Opinion: Board and Commission Members Serve the City, Not Those Who Appoint Them

This is the speech that Larry Block made last night at the city’s annual Congress of Boards and Commissions.

Hi everybody and congratulations to all the new board and commission members. And thank you to all the returning members for your continued service.

Larry Block
Larry Block

While I had hoped to be appointed to a fabulous commission there is something very special about standing here as an independent voice.

In the old days commission and board appointments were mostly at-large members of the community. Today’s appointments, in many cases are political extensions and campaign workers of the council members who appointed them.

My hope, and the reason I came here tonight, is to remind you that it’s the city you serve, it’s the community who puts their faith in you. We don’t care who appointed you. And I hope that each and every one of you will be an independent voice and not a political hack.

As commissioners you have a fiduciary responsibility to weigh both sides of an issue. Some have become so partisan that they have lost their independence. Remember your city is who you serve and even the council member who appointed you put their faith in your ability to disagree with them as well.

There are many commission members who did not get appointed or re-appointed to their commission. Some were fired after years of service to the city they love.

I don’t know all the names and can’t thank all the of them but… thank you Anne Marie Williams who was dismissed while serving as the chair of Human Services. Thank you Alexander Bazely and Shawn Hoffman for your service to Public Safety. There are so many others. The City Council owes a letter of thanks to those commissioners for their service. Many were dismissed without even a goodbye.

I can only hope that each one of you are proud to serve your city first and that loyalty to your community is greater than loyalty to even your own seat.

Larry Block, owner of The Block Party, is a former member of West Hollywood’s Disabilities Advisory Board.

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David Reid
4 years ago

Thank you for your service these years. I hope you run in 2017.

Lynn
Lynn
4 years ago

Some commissions appear unclear as the the parameters of their purview. Recently a HPC commissioner asked questions about “windows and doors” that while may have been appropriate for a Planning Commissione had no place and was clearly out of context with item itself. Another HPC commissioner correctly stated that hearing the 826 N. Kings Rd. project yet again, was a waste of time as it had already been discussed with respect to the correct conditions of proximity to historic structures. This fuzzy thinking and uncontrollable urge to speak on every issue is dissipating and serves to cloud the picture.

Showbiz Lady
Showbiz Lady
4 years ago

Mr. Block,

Thank you. I have been to some Commission meetings and the appointees are clearly not speaking from their heart or acting with care for the City of West Hollywood. Some appointees are at other meetings slamming the City instead of focusing on how to make the City better. Shame on them. Shame on the Councilmember who appointed them.

If you are a Commissioner then you should be a beacon for what is good, your oath is to defend the Constitution, U.S., State and the laws of the City. If you can’t uphold your oath then resign.

Larry Block
Larry Block
4 years ago

It was a publicly noticed meeting and anybody is allowed to speak. Thanks to those who appreciated and gave me smile and more. I agree whole heartedly with Roy Oldenkamp above…and many of the outside ‘activists’ are now insiders commissioners and should not be speaking publicly on items that are within their prevue. For example, a Rent Stabilization and Housing Commissioner has to have an open mind and might no longer be able to speak on housing matters, rents, affordable housing, west hollywood housing corp etc.. and in that regard we have lost a few of our champions with independent… Read more »

Eyewitness
Eyewitness
4 years ago

it was the best speech anybody gave, better than both speakers or both of the female council members who spoke and the highlight of the night. He had the courage to challenge us all to speak with our own heart. Anybody who wants to turn that into a negative has real problems.

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

Inappropriate.

Brad
Brad
4 years ago

he is not the mayor and had no business being there telling the other commissioners who they work for.

CF
CF
4 years ago

Great words to inspire. a reminder those who ‘play ball’ get posts such as Duke Mason who sold out his independence. It appears that Larry doesn’t need a city council seat to work on behalf of the community. Others need a seat because its all they have. Larry is the only candidate still involved after the election while the others seem to have been co-opted.. agree with Roy above. And to negative Mikey above Im sure that Mr. Block has many other things to do with his time but he dedicates it to the city. Sad for you to look… Read more »

Roy Oldenkamp
Roy Oldenkamp
4 years ago

A city that co-opts all its critics silences them. Someone from the outside must speak Truth to Power. At times. Larry Block is one of those few.

Ron Whitney
Ron Whitney
4 years ago

He should have gotten an appointment, he had many votes and is such a part of the community on so many issues. Shame on the city council. But it doesn’t seem to matter he still gets up to inspire the commissioners. I find it pretty incredible.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
4 years ago

Larry’s comments are dramatic and self-serving – even for him.

I’ve known at least 3 dozen commission and board appointees over the years, each and every one served with distinction and with focus on the good of the City and its residents.

The current Councilmembers likely realized that Larry would have been serving for his own gain, thus wouldn’t vote him onto Public Safety. Now everyone knows why.

Christopher
Christopher
4 years ago

Larry is a true asset to this city. I don’t always agree with all of his points, but his enthusiasm and commitment are very admirable.