I’m not a candidate in this upcoming city council race, but I want to thank so many of your for your pledges of support. It means a lot to me. I’m sorry to let you down. To be honest I did not realize the breadth of the support, but this was not the year for me to give all of myself to all you.
It’s also nice that many of the challengers have called or written to me hoping “we” would win. I’m sorry to disappoint so many other candidates, but experience counts. If I have not seen you at a city council meeting speaking on issues then I can’t support your candidacy.
There are only three people in this race who offer experience. The two incumbents, John Heilman and John Duran, and ex-council member Steve Martin. If you don’t know the ropes you won’t get things done.
There is one issue that has made me challenge my support for the incumbents. That issue is the 8899 Beverly Blvd. project, where the developer wants to double the size of a building that’s already three times the size currently allowed. The council voted to accept the premise from the developer’s lobbyist that the project wouldn’t be profitable if it couldn’t be that large. Then, after the city council allowed the expansion, the developer started offering shares in it for sale before construction has even begun. I’d like to see both incumbents support the idea that these type of concessions by the city cannot be sold without the city council’s approval. Or maybe there should be a transfer tax on projects with special entitlements granted by the city that are sold before the building is completed. Both John Heilman and John Duran supported the expansion.
Today I am prepared to support, endorse and fight for the re-election of John Heilman. John has served West Hollywood for over 30 years. He has never run for higher office. If you love West Hollywood then John Heilman deserves some of the credit.
When you have a Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle on your team hitting home runs, you don’t replace him because he is a veteran. Who in his right mind is going to root against the man who is hitting home runs day after day because he has been on the team too long? Only negative people who cannot appreciate his contribution.
John Heilman deserves the honor of serving two more terms, at which point he reaches the term limits set by law. We need John Heilman to help groom new council members. Despite much criticism, John Heilman has been an honorable steward of the public trust. If Heilman were not re-elected, and he came before the City Council chamber to receive an honor for his years of service, the council chamber would erupt in a half-hour standing ovation. Heilman’s service to our community is second to none.
It’s clear to those on the inside that Heilman and new council member Lauren Meister have developed a solid working relationship. The big question is does Lauren have the guts to endorse him, or will she play into her supporters, who are the most vigilant Heilman haters? Will she put community interests first, or be a partisan council member and continue along this split?
There are only two other experienced candidates in the race — John Duran and Steve Martin. I’m friendly with both of them. But to earn my support in this city council election, I need something from both of them.
John Duran should again offer his apology for what has transpired because he hired Ian Owens as a deputy, which resulted in an expensive and embarrassing lawsuit against the city. I want to see him own it again. Hindsight is a tool for learning, so tell us Mr. Duran what you are sorry about. Be humble and take responsibility.
The next thing I want to hear from Duran is that he is running for us, the residents of West Hollywood. The last time he was elected, he decided a few months later that he would run for county supervisor. I want to make sure he is in it for us, and will dedicate the next four years only to West Hollywood and not other political ambitions.
And finally John Duran needs to run a positive campaign, focused on what he has accomplished. Negative ads like those during the last election and the election before by him or his “Friends of Duran” committee should be rejected by voters. If John won’t toot his own horn about what he’s accomplished after all these years, then he does not deserve re-election.
Steve Martin has plenty of passion and experience. He still attends planning commission and city council meetings regularly, weighing in on both development and social issues. Steve understands the way things work and that experience counts. I want to hear Steve’s vision for the future. I do not want to hear from him snarky comments about Duran’s past. Steve offers us a solid alternative if he is positive, works hard and gets organized. Steve needs to act like the council member he wants to be.
There is another candidate that I would rather not name but who I’m glad to work hard to defeat. This woman represents the most negative approach in our city. She walks around the city council chamber ignoring half the people in the room. She has filed bogus appeals against development, wasting city time and resources. She has said that we have enough affordable housing and argued against building more. And then she turned around and argued that the city should seize someone’s property at 1026-8 North Kings Rd., using affordable housing as an argument. As John Duran pointed out at a city council meeting, that’s against the law. The city does not have the authority to randomly take someone’s property for any use.
This woman does not have the temperament to serve on the city council, and her followers do not understand that she is not telling the truth about state mandates for development and affordable housing. She has never won any of her appeals and has not contributed anything positive to this city.
If I were a candidate in this year’s city council election and made such statements people would think I was promoting my self –interest instead of the community interest. This election is so critical, and the community interest is more important than my own personal gain. I can make a difference from the public comment podium and so can you. The checks and balances come from people who share their thoughts before the city council and promote new ideas before experienced council members who know how to implement policy.
While its sounds great to be a city council member I’m also proud to have offered many ideas that council members have adopted. A new city flag promotes our identity. New crosswalk initiatives make us safer. New proposals to allow a senior to move from a second floor to first floor unit have promoted our aging in place initiative. The disability health fair, which offers residents free flu shots and other things, was initially proposed by me. Protecting our affordable housing and integrating affordable units into regular developments has been one of my mantras. I don’t have to win an election to make a difference. And neither do any of the challengers. If you want to serve the city, get involved during the year and not just at election time.