John Heilman Is Not in Oz, Er Cleveland, Anymore. But They Still Remember Him

John Heilman

With “Go West” the theme of this year’s “One City One Pride” series of LGBTQ arts, history and culture events, it’s an interesting co-incidence that one leader in West Hollywood’s gay community is being recognized in his Midwestern home town for having gone West and assumed the role of WeHo’s mayor — for the eighth time. This from Cleveland.com, the website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“WEST HOLLYWOOD, California – A Cleveland native has been chosen to serve as the mayor of West Hollywood – a southern California town known for pioneering LGBT legal rights – for an eighth term.

“John Heilman, a 1970s graduate of John Marshall High School, was chosen Monday from among a five-member city council to serve as mayor, according to a news release from the city of West Hollywood. Heilman also served as the city’s mayor in 1985, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2010.

“Heilman is one of the longest-serving openly gay elected officials in the United States, according to the news release. He has served on the West Hollywood City Council since the town’s incorporation in 1984.

“West Hollywood was one of the first cities to pass a marriage equality resolution, which created the path toward same-sex marriage legislation.

“Heilman participated in the Gay Games 9 in Cleveland in 2014 and spoke to The Plain Dealer about his hometown’s progress in accepting people of all races, genders and sexualities.

“ ‘As I was thinking about it, I was thinking of Cleveland embracing the [Gay Games] and embracing the gay and lesbian community … I think it is symbolic of what really has to happen for Cleveland,” Heilman told The Plain Dealer. “It really has to welcome the broad range of diversity. I feel good about it, but there still needs to be more of an embrace of all sorts of diversity’.”

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AM
AM
3 years ago

I’ always amused by Larry’s fairy tales. Are we to assume that Heilman lost his glass slipper as he fled from the dance?

JJ
JJ
3 years ago

here, here Larry!

Larry Block
Larry Block
3 years ago

Heilmans service to our community is second to none. Im reminded of a story told to me by a friend. .. it was 1983, Heilman was on the dance floor at Rage — the night was beginning to get late and then John turned to his dance partner “sorry, have to leave, committee meeting in the morning to form a city of West Hollywood” Johns contribution cannot be quantified. After 30 plus years, a lifetime of dedications, building a city with more social outreach and services than any of our neighbors… the incredible accomplishments… I would support a motion to… Read more »

Midwesterner
Midwesterner
3 years ago

I grew up in Michigan and people from the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin and even Minnesota were considered the “Mid-West,” probably because they were at the time folks starting calling the region the Mid-West.

Randy
Randy
3 years ago

Indeed, the position of mayor includes more responsibility than running council meetings. They act as a representative for the city, and have to attend more public events and do more speeches, etc.. I’m guessing the position is only held for a year, because nobody wants it for much longer than that. It consumes a lot of their time. We do have term limits in West Hollywood. Voters passed them a few years ago. If they wanted them to be retroactive, they should have put it into the law. For those criticizing Heilman’s desire to keep running, I assume you are… Read more »

AM
AM
3 years ago

Only Heilman tries to make a big production of his council chairmanship. He’s being his usual delusion self, a legend in his own mind. “Look Ma, it’s me John. I’m the mayor!”

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
3 years ago

Because Ohio is considered a midwest state, Cleveland gets called midwestern. My dad’s family comes from west side suburbs, I lived east of Akron in my childhood. The midwest really seems to begin in the middle of Cleveland. To the east, the topography is slowly rolling hills eventually becoming the mountains in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The eastern suburbs tend to gravitate more to New York. You get out beyond Rocky River and the midwest begins. Drive the Ohio Turnpike south of the city – at some point before you leave it, you feel going west that you’ve reached the… Read more »

Manny
Manny
3 years ago

Our Mayor’s message to Cleveland, a great MIDWESTERN city, (thank you Christopher Roth) is a reflection of John Heilman’s decades long commitment to equality and diversity. He’s actually done the work and continues to do so. We should celebrate that.

But some at the top of this comments thread are still consumed in negativity. That’s too bad.

fine7760
3 years ago

As I understand it, the position of Mayor does carry extra responsibilities. It’s almost mandated they attend every major affair in the city whereas the rest of the city council do not. And why does John Heilman continue to run for City Council? Perhaps because he still cares. I am amazed how he holds down two jobs at two different universities and then sits thru endless hours of council meetings twice a month. Others have given it up after a couple of terms but John keeps going. Let us not forget two council persons died in office. And the idea… Read more »

Christopher Roth
3 years ago
A.C. Neighbor
A.C. Neighbor
3 years ago

I never cease to be amazed at the ever increasing mileage that some people get when their name rotates into the place of Mayor. That title get’s them entre’ into conferences that real honest to goodness, elected mayors attend where they have an opportunity to expound on how everything that happens in WEST HOLLYWOOD only happens because they had the amazing insight, focus and drive to initiate it. Their life becomes a long press release about their greatness. As Shawn points out, the fact that no more than 15% of our populace votes in any election, as most people simply… Read more »

Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
3 years ago

The Mayor isn’t selected or elected in #weho. Council members rotate into that title, and keep it for a year. There are no special powers of the Mayor in #weho except chairing the city council meeting. And deciding who gets to speak in what order at public comment. That so many individuals in West Hollywood are not aware of this is a clear example of how broken our democracy is. And why 80% of the registered voters didn’t even vote. Entrenched power keeps us stagnant. And personally I think the mayor title should be dropped to council meeting leader or… Read more »