Who Is the Mayor of West Hollywood?

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)

Who is the mayor of West Hollywood? On March 4, John Duran took to Facebook, his social media platform of choice, to announce that he was giving up that honorific title more than two months before his term officially expired. Councilmember John D’Amico filled the gap and was formally installed as mayor on May 20.

But Duran continues to identify himself as mayor on various social media platforms. There’s Instagram, where he identifies himself as “Mayor and Councilmember of West Hollywood, CA” as well as a criminal defense attorney, a singer, a poet, a cyclist, an historian and “the inventor of homosexuality.”

There is Twitter, where his claim to be “West Hollywood Mayor” is followed by criminal defense attorney, LGBT pioneer and “invented homosexuality.” On LinkedIn, the (former?) mayor describes himself as “Mayor at City of West Hollywood and criminal defense attorney.”

Duran’s profile on Twitter

His profile for Sidebar with John Duran, an online radio show, identifies him as “Mayor John J. Duran.”

And then there’s Facebook, where his 4,994 “friends” can read that he is “LA native. Mayor of West Hollywood CA. LGBT champ. Criminal defense lawyer. Invented homosexuality.”

Duran gave up the title of mayor in March after he was called to do so by several City Council members, LGBT organizations and local residents who were upset about allegations that he had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, that he publicly mocked one of his accusers for being “a skinny Korean kid with pimples on his cheek” and that he, in a radio interview, described himself as the “only sexually active member of the City Council.” He followed that with an interview posted on a website where he offered more detail about his fellow Council members allegedly barren sex lives. Duran has denied the sexual misconduct allegations.

John Duran’s profile on Facebook, the social media platforms where he posts most often

Duran implied that health issues were what caused him to step down as mayor, although there also were demands by several council members and many activists groups and local residents that he do so. Health issues were his implied reason for skipping the March 4 City Council meeting at which the Council voted to strip Duran of privileges such as reimbursement for travel expenses and to censure him. A photo sent to WEHOville showed that while he missed the Council meeting, Duran was able to show up that night for a movie with West Seegmiller, a former sex worker he has been dating and on whose behalf he has pushed for the city to sponsor a sex workers forum in August.

Duran’s profile on LinkedIn, where he claims to have been Mayor of West Hollywood for more than 18 years (and still chair of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles).

Does it matter who is the mayor of West Hollywood? The City of West Hollywood operates under what is known as a Council / Manager form of government. That means the City Council’s job is to set policy and the City Manager’s job is to execute it. Unlike the situation in a contract city such as Los Angeles, the mayor of West Hollywood has few official duties other than moderating the City Council meetings and co-signing checks. The title rotates each year to the next Council member in line, who is known as the Mayor Pro Tempore, or Mayor Pro Tem.

But while it is largely honorific, the title of Mayor of West Hollywood has a substantial impact when it comes to the city’s reputation, with many organizations seeing the mayor as the ultimate spokesperson for the city. The first seven pages that turn up in a Google search for “Mayor of West Hollywood” are dominated by stories about John Duran and his alleged sexual misconduct and declaration of May 23, 2018, as “Stormy Daniels Day” in West Hollywood.

Duran’s profile on his online radio show website.

Mayor John D’Amico, when asked by WEHOville about Duran’s claim to be mayor on various social media platforms, said in a text message that “Other people have pointed out the same to me. I have referred them to the city manager and city attorney. As you know, when I was sworn in I did my best to democratize the idea of ‘Mayor’ in West Hollywood.

Councilmember John Heilman, who first joined the City Council when West Hollywood was incorporated in 1984 and has served as mayor multiple times, said “I think we should always try to be accurate in describing our official position on the City Council. I know that it does sometimes happen that mistakes are made. But we should do all we can to keep it accurate.”

John Duran responded to WEHOville’s request for a comment with a text message saying that “it says councilmember and mayor, which is all true” on his social media profiles. When told that some Council members have expressed concern about his misidentifying himself, he texted: “You all need lives man. Good luck.”


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Joshua88
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Joshua88

A complaint is not enough. The CC council – and anybody with the power to be effective -should demand that he stop using the title.

Arty Michael
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Arty Michael

Hello! He uses social media to hit on guys, so he needs to keep his profile as impressive as he can. Not that complicated. Sad for West Hollywood.

West Hollywood Revealed
Guest
West Hollywood Revealed

The deeper piece in this is the idea of title of “MAYOR OF WEST HOLLYWOOD” many individuals who are not really interested or in the know of our local government see that title and equate it to the same role as let’s say the “MAYOR” of Los Angeles who is elected to that role only and has significant power. Many in the community have seen this use of “MAYOR” of West Hollywood as questionable in how it’s used in the Media, one former “MAYOR” of weho, who wasn’t any more used that identity on CNN. In the end many feel… Read more »

FB1
Guest
FB1

He suffers from delusions of grandeur.

Ham
Guest
Ham

all a bunch of clowns. this is not a serious city, because we don’t have serious people in our government. the only thing that works in this city is metered parking enforcement.

Josh Rivera
Guest
Josh Rivera

Last year in a radio interview on KABC in Los Angeles, Duran compared the importance of porn star Stormy Daniels to that of Rosa Parks. Needless to say, the host stopped Duran in his tracks on that point, but it just shows you how out of touch with reality the disgraced EX-MAYOR of West Hollywood really is.

D.A.B.
Guest
D.A.B.

I would like to see the entire City Council replaced. People (John Heilman) should not be in office since 1984 when the city was established. Government isn’t supposed to run that way. It should always be new citizens with fresh ideas. Not only will that keep the city as progressive as possible it also helps avoid corruption and entitlement which are definitely issues with the same people in office for so long.

Michael Grace
Guest

The West Hollywood City “Student” Council is like Tamany Hall, dominated by John Heilman and “Mayor” John Duran forever. They have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the developers, sign companies and trash collectors. For over a half a century, their political hack greedy hands have taken anything in the form of a big bucks for pay to play. Let the FBI investigate that! With the forever grandstanding Lindsay Horvath, they make up the Townscape Three. Then there’s Duran’s lapdog, Mayor John D’Amico, who was salivating when Stormy Daniels got the key to the City but didn’t get a… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

Thank you for that insightful commentary and recognition that Ms. Meister is the exception to the otherwise rule by fools. She does her homework, is prepared for on-point discussion, and has the interests of West Hollywood over ego or quest for higher office. I don’t always agree with her, but I’ve never doubted her commitment.

Joshua88
Guest
Joshua88

So would I. Since I’ve lived here and pay more attention to local elections, I find it hard to believe that the incumbents always win.
There is no (or little) civic engagement and no outreach that I see.
Suggestions?

David
Guest
David

According to Mayor D’Amico’s May 20th City Council reorganization & installation speech, “There’s a t-shirt on your chair (and even more at the back of the room.) It says MAYOR OF WEST HOLLYWOOD. Take one. Wear it. Proudly. I am asking you to be the mayor with me. Render yourself and West Hollywood visible. And when someone asks, “are you really the mayor?” You can tell them that you know West Hollywood, and you’re helping to invent it, and you’re responsible for keeping it moving in the right direction. I mean, isn’t that what the mayor is supposed to do?”… Read more »

Michael Grace
Guest

Does that mean we can all fly to Hawaii free for the annual USA Mayors meeting?

David
Guest
David

Well, no, because the conference already happened.

Conference Link: https://www.usmayors.org/meetings/87th-annual-meeting/

But if you remain “Mayor Michael with Mayor D’Amico” by next conference, then maybe it will be on the Council Agenda for discussion. 🙂 Chances are that by the next Mayors Conference, the baton will have likely passed onto the next elected WeHo Mayor who may or may not carry on with Mayor D’Amico’s same ask & declaration.

Mario Monror
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Mario Monror

Having been a long time resident and registered voter in West Hollywood I would like to see City Council to stop being so caught up in expansion with all these can super expensive shiny new buildings with all the accoutrements that come with having to pay an arm and a leg for many single gay men with a single income making it all the more difficult for these single gay men to be able to support themselves. WeHo offers something called ” inclusionary” lists to sign up on where monthly rent is based on a percentage of income. While that… Read more »

weho123
Guest
weho123

David, thats tongue in cheek, council members do have rules of ethics. Duran has no ethics or sense of respect. If you want to put mayor of west hollywood then put on the shirt and change your profile and people will think your a fool no matter what damico said in his installation.

Magoo
Guest
Magoo

I’m sure the City Manager and City Attorney will do the ethical thing immediately.

Nick
Guest
Nick

While Duran’s choices and judgment can be questionable at times, its also quite tiresome and petty to constantly focus on him. It seems that there’s some article about him on here on a weekly basis. Stop obsessing about this man and move on to much more important issues in this city!

Michael Grace
Guest

Probably the most important issue right now is securing an investigation by the FBI of West Hollywood City Hall. Looking at possible malfeasance, pay for play between politions and developers along with how Townscape’s PR firm Marathon Communication managed to secure a Cannibis license. Especially since Townscape gave thousands of dollars to John Duran. Also, we have a person. Duran, claiming to be the WEHO Mayor, who has had over $350,000 in tax Fed and State Tax liens, currently owing over a $100,000. to the Feds. Talk about corruption in Washington, we have it in our own backyard.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Thank you! This ridiculous and mean focus and attacking of John Duran is tiresome. Do some real writing and leave him alone.

He’s don a lot for gay rights and issues over the years and deserves better.

Monica Siegel
Guest
Monica Siegel

Attacking him? Because he’s accused of sexually abusing young men in his chorus? or maybe because he said a local woman’s vagina is an unused box. or because he sent dirty pics on grindr to a guy saying don’t you want to suck the d-ck of the mayor of west hollywood? or because he insulted the council members on radio saying he’s the only one who had sex? Oh, guess you’re rifght. If Donald Trump had done any of those things no legimate newspaper would have publsihed them.

Monica Siegel
Guest
Monica Siegel

oops! I fogot his hiring his deputy after having sex with him — a mistake that cost the city $500,000. More evidence that Duran isn’t a story

weho123
Guest
weho123

isnt that because he does something to be the news like trump almost every day, pouring vodka in streets, hiring grindr tricks, resigning from the chorus due to sex allegations, hooking up with a city employee boyfriend to sleep w the mayor.. grandstanding one thing after another including taking money for votes and corruption and yes we are all tired of it and your should be too. ive been a long time voter for duran and will not be voting for him again.

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

Other than in connection with the unseemly attempts to procure trysts on apps by exploiting this titular position (titular, adjective, holding or constituting a purely formal position or title without any real authority) there should be little discussion at all of the pomp and circumstance self-ascribed by the members of the West Hollywood Student Council. It’s time to do away with the regal absurdity of the mayor title and call the rotating presiding officer of the council “chair” or something equally apt in describing the role, as does the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. West Hollywood does not need… Read more »

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

Sadly Duran shows the current Mayor so little respect by continuing to parade as the Mayor.