As the WeHo Council Election Nears, the Fight Gets Intense (And a Bit Nasty)

west hollywood city council election, heilmantown
Image on @HeilmanTown, the Twitter account waging a nasty campaign against the incumbents

With the West Hollywood City Council election only 16 days away, efforts to defeat the two incumbents are ramping up, with at least one of them taking a nasty turn.

The most prominent opposition is in the form of an independent expenditure committee named the West Hollywood Money and Politics Committee (WeHoMAP). It is supporting challengers Cynthia Blatt and Steve Martin and opposing incumbents John Duran and John Heilman.

One of WeHoMAP’s organizers is Scott Schmidt, the former campaign manager for Mayor Lauren Meister. While Meister has not endorsed anyone in the March 7 election, she has donated to the Blatt campaign. Blatt is known for her opposition to development in West Hollywood and has praised Meister for also opposing what she sees as overdevelopment in the city. A recently filed contribution form identifies Bill Resnick as  major donor to WeHoMAP, with a contribution of $25,000. The only other donor is Schmidt, who gave $100.  Resnick is a wealthy homeowner on Westmount Drive who established an independent expenditure committee during the 2015 City Council election through which he donated $40,000 to Meister’s election campaign. Resnick told WEHOville that he felt the fundraising by the two incumbents and the eight challengers was “out of balance.” WEHOville has reported that 82% of all campaign finance donations as of Jan. 21 have gone to Duran and Heilman or independent expenditure committees supporting them. The required form disclosing donors and their donations between Jan. 22 and Feb. 18 must be filed by Thursday.

WeHoMAP has created a mailer that asks “What do developers and lobbyists expect for the $275,000 + they have invested in Councilmen Heilman and Duran?” In small type it notes that the dollar figure is calculated from donations from 2007 into 2017. The mailer states that Blatt and Martin have received a total of only $500 from real estate interests. It notes 10 projects by developers supporting Duran and Heilman, however one of those projects, at 8150 Sunset Blvd., is outside of the West Hollywood city limits and not under the control of the WeHo City Council.

The nasty campaign is @HeilmanTown, a Twitter account. “Destroying #WeHo one building at a time!,” says the Twitter account’s description. “I’m that 33 year #WeHoCouncil who won’t GTFO. Twitter makes me say this is a parody account. Satire. #WestHollywood.”

The “parody account” apparently is a reference to the fact that Twitter had banned @HeilmanTown in the past because of its vicious statements about John Heilman. Its 35 followers include Mayor Meister, candidate Michael Cautillo and Brian Hamilton, a vocal supporter of Blatt who engaged in an angry rant against the incumbents at a recent City Council meeting.

The Twitter site includes an illustration lampooning Heilman and Duran, noting that Heilman has received donations from major developers and referring to the scandal known as Deputygate that revealed that Duran had met his former deputy on Grindr before hiring him. It is not clear who is behind the @HeilmanTown account.


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Brian Holt
Guest
Brian Holt

This is too damn funny! A mailer for the ages! Where’s mine?! I’ve never wanted one to show up in my mailbox so much. It helps that it also speaks truth — like a wrecking ball.

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

Shawn – if you ask that the stupid decision by the voters to approve the always Republican idea of term limits (check the history, you’ll see) be respected, how do you have the gall to not respect the decision of voters to reelect Heilman already once and likely both this time around? Hypocritical much?

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

“Shawn Thompson : residents may have voted for term limits for a variety of reasons. When their time is up they are free to go. There is also high value in experience unless of course you prefer shoot from the hip, conflicting behavior from conflicted individuals with. a greater need to disrupt rather than govern by instituting well thought out policy.

Randy
Guest
Randy

OK Ruth, I’m not sure how I feel about them staying on the Council, but 60 is old? You are comparing that to McCain? How ageist of you. Seriously.

Shawn Thompson
Guest

The question to ask in my opinion is 1.After the residents voted for term limits, which was obviously out of a desire for new candidates on council, it was clear they wanted change. And so in the spirit of that democratic choice why is Mr Heiman still not willing to let someone else lead from the community? The argument will be by some was that term limits wasn’t retroactive so Mt Heiman isn’t termed out yet. But just cause he can does it make it right? 36 years on council? That’s the best we can do for democracy in weho?… Read more »

Ruth S.
Guest
Ruth S.

Heilman and Duran are so over. They are soon hitting 60. They don’t represent West Hollywood anymore. They’re like Pelosi and McCain. Two old people. But great to see the Twitter and Facebook website. So funny. At least Duran has a personality but Heilman, he couldn’t get elected rat catcher except in WEHO.

Chris Sanger
Guest
Chris Sanger

Scott Schmidt is a long time Republican activist. The idea that somehow that doesn’t matter when you enter local political activity is naive. Blatt and Martin seem to have no problem accepting Republican leadership for their campaigns. Desperate times call for desperate matters it seems. He also was an employee of the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce and lobbied hard for tax cuts for business, cutting regulations that would protect consumers and is no friend of rent control. What is his agenda for West Hollywood if his candidates win?

Vigilant
Guest
Vigilant

Until legal campaign contributions are restricted within reason this seems a lame argument. Likewise the independent expenditure campaigns. They cancel each other out. What is not lame are the real scope and abilities of current incumbents for guiding the city w stability. Four of the new candidates offer good qualities, promise and dedication and will likely become involved in some meaningful way. Two of the remaining may continue to rant from the podium without any positive message or involvement. Do we need angry energy or calm expansive ability. BTW, the development opportunities in BH are not and have be not… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

Meister has also donated to the Martin campaign.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Not only is there a parody Twitter account, but someone is running what appears to be a fake Facebook account and trolling other people’s pages (including mine) posting those same type of graphics. I’m all about public dialogue – disagree with people and have constructive debate, but don’t hide behind fake social media profiles folks – it is not constructive. https://www.facebook.com/hilda.vorceya

David Reid
Guest

The flyer/mailer going around is but one wake up call for the voters. The $18 million RoboGarage behind City Hall is a boondoggle. General funds, not revenue from the operation, will come into play to retire the bond issue for this mistake. Don’t blame Meister or Horvath, they didn’t vote to built it. Second, and much more costly undiscussed issues os the two phases of development at West Hollywood (Pride) Park. The 1st phase, the library and parking structures come in at $88 million. The next phase, the twin swimming pools five stories high, will run at least $96 million… Read more »

Shawn Thompson
Guest

Angry rant is that what you call public comment hank?