won’t even sign a petition I’ll let you in the building very small audience to say no to

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
6 years ago

To answer your question, Manny, yes. I for one knew even more than that vague and ominous assertion you repeat, I knew the exact contribution amount ($5000, I believe it was reported in WeHoville) which was a small part of the funding. As should you, since the candidate you supposedly favor, hardly a republican, was heavily involved in the grass roots effort, which was non-partisan but overwhelmingly progressive.
All incumbents and candidates can be bought with bundled contributions or PAC money, we are much better off knowing who is doing the buying.

Manny
Manny
6 years ago

I believe the publisher…..It will be an interesting investigation indeed….But can it prove that the candidates actually know the connection between the young college student in NY and the Weho developer? That’s really the aha! moment.

Back to term limits…..Do the voters in Weho, (overwhelmingly Democrats and liberals), know that the Measure C campaign was heavily funded by Republicans?……not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Manny
Manny
6 years ago

The term limits initiative won in the 2012 election and so did the two INCUMBENTS …..What does that tell you?

What’s the difference between contributing to a candidate and contributing to a private enterprise that is investigating contributions to candidates? Will Wehoville be influenced by it’s contributors?

It all seems very contradictory.

waynebeau
waynebeau
6 years ago

Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong but I think only about 16% or the West Hollywood REGISTERED voters bother to do so in most of our elections. No wonder this is no accountability for our elected officials.

waynebeau
waynebeau
6 years ago

John Heilman is running again?!! JOHN HEILMAN IS RUNNING AGAIN???!!!
Please say it ain’t so. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we just vote to establish term limits?!

ambiguousbodywork
6 years ago
Reply to  waynebeau

Yes, voters voted in term limits but that started in the last election which was 2 years ago. Heilman can subject WH to his horrendous actions as a council member for 2 more terms before the term limits prevent him from running. He will probably retire by then.

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