That Motion to Censure John Duran? The City Attorney Hasn’t Gotten Around to It

John Duran, second from left, surrounded by his fellow Council members at the May 21, 2018, mayoral installation ceremony (Photo by Jon Viscott / Courtesy of the City of West Hollywood)

It is one of the most controversial items anticipated to be on the West Hollywood City Council’s Monday agenda. But it won’t be.

That item is the resolution passed by four of the five Council members on March 4 declaring their desire to censure fellow Councilmember John Duran for a series of comments he has made about his sex life and theirs and his disparaging remark about a young Asian man. Those comments have gotten attention nationwide and led the Los Angeles Times to publish an editorial criticizing Duran’s excuses for his admitted hyper sexual behavior as similar to excuses from Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump.

The resolution, which Duran has the right to review and contest before it’s put to a vote, was widely expected to be on the Monday agenda after Councilmembers John D’Amico, Lindsey Horvath and Lauren Meister pushed a reluctant Councilmember John Heilman to vote with them and a reluctant City Attorney Mike Jenkins to write the censure resolution.

The past two Council meetings have attracted residents and activists who have protested Duran’s behavior and spoken about the allegations that he has engaged in sexual misconduct with young members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, which Duran has denied.  Some of the protestors have told WEHOville that they were going to attend this coming Monday’s meeting, the first at which Duran is expected to be present after having skipped the previous two.

It’s not clear why the resolution isn’t on Monday’s agenda. Jenkins, responding to a question from WEHOville, said “It’s not ready yet.  No other reason.”

City Councilmembers D’Amico, Horvath and Meister said they were unaware the item wouldn’t be on the agenda.  Horvath questioned Jenkins who told her it would be on the April 1 City Council agenda.

Heilman did not respond to WEHOville’s question about why the item wasn’t on the agenda.  However, he had argued against censuring Duran at the March 4 Council meeting. He said that comments Council members have already made about Duran’s behavior were, in effect, a censure of his behavior. Heilman also noted that Duran would have an opportunity to review the censure resolution before the City Council adopted it, which would make for an awkward public meeting.

“What we’re essentially inviting is another public meeting with all the people who think he should resign, all the people who think he should be censured,” Heilman said. “John will have his supporters there as well.”

At the March 4 meeting, City Attorney Jenkins said he was troubled with the idea of drafting a censure resolution given that the allegations of sexual misconduct by Duran have not been proved. Councilmember Horvath reminded him that some allegations were documented by an independent investigator looking into complaints of sexual harassment by Duran’s former Council deputy, Ian Owens. While the investigator could not corroborate Owens’ accusations of sexual harassment, he did report that Duran made inappropriate comments to city staffers.  Jenkins said that case, which the city settled with a payment to Owens of $500,000, was not something he wanted to revisit.

The City Council does have other things on its agenda, which it will discuss beginning 6:30 p.m. Monday at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the Chambers with a validated ticket.

  1. Is it that, in the past, years of oppression of gay people have activated, inspired and consolidated our ‘community’, and now that it’s significantly abated (the oppression) in the WeHo community, we’ve lost our drive and our direction?

    I’m just asking……

  2. Last year, I was walking down Harper toward Melrose, enjoying the 8pm hue upon a gorgeous neighborhood. A cop stopped and searched me- for no reason whatsoever. BEFORE searching me, he asked if he COULD search me. I told him ‘no’. He told me, well, I see a bulge in your pocket [my keys], I think it’s a gun’so I’m going to search you”. He did, and (unsurprisingly) he found nothing.

    I yelled at him for having disturbed my peace of mind for no reason whatsoever.
    I asked him his ID; he told he’d give it to me “in a citation”. This was an underhanded threat; one that I did not wish to take him up on. (God knows what he would accuse me of in a citation!)

  3. Hey, perpetuating the idea that WeHo is a “sex-based city” will certainly attract horny, moneyed homosexuals – thereby adding to WeHo’s coffers. (Yay WeHo?)

    For the majority ‘Others’ – both gay and straight – it is an alienating, disparaging limitation. Among some of my established gay friends, colleagues, that appellation is derogatory, and it is not complimentary for such a beautiful city.

    And not acting in response to Mr. Duran’s self-righteous, uncontrolled sexual urges and his racist comment, further puts WeHo in a less than attractive light.

    So I ask: Is Mr.Duran’s description of the city an honest one? And is he the ideal representative of our ‘community’?

    If Mr. Duran’s estimate of WeHo’s character is skewed, I’ve only read one or two articles refuting his ill-advised declamation…

  4. Don’t resign John. No matter how much pressure some of the townspeople put on you Monday night. There is such a thing as Democracy. They Voted you in office so if they don’t like you, they can Vote you out in 2020. Democracy was invented so that a small group of people cannot control the issues of the majority of the People. Stand your ground, don’t take any of it personally. You have every right to stay in office until your term ends, no matter what anyone thinks of you personally. West Hollywood has many more other issues to worry about. At some point the sh*t is going to hit the fan.

    1. Al Franken, resigned as a US Senator of Minnesota after accusations of sexual misconduct. That’s the honorable thing to do. Duran has no right to stay in office until his term ends.

  5. My observation as a long time resident is, the city attorney is a professional and the resolution is not on the agenda because the city manager did not want it on this week’s agenda.

    And why would the city manager not want the Duran censure resolution on this week’s city council meeting agenda is the question to contemplate.

    1. The last election did not represent most of the Residents either, but the election in Novemeber 2020 and every election from then on will bring out 27,000 voters instead of the low turnout that has been going on since 1984.

      1. Yes, there will be a much larger turnout with the change to the next election cycle, but nowhere near the number of registered voters of 26K. 26K didn’t show up for the 2016 election.

  6. The WEHO city attorney probably has been praying to the sky Gods for Ex-Mayor John Duran to just get out of town and take Igor & Ed Buck with him. Because the only way Duran will have any dignity is to resign from the West Hollywood City Council.

    Duran is the elephant in the room. He’s now an easy target for sexual-harassment claims and lawsuits with the city having to pick up the bill. Imagine how high the city’s insurance premiums have gone up after the $500,000 paid out to Ian Owens. Duran is a Grindr addict and could also easily be entrapped.

    At Monday’s WEHO council meeting we will be back holding up signs directed at Duran, if he has the nerve to show up, and the city council demanding the Ex-Mayor to resign.

    As for muckraking, Duran fits right in with his Vasiline alley style of humor only he’s the punchline.

    Like… what’s Duran going to do on Grindr, to promote hookups and ———, now that he can no longer claim to be Mayor???

  7. Now, more than ever, we need WEHOville there to hold the gears of government accountable to the stakeholders of the organization. This is the role of the Fourth Estate!

    I wonder if I was the only person at the meeting who watched in shock as the council neglected to put a time requirement on its clear directive to the reluctant (insubordinate?) city attorney. I think that Ms. Horvath made it clear that the censure is principally about the abhorrent responses on social media and in the press to the allegations, not just the allegations. Further, Mr. Jenkins’ statement that he’d “rather not revisit” previous issues (Deputygate, Owens) as part of the censure is problematic, it is not a lawyer’s job to make that decision, it is his/her job to advise his client on what they would rather or rather not do. The correct phrase is “I would recommend that you not revisit those issues….”

    I trust that Mr. Jenkins will fulfill his legal duty as an advisor, not a decision maker.

  8. Perhaps the delay in the motion will give John Duran time to reconsider his position and use the censure process as an opportunity to express some heartfelt regret about his words and actions. Ideally we can end this process on a high note and we can have some closure on this controversy. This may be John Duran’s last chance to salvage some dignity.

    1. Sounds like wishful thinking. John Duran has been way too late to the dignity consciousness if ever. His behavior has transformed him from an activist to an addicted obstructionist with a major focus on his own distorted and manipulated agenda. The only opportunity for John Duran to redeem himself may be in private, beyond the atmosphere of the city enterprise.

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