In the 35 years since the City of West Hollywood was founded, only 15 individuals have served on its five-member City Council. On Monday, the City Council is expected to make sure that the seven former Council members who are still alive won’t be ignored if and when they show up at official city events.
A proposal brought forward by John D’Amico and Lindsey Horvath will require that the Mayor and City Council members recognize Valerie Terrigno, Steve Shulte, Alan Viterbi, Abbe Land, Paul Koretz, Steve Martin, and Jeffrey Prang if they appear at official city events, which presumably would include City Council meetings. (It also could apply to Council incumbents John Duran and John Heilman, depending on how the Nov. 3, 2020, City Council election goes for them.)
The proposal is on the agenda for the Council’s Monday meeting. It states that former Council members who wanted to be called out at official events must come forward before the event to ask that they be recognized, or city staffers who recognize them can ask that they be recognized.
The one former Council member who is a regular at City Council meetings is Steve Martin, who told WEHOville that the resolution wasn’t his idea. The proposal by D’Amico, who holds the rotating ceremonial position of mayor, and Horvath, who holds the ceremonial title of mayor pro tem, notes that the City of Beverly Hills has a similar policy. (The mayor pro tem, derived from a Latin term that means ‘for the time being,’ is the one who sits in when the mayor is unable to attend a City Council meeting. In West Hollywood, the mayor pro tem also is usually next in line for the annual rotation into the role of mayor.)
Three of the former Council members — Sal Guarriello, Babette Lang, and Helen Albert — have died. Guarriello, who served four terms from April 1990 to April 16, 2009, has been recognized with the Sal Guarriello Veterans Memorial named in his honor. He died in 2009 at the age of 90. Albert, who, at the age of 73, was elected to the City Council upon the city’s incorporation, was named the city’s mayor in 1988. She died in 1996 at the age of 85. The city has recognized her by naming the weekly farmers market the Helen Albert Certified Farmers Market. Babette Lang was elected to the City Council in 1990 for one term at the age of 76, and when she was 80 she took the position of mayor. After leaving office she moved to Laguna Woods and, at the age of 87, married Irv Sholin. She died at the age of 96.
The City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the adjacent five-story structure with a ticket validated at the Council meeting.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the proposal to require acknowledgment of former City Council members at events was on the consent calendar. If fact, it is an item on the full agenda, which means it may be the subject of a Council discussion with public comment.