WeHo Chamber of Commerce Installs New Board Members and Commemorates Others

Capt. Edward. Ramirez of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station swears in the Chamber of Commerce board of directors at the annual installation meeting at La Boheme (Photo by Jon Viscott, courtesy of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce)

The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (WHCC) held its annual member meeting and board installation at La Boheme Brassiere and Bar.

At the meeting, the Chamber acknowledged its outgoing board members, installed its new 2020 board of directors, distributed the annual report, and got a preview of the upcoming program of work for 2020. The event raised $21,000 for the WHCC, a nonprofit business association.

Arlen Andelson

The Chamber also took a moment to celebrate the life of Arlen Andelson, who died last year. Andelson, who died in October at the age of 75, was a WHCC board member and member of the board of governors for decades. He also had been a member of the board of trustees of the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), an organization that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to pursue a cure for AIDS. He endowed the Sheldon W. Andelson Public Policy Scholars program at amfAR’s Washington, D.C. office in honor of his brother who died of AIDS-related causes in 1987

Andelson provided the first seed money to buy a building for an LGBT clinic that later became the LGBT Center, as well as the first “gay” bank, as it was coined, where US Bank stands today in West Hollywood. His wife and daughters were present as Chamber member Christopher Bonbright recalled his legacy.

The Chamber also acknowledged Keith Kaplan with its 2019 Ray Reynolds Award.

Chamber board chair Nick Rimedio presents the Ray Reynolds Award to Keith Kaplan (Photo by Jon Viscott, courtesy of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce)

“Keith has called West Hollywood home for over 30 years and his passion for the community and causes affecting the community have led him to engage with a range of local organizations and charities,” the Chamber said in an announcement of the award. “In the early years of the AIDS epidemic he chaired an HIV/AIDS organization, the Foundation for Educational Research, that funded outreach, education and research programs in the L.A. area. He has also worked closely with Project Angel Food since 1991 serving on the Divine Design planning committee for eight years and now on the board of directors. He has participated as a rider in several of the SF-LA AIDS rides. And, for the past four years he has served as chairman of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce …”

Kaplan is a licensed realtor who works with Sotheby’s International Realty representing buyers and sellers of residential real estate with a focus on West Hollywood, the Hollywood hills and the westside of Los Angeles. He also is president of the Kaplan Group, a firm specializing in marketing, public relations and public policy work for luxury lifestyle products.

The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is made up of a diverse group of individuals who share years of experience in a wide variety of business industries.

Board members Don Zuidema (2014 – 2019), Hany Haddad (2009 – 2019), Ralph Barnes (2014 – 2019) Tom Doherty (2016 to 2019), and Mona Mohammadi (2019) were recognized by WHCC last night and received multiple commendations from elected offices.

The 2020 board of directors, which was installed by Capt. Edward Ramirez of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, is as follows. (* denotes new board members.)

Officers of the Board

  • Immediate Past Chair – Keith Kaplan, Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Chair – Nick Rimedio, La Peer Hotel
  • First Vice Chair – Fred Anawalt, Anawalt Lumber
  • Secretary – Raja Sannidhi, Capitol Drugs/Power Zone
  • Chief Financial Officer – Alexander Bazley, West Hollywood Gateway
  • Vice Chair, Governmental Affairs – David Dickerson, kitchen24
  • Vice Chair, Membership – David Wood, David Wood Insurance Agency
  • Vice Chair, Events – Maxine Tatlonghari, Vanity Girl Hollywood

Members of the Board of Directors

  • John Adler, Phyllis Morris Originals
  • Mylena Christina, Sotheby’s International Realty
  • David Cooley, The Abbey*
  • Sean Dabirpanah, Wells Fargo*
  • Sherri Franklin, Urban Design Center
  • Tess Ferguson, Native Design & Development *
  • Rod Gruendyke, Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas
  • Deborah B. Kallick, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Layne Lawson, Clear Channel Outdoor
  • Mark E. Lehman, Law Offices of Mark E. Lehman
  • Lee Maen, Innovative Dining Group
  • Carol Massie, McDonald’s
  • Dimple Thakkar, Synhergy Marketing *
  • Renne Simoes, Dogpound *
  • Tom Kiely, West Hollywood Travel + Tourism
  • Madonna Cacciatore, CSW / LA Pride

Board of Governors

Hany Haddad, US Bank and Don Zuidema, former LASC owner, joined the board of governors this year. The full roster includes:

  • Steve Afriat, Afriat Consulting
  • John Altschul, Attorney at Law
  • Christopher Bonbright, Avison Young
  • David Eichman, Law Office of David Mason Eichman
  • Todd Elliott, Truman & Elliott, LLP
  • Nathan Goller, Phyllis Morris Originals
  • Hany Haddad, US Bank*
  • Joan Henehan, financial advisor
  • Ronald S. Kates, Ronald S. Kates & Company
  • James W. Litz, BH/GLAAR Assoc. Of Realtors
  • Tony Melia, National Business Insurance Agency
  • Mark Montgomery, Montgomery Management Company
  • Gene R. Smith, Gene Smith + James Litz
  • Russ Wilson, Koontz Hardware
  • Don Zuidema, former owner LASC*
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Eric Jon Schmidt
8 months ago

I did some research and could not find any other City where Law enforcement swears in the board members of the Chamber of Commerce. It seems like a conflict of interest. Law Enforcement should not “be in bed” with the Chamber of Commerce which serves only to promote business and does nothing for the Residents. Capt. Edward. Ramirez and his force should be more concerned with enforcing law, protected Residents, and ensuring public safety. This really has very bad optics and could lead to Resident’s beginning to believe that the Sheriff’s Department gives priority to businesses over Residents.

Keith Kaplan
Keith Kaplan
8 months ago

Eric….with all due respect the Chamber is not “in bed” with law enforcement. It is vitally important that we work with them to protect our businesses…and our residents. And the swearing in by the Captain gives the event the serious tones it deserves, but it is really just symbolic. Let me remind you that our businesses are vital to our residents. They provide the products and services they need right in our community. And the tax revenues they generate support the groundbreaking social services that set West Hollywood apart. Please, stop making this a resident versus business issue. Business is… Read more »

Eric Jon Schmidt
8 months ago
Reply to  Keith Kaplan

Great spin attempt, but transparent. Most of the customers and owners of West Hollywood businesses don’t live in West Hollywood. Not only that, what has the Chamber ever done for the Residents? Nothing! If businesses are vital to Residents why doesn’t the Chamber do anything for the Residents? The Chamber of Commerce is also “in bed with” the City Council like no other City I could find. So, yes Keith business is a bad word when they don’t give back to the Community and Residents. The Chamber is about promoting and protecting profit and that is all.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
8 months ago
Reply to  Keith Kaplan

What are the “core values” of West Hollywood? The only thing that seems to be working is parking enforcement.

Vigilant
Vigilant
8 months ago
Reply to  Keith Kaplan

Mr. Kaplan, perhaps you can explain the “award winning” blight of empty store fronts from businesses that have vanished. In addition, perhaps you might reveal what type of plan you folks have in mind concerning revitalization of brick and mortar stores or is there a new concept of “hotel born specialty stores” to capture tourists but are not incorporating residents. Many sophisticated, world traveled residents can actually be found in West Hollywood but are in relative hibernation because the atmosphere on most commercial streets is so crude and dirty. The overall atmosphere is likewise crude and unsophisticated. Not being able… Read more »

Vigilant
Vigilant
8 months ago
Reply to  Vigilant

Mr. Kaplan, have you not noticed this condition? Your observation would be appreciated. Thanking you in advance.