Opinion: Honesty Should Be Issue No. 1 in the WeHo City Council Election

Election 2015, voting boothThere are a number of issues for West Hollywood residents to consider as we go to the polls Tuesday to vote in the special City Council election.

Do we think there is too much residential and commercial development in the city? Is that having a negative impact on our way of life? Or do we think there needs to be growth, properly managed, to sustain the city economically and to curb the escalation in housing costs?

Do we think the city should work harder to preserve historically and culturally significant buildings? Or do we think the city is striking a proper balance between preservation and the growth that sometimes requires demolishing older buildings?

Do we think the difficulty drivers have in finding parking in our small city, one of the most densely populated in the nation, can be addressed by rolling back parking meter hours? Or do we think the current meter enforcement program has improved the parking situation?

Heidi Shink
Heidi Shink

Those are just a few of the many issues on which the four candidates for City Council have taken stands that we  should consider when we cast our ballots. The wonderful thing about democracy is that a successful election should produce a City Council member whose positions align with those of the majority of us.

But there is another issue in this particular City Council race that transcends all others. That is honesty, or the lack thereof. No matter what a candidate’s professed position on civic issues, if he or she can’t be trusted to tell the truth and not violate the law, that candidate should not be on the West Hollywood City Council.

In this race two of the four candidates have a poor record when it comes to telling the truth and obeying the law. There is Cole Ettman, the manager of a Beverly Hills law firm, who has had 13 charges filed against him by the New York State Board of Elections for failing to pay fines for campaign law violations in his home state. When questioned by WEHOville about the charges, Ettman didn’t deny breaking the law but did say he had paid the fines long ago. A document provided by the Board of Elections shows that was not true — Ettman paid up only after WEHOville reported the lawsuits and fine. When questioned about a lawsuit in which a New York real estate company accused him of fraudulently violating a contract and demanded payment of more than $90,000, Ettman told WEHOville the case had been dismissed. Yes, but only after Ettman agreed to settle the charges with the plaintiff. Also two individuals have confirmed that Ettman offered Larry Block $20,000 to pull out of the City Council race, a violation of a state law enacted in 1893.

Cole Ettman
Cole Ettman

Then there is Heidi Shink, who is under investigation by the City Prosecutor for allegedly using money raised for the March City Council race for her June campaign and for writing checks to herself from that campaign fund. Both are illegal activities. Shink’s campaign says the first allegation is a result of a mistake by the California Secretary of State’s office, which may be true, although it is odd that her well-paid campaign managers wouldn’t have noticed that mistake. However Shink did admit to WEHOville that she wrote checks to herself from her March campaign fund. Shink also has been called out for a series of what some call misstatements (and others call lies). They include claiming that she was a member of the board of the L.A. Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, that she helped create the every popular sober New Year’s Eve event in West Hollywood, that she was active in an effort to promote bicycle safety, and on and on.

There are reasons why some West Hollywood residents don’t want to see John Heilman return to the City Council on which he served for 30 years, reasons why others don’t want Larry Block to take a Council seat. But residents who oppose the stands of Heilman and Block on civic issues have no one but themselves to blame for not finding and promoting candidates whose opinions align with theirs and also who the residents of West Hollywood can trust.

So in Tuesday’s election, we voters have to decide whether honesty should come before concerns about preserving buildings, improving parking or the scale of development. No matter what a candidate’s professed stand on an issue, if he or she can’t be trusted to tell the truth and not violate the law, how can we trust that candidate to do what he or she has promised when elected?


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Disco Dan
Guest
Disco Dan

Dear Joe and Joan – Thank you for your most gracious and considerate comments. I’m glad that I clarified my previous post to your satisfaction. I also truly appreciate your good wishes that I find a suitable abode before I am evicted but I don’t think an affordable unit will have my name on it – LOL ! Further, Joe, I was sorry to learn of the death of your father whenever it may have happened. Losing a parent is very traumatic as I well know since both of my parents are now deceased. They were only children, as I… Read more »

joetheplummber
Guest
joetheplummber

Dear Disco, Thank you for clarifying that you are not mad at Wehoville/Hank. My father, a military man, used to say (God rest his soul) opinions are like Street Cars, “there is another one that comes every minute.” I don’t believe Wehoville has expressed bias and I am glad you only had to spend a limited time (4 takes) to make your video. Spending a limited time in the company you were keeping would seem to be a benefit. We wish you well and hope you find a great new home at the end of the time your tenancy is… Read more »

Disco Dan
Guest
Disco Dan

Joe & Joan – No, it is not my business who votes for which candidate as long as you vote. I am NOT mad at Hank in the least. I was only pointing out from reading many articles on this site, that it APPEARS he favors Heilman. Nothing more, northing less. BTW – the video you refer to was done in four takes with no cue cards or memorization.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

@Tom Smart: Tis frightening that honesty and integrity would not be priorities for you. Actually, shocking.

Tom Smart
Guest
Tom Smart

HEIDI SHINK FOR THE WIN!!!

Heilman is bulldozing this 2 mile city at warped speed and needs to be stopped dead in his tracks. If this election fails to do that, it’s time to put a SLOW GROWTH INITIATIVE on the next ballot.

Stop the Madness Already!!!!

joetheplummber
Guest
joetheplummber

@Hank@Disco Whose business is it who you vote for, as long as you vote? Wehoville has done an excellent job reporting the facts. Disco, you appeared in a video supporting a candidate; Hank did not do that! Are you mad at Hank or just “mad at the dirt” that has come forward about your candidate?

Joe and Joan

JJ
Guest
JJ

@ Mike – right on!

Disco Dan
Guest
Disco Dan

Hank – No, it does not but if you read between the lines (especially in light of your other comments), that is who I think you are voting for.

Disco Dan
Guest
Disco Dan

Hank, you speak of HONESTY that in your opinion transcends all other matters. Heilman is, to me, the MOST dishonest insofar that he repeatedly stated that ELECTONS ARE TERM LIMITS and then decides to run YET AGAIN ! How can you justify voting for him?

Alison
Guest
Alison

@WeHo Thom – You say Block is not clogging your mailbox with mailers? Well, he is clogging mine! Every day, I get at LEAST one mailer from Block in my mailbox.

Jeffery Ward
Guest

I think the only one being dishonest here is Hank! I applaud you for using your media well. I think you should just come out and call the those that you think are liars and then throw your support to John, instead of trying to influence and deceive your readers! Shame on you!

Mike
Guest
Mike

Woody, Heilman barely lost and Lauren and Lindsey barely won. So please get off your high horse. You know better. Heilman didn’t lose in a landslide like you’re inferring when you say “dumped.” I’m honestly not found on any candidate in this race. I just find it assuming how you all try to rewrite history to benefit your views and candidates. Wake up, Heidi is not innocent. At least Heilman isn’t being investigated or breaking the law like Heidi and Cole. Even Larry Block puts his campaign signs all over the city illegally. It’s a sad day in WeHo when… Read more »