Opinion: Let’s Take the Pettiness Out of Local Politics

As someone who has dedicated a great deal of time to encouraging women to seek elected office, I am disheartened by what I found in my mailbox yesterday: a campaign mailer sent out by an Independent Expenditure campaign attacking

Lindsey Horvath
Lindsey Horvath

candidate Lauren Meister. This mailer underscores one of the reasons why we have so few women in elected office. Female candidates want to talk about issues, not be fodder for exaggerated, personal attacks that have no place in politics.

When I read the attacks on Lauren, I was reminded how I felt when I was attacked in my 2011 campaign for City Council – disgusted and sad. I immediately called Lauren to offer sympathy and to reinforce my commitment to running a campaign focused on what should matter to voters: my record and positions on the issues.

In the past years, elections in West Hollywood have taken a turn for the worse. Unwarranted, vicious attack mailers discourage voter participation, which unfortunately already is below 20% in West Hollywood municipal elections. Even worse is the proliferation of Independent Expenditure campaigns, which are by law, uncoordinated with the candidates they support and oppose. As a candidate supported by one such effort, as is Lauren by another, I wish Independent Expenditure campaigns would stick to the issues that encourage voters to ask: Who will protect renters from unfair evictions & improve the habitability of rent-stabilized housing? Who will create a sustainable future & protect our quality of life? Who will maintain services for residents of all ages, defend our human rights, and build bridges among diverse constituencies to make sure the needs of ALL residents?

It’s time for the petty politics in our community to come to an end. It’s time to usher in a new era of campaigning that is responsible, transparent, and focused on the issues that matter.

Lindsey Horvath, a former West Hollywood City Council member, is a candidate in Tuesday’s Council election.


31 Comments
  1. Lindsey – you hired an awful woman to make your cold calls – didnt get her name but she called and had such an attitude, made me not want to vote for you. Wish i read this earlier than my mail in…

    Weho resident

  2. Tom,

    No one is being a bully but you and Steve. Honestly, I don’t think you’ll never realize how you come across. That actually makes me feel better because I’ve always thought your intentions was to tear people down. Not I realize you aren’t self aware.

  3. Of course, I’m trying to squelch your freedom of speech. Recently
    you claimed I was stalking you. Nothing like a little levity. LOL.

  4. Lynn, are you trying to squelch our freedom of speech??? Sheesh. You vote your way, I’ll vote mine. Try not to be a bully.

  5. Pardon me for dipping my toe in the sludge, but this is getting to be infantile. If you have a legitimate concern ask about it. If not, please move on.

  6. Steve & Tom: please try to contain yourselves and try not to continually paint black clouds over everyone you don’t care for. It’s possible they had other commitments. Call and ask them, otherwise, just don’t vote for them. Simple!

  7. Matt: why not let each of them speak for themselves? Skepticism is one thing, projecting abject cynicism is another.

  8. E X A C T L Y Steve Martin, WHAT are they afraid of indeed??? By not attending, they also totally disrespected those who live on the Eastside too.

    If they win on Tuesday, we can expect to see the bulldozers rolling out again all over to continue destroying our beautiful city —–more backroom deals with their development bosses to erect even more massive and ugly concrete mammouths that are built right out to the sidewalk and property lines on all sides and causing gridlock 12 hours per day.

  9. Perhaps if we had more opportunities to see and compare the candidates, all of this silly junk mail would be rendered less effective. Too bad Horvath and Heilman didn’t appear at the last candidate forum. What are they afraid of?

  10. Lindsey’s biggest supporter, Brian Holt, believes all politicians are destined to become corrupt and beholden. Perhaps this says something about him or her campaign or both.

    From his comments above:

    “Ralston, like most, start our (sic) “clean” but eventually – by the force of the beast that is politics -will eventually be forced to tie his hand (or hands) to several entities that he will get to know. Its not his fault. it’s politics, no one stays a virgin for long.”

  11. While it is always shocking, it is never surprising that the most ethically challenged individuals inevitably pop up with caustic statements and attempt to capitalize on self propelled rumormongering and false controversy against others. Disagreeing without being disagreeable just doesn’t seem to register with some folks.

    The overly long running “Hate Heilman” campaign of vengeance which initially included attacks against Abbe Land and then attached itself to Lindsey Horvath, never seems to run out of steam and malice despite adjudication of past issues Whether it be undeclared lobbying and chicanery beneath the radar or openly wagging angry fingers at the decision makers on council it takes one’s breath away to witness an inability to move on, seek solutions and display positive characteristics. Even our current Mayor D’Amico became a party to this hatefulness through the overly fabricated deputy conflict that he blessed us with demonstrating his own limited ability to move on.

    Lindsey Horvath has always presented herself with care and dignity. She rendered honorable decisions on at least two important issues that came before her that I was involved with. Do folks occasionally make mistakes on issues? Sure, not everyone gets it right all the time. Lindsey weathered the hatefulness of the last campaign with complete grace and set about to be useful and constructive in the community on a variety of issues. She seems incredibly clear minded, without guile and open to discussion on any issue in an effort to render fair minded decisions. Lindsey is apparently tethered to no one, not even the IE and appears to embrace an inherent ethical standard. Isn’t this what we are looking for?

  12. Meantime, I got an attack flyer on Heilman today, including blasting him for approving the Soho Club (I live 3 blocks from their, the only opposition came from Beverly Hills, it’s a plus for our neighborhood). It comes from “West Hollywood Properties LLC”. The city on line expenditures site lists this as a group supporting John D’Amico, and lists its address as 8820 Sunset Blvd. which is the address of Regency Outdoor Advertising. My recollection is that Heilman has been a leader in opposing their efforts to expand their billboards, hence their attack flyers. Perhaps WeHoVille could get into this event as well as not just the one attacking Meister in the interest of balance?

  13. Ok, so I’m not voting for Lauren….but the IE that put out this particular mailer was waaay out of line when it brought up the company she runs (this is West Hollywood…it could even garner her a few extra votes….). It was an appalling attack ad, offensive & inappropriate. And that the mailer quotes wehonews as their source on several comments, well….enough said on the creditability issue.

  14. Thank you Pat Dixon for your kind words. I agree, this election cycle has become one of the ugliest, petty, mud-slinging campaigns I think to date. Lindsey is a very smart and qualified candidate. A true activist for Renter’s right and affordable housing to continue to meet the needs of 80% of West Hollywood’s population.

    I agree, money is the root of all evil. It is my hope and mission that once West Hollywood has a full council seated in June, the first order of business should be further and deeply meaningful campaign finance reform.

    Currently, an individual can contribute a maximum of $500. In stark contrast, an individual can contribute to an IE unlimited amounts of money. Therein lies the problem! For example, one IE donor gave $40,000 at one time and could double or triple this amount into this IE.
    I personally would like to see the IE’s eliminated. However a cap and one time donation of not more than $1,000 could be made. That’s it. We need to have equal opportunity for all candidates come the election cycle in 2017.

    You said it beautifully, “we have to take the high road in life and try to be as noble as possible.” Even resident voters are affected by these massive contributions to the point they misrepresent endorsements. One resident, Woody McBreairty, has spliced the endorsement from Eric Bauman and California Democratic Party to reflect his candidate of choice but they are not endorsed by the California Democratic Party. Only Joe Guardarrama, Lindsey Horvath and John Heilman are the endorsed candidates. Again on Woody’s Facebook page, he has splice the CES endorsement next to a photo of his candidate choice. It’s just not true! CES only endorsed John Heilman and Lindsey Horvath.

    Money does strange things to people. I denounced this type of blatant misrepresentation of the factual endorsement.

    Let’s get as much money out of the campaign process as possible, especially with precise focus on IE’s.

  15. I think we all agree that the mailer sent out by Duran’s “Friends of West Hollywood” is sleazy and despicable. I do appreciate Lindsey Horvath publicly distancing herself from it and do not hold her responsible.
    However, I think voters should send a clear message to the “Friends of West Hollywood” by not voting for anyone or anything they endorse / finance. Secondly we should hold the new council’s feet to the fire this summer and demand meaningful campaign finance and ethics reform.

  16. Mike Dolan, you are right in that my comment was inappropriate, because I think that Lindsey is a very smart woman and I was just being sarcastic , a sad trait of mine. And I apologize. But I still think that there has to be some vetting on the part of the candidates running and allowing these slanderous ads go out under their name, so to speak. There is so much wrong with this process that I am completely dismayed and saddened by all of it. We have to take the high road in life and try to be as noble as possible but in this election but I fear it is too late; perhaps in the future. So good luck to all the candidates. It seems that only the people running who have money behind them are the victims of these attacks. I think Duke, Tristan and Chris are also up to the job. But…

  17. @Pat-How demeaning is your comment “if Lindsey is not smart enough to know what is being sent out in her name then perhaps she is not ready to be on the city council.” First, Lindsey has already been on the council and is well versed and experienced to do the best for all of us once she is elected back onto the council.

    Second, what is sad is this is turning into women fighting women. Your comment is a character assignation attack on Lindsey. She immediately reached out to Lauren for support and to offer her sympathy. Check with whom you are voting for and if they are involved in anyway with their IE that sends this type of mailer out. Lindsey Horvath had no Knowledge of this hit and nasty piece.

    Third, Lindsey, Lauren, John D’Amico, John Heilman, or Joe Guardarrama have no knowledge, advance notice, approval rights on any material sent out by any of their IE’s. It is illegal and certainly has nothing to do with being smart. The candidates learn about what ever material, robo-calls, mailer… the same time we the residents do. That is fact.

  18. Very honestly, if Lindsey is not smart enough to know what is being sent out in her name then perhaps she is not ready to be on the city council. This flyer was offensive on so many levels. I don’t know where Lindsey works, or if she works. I cannot believe that the Lauren’s past business activities were used against her, especially when you see condoms being given out on the reception area in city hall; that two of our male commissioners have been accused of sexual harassment; in fact when I first moved to West Hollywood the city was embroiled in a sexual harassment filed against one of the council members and had to pay out a great deal of money. This flyer was nothing more than a desperate attempt to disqualify Lauren. I saw some demonstrators on Crescent Heights and Santa Monica earlier tonight waiving Lindsey et al signs. First of all, two of the three did not live in west hollywood and when I asked them if they were getting paid the conversation came to a halt. As someone once said “Can’t we all get along?” This election is doing a lot of damage to our city.

  19. Like many of you that received the mailer attacking Lauren Meister I was shocked and disgusted at the attempt to assassinate a candidate, Lauren Meister, for City Council. I’ve seen this many times over my 28 years as a resident and voter.

    I found the innuendo from the pictures very distasteful and sexist and I’ll go as far as to say, they suggest misogyny by the author of this IE account.

    That said. Lindsey Horvath had nothing to do with the concept behind this mailer, to its publication or mailing of this hit piece.

    Personally, the message about Lauren Meister was less offensive. It is the first time I learned exactly one of the businesses she has been associated with. But still there nothing wrong with a business that fills a niche of product line of which she was President. I still don’t know exactly the business she is currently associated with other than Lauren’s admission it is a marketing company. I think the IE could have used text only and could have been in better taste.

    I hope Lauren Meister responds and confirms that late last night Lindsey Horvath called her to offer her sympathy and support as a fellow woman who knows, only too well, what it feels like to be attacked. Those pictures gave the message different meaning and it was, at best, poor judgment and misleading. Lindsey understood and reached out to Lauren as a fellow candidate but more importantly as a woman. She gets it.

    From the days Lindsey sat on the council and did an excellent job; she has continued to principally encourage women to seek out elected office. Lindsey feels the same for all women and that includes Lauren. Lindsey, since leaving council, has served as President of NOW and started ONE BILLION RISING.

    Lindsey’s record is impeccable. She still serves on our Transportation Commission and has brought real solutions to all West Hollywood residents as commissioner. Lindsey is a true activists and Democrat. She is the one that will continue to fight and protect renters and affordable housing. Lindsey’s work in civil and human rights is stellar. This is not in Lindsey’s nature and is not the fine person I’ve come to know.

    It make no sense that anyone would think Lindsey would or could be behind or any part of the disgusting mailer attacking Lauren Meister. We that vote, all know the difference in personal campaign funds and contributions vs. IE’s. A candidate cannot by law be associated in anyway with an IE that is in support of their candidate(s). It’s illegal to have any contact or influence over an IE (Independent Expenditure). No candidate that is listed on an IE can consult, suggest, and authorize any activity of the IE. There is no contact.

    I do support Lindsey for who she is and I believe she will be an excellent council person. I am proud to know her and deeply respect her. It is shameful that some, who know better, are trying to in anyway connect the Lauren Meister mailer to Lindsey Horvath. You know you’re doing the wrong thing by these actions or words and I think you owe Lindsey and apology.

    Lindsey said it best above. “It’s time for the petty politics in our community to come to an end. It’s time to usher in a new era of campaigning that is responsible, transparent, and focused on the issues that matter.”

  20. I just got the attack pieces on Lauren and they are disgraceful,
    sleazy and misogynistic…filled with lies and spin.

    Everybody in town knew that Duran formed the IE to go after Lauren.
    Is Lindsey really that naïve & disconnected to not know?
    Did she think they’d be nice hit pieces?

  21. Ralston, like most, start our “clean” but eventually – by the force of the beast that is politics -will eventually be forced to tie his hand (or hands) to several entities that he will get to know. Its not his fault. it’s politics, no one stays a virgin for long.

  22. What BS. It is so painfully obvious that we need new people on the City Council. Who else is tired of this nonsense? Take a look at newcomer candidates. Matthew Ralston for one. The only thing he doesn’t have is money to have a big flashy campaign and that is because no one is paying him off. He would bring common sense back to the Council. Let’s stop with this city council foolishness – get back to basics and get some people in there that will help the residents of the city. That is why they were elected in the first place!

  23. Great strategy to claim no knowledge or control of what her PAC puts out then be appalled by it. I think most people can see right through this total nonsense.

  24. IF indeed it’s true that she or any sitting Council Member is supported, influenced, bankrolled or otherwise “owned” by Property Developers, Property Owners or any financial interest other then the residents of West Hollywood, they need to be removed from office. Managing a balance of interest between residents (voters) and those other interests (mostly financial) is the job of the Council….not doing whatever Property Developers/Owners or Business Owners want.

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