Committee Backing Heilman for WeHo Council More Than Doubles Money Raised

“WeHo United for John Heilman for City Council 2015,” to date the only independent expenditure committee to emerge in the June 2 Council election, has more than doubled its fundraising in the past few weeks.

John Heilman
John Heilman

The committee, which by law is not allowed to coordinate its spending with that of Heilman’s campaign, had reported contributions of $40,012 as of April 14. They were included in the pre-election campaign report filed April 18.

But more recent reports of individual contributions have boosted that figure to $97,512. As was the case with the donations reported April 18, most of the money is from real estate development interests.

The donors include BMB Commercial Corp. ($15,000), Excel Property Management Services ($15,000), Washington-Western LLC ($10,000), Townscape Management ($10,000), James. R. Zarian ($10,000) and E.T. Legg & Associates ($2,500).

BMB Commercial is a firm controlled by Benjamin Soleimani, a developer with major interests on Melrose Avenue. Excel Property Management Services is controlled by Arman Gabay of the Charles Group, which is the developer of the Melrose Triangle project. Washington-Western occupies the same office on Melrose Avenue as developer Jerry Illoulian’s Aga John. Townscape Management is owned by John Irwin and Tyler Siegel, developers involved in the 8899 Beverly and 8150 Sunset projects. James R. Zarian is an inventor of various commercial lighting and fiber optic products. E.T. Legg & Associates is a billboard company.

Heilman, a 30-year Council member who lost his bid for re-election in the March 3 election, is one of four candidates in the special election on June 1 to fill one Council seat. Others are Larry Block, Cole Ettman and Heidi Shink.


23 Comments
  1. @Steve Martin: As a lawyer, one would think you would focus on facts rather than conjecture or just plain made up stuff. The pastiche you present in denigrating John Heilman is simply that, a pastiche.

    There is life beyond the ditch of negativity and sarcasm which you appear to feel regularly compelled to present in front of city council. Surely, as an intelligent person you must have some constructive ideas that could be implemented through the council member of your choice.

  2. Developers don’t throw around that sort of cash because they love West Hollywood’s progressive politics. Heilman may not be a puppet of developers but he has a vision of West Hollywood of glass and steel that is hardly in keeping with our pride in living in an “urban village”. John’s loss in May was not a repudiation of his progressive ideas but rather a reflection that a large number of people don’t agree with his vision for the future and that he is out of touch with the aspirations of many in our community. Obviously big developers believe he needs to be on City Council so we can continue John’s reign of “build or bust”. If Heilman is so wonderful, why the need for the big bucks to get him elected?

    What was missing from Heilman’s March bid and in the current election are any new ideas or any description of his views on our future. John is a smart guy but seems to be a bit short on vision and is not able to clearly defend his recent record of alliance with the big monied one percenters. Indeed without developer money John would have been gone long ago.

    John’s cozy relationship with developers is far scarier than any of the mistakes or foibles of his challengers. We need new leadership that is more in tune with the community; we need forward looking leadership that is not sitting on laurels for ancient accomplishments. We don’t need to bring someone back to City Hall who was largely responsible for the dysfunctional culture on the third floor. John has done many good things for the City but his “leadership” on development issues is taking West Hollywood in the wrong direction and big money is undermining our small town democracy. John’s years of “experience” has brought us is over development and arrogance.

    It is time to thank John Heilman for his years of service and bring in some fresh ideas. I would remind John’s supporters that he is mortal, (we think), and someday West Hollywood will have to function without him.

    1. Steve,
      Are you really supporting someone who is or has been investigated due to campaign laws being broken. Then there is a candidate who’s business is failing. I think John is a far better candidate at this time.

  3. JacobD, no, it’s not just you. I’d even say you’re not giving the man enough credit. What about all the food we can enjoy thanks to him, the drinks he allows us to savor, the pets we get to keep, the sidewalks we are allowed to walk on that were his idea, buses with wheels which he invented, air travel, modern medicine, dare I say the internet?

    1. Everyone wants to attack John Heilman. Many say he’s done a great job but should go. There are four candidates running. One has a failing business, do we really want his expertise on the council. Another is under investigation for mishandling donations and paying herself out of said donations. The third it is reported has engaged in illegal activity on the east coast and there is still some issues he never resolved while running for office there. And then we have John. Yes, he’s a good fund raiser and for being good he is attacked. He has helped lead our community for many years including keeping the city in the black while other cities struggle. Out of the four seeking election to the open council seat he is the best qualified.

  4. These unregulated money PACs are shameful. If West Hollywood had any vision they would pass an anti-PAC law, one in direct contrast to the Citizens United ruling, and use this as a means to challenge the ruling making PACs people. And not limited by finance laws. WEHO has the money to pay attorney’s to champion this fight for ALL of America. Or, you could pull a Heilman and take the money and run. (Twice in one year).

  5. Power corrupts. John Heilman was one of the best leaders of the 20th century for WEHO. It is 2015 and the art end of town has been HEILMANIZED. In their grab for more tax revenue by virtue of more property taxes (because there is more property to tax (every floor, every square foot of very floor is more tax revenue) We need to STOP and take a breath (The same way WEHO did on DAY ONE and a 9 month building moratorium was put in place in 1985.) Let’s see how much traffic and such is impacted by the yet to be completed monoliths next to the Dylan and the old Trader Joe’s) before one more shovel breaks ground east of Fairfax. Santa Monica Boulevard and its re-do was far from ‘creative’. the LA City sidewalk on the corner of Melrose & Gardner is creative, and at no extra cost! (They put simple but attractive stress lines in the walk, go see for yourself and it was pre-the redo of SMB.) ANY of the three challenges would be a welcomed breath of fresh air (and ideas) on the council. These donors aren’t opening their wallets in the name of ‘good government’. Good grief.

  6. I’d thank Dwight Eisenhower for the interstate highway system; that does not mean that were he alive he should be President-for-Life. New ideas and and fresh, creative thinking is needed. By all means, Heilman should be thanked for the good in his tenure. The bad in his tenure (wanton over-development, ridiculous parking shakedowns) indicate that it is time for him to go. He should retire with dignity rather than reappearing like a zombie election after election — a relic of the past not knowing when to call it quits is rather sad.

  7. Is it just me, or is it ironic to hear people hating on Heilman from their rent controlled apartments (thank you Heilman); within walking distance of the award winning remodel of Santa Monica Blvd, arguably the most walkable major artery in Los Angeles (thank you Heilman); while frequenting restaurants, gyms, and grocery stores built in developments approved during Heilman’s tenure (thank you Heilman).

    As residents we owe Heilman a collective thank you for the leadership and vision that has resulted in the quality of life and city which we cherish so much.

  8. I’m not against development; however, I am concerned about over-development.

    Apart from the east side, which is a hot mess of Soviet era inspired retail/residential boxes, the area west of La Cienega, Melrose is fast becoming a canyon with walls of concrete and glass. We have large projects proposed or in development on Melrose at Westmount, Westborne, Norwich and La Cienega, not to mention the recently completed and oversized Restoration Hardware. Waterworks is fleeing to Melrose Place, which has been able to maintain its charm, and there are a number of empty storefronts on this small stretch of Melrose. Slated for the area are the Melrose Triangle, a hotel and shopping center on Robertson, a hotel on La Peer, the Cohen brothers’ hotel, office and residential towers amphitheater, retail and movie theaters at Santa Monica and San Vicente, and the retail/residential tower at 8899 Beverly Blvd, not to mention the other developments on Santa Monica Blvd, just west of La Cienega. I’m sure there are others I don’t know about.

    Residents are rightly concerned. Traffic is often at a standstill and commuters seeking shortcuts speed through narrow residential streets. Though the city council has recognized the traffic and parking problems associated with these projects – the Melrose Triangle received an F – no real solutions have been proposed or considered.

    Not surprisingly, the developers of these projects have contributed large sums to Heilman’s campaign. They will surely expect something in return and in the past Heilman has consistently voted in line with their interests. Nothing he has said in this campaign has convinced me that he shares my concerns. I really hope I’m wrong because the three remaining candidates who do simply aren’t electable.

  9. I got the “Weho United” mailer today, very informative!

    Someone thanks John Heilman for creating “more park space” for what appears to be a child with an off leash dog.

    I wonder what that could be referring to? Manny, can you enlighten us on the rationale of your committee’s mailer?

    To my knowledge Mr. Heilman (who looks 20 years old in the depiction) was against a dog park in WeHo park and was against the creation of King’s Rd Park.

    And what is his “solid plan for fighting traffic”??? Judging by the first 30 years it must be fighting traffic with more traffic.

  10. Heidi will be the second disaster D’Amico will have leveled on our city. Heilman is the only, and BEST choice if we want our city to continue to thrive. Heilman has historic knowledge of our city that is unique to him alone.

    Outside of Lindsay Horvath and John Duran, the council of today is a scary, backward thinking group that doesn’t represent the West Hollywood that I love, the West Hollywood that I moved to 24 years ago. This city was, and continues to be the best place to live, and the new agenda of egocentric agenda driven council people will ruin this special city.

    This is the “creative” city. What is creative about the agenda of stopping everything fresh, new and responsible? The attitude of NO to everything is not where we need to be. Responsible choices and open minds are required, or else our creative city is finished.

    John Heilman must be elected to bring balance.

    *this opinion is mine alone

  11. We have one new council member who already has proved she is not up to the job. If it isn’t about her neighborhood she is totally lost. She asks stupid questions and makes makes statements that prove she is totally out of her league. With that said do we need to add another uninformed, out of their league, council member or do we return John to the city council with his vast knowledge?

  12. Are you serious? Look at the East Side. It is being over-developed with large buildings with high rents. Most of the residents on the east side can’t afford the rents. However, those buildings have given the landlords all over the east side the idea that their older units with no amenities can fetch nearly the same rents. Rents are up all over the area. Way up. As far as the WHCHC, you can’t get on their waiting lists for a low-income unit, so most of them go to people from outside WeHo. Forget about finding a landlord who will take a Section 8 Voucher. You used to be able to find them.

    This is what John Heilman left us. It will be a canyon of apartment buildings from La Brea to Fairfax. All “luxury” buildings. And maybe a hotel too. Thanks for ruining our village John Heilman.

  13. John Heilman is the controller of his own actions, thoughts and vision-beholden to no one. This is why West Hollywood is so admired by the majority of her residents and those who are in awe from afar of what our small city can and has accomplished.

    We are second to no other city in our social service programs and his character is beyond reproach in his successful attempts to reinvent West Hollywood with our core values that worked then and now. John has new and creative ways to keep affordable housing for seniors, very-low, low and moderate income households that meet the inclusionary income guidelines. One element to accomplished this is with new and ‘responsible development’ that adds affordable and inclusionary housing to our eroded Rent Stabilized housing stock.

    This is a good thing to reinvent a new ways to strengthen the foundation of West Hollywood’s affordable housing. Support agencies such as CES and WHCHC will add to keeping our core value of affordable housing for which this city was founded on and known for. There’s hard work ahead, but John Heilman is the one to lead as he always has. Under John’s direction, affordable housing is not a thing of the past but a challenge of the future and how to accomplish and sustain this admirable core goal. Yes, ‘responsible development’ is part of the equation.

    Developers are means to accomplish this humane and lofty goal and never, NEVER has John Heilman been controlled by and special interest, developer, bill-board company. From West Hollywood’s inception, John vigorously fought for those that otherwise most would leave behind. The LGBT community, thanks to John’s fight for cityhood, have found a place of acceptance supported by programs that allow the LGBT community to blossom, flourish and most of all are accepted unconditionally. Seniors can stay in West Hollywood, have access to programs that allow them to continue as accomplished contributors to West Hollywood. John has been with the women of our city and all women as we all fight for full recognition, equality and respect for women.

    John Heilman has the common sense to re-run because like me and many, many others, we want the systematic dismantling of West Hollywood to stop. Affordable housing, seniors, LGBT community and families are as fundamental today as they were then. It was a difficult but necessary decision that John faced when he came to realize he must run in the Special Municipal Election.

    John knows what many of us see. John and his supporters must stop the conversion and egregious dismantling of West Hollywood into an elitist, and figuratively speaking, gated community. This vision is of those that hold onto unrealistic, romantic, and emotional nostalgic ideas that West Hollywood is better if it is “capped or “domed-off.” The solution is to face the problems of today, which are not much different than yesterday, and solve them with the progressive approach that is paramount character strength in John Heilman.

    John will bring new and better ways to commute to our city. He will fight to keep West Hollywood safe, sound, prosperous and inclusive. John Heilman got it then and gets it now. West Hollywood, has quickly found there is no better candidate for West Hollywood City Council. The smoke and mirrors along with erroneous fear based accusations are clearly just that!

    Don’t just talk, look at what John has accomplished, what West Hollywood has acquired, and what his ideas are to keep West Hollywood inclusive, eclectic, affordable, walkable and all the reason West Hollywood is the best little city. West Hollywood attracts the masses to celebrate, live, embrace as their home or favorite destination to recreate and work. Thank you John Heilman.

  14. Heaven helps us all if HEILman is elected ! A man who went back on his word about elections are term limits. A TRUE megalomaniac !!

  15. Woody, I’m not here to defend Heilman, or say he should return, but a 69 vote loss is hardly a referendum from voters. He probably looks at it as a strong base of people who will vote for him, and thinks that he has strong public support for his return.

    I only say this, because its not easy to know exactly where he’s coming from, without knowing the man.

  16. If anyone seriously doubt Why Mr Heilman is running again after losing after 30 years one can follow the money trail to this IEC and its clear to see the man that changed the general plan to allow mega density Mr Heilman is the puppet of the developers getting rich on all the 6 story buildings along Santa Monica Blvd. Is this the kind of democracy we want in WEHO? A few wealth individuals flooding our election with money to get their guy back in? We need Zoning Reform In West Hollywood and The General plan revised before the residents quality of life is driven into more traffic, density and parking spot scavanger hunts

  17. That’s quite the Rogues Gallery of developers all lining up behind John Heilman. I think they see him as development-friendly and the likely winner with Heidi Shink imploding. They are going to want something in return for that kind of money – even if it’s chump change to them. Politicians are cheap buys in small cities.

  18. Heilman’s list of financial supporters are a stark reflection of who controlled his actions on the council. Why does this man not have the sense of self respect & dignity to move on with his life after being voted out of office by the WeHo electorate instead of pathetically clinging to his little position of local power like he had no other place in life? His whole trip is creepy. The voters have made the March 3 election a transitional one & are excited to have new & more desirable leadership which does not include this old timer of 30 plus years who has helped worsen the same old problems we had when he was first elected in 1984. Heilman was one of the City’s long time problems the voters chose to correct. He just doesn’t – or cannot – get it. The new City Council is making beautiful progress & the people want to move forward with another new member. The election of another new Council member is exciting, the election of Heilman again is not. Give it up dude, move on with your life & be happy. For your sake as well as the City’s.

Comments are closed.