Newly elected City Councilmember Lauren Meister last night announced her appointments to various city boards and commissions after taking a hit for dismissing without personal notice many long serving members.
Ivy Bottini, a member of the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, said that Meister’s decision to remove all appointees of John Heilman, who lost in his re-election bid last month, looked like “vengeance.” In an apparent effort to address that issue, Meister last night called on Heilman appointees to join her for a photo and to receive a plaque acknowledging their service. Only three of the 17 appointees stepped forward.
Most committees and advisory boards consist of seven members, with each of five directly appointed by a Council member and the remaining two named by consensus. The term of the appointees expires on May 31, but any Council member may remove his or her direct appointee at any time.
Meister’s appointees, who include a number of advocates for historic preservation and opponents of development, and her descriptions of them are as follows:
Arts and Cultural Affairs – Catherine Lee. Catherine Lee — you can call her “Cat” – is a resident of Center City and has a degree in Fine Arts from USC. She has worked with LACMA and other arts organizations, and curated the artwork on display on a billboard on the Sunset Strip.
Business License Commission – Michael King. Michael King has been a resident of West Hollywood since 1986. He’s an independent consultant, with experience working with both small businesses and Fortune 100 companies. He’s a former WeHo Chamber member, and currently serves as a volunteer for the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.
Historic Preservation Commission – Cathy Blaivas. Cathy Blaivas lives on the Eastside and has been a vocal advocate for preservation of historic buildings and properties. Her passion for historic preservation in West Hollywood started with Great Hall/Long Hall in Plummer Park.
Human Services Commission – Patrick Shandrick. Patrick Shandrick has lived in West Hollywood for more than two decades and has worked for Chrysalis and the Downtown Women’s Center on behalf of the homeless. Patrick specializes in communications and public outreach.
Planning Commission – Sheila Lightfoot. A renter in Center City, there may be no one more meticulous, organized or detail-oriented than Sheila Lightfoot. She’s one of the few people I know, who actually enjoys reading EIRs. Sheila knows land use issues from West Hollywood to West Virginia and will work to protect our neighborhoods on the Planning Commission.
Public Facilities Commission – Victor Omelczenko. Victor lives in Center City and is active on the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition and West Hollywood Preservation Alliance. I know he will bring his energy and passion to preserving and improving West Hollywood’s public spaces.
Public Safety Commission – Tory Berger. Tory is a CERT-certified disaster volunteer. His commitment to public safety began when a fire broke out in his apartment building and he and his WeHo neighbors worked together to put out the fire as they waited for the fire department to arrive. He realized then how important it is to be prepared for an emergency – whether it be fire, floods or earthquake. With Tory on board, I feel safer already!
Rent Stabilization Commission – Stephanie Harker. As a long-time East side resident and renter, Stephanie knows first-hand the issues facing renters today. She is also “one of those women” known for her fact-checking abilities – an important pre-requisite when it comes to this commission.
Transportation Commission – William Doebler. William Doebler is a Certified Planner with a Masters in Planning. He served as a Planner to the City of Downey and an Economic Development Manager for Southern California Edison. I look forward to having his input on transportation issues and hope that the Commission will take a more active role in evaluating traffic impacts and mitigations for new projects.
Disabilities Advisory Board – Michael Wojtkielewicz. Michael W. (Voight-Kah-Ley-Vich) is a resident of the East Side and experiences the City of West Hollywood’s human services first hand as a resident of one of the Community Housing Corporation’s buildings. He and his dog, P-squared, can be seen strolling Plummer Park, Hart Park and Detroit when they are not attending public meetings.
Eastside Working Group – Steve Martin. New to the Eastside but not to the City, you probably already know Steve Martin — a former City Councilmember who’s earned his place at the table — he needs no introduction.
Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board – Kate Eggert. Kate Eggert has been an advocate for preservation in the historic Boystown neighborhood in West Hollywood, working tirelessly to save the Palm Bungalows. As a new member to the LGAB, one of her goals will be to educate us on, and help us to preserve, LGBT history.
Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board – Lucas John. Lucas John lives in the Center City but his presence is felt across the City, whether it is promoting events in the city’s gay nightclubs or promoting the city’s Pickup Line. Lucas returns to the LGAB after a two-year hiatus.
Russian Advisory Board – Raisa Aguf. A resident of the East Side and currently an at-large member of the board, Raisa has a lot of great ideas on how to improve the Russian commercial district, and she has agreed to serve as my direct appointee to the Russian Advisory Board so we can work together to make things happen.
Senior Advisory Board – Joy Nuell. Joy is a 35-year resident of West Hollywood, and has lived in both West Hollywood West and the Norma Triangle neighborhoods. Joy was the first full time radio news reporter in Los Angeles – so I’m looking forward to her updates on the Senior Advisory Board!
Transgender Advisory Board – Justine Gonzales. Justine joins the Transgender Advisory Board and the West Hollywood city family after extensive service to both Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Mayor Eric Garcetti, where she chaired the LGBT Heritage month and advised the Mayors on LGBT issues. Justine currently works as a Field Organizer at The Center.
Women’s Advisory Board – Kelly Alexander. Kelly has worked in the financial services industry since 1989. As a member of the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board, Kelly will work toward the economic empowerment and financial literacy of women in addition to the other priorities set forth by the city.