Sluggish WeHo City Council Race is Gaining Steam

Candidates at a WeHo City Council election forum (Photo by Joseph Daniels, JosephDanielsPhotography.com)

Campaigning for the WeHo City Council has been sluggish according to some who have followed the oft-contentious elections over the years.

However the campaign is gaining steam as mailboxes in recent days have been flooded with flyers promoting John Heilman, one of two incumbents in the race. Signs backing Heilman also are popping up around the city. Incumbent John Duran also has begun to push signs out. Residents have observed only a few promoting challenger Steve Martin, a number of signs for Michael Cautillo and no signs or flyers to date for the other six challengers in the race.

The once sluggish campaign also has begun to generate verbal and social media slugs (not, so far, any that are physical). That was evident at last night’s city council meeting.

One speaker, who identified himself as Brian Hamilton, stepped up to the podium last night to harshly denounce John Duran and Heilman, the incumbents. Hamilton identified himself as a supporter of challengers Cynthia Blatt and Martin.

“Why are you still here, after your million dollar dalliance, your half million dalliance, your scandalous betrayal of the public trust?” Hamilton said, addressing Duran and referencing the city’s decision to settle for $500,000 a lawsuit filed by Ian Owens, Duran’s former council deputy. In the suit Owens had alleged that he had sex with Duran before he was hired and that Duran made sexual advances afterward, which Duran has denied. ” … In any corporation you would have been tossed out on your tuchus…,” Hamilton said. “But there you sit because you have no scruples.”

Turning to Heilman, Hamilton noted that nine members of the Illoulian family each made a maximum donation of $500 to Heilman’s re-election campaign. Jason Illoulian’s Faring Capital is a real estate developer whose plan to demolish the French Market has generated some controversy. “When I look at you John Heilman, you are the face of corruption and malfeasance to me,” Hamilton said.

Larry Block, owner of the Block Party store and an unsuccessful candidate in the last city council election, also spoke, calling out Mayor Lauren Meister for not having endorsed a candidate. Block reminded her that Councilmember John D’Amico had publicly endorsed the incumbent, a move that led to Allegra Allison, his appointee to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, resigning in protest. D’Amico’s endorsement of Heilman astonished a number of people, given that D’Amico has been seen as an opponent of what some residents refer to as over development and Heilman is seen by his opponents as a supporter of that. Historically the two have not gotten along.

“Lauren you have a grand opportunity to be the king maker of the city council to move us forward and stop the hateful rhetoric by reaching over, shaking John Heilman’s hand and endorsing him,” Block said, a comment that prompted laughter from those in the audience.

“Your voters deserve to know who best moves your agenda forward that we elected you to, and if John Heilman is the best person to work with, you should endorse him,” Block said. “And if he’s not … endorse somebody because hiding is not the best way to be the mayor when it comes to an election and an agenda.”

Meister has not made an official endorsement but is known as a supporter of Blatt, who is the only candidate to whose campaign she has contributed according to the last campaign documents filed.

Block attributed some of the negativity brewing in the campaign to supporters of Meister who she has named to city boards and commissions.

“In the past few weeks since I endorsed Councilmember Heilman, I’ve gotten screamed at — ‘How can you do that?’ ‘You’re a sell out.’ Another commission member sending out emails saying I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth. Another commissioner who, when asked ‘can we talk?,’ responded ‘I wanted to take you outside and punch you in the face. Do you know what all of these commissioners have in common? They are Lauren Meister appointees. What ever happened to Michelle Obama: ‘When they go low we go high’?”

Blatt has also had her attackers on social media. Amanda Smash Hyde, a friend and supporter of Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, has posted “Splatt Blatt” on her Facebook page.

Blatt took time to call out a new group of supporters at last night’s council meeting. She announced that she has been endorsed by the Los Angeles Sierra Club, an environmental interest group.

Councilmember Lindsey Horvath has endorsed Heilman and she has donated to both the Duran and Heilman re-election campaigns. The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee is expected to make its endorsement in the next day or so, and the bets are on Duran and Heilman.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story said Lindsey Horvath has not endorsed anyone. However she has endorsed John Heilman. The story has been revised to reflect that.


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Roy Rogers Oldenkamp
Guest
Roy Rogers Oldenkamp

You’re killing me Larry.

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

There goes Larry Block again. Watched the last council meeting where Larry, with his signature bombast, tells the Mayor Meister she could be a “Kingmaker” if she endorsed Heilman. Whaaaaaat? Does WeHo need a King? A King was elected as President and you see how well THAT is working out.

WeHo started as a Coalition for Economic Survival and is devolving into an oligarchy. Very sad, indeed.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

@ Justin, I really appreciate the love man. Who are you.. please stop by and introduce yourself. @Michael, I think that quote is incomplete. I’ve don’t recall ever using the word nimby on the public comment floor. Truth is Im for preservation, but Im also for protecting property owners rights. This is a free market America and one of its pillars is property owners rights. With regards to the context of this article I think that Lauren had a reputation prior to being elected that she ‘doesn’t play well with others’ and now she is the only city council member… Read more »

David Reid
Guest

You want 18,000,000 reasons to vote out the Johns? That’s what the ‘what-were-they-thinking’ robogarage behind city hall is. It is not paying for itself, it will not pay off the bond issue without going to the general fund. Who approved this? Don’t blame Mayor Meister or Councilmember Horvath. They were not on council when the boondoggle was approved. Several makes and models of cars can’t even park there. It is never full. It cost over $124,000 per space for the 134 spaces gained. It was suppose to have a top floor community service center, that just changed on the plans… Read more »

Michael Cautillo
Guest

I agree Woody!

Michael
Guest
Michael

John Heilman is the controller of his own actions, thoughts and vision; beholden to no one but West Hollywood. This is why our city is so admired by the majority of residents and those who are in awe from afar of what our small city can and has accomplished. We are second to no other city in our social service programs, human services, rent stabilization, inclusionary-affordable housing and his character is beyond reproach. West Hollywood core values that worked then and now. John has new and creative ways to keep affordable housing for seniors, very-low, low and moderate income households… Read more »

ferragosto1
Guest

As stated in WeHoville Tuesday, Feb. 7: “Councilmember Lindsey Horvath also has not made an endorsement. However she has donated to both the Duran and Heilman re-election campaigns.”

Where do the monies for these “donations” originate? Hopefully just from the private pocket of said contributor. More to the point, from whom are Council Members not even up for election receiving donations if then funneled like slush to colleagues running for re-election, in effect evading campaign finance contribution limitation laws — if such funds are originally coming from contributors already maxed out.

Ty Geltmaker

Leonard
Guest
Leonard

Listening to people like Mr. Hamilton rail at the incumbents is a reason to vote for them. He is entitled to his opinion, but not to be disrespectful. At least Ms. Blatt talked about her endorsement from the Sierra Club. I like them, though I don’t really think their presence is so important in this very urban City. This article fails to mention the jumbled comments of Steve Martion. First he agreed with the prior speaker Lynn who talked about the City’s Charter–where can we find that? Then he yelled about somebody named John Stuart and finally he complained about… Read more »

Woody McBreairty
Guest
Woody McBreairty

Very nice & encouraging to her some new voices for a change Brian

A Concerned Citizen
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A Concerned Citizen

I don’t understand the complacency that people have with Duran. I think he has experience, and often agree with his position on issues. However, I have questioned his judgment ever since he hired someone that he previously had a sexual relationship with. Even if Owens wasn’t sexually harassed (he probably wasn’t), Duran put the city in jeopardy by making this unprofessional hiring decision. He has shown no humility regarding this situation, for what many believe to be unprofessional behavior. Why aren’t his opponents reminding the public of this? Why aren’t people bringing it up in Council meetings? I guess people… Read more »

Woody McBreairty
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Woody McBreairty

Kudos to Brian Hamilton

Justin
Guest
Justin

I’m going to write in Larry Block on my ballot.