Internal City Council Divisions Emerge in Dispute Over Women’s Advisory Board Event

While City Councilmember John D’Amico and Mayor John Heilman seem to have papered over a public and highly personal dispute ranging back to D’Amico’s first campaign for a Council seat in 2011, signs that it hasn’t completely gone away emerged at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Karen Eyres, chair of the city’s Women’s Advisory Board, complained that two council members had objected to City Hall about WAB’s decision to include a particular person on a panel originally scheduled for tomorrow that was to discuss “the WAB’s early years and its relevance from the 1990s to today.”

Fran Solomon and Mayor John Heilman

That prospective panel member is Fran Solomon, former deputy to Heilman, who had been the focus of some of D’Amico’s attacks on Heilman during his campaign for election and for re-election in 2015. While Eyres didn’t reveal Solomon’s name or those of the council members, others have told WEHOville that the complaints about including Solomon on the panel came from D’Amico and City Councilmember Lauren Meister. Solomon retired from City Hall after the controversial deputy system was abolished in 2015 following a scandal that involved another deputy allegedly spying on Solomon and claiming she was improperly campaigning for Heilman from her City Hall office.

“The concerns seemed to focus on one of our invited panelists — someone who was key to the founding of the WAB 25 years ago — and there was a suggestion to replace her with one of the council members,” Eyres said. “This gave us pause, because it would have altered the purpose of the event and the conversation we wanted to bring to the city.

“… It was difficult to get clarity from the two council members about why they wanted to make these changes to our special event, but it seemed to be motivated by a past grievance between the two council members and that particular panelist. This panelist was invited by the WAB for her experience and dedication in the early years of the board.”

In response, the WAB cancelled tomorrow’s panel discussion. Eyres said the WAB will decide what to do next at its March 29 meeting. “We will seek clarity as to our role as programmers for women’s events in the city and how we can best navigate attempts to derail our events based on personal or political motivations. ”

The council member recommended to replace Solomon was Lauren Meister according to a city staffer who asked not to be named. Meister and D’Amico are viewed as allies on many issues that come before the council, particularly those involving development. Meister is an opponent of increased housing and commercial building density in West Hollywood. She and D’Amico recently wrote an op-ed for WEHOville criticizing a proposed state Assembly bill that would restrict the ability of cities to limit construction of five-story buildings.

D’Amico surprised and upset many of his supporters when in January 2017 he endorsed Heilman and City Councilmember John Duran in the March 2017 election.


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Tell The Truth
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Tell The Truth

Come ride the little trolly rolling down the tracks to the City of Dysfunction.
Forget about your affairs, it is time to relax in the City of Dysfunction.

Lotsa nerves, you bet,
Even more, when you get
To the City of dysfunction.
(West Hollywood Dysfunction)

There’s a little bombshell that most of us detest at City of Dysfunction.
(West Hollywood Dysfunction)
She’s council lady West and wants no mo’ guests in the City of Dysfunction.
(West Hollywood Dysfunction)
And that’s John D’Amico he’s a runnin’ once again in the City of Dysfunction.
West Hollywood Dysfunction!

Randy
Guest
Randy

Regarding Solomon, I agree with Steve Martin. It would be a bad idea to have her there, with the controversy surrounding her time working for the city, as well as her lawsuit and settlement. Even if she made significant contributions, I think it is time for everyone to move on. Having her there would have just created more gossip and controversy, which would have de-railed the focus of the event.

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

Please. Staff would have been right to nix Fran Solomon. She was campaigning for her boss from City Hall on City time while on City payroll when Ian Owens blew the whistle and the rest was herstory, (as it were ). She would be a highly political choice that would rattle a couple of Council members. The folks on the WAB are not naive; they had to know this was going to be a controversial pick for a panel. Why not ask Abby Land who was the Council member who probably did the most for the WAB in those early… Read more »

John Erickson
Guest
John Erickson

It is Abbe Land. Not ABBY Land. Please get it right.

xoxo

Scott Schmidt
Guest

Should I correct her whenever she calls me “Steve”

John Erickson
Guest
John Erickson

If you would like to, that is your choice. You have this wonderful thing called free will.

Don Jones
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Don Jones

Is this the same Fran Solomon who sued the city for $25,000?
Fran Solomon wore out her welcome the minute she cashed that $25,000 check.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Guest
Eric Jon Schmidt

Something has to change. We want our government to work on Public Safety, Homelessness, Equality for the Eastside (which is treated like the “Ugly Stepchild” by the City Council) and many other issues. We don’t care about the personal “cat fights” in City Council. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us. It can’t just be business as usual anymore. Step up or Step Down!

FB: Eric Jon Schmidt for Weho

Eric Jon Schmidt
Guest
Eric Jon Schmidt

This is one of the Many Reasons that I am running for City Council. This Soap Opera Environment on the Council is getting Very Old. It needs to Change. There are so Many Important Issues which need Undivided Attention. There is no room for “Personal Issues” among Council Members or City Employees. We need Leaders and Staff who can separate their personal feelings from their Rational Decision Making. We also need Council Members who don’t owe anything to anyone. I don’t personally know any Council Members or City Employees. Most Importantly, I will not Solicit Campaign Donations. Even though I… Read more »

Larry Block
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Larry Block

Despite Frans contributions to the WAB and many other city programs, events, and history- it would seem to me that any city board or commission panel discussion should be non-partisan and be composed of ‘common denominator’ panelists. Frans wonderful but she’s also partisan and controversial. Our city is not limited to female activists and leaders. Might I suggest our very first mayor Valerie Terrigno, or former Councilmember Abbe Land, Elizabeth Savage or Ivy Bottini or Sandra Fluke These woman braved a mans world and made a difference. Fran was Heilman’s loyal soldier caught up in controversy for years over campaign… Read more »

Eric Jon Schmidt
Guest
Eric Jon Schmidt

Very Good Comment Larry.

JOHN DAMICO
Guest
JOHN DAMICO

I appreciate the WAB coming forward to let us know their thoughts about the 25th anniversary event. This event was cancelled by staff. As far as I know council had nothing to do with that decision. Best check with WAB staff about how that decision was made. When I did hear about the final details of the event last Wednesday, from the city manager, I was told that it would include Councilmember Heilman, Councilmember Horvath and former Councilmember Land. I wondered why the other female member of the council was purposely omitted from the WAB 25th anniversary celebration? It broke… Read more »

Rod Sterling
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Rod Sterling

What a dramatic revision of history. The political season is upon us and John D’Amico comes out swinging with this situation. The champion of transparency claims there was some bias to the efforts of the WAB to celebrate 25 years in the groups HISTORY. He mentions all the names. Yes Mayor John Heilman, councilmember Horvath and Former councilmember Land where asked to join the celebration. Though his fails to connect the dots. The King of Transparency is so heart broken at the thought of some made up slight towards Councilmember Meister as if she wasn’t invited. She was invited as… Read more »

Manny
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Manny

What “homeowners association” is Lauren Meister a member of?

Mike
Guest
Mike

WAB #RESIST! Courage under fire. Fran Solomon and her contribution to women’s causes must be on this panel.

Thank you for this information. Critical to know for the upcoming election to City Council.

WAB, do not let Fran Solomon be muted or allow these councilmember’s to be history revisionists.