Facts Matter: Let’s Get the City Council Election Campaign Focused on Them

FactsIs the Earth flat? Is Barack Obama NOT an American citizen? Is homosexuality an illness?

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions above perhaps it’s understandable that you believe that building more housing in West Hollywood will force housing costs to rise. After all, irrationality, defined as action or opinion given through inadequate use of reason, emotional distress, or cognitive deficiency, rarely is limited to a single subject.

But as the June 2 election for West Hollywood City Council approaches, we really need to take a rational look at the issues the city faces.

First, the basic law of supply and demand does apply to the cost of housing as well as the price of apples and walnuts (although West Hollywood’s growing desirability as a place to live is another factor to consider). The evidence of that abounds in other cities such as Washington, D.C. and New York City. (And if you want to get really geeky, take a look at this Harvard study about housing supply and demand). It’s actually the lack of housing in West Hollywood that likely explains an increase of 59 percent over 10 years in the average market-rate rent for a one-bedroom apartment. If you want to live in a less densely populated city be prepared to accept living in a more expensive one.

As to other issues that Council candidates currently are focused on, here are some facts to consider:

— Yes, the population is increasing, but up only four percent (or 1,426 people) in the past five years, according to a recent state study. As John Duran noted in response to John D’Amico’s complaint at a recent City Council meeting that WeHo has nearly 18,000 people per square mile, it has always been that way.

— Yes, the city has lost low-income housing units — three percent of them over the past 10 years because developers, applying the Ellis Act, have removed them from the market. On the other hand, a few hundred more are being added by the West Hollywood Community Housing Corp. and by developers of new projects, who are required to do so by law.

— Yes, traffic is a serious concern that must continue to be dealt with. But given that West Hollywood sits on major thoroughfares connecting the Westside of L.A. County with the Eastside, the very modest amount of development in West Hollywood in the past five years has had relatively little to do with that.

— Yes, the severe drought is an issue. But as some of WEHOville’s more adroit readers have pointed out, people moving into new apartments in West Hollywood, unless they are newborn babies, already have been consuming water. So that is not a matter for consideration when it comes to housing, although it is when it comes to watering lawns and filling pools.

— Yes, parking is an issue, and a thorny one. But let’s stop using the availability of parking in Beverly Hills to condemn West Hollywood’s approach to that problem. Beverly Hills has roughly the same population as West Hollywood on three times the acreage. So comparing the two is nonsensical. And its stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, the major East/West artery that we share and where we look for parking, is buffered by greenery while ours is surrounded by local shops, restaurants and bars and parking spaces.

What’s not being talked about? The city has the highest crime rate of any area served by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It has continued to fund money-losing ventures such as the Sunset Strip Music Festival. The City Council is ethically challenged, with its members soliciting donations for their favorite charities without reporting them as required by law, taking contributions from city vendors and continuing to back an expensive and dysfunctional deputy system that is unprecedented in a city our size. And then there’s the fact that two Council candidates are under investigation or have been sued for violating campaign finance laws.

If facts matter to you, there are some real issues to consider as you decide who to vote for on June 2.


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jimmypalmieri
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jimmypalmieri

@snake people who have been waiting on a list for years. count your blessings. don’t deny others a chance for theirs.

One of Cassandra's Snakes
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One of Cassandra's Snakes

@ Mr. Karen O’Keefe, the policies that drive up rents and put more cars on the street is what we have been getting from Heilman, Land and Duran for at least the last decade. Witness the ugly monstrosities over on La Brea. They have about 70 units of low income housing and about 300 units of double the current rents. So when they say we ” need ” housing, who the heck are they building those for?

Karen O'Keefe
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Karen O'Keefe

DK — Red-baiting and hurling the word “fascist” around when people disagree with you about parking policy. You’re quite a gem. You don’t have the facts behind you — nor have you cited any studies at all to back up your positions — but you sure do have plenty of nasty phrases. To make sure there’s no confusion: I don’t speak for Heilman or know him. I have no idea if he agrees with most of my ideas on parking. I was criticizing *Shink’s* parking proposals to require higher parking minimums and to give away more parking. The experience of… Read more »

kayaytche
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kayaytche

You can also read her mailers for evidence of such statements.

Chris Sanger
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Chris Sanger

John D’Amico’s plan to make WeHo his private fiefdom (a more apt portrayal of this campaign than DK’s absurd posts) is failing badly, and gives more reason to question his dubious judgment. And I’d like DK to explain how allegedly being in thrall to developers is consistent with Heilman has a communist bloc mindset. With each post, DK is more and more sounding like a tea partier, ignoring facts and basic a belief set on a deranged obsession with a successful public servant who has done a good job.

Man of Reason
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Man of Reason

Proof!?! Duh. Why don’t you read Wehoville. Jimmy Palmierii, the guy behind the sober event, posted a comment condemning Shink for saying she was involved. Wehoville wrote a story in which senior members of the Jewish women’s group objected to Shink’s saying she was on their board. Increasingly i’m coming to believe that you are Heidi Shink or her alternate personality. Having a City Council member whose pants are constantlyon fire isn’t smart or safe for our city.

Man of Reason
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Man of Reason

@DK aka Heidi Shink. So you still aren’t answering any questions about Shink’s lies. Why did she say she was on the board of the L.A. National Council of Jewish Women (when she wasn’t)? Why did she say she helped launched the sober New Year’s Eve party in WeHo (when she didn’t)? Why did she say she attended all the bike task force meetings (when she didn’t attend one)? Why did she say was a member of the advocacy board of NCJW (when they threw her off for not attending meetings)? Finally, why should the citizens of West Hollywood vote… Read more »

DK
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And you still haven’t provided proof of these lies. When, where, to whom “did she say” these things? Proof? Evidence? *crickets*

Why should the citizens of West Hollywood not vote for someone who will actually represent our interests based on rumors, innuendo, and smears and instead vote for a candidate who supports a regressive economy targeting the middle and working classes for fines, fees, and hidden taxes while he sells out West Hollywood’s charming quality of life to whichever developer bids the highest?

DK
Guest

To begin with, the regressive, communist bloc mindset that the streets of West Hollywood are owned by the government, not by the people, is a mindset that needs to be put to rest. Parking is not something that is owned by the government to be “given away”. One of the main problems with John Heilman is that he sees West Hollywood as his own personal fiefdom. West Hollywood belongs to its people and our democratic will — not his. Comparisons to New York are apples to oranges: New York has more than adequate public transit as an alternative. People there… Read more »

Steve Martin
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Steve Martin

Need examples of Council approving developments with less than adequate parking? How about the new hotel at Doheny and Sunset. The City approved it with 50 less parking spaces than required under municipal codes. The new development at Kings Road and Santa Monica is another example. The residential project at 826 Kings Road did not even have guest parking. The proposed residential building on Ogden is also has inadequate parking under the Code. The logic that we can have a viable business community without having adequate parking is a myth that has been fostered by developers who are just looking… Read more »

Karen O'Keefe
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Karen O'Keefe

DK — You seem to be stuck in a 1980s suburban mindset where everyone has their own car they drive everywhere. That is not the way of the future. Prompting the further subsidization and incentivization of fossil fuel consumption, pollution, and a mode of transit that is directly responsible (though collisions) for more deaths than guns (including suicides, accidents, and homicides) is NOT progressive. I believe at least two of the 12 candidates for City Council in March were not car owners. I don’t own a car. There are people who don’t own cars — including some of my elderly… Read more »

DK
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It’s also not rocket science that if you take the Heilman route and give your real estate donor pals the green light to build more and more projects without requiring them to also include enough on-site parking, there will be more and more drivers on the streets looking for parking. At the very least, new housing developments should have enough parking spots to account for *full* occupancy but instead Heilman Inc. has left residents to deal with the problem of an influx of new neighbors driven to the streets for an already scarce amount of spots. Which of course, means… Read more »

Chris Sanger
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Chris Sanger

DK – you are so easy to rebut that it doesn’t feel fair.

A couple of points though – traffic in adjacent LA and Bev Hills has gone up as much or more as in WeHo in the past 30 years. It has nothing to do with John Heilman, and there is nothing Heidi Shink can do to change it. And businesses suffer far more from lack of turnover and alternative high parking lot prices, which the current rate system is meant to improve.

John Heilman Derangement Sydrome leads to the weakest possible arguments more often than not once again.