The Citizens Agenda: What Issues Do You Think City Council Candidates Should Address?

election 2017, west hollywood city council

 

Eleven candidates will competing in the March 5 election for three seats on the West Hollywood City Council.

With that election only a little more than two months away, it’s time for West Hollywood residents (rather than campaign consultants and major donors) to begin setting the agenda for the 2019 race.

As in elections past, WEHOville wants to know what questions you think candidates for the three seats on the City Council should address in their campaigns. What matters to you? What matters to the future of our city?

Please email me at Henry@WEHOville.com with your ideas about what the candidates should be addressing if they want to get your vote. (Next Thursday, Jan. 3, we’ll post on WEHOville a list of the most frequently mentioned issues and will begin soliciting responses from council candidates)

Here are a few obvious issues, given the events of the past year:

HOTEL CONSTRUCTION

Some of the candidates in the upcoming election are likely to focus on the growth in West Hollywood’s hotel market. The hotel room tax is the largest single source of revenue for the city’s General Fund, and more hotels mean that revenue likely will increase. On the other hand, some hotel owners and managers aren’t happy at the prospect of more competitors, which could force average room rates down. Some local residents are upset at the prospect of tall hotels towering over their neighborhoods. And Unite Here Local 11, the hotel and restaurant workers union, wants the city to declare a two-year moratorium on new hotel construction, a move that presumably will help it in negotiating hotel union contracts.

Should West Hollywood bring construction of new hotels to a halt or slow them down? And what sort of impact would that have on the city’s economy?

HOMELESSNESS

Homelessness is a major issue in greater Los Angeles (and much of the rest of California) and not just West Hollywood. The city cannot build a wall on La Brea Avenue to keep homeless people away. So what West Hollywood does is affected but what surrounding communities do and do not do.

The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station already have in place programs to address the various issues related to homelessness and collaborate with a number of non-profit service providers. However, some residents argue that West Hollywood isn’t doing enough.

Is the city doing all it can do, and if not, what should it do that it isn’t doing?

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The rents keep getting higher and higher. The City of West Hollywood has a strong rent stabilization program. But the state Ellis Act allows building owners to take rent-stabilized units off the market and evict their tenants. And state law allows a landlord to raise the rent of a rent-stabilized unit to the market level if the current tenant leaves. The result has been a slow erosion of the number of affordable housing units in WeHo.

That erosion has been ameliorated somewhat by city requirements that developers of buildings of 10 or more units add affordable units or contribute to a city fund to build such units. But is that enough, especially considering the size of the waiting list for affordable housing? Are there other steps the city should be taking to ensure that current residents can continue to afford their homes and that the city will be able to welcome newcomers who aren’t wealthy?

TRAFFIC

This is an issue that’s never likely to go away in Los Angeles County, known worldwide for its focus on the automobile. Is the traffic really getting worse in West Hollywood? If so, is it because WeHo is a major pass-through point from commuters moving back and forth from East Los Angeles to Westside cities such as Beverly Hills and Santa Monica? To what degree is new housing development in WeHo a factor? Given that most WeHo residents don’t work here, and most WeHo workers don’t live here, could the city reduce traffic by providing more affordable housing for its service economy workers and/or supporting more creative economy jobs for its residents? Are there other possible solutions?

Of course there are many other issues candidates should address. We’d like to hear your thoughts, written in the form of a question you’d like to see WEHOville put to a candidate. And please frame that question so the candidate is required to give a “yes” or “no” answer — no “if’s,” “ands,” or “buts.”


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Michael
Guest
Michael

“Should West Hollywood bring construction of new hotels to a halt or slow them down? ”

YES AF TO EITHER OF THESE SUGGESTIONS!
Our City Council’s singleminded obsession with filling its coffers with fat hotel taxes is blinding our leaders to the serious problems hotel construction and proliferation creates for WeHo’s permanent residents. Enough! This isn’t Vegas or DisneyWorld. This is our home. Stop selling us out in favor of weekend visitors. Stop selling our soul

Public Advocate
Guest
Public Advocate

Perhaps West Hollywood could use a PUBLIC ADVOCATE to address many important issues that get throttled or lost in the bureaucracy. Manhattan has had a very effective one in Leticia James who has now become the State Attorney General. Among her past missions were publishing a list of Manhattan’s 100 Worst Landlords. Although a particular landlord that was included in the 2015 & 2016 list filed a $15million suit against her, claiming libel and intentional infliction of harm, the judge indicated James could continue publishing the list and later dismissed the suit citing claims without merit. Judge Carol Edmead ruled… Read more »

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

That is a great idea. Particularly for cases like tenant harassment or when the Sheriff seems non-responsive. Without deputies the Council seems more buffered than ever so a Public Advocate could be a tribune of the public weal.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

Think Local!
Our local council members are not State house representatives and they are not elected to the Senate. All the problems listed below are our priority! and yet agenda items include condemning this is that country and condemning something else in another country. I hope all the challengers make it a point to challenge the incumbents to Think Local- I’m really sick enough of the national politics and don’t want to turn on the WeHo tv to see more national crap. Think Local!

Randy
Guest
Randy

Larry, you have lived here a long time. West Hollywood has always been immersed in national politics. Makes me proud to live here. This is not something they cannot do simultaneously, with other things being accomplished. Like the idea to rename the airport. Did that really take that much time? Of course, some of these events are silly, and fail. But I am proud to be living in an activist community. With an activist government. I’m not the only one who feels that way.

carleton croninc
Guest

Control of the crazy element among the homeless; push to get the county of its duff to supply encampment for thee homeless – especially families – instead of its endless dithering; pedestrian safety; enlarge and enliven the WATCH Program so that citizens are more involved in public safety; – cops do not prevent crime, only react, citizens have more to do with prevention; improve condition of sidewalks and streets for better walking; reduce speed limits on our streets, not raise them as LA city has mistakenly done; better street lighting – this is but a partial listing from my view,… Read more »

Richard K.
Guest
Richard K.

New commercial and residential construction projects are proliferating throughout West Hollywood. They adversely impact residents and visitors on the business corridors and side streets. This is a quality of life issue.

I would hope Council members would do a better job of tasking Code Compliance and Parking Enforcement to ensure developers maintain sidewalks and parkways from dirt and trash, keep developers from blocking sidewalk and street access and enforce existing parking restrictions to keep construction workers from parking illegally.

Andrea
Guest

The people living on the streets generally have no ties to this community, are hurting the citizens of West Hollywood on a daily basis, and seem to be doing nothing to help themselves on a short- or long-term basis. The women and children of West Hollywood need protection.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Bury the electrical wires for Pete’s sake! Horrible fires this year started by them. Let’s not have that here in WeHo.

Steve
Guest
Steve

It would be great to keep needles from the homeless out of the park, and the constant yelling, and the throwing stuff into the street in front of cars (usually a scooter that took their fav corner, though sometimes their own body).

michaelZ
Guest
michaelZ

homeless….homeless…homeless…
Beverly Hills doesn’t seem to be overrun with the problem….
How does Beverly Hills handle the homeless ?????
We are being overrun..West Hollywood Park is turning into
our own skid row….The City Council solution is to print
colorful posters…..A total Zero….

Public Safety
Guest
Public Safety

With so many citizens passionate about public safety, will you stand up to the Sheriff’s Department, provide more oversight, and ask them to spend more time and resources enforcing our laws, with regard to automobiles (texting and driving, obeying all traffic laws), bicycles (not riding on the sidewalk, where it is illegal, obeying all traffic laws), scooters (not riding on the sidewalk, anywhere, obeying all traffic laws) and pedestrians (not jaywalking)?

Second to that, will you lift this ridiculous ban on scooters, and work on a system of regulation, like so many other cities have done?

ARTHUR J SCOTTI
Guest

I agree with all the above regarding the Sheriff’s Department, which acts as a “do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do” tyrannical department. They never use signals to indicate lane changes or turns. And I mean NEVER! I’ve observed as both a driver on our streets and as a pedestrian. They NEVER enforce driver cell phone use OR speeding, especially on Crescent Heights between Santa Monica and Sunset. Drivers upset traffic flow at many intersections by not turning left because they’re on their phones. Unmarked cars would do the trick AND increase revenue. WE NEED AND CAN AFFORD OUR OWN POLICE!!!

Manny
Guest
Manny

There already are regulations. Scooters can not ride on the sidewalk and can not be left on public property.

But I agree with the first part of your comment, enforcement is imperative.

Public Safety
Guest
Public Safety

Scooters could not legally be rode on the sidewalk, even before the ban. The main complaint about scooters is public safety, and people not obeying traffic laws, and riding them on the sidewalk. I’m sure the ban has reduced scooter usage in the city, but is it too much to ask for the Sheriff’s department to just enforce our laws, no matter how a person is getting around? (refer to my initial comment above)