Opinion: West Hollywood Really Doesn’t Have a City Council

The “dirty little secret” in West Hollywood is that we don’t have a City Council. We have four people who obviously and begrudgingly suffer through Council meetings only because they have to. It is apparent that they have very little concern for the residents. In fact, their lack of eye contact shows a great deal of contempt they have for residents. The mayor has gone so far as to ask to have a longtime resident named Ivy, a senior citizen and a very active resident, physically removed by a Sheriff’s deputy for speaking longer than the allotted 120 seconds at a City Council meeting.

The West Hollywood City Council giving the Pledge of Allegiance (Photo by Richard Settles courtesy of the City of West Hollywood)

The city is basically owned and operated by developers, major donors and vendors. They are priority to the Council and influence the council’s votes. The residents don’t matter to the Council. We are a thorn in their sides and get in their way of making special accommodations to developers.

The City Council doesn’t make decisions. They are told how to vote by developers, big donors, vendors and the Chamber of Commerce.  The only Council member who has the integrity evaluate a situation thoroughly before voting and voting “no” when she knows it’s the right thing to do is Lauren Meister.

We might as well put four mannequins up there, they would be just as effective. But, if we did that the Council members couldn’t rub in our faces how much extensive and unnecessary travel they do, staying at expensive hotels on our money. It’s almost like they take pleasure telling us they are going to conferences that do not directly benefit the residents, but rather their careers. Not one Council member has ever told us how attending so many conferences directly affects the residents and the neglected public issues.

There needs to be resident oversight regarding the travel of Council members and other city employees. The resident travel oversight committee should have to approve of all travel by city employees. If a conference does not yield information which can be applied to West Hollywood, there is no reason to spend the people’s money by attending it.

Plus, there needs to be resident oversight of campaign funding to end the “pay for play.” Candidates need to be 100% transparent about campaign funding and limit funding to the individuals and West Hollywood business owners. No developer donors. Campaign donors should be made public before each election.

There needs to be a donation limit by getting rid of bundling. No more out-of-state donors. This way, City Council members are able to make decisions which benefit the residents rather than the developers, out-of-state donors, vendors and the Chamber of Commerce.

Furthermore, the Chamber of Commerce should not play any role in city government. They are an independent entity with the sole purpose of promoting business and should not influence the City Council. They should operate independently of the City Council and not on city property.

The purpose of City Council is to represent the residents and their concerns. For years and years, the City Council has used its position as a way to raise campaign funds while very important issues such as public safety are not addressed.

It’s time for a City Council who represents the people and not special interests. It’s time for change and time to put Residents and their concerns first. The old way of doing business isn’t working anymore. We are slowly losing our city’s sustainability.

  1. West Hollywood is a fake mirage, if “fake mirage” is not itself an oxymoron. Fake homosexuals of a certain age, some claiming false ACT UP credentials, comfortable with sex harassment as a form of liberation, ad nauseam. A complete joke. The Duran affair is just one example.

  2. I would be very interested to see detailed expense reports from all council members, including dates, actual amounts spent, and legitimate business purpose.

  3. While some of the commentary might have some validity, it would carry more weight if the author deigned to participate in the legitimate discourse which is part of the process of attaining the office to which he aspires. Obstinate avoidance of forums to which he objects makes his candidacy a mere exercise in invective. The Chamber of Commerce, and its support of local business, is a legitimate part of the community and its sponsorship of important candidate debate should be lauded, and legitimate candidates should participate, or be laughed off the stage they refuse to attend.

  4. Excellent piece about the failed experiment that is WeHo. Started out with the well being of residents being priority #1, is ending up with money-grabbing being priority #1. From years of reading the news here, it sounds like developers (many nasty and unethical) and business owners (many nasty and unethical) and vendors (many nasty and unethical) call the shots and the highest-ups at the City (many nasty and unethical) and the leaders of the Chamber of Commerce (many nasty and unethical) facilitate that absurd dynamic because $$$.

  5. The Chamber of Commerce should have no say on the running of the city? Is everyone aware of just how much the Hotel Tax alone Contributes to the city budget? While a CoC shouldn’t dictate to a city, they certainly should have a voice since the taxes they pay fund so many city services.

    West Hollywood is a well run city and it provides a high quality and number of services for a city of its size. You can even tell the difference in the quality of the roads as soon as you cross the city limit.

    The three incumbents running do not always agree on every issue, but they all work very hard and put in long hours. I am happy to re-elect them this round.

  6. This is absolute nonsense. West Hollywood since the city gained self-government has become on of the most desirable places to live in all of LA Co. It has a reputation for serving its citizens in the sort of governmental functions that are its role vastly better than those living in LA get. The city is thriving. Financially it is the envy of other cities with its well managed budget and surplus. It has core progressive values that stand as a guide of what good government can do.

    1. Good point, Jim. But not everyone wants to live in West Hollywood. in fact, Jack Cline and his friend Eric Schmidt last year announced that they would not be running for City Council as they were leaving West Hollywood to move into their dream home, in Los Angeles. Evidently that fell through, and they stayed in West Hollywood–obviously not where there hearts truly are or where they truly want to live. That, to me, speaks volumes about their commitment to West Hollywood and their city council candidacies.
      I’m just a say’n….

      1. I know Jack and Eric and have seen their beautiful brand new West Hollywood residence. I’m not sure it would be appropriate to “assume” what their decisions were or were not. Both Eric AND Jack are extremely active in WeHo politics. Highly educated with advanced degrees (both of them) my view is both of these gentleman are well qualified to run for this office.

    2. What did that comment have to do with the context of the article?

      I think he made some good points. Thanks to the author of this article for your insight.

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