Mayor John D’Amico’s decision to host a campaign launch event on Dec. 7 for City Council candidate Joe Guardarrama provoked grumbling from other candidates and accusations that he was endorsing one candidate over the 10 others.
D’Amico responded by saying that he was willing to host an event, albeit not necessarily at his home, for any candidate.
Now two challengers have taken him up on the offer. D’Amico confirmed that he will host an event for Larry Block on Jan. 11 at a location to be decided, and that he will host an event for Lauren Meister, at a date and location not yet determined. Meister is a former Planning Commissioner who was essentially fired by D’Amico when she refused to step down so that he could appoint his longtime advisor John Altschul to the commission.
Guardarrama, a lawyer who is a former member of the city’s Planning Commission, has been a friend of D’Amico for some 18 years. D’Amico said that friendship is why he agreed to host the event at his home, stressing that he wasn’t involved in putting together the guest list or paying for the event. The guest list included heavyweights from the political establishment such as Steve Afriat, the lobbyist and campaign consultant, and Altschul. D’Amico and Guardarrama share the same campaign consultant — Renee Nahum.
D’Amico is one of 11 candidates for three seats on the Council in the March 3 election. The other incumbent in the race is John Heilman, the city’s longest serving Council member, who has had a fraught relationship with D’Amico. D’Amico told WEHOville that Heilman has not, as yet, asked the mayor to host a campaign event for him.