Opinion: Discipline Is Needed in WeHo City Hall’s 3rd Floor High School

Parking. Traffic. Development. Pedestrian safety. Fran Solomon.

Fran Solomon? Parking, traffic, development and pedestrian safety are on the agendas of most candidates in the race for West Hollywood City Council. But with only 38 days until the March 3 election, some folks seem determined to turn the election into an episode of “Mean Girls” focused on Councilmember John Heilman’s deputy.

John Heilman, west hollywood
Fran Solomon

In an off-topic remark last Saturday at a candidates’ forum hosted by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Mayor John D’Amico, a staunch opponent of Heilman, told the audience that Solomon had complained that “too many gays” voted in the 2011 Council race. Not something that Solomon would want to be accused of, given that Heilman and 40 percent of West Hollywood residents are gay. Solomon, in an interview with WEHOville, denied the allegation.

And in recent weeks there has been an effort to further sully Solomon’s reputation (and by extension that of Heilman) by claiming that she has been making campaign contribution solicitations for her boss on a city telephone from her city office, which is not permissible.

A major player in that campaign is Ian Owens, deputy to Councilmember John Duran, the only Council incumbent not up for re-election. On Dec. 7 Owens filed a request for a copy of Solomon’s office telephone records with City Clerk Yvonne Quarker. Such records have to be made available under California’s freedom of information laws. The document returned to Owens had a number of calls redacted, or blacked out, which is permitted for calls made for certain personal reasons, like those to a doctor (Solomon recently was on leave because of a medical condition). Duran is not an ally of Heilman’s, but he told WEHOville he had been unaware of Owens’ plan to request that information.

Several readers then asked WEHOville to request those records as well and to write a story about Solomon’s use of city resources to raise money for Heilman. Solomon agreed to provide the records to WEHOville herself. But we declined to write a story because the records show only who Solomon called and not what the conversation was about. However Ryan Gierach filed a request for the information on Jan. 14, telling people he plans to write about the allegations. Gierach is a local blogger who often has attacked Heilman and Councilmember Abbe Land and Council candidate Lindsey Horvath, who are seen as Heilman’s allies.

But it’s been a bit frustrating for the “Mean Girls.” For one thing, WEHOville has declined to report the unproven allegations as fact. And while Gierach apparently is planning to do so, his blog has very few readers these days. He claims many of them are in Asia, Europe and on the East Coast and thus presumably not West Hollywood voters who would be influenced by what he writes. Also, his reputation has been damaged in the eyes of some by an opinion piece he wrote recently that was ¬†criticized as anti-Semitic by Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami. Having Ryan Gierach on your side might not be politically smart.

So the Heilman/Solomon opponents now are trying to make the allegations go viral. Yesterday a mass email went out (with a copy to WEHOville) that purports to document Solomon’s misbehavior. Attached to the email is a document that claims to list Solomon’s activity at her City Hall office at various times on Jan. 13 and 14. The list includes 10 instances where Solomon is alleged to have called people to solicit their participation in a photo shoot to promote Heilman’s campaign. If true, that’s a definite no-no, but the document doesn’t include any allegations that the calls were made to solicit campaign donations.

The writer of the document actually includes a quote from one of Solomon’s conversations — “he would love to have you there, sweetie” she is quoted as saying to one person she is said to invite to the campaign photo shoot. And the writer mentions her discussing her health issues on the telephone. All of which suggests that someone is bugging her office if not making this stuff up.

The source of the email is someone who identifies himself as Matthew Mills. But the document that purports to list Solomon’s alleged improper behavior was created by Ian Owens, Duran’s deputy, using Excel software owned by the City of West Hollywood and thus apparently created on city time.

We don’t know whether Fran Solomon made improper solicitations for people to appear in a political campaign photo shoot for John Heilman or whether she has solicited campaign funds. And we would condemn either action if it were proven to be true. But what we do know is that it’s time for City Manager Paul Arevalo,the principal of this high school on the third floor of City Hall, to send some of these “Mean Girls” (and boys) to the corner if not expel them. And it’s time for those running for City Council to stay focused on the issues that matter to the people they hope to represent.


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Shawn Thompson
Guest

I did some research on this whole Owens whistle blowing start of this event at City Hall. And have sourced what he leaked to the press. Certainly its focused on his attempts good or bad in motives to focus on Fran Solomon, by alleging she was using her position at city hall and or time at city hall in her hours as a deputy to campaign for her boss. As far as the code or law that prohibits this kind of behavior by a city council deputy, I did some research today and its hard to find online But I… Read more »

Sassy from Weho
Guest
Sassy from Weho

All this ridiculous mean spirited behavior started when Michelle Rex came on board. A bad apple!

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

Sorry, last election, not last year above. I planned to vote for him in 2011 until those came. He lost me then.

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

Steve – some context here – John D’Amico ran a campaign last year that had flyers sent out comparing John Heilman and Abby Land to the leaders of North Korea and Romania among other vile, disgusting tactics. Let’s not pretend she didn’t have good reasons to disdain him.

Bernadette Parinello
Guest
Bernadette Parinello

This is really a big black eye for CM Duran and he should be called upon to bounce his secretary from that post. It looks like this is a clear abuse of power and personally if I were Fran, I would sue the crap out of Duran, his deputy and city hall for allowing this to happen. That Fran’s medical information was leaked and her phone was seemingly bugged, is certainly criminal activity.

I understand that Duran’s had a temp in place since this blew up, but not sure if it’s for good which is clearly needs to be.

Mike Dolan
Guest
Mike Dolan

And Lauren Meister should be stopped for a whole host of reasons. She just not right for West Hollywood and all resident’s.

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

Power emanates from whoever can put together three votes on the City Council. For the last couple of years there has not been any sort of coherent Council majority but it seems that Heilman seems to dominate by default. Having no majority is not necessarily a bad thing; in an ideal world the City Council would vote on issues on their merit not based upon personality issues and who contributed to their campaigns or favorite non-profits. Meister and D’Amico at least share a common core of beliefs about preserving the urban village character of West Hollywood so I doubt if… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

This sort of explains D’Amico’s cynical endorsement of Meisner – he thought she has a chance of winning, he wants Heilman gone so he can act like he’s the de facto mayor with little counter balance, so he’s willing to saddle up to Meisner despite their past differences. Not going to vote for either of them though when this race started D’Amico had my vote.

Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
Guest
Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs

Everyone behold the Keystone Kops running our little Mayberry. To hell with all of them.

Ryan Gierach
Guest

Getting pasted for something I might just write is a true testament to my abilities, I suppose. Thanks all, and especially my dear friend Rob Bergstein. All the best folks!

joetheplummber
Guest
joetheplummber

I find this fascinating so I looked at the phone(y) records on line. You can google the phone numbers. 13 calls in 2 days that are not personal or medical. Here’s the breakdown: 1) Amazon 2) National League of Cities 3) A code publisher 4) Minnesota Senate (hopefully to tell Michelle Bachman “please never visit here.”) 5) A showroom at the PDC 6) A Tenants Rights Clinic 7) An 80 year old senior resident 8) A 60 year old senior resident 9) A resident on Havenhurst of uncertain age. 4 Calls 10-13 I could not figure out. Sounds like a… Read more »

Brad
Guest
Brad

Maybe it’s time to eliminate the highly paid, covertly political post of council deputy; hire a couple of administrative assistants to handle administrative tasks for council members; and either bank the savings or reallocate the money to public safety.