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 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.