Analysis: City Council Candidate Heidi Shink’s Stumbles Are Worrying Heilman Opponents

Continuing missteps by Heidi Shink have left those opposed to John Heilman’s re-election to the West Hollywood City Council fearful that she may no longer be a viable choice to defeat him.

Heidi Shink
Heidi Shink

The mistakes have included previously reported issues such as her partying at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is being boycotted by women’s rights and LGBT rights activists because it is owned by a company controlled by the autocratic Sultan of Brunei, who is invoking laws calling for the stoning to death of gay people and women who have sex outside of marriage. Then there was Shink’s decision to stage an April 19 fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of Ron Burkle, a billionaire investor from whom Bill Clinton has distanced himself for fear that association with him will hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. Burkle’s business partner is the autocratic Muslim ruler of Dubai, another homophobic state.

And most recently is the investigation launched by West Hollywood’s City Prosecutor into charges that Shink is using funds raised for a March campaign for City Council for the June 2 election, which is illegal under city law, and Shink’s own admission to WEHOville that payments to a company listed at her home address were reimbursements she made to herself for more than $7,000 in office supplies and website expenses from her March campaign funds, also not permitted under campaign finance law.

Shink has apologized for the Polo Lounge appearance, and her campaign denies it is using funds raised for the March election for the June campaign. Indeed, a letter from the California Secretary of State states that it erred in giving Shink’s June campaign the same ID number as her March campaign. That number’s appearance on campaign materials is one reason questions arose about misuse of campaign funds.

Heidi Shink's car parked in a handicapped parking space at the West Hollywood Park parking structure.
Heidi Shink’s car parked in a handicapped parking space at the West Hollywood Park parking structure.

But reports of other missteps also are circulating rapidly among the small community of political activists in West Hollywood who are most likely to turn out to vote. For example, Shink’s claim that she was instrumental in establishing #Boom, the well-attended sober New Years Eve party at West Hollywood Park, has been hotly contested by Jimmy Palmieri, a member of the city’s Human Services Commission who is founder of the Tweakers Project, which works to combat methamphetamine abuse.

“If for a second Ms. Shink is claiming anything at all to do with #SIZZLE (a gay pride sober event) or #BOOM, it is an outright lie,” Palmieri said in a comment on WEHOville. “She has never been to a meeting of the sober events working group, nor was she in attendance at this years #BOOM.”

Then there are Shink’s alleged claims to a Democratic Party group that she was a member of the board of directors of the L.A. Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women and claims that she is a member of the NCJW’s Advocacy Board. According to prominent NCJW members, Shink was rebuked for making the NCJW board member claim by the organization’s leaders. And they say she was a member of its Advocacy committee (there is no Advocacy board), but was effectively removed for not attending its meetings.

Members of the city’s Planning Commission also are upset that Shink is now urging that the City Council accept a proposal by anti-development activists to ask the commission to reconsider its approval of a project at 826 Kings Rd. As a Planning Commissioner, Shink voted for that project, which since has sparked a well-organized campaign against it that has included a rally she attended to voice her support for the project’s opponents.

An apparently un-disabled Heidi Shink on a hike with her dog.
An apparently un-disabled Heidi Shink on a hike with her dog.

Opponents of Shink also are circulating via email photos of her car parked in a handicapped parking space during the installment last month of new City Council members at the City Council Chambers. The photos include one of the permanent handicapped parking placard in her car, which allows her to park for free in metered spaces and in handicapped parking spaces. Also being distributed are photos of Shink hiking up what appears to be Runyon Canyon and playing softball. Shink had back surgery several years ago and has pronounced herself completely recovered. When questioned recently about the use of the parking pass she told WEHOville that her doctor wants her to limit on occasion how far she walks.

These issues have prompted some of Heilman’s fiercest opponents to reach out to Shink and her campaign manager, Renee Nahum, to express their concerns. Those people, who would speak to WEHOville only if not quoted by name, have viewed Shink as Heilman’s only strong opponent. Others in the race are Larry Block and Cole Ettman.

Shink has the endorsement of City Councilmember John D’Amico, who dislikes Heilman on both a personal and political level. D’Amico was re-elected to Council in the March election along with newcomer Lauren Meister, who he also endorsed. A win by Shink would help give D’Amico a three-vote majority on many issues. The other council members, Lindsey Horvath and John Duran, have expressed their support for Heilman.

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Jeff Barge
Jeff Barge
5 years ago

To be fair, that hairdo didn’t work for Dylann Roof either.

Jeff Barge
Jeff Barge
5 years ago

Why is she stealing Cher’s hairdo? It’s just not flattering unless you have at least some Indian ancestry.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

I’m guessing Guadarama is thinking of running in 2017 (this election is for a 21 month term), with hoping his co-running the ethics’ task force will bolster him. Also guessing that depending on thi election’s results the runner up might also run again. Lots of guessing that Steve Martin might try again (hence his refusal to back Larry Block?)

Heilman if he wins certainly runs, I think there is a real question about Duran, and he will be much more vulnerable than Heilman if he does.

Guillermo
Guillermo
5 years ago

I learned recently that Heidi Shink’s campaign is being run by the same group that ran John D’amico’s campaign as well as Joe Guadarama’s campaign. I can’t help but feel there is something odd with this, especially considering the fact that Joe didn’t run again after John gave his support to Heidi. It just reeks of cronyism.

Aaron micu
Aaron micu
5 years ago
Reply to  Guillermo

Campaign managers work for clients that hire them, they don’t have a political agenda, they ultimately want a check, it’s a 24/7 job and they work their asses off. This comment only exposes that the campaign managers in question are great at their work, which is why each of the candidates mentioned wanted and hired the best managers, nothing more, seriously.

Wesley McDowell
Wesley McDowell
5 years ago

Combat people ruled by derangement? Is that the level of acrimony we have reached? That’s rather sad. Yes, Lauren has lost an election, 8 years ago and Lindsay 4 years ago; not 2 months like John and Larry. I frankly think neither of them should be running. In essence, it’s a “do over.” John said he would not run in June but not true to his word he is running and over $100,000 is being spent to get him back into an office that only pays $500 a month. Look where all that money is coming from. It’s really quite… Read more »

Aaron Micu
Aaron Micu
5 years ago

Bravo Chris!

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

Wesley – 1) Meister, Horvath, Block also lost previous elections – clearly you have different rules for Heilman, which seems like hypocricy 2) Term limit indeed were elected in a small turnout election by people misled in part by the Republican notion of term limits, and was a petty, vindictive notion overseen by past losers who didn’t think they could win any other way (by the way, they were wrong) 3) Duh – of course he wasn’t gong to run in June if he won in March – do you have different rules for Larry Block (who only got half… Read more »

Wesley McDowell
Wesley McDowell
5 years ago

It may be worth remembering a few things: * Heilman LOST the March election * Term limits were established in 2013 because Heilman had served for 28 years * He didn’t show any interest in this election until he LOST in March * No one on LA City Council has served longer than 12 years * The current West Hollywood Council is not all newbies; only one * The toxicity in City Hall and fear or anxiety of residents to speak against something Heilman favors is directly attributable to his attitude towards others. * West Hollywood was not created by… Read more »

Aaron
Aaron
5 years ago

If Heidi is the best a West Hollywood “leader” can do in promoting new leadership for our city, we are in serious trouble. Voters, study the history of this person, and consider our city’s future. Heidi, and her Cher fiasco publicity stunt for starters, isn’t remotely qualified to have a council seat. She is a totally irresponsible (non-option), in my opinion. Check out the WeHoVille article on this woman’s abuses and decide for yourselves. Facts are facts. She’s a pleasant person without a doubt, but a leader on the council level? No. Perhaps if she actually showed up for important… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

Ettman is COO of Levine & Bick, a Beverly Hills law firm. Per his Linkedin profile, his skills include legal writing, litigation, contract negotiation among others. Sounds like he’s presenting himself as a lawyer.
I have no idea what your point is about Heilman, or what that has to do with “facts.”

One of Cassandra's Snakes
One of Cassandra's Snakes
5 years ago

@Chris, We had an election. Heilman is no longer on the council.
Cole Ettman is NOT an attorney.

You are concerned about facts. Check things out before posting as truth.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

Steve – I support Heilman based on issues, as I oppose the other candidates. It is his opponents, led by John D’Amico, but you have done this as well, who often make his personality the issue. My core issue is that with the loss of Prang and Land and the possible loss of Duran soon, we need people who have demonstrated they know what they are doing. Horvath alone among the three other members shows promise, none of Heilman’s opponents suggest anything other need for a lot more experience before they should be on the council. And your point about… Read more »