On the Inside: Is There a Campaign to Recall John Duran?

Is there really a campaign underway to recall John Duran from his seat as a West Hollywood City Council member? Well, it is under discussion, but even those who like the idea admit it’s unlikely to succeed.

Ryan Gierach (LinkedIn)
Ryan Gierach (LinkedIn)

Half a dozen political insiders who have spoken to WEHOville, most on the condition that their names not be made public, acknowledge that they have been approached by someone pitching a recall. That someone is Ryan Gierach, publisher of WeHo News.

Gierach has called leaders of several neighborhood groups, at least one unsuccessful City Council candidate and other civic activists and told them he intends to lead the effort if he can get their support. Gierach did not respond to requests from WEHOville for comment.

Gierach once was a strong support of Duran and used his blog to attack the Council member’s opponents. Duran had helped Gierach in the past when he faced eviction from his apartment. Several of those contacted by Gierach told WEHOville that Gierach is now angry with Duran because of his refusal to help Gierach with his most recent eviction. Duran confirmed that Gierach is angry with him for not agreeing to be his lawyer when he got arrested and evicted for threatening his neighbors.

As a result of that eviction Gierach has told people that he and his partner, Marcus Fant, are moving to Long Beach, a statement he subsequently has both confirmed and denied.

While Gierach’s interest in recalling Duran might be motivated by personal animosity, others have seen it as a possible way to end the three-two City Council majority that Duran is a part of on issues involving development. Council members John D’Amico and Lauren Meister have opposed a number of new development projects and complained that West Hollywood is becoming overdeveloped. But projects such as 8899 Beverly Blvd. has been supported by Councilmember Duran, Councilmember John Heilman and Mayor Lindsey Horvath.

Sam Borelli, a member of the city’s Human Services Commission, is one of those who was approached about getting involved in the recall effort who agreed to discuss it.

“This came up especially when all of the Ian stuff came up,” Borelli said, referring to “deputygate,” the investigation of alleged misbehavior by City Council deputies, one of whom accused Duran of sexual harassment. “A number of people came to me after this was all exposed … and sort of wanted to jump on that bandwagon without knowing how many signatures you had to get, how much money it would cost.”

Borelli said he thinks Duran’s admission that he hired Ian Owens as his deputy after meeting him online and having sex with him was bad for the city’s reputation. But when it comes to a recall campaign, he said, “I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think it would be more harmful to our city to do that.”

One obstacle to a recall is that it will require signatures of 20 percent of West Hollywood’s registered voters to put it on the ballot. That seems unlikely given that only 20 percent of West Hollywood voters actually turn out to vote in a city election. Another obstacle is the roughly $100,000 that will have to be raised to carry out the recall campaign, which will require campaigners to visit voters door-to-door to get their signatures. Finally, there is the considerable support that Duran has among local residents, who have consistently voted him back into office.

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Ivy Bottini’s announcement last week that she was stepping down from the West Hollywood Gay & Lesbian Advisory Board after 17 years of service shocked several of her fellow board members and brought tears to the eyes of some.

Ivy Bottini
Ivy Bottini

Bottini, 89, is a lesbian with a history of activism in organizations such as the National Organization of Women and was instrumental in the creation of Triangle Square, the nation’s first affordable lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender private apartment housing development.

Why did Bottini step down? She told WEHOville that she made the decision when Mayor Lindsey Horvath named Marquita Thomas, president of the L.A. Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce, to the advisory board rather than Bottini. Bottini said that Horvath had promised to reappoint her to the board and that she didn’t alert Bottini that she wasn’t going to do that.

Horvath said she hadn’t made such a promise and was unhappy to hear that Bottini had resigned from the board. “I think Ivy has done a remarkable job on the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board for many, many years,” Horvath said. “She has been a personal icon of mine. I was actually very surprised at the news that she had resigned… I have no doubt that she is going to continue to be a very storm voice in our community on lesbian and gay issues.

“I didn’t make a promise to her to personally reappoint her. I do know that she was Jeff’s appointee,” Horvath said, alluding to former City Council member Jeffrey Prang. “Jeff’s appointees were the responsibility of John Heilman.”

On the Inside is an occasional look at what’s going on behind the scene in West Hollywood politics.

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Steve Martin
Steve Martin
4 years ago

Ivy’s legacy goes way beyond her years of service to West Hollywood as a member of the Gay and Lesbian Advisory Board. When there are issues that matter, you can be sure Ivy’s is will still be heard and her wit and wisdom will not be lost to us.

Larry Block
Larry Block
4 years ago

lol chris sanger.. I’ve been contacted many times to support a recall but its a waste of time and energy.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
4 years ago

Good luck going door to door with a recall based on gay misdeeds. A lot of folks will think the Mormons have come back and slam the door in your face.

Christopher Bowen
4 years ago

John Duran has always given 100% to the City of West Hollywood. He doesn’t deserve to be treated with such disregard. I do not support any recall attempt and I would urge others to dismiss the potential recall as well.

Ricky Lee Jones
Ricky Lee Jones
4 years ago

Duran has been horrible but a recall is not feasible. He won’t be reelected so just let him enjoy the time he has left.

Citizen with an Opinion
Citizen with an Opinion
4 years ago

If people really want to see Duran leave, a better strategy is probably to be vocal about what they deem to have been inappropriate behavior. They could go door to door, voicing that opinion when election time nears, and continue to bring it up during public comment at City Council meetings, as Steve Martin has continued to do. If the public continues to be reminded about this situation, they might choose to not re-elect him, or he might choose not to run again. Maybe create a Facebook group or page? But they have to keep that rhythm going, and not… Read more »

90069
90069
4 years ago

Agreed – Duran scandal was terrible but we have elections to sort that out. Not need for term limits or recalls.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
4 years ago

Rather symptomatic of our petty and dysfunctiuonally incestuous small town politics. Of course Duran should step down as he would have to in any serious government or company, having hired his deputy via Grindr. But the only effort to put pressure on him comes not from the City Manager and City Council who should have privately and then publicly asked him to step down 6 months ago, not from an ex blogger, disgruntled for personal reasons. I have nothing personal against Mr. Duran, I thoroughly enjoyed his mariachi performance at the GHLH celebration and feel fairly neutral about him politically,… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
4 years ago

Duran comes up for reelection if he chooses to run in 17 months. Time enough then. Recalls, like term limits, are nearly always a Republican right wing notion. Let’s keep West Hollywood progressive and democratic (small d) and stop aping Newt GIngrich and his ilk.

Marco Colantonio
Marco Colantonio
4 years ago

Nonsense!

Lynn
Lynn
4 years ago

One can’t keep beating a dead horse deader than dead and move forward. We could all afford to discard our baggage, practice serious introspection, take responsibility and become part of solutions rather than problems.

JJ
JJ
4 years ago

Gierach can’t leave town fast enough. Go already.

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