Analysis: John Erickson’s Campaign Kickoff Shows He Has the Support of 3 Council Members

John Erickson’s virtual campaign kickoff

John Erickson last night kicked off his campaign for a seat on the West Hollywood City Council with a virtual gathering that suggests he will have the support of a majority of current Council members.

Those attending the online event included City Councilmember John Heilman, who appointed Erickson to the city’s Planning Commission and is running for re-election to the Council, Mayor Lindsey Horvath, and Councilmember John D’Amico. Notably not participating were Councilmember Lauren Meister and Councilmember John Duran, who is running for re-election.

Erickson’s virtual event also was attended by a number of lobbyists such as Ted Green, who represents the owner of the AKA West Hollywood building in its battle with the City Council; Gina Gribow, who heads government relations for Strategies 360 PR’s Southern California office and has her own clients, including Lyft; Trevor Daley, former state director for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and now head of the Cerrell Associates PR and lobbying firm, and Austin Cyr, president of Ground Up Communications public relations and lobbying firm and a manager of Horvath’s 2015 election campaign.

Erickson is director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. He also is president of the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women, a member of the board of ACLU Southern California, a member of the legislation committee of the California Democratic Party, legislative action chair for the Stonewall Democrats and once worked as a deputy to former WeHo City Councilmember Abbe Land.

Those who follow West Hollywood politics believe that if Erickson is elected Heilman and Horvath will have a three-vote majority on many major issues.

Like Horvath, Erickson has been focused mostly in recent years on national political and cultural issues such as abortion rights, LGBT rights and opposition to Donald Trump (a major example was his participation in the August 2019 reading of the Mueller Report.) However, his campaign website does say that he is an advocate for renters rights, safer neighborhoods, helping the homeless, and reducing the impact of vehicle traffic.

While Erickson’s support from Heilman and Horvath is no surprise, D’Amico’s participation in Erickson’s campaign kickoff event was to some. However, it reflects the shifts D’Amico has made over the years since his election to the Council in 2011 in a campaign whose focus was slowing real estate development (““bigger, faster, louder West Hollywood has to stop”), animal rights, and ousting what he called “the entrenched elites,” a reference to Heilman and other long-serving Council members like John Duran and Abbe Land. But in 2017, D’Amico endorsed Heilman and Duran. The initial fundraising event for his 2019 re-election campaign was hosted by lobbyists who represent major developers in West Hollywood. And that campaign was for a third term in office, which D’Amico previously had said he wouldn’t seek, criticizing long-serving Council members as “the establishment.” So far, D’Amico has not announced whether he will endorse the Duran or Heilman Nov. 3 election campaigns. Councilmember Meister hasn’t endorsed anyone, however she has made a small donation to the campaign of Sepi Shyne. Shyne is an attorney and member of the city’s Business License Commission who is a prominent challenger and came within 141 votes of defeating d’Amico in the 2019 election.

Duran hasn’t hosted a campaign kickoff, but he has raised more than $100,000 in donations from real estate interests and billboard companies.

Other candidates in the race are Noemi Torres, a real estate agent and a member of the city’s Public Facilities Commission who also is on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union Los Angeles chapter; Larry Block, owner of the Block Party store and chair of the city’s Public Facilities Commission, and Jack Cline, a nurse and drag performer who also goes by the name “Jackie Oh My Goodness.” Marquita Thomas, who heads the Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce, has filed a statement of interest indicating she may run but hasn’t formally announced.

To become a candidate for the 2020 election, youmust receive 20 valid signatures (of registered West Hollywood voters) on a nomination form that will then be verified by the L.A. County Registrar Recorder. The nomination period begins July 13 and ends on Aug. 7. Those interesting in running can contact the City Clerk’s Officeat (323) 848-6409 inmid-June 2020to schedule an appointment to receive specific election information and official nomination papers.

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Tom Madigan
Tom Madigan
1 month ago

When I agreed to a paid subscription I mistakenly understood your publication to be journalistic, yet it’s obviously more editorial/opinion/cynical at its core. Well, your POV doesn’t necessarily represent mine, and I’ve no desire to fund that. Deep-dive reporting has value; opinions are cheap.
Your hack job on MedMen was shameful.
Kindly don’t attempt an auto-renewal, Amex won’t pay it.

Good luck.

Rob Bergstein
Rob Bergstein
1 month ago

John Erickson is no-one’s puppet. His exemplary record as a City employee, including being elected president of the employees union, his service as deputy to Abbe Land, his work on the Planning Commission, his passion and commitment to LGBTQI rights, Women’s and reproductive health rights, commitment to affordable housing and social services, well, I could go on & on, but you get my gist. I know some of you haters just gotta hate. But with John Erickson, I suspect you don’t know him and have never taken the time to speak with him to do so. I’d invite you to… Read more »

James Francis
James Francis
1 month ago

John Erickson in my opinion appears to be entitled expecting to be a presumptive heir apparent and always is getting appointed to positions or acting as the designated city representative or delegate or going to political or state conferences or the chosen spokesperson who ironically is always speaking at a city sponsored events or televised news conferences. I don’t like the idea of political favoritism or presumptive successors which smells of nepotism or entitlement, and display smug looks who think they are promised or guaranteed positions both appointed and elected. I saw how he snubbed people, how he attempts to… Read more »

Vigilant
Vigilant
1 month ago

Perhaps someone, or even John Erickson himself can explain the advantage of his degrees in Religious History and Women’s Gender including analysis of gender, identity, sexuality, representation and experience and how these directly benefit the city of West Hollywood composed of myriad constituents. As a contrast, issues studied under the concepts of civics and public policy lead to promoting public knowledge and participation with citizens gaining clear views of their interests as individuals as well as groups. These are particularly useful in urban endeavors. The presumptive tag line of interests in “renter’s rights, safer neighborhoods, helping the homeless and reducing… Read more »

Eric Jon Schmidt
1 month ago

The nice thing about November’s election is that this time it won’t just be the same 5000 or so people voting. There will probably will be around 25,000 voters. These voters most likely will not care about the incumbents or people riding their coattails. The people I talk to want change. It is my opinion that the current City Council’s mindset is stuck in the 80’s and they are in the back pockets of developers, billboard companies and companies which are not headquartered in West Hollywood. There needs to be a shakeup on City Council. John Erickson brings way too… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

More of the same. The city is changing (big time), but still no serious people want to be involved with WH due to it’s terrible perception in the country. It will happen it time.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
1 month ago

It’s high time to get Heilman off the Council, but his hand-picked successor (and beneficiary of developers’ largesse) isn’t qualified. I watched a meeting of the Planning Commission on the CityChannel a few months back. Commissioners were debating pros and cons for the project to be built at 8531-8555 Santa Monica Blvd (Collar and Leash was one of the long-time tenants). John Erickson commented how he’s “afraid” to walk past the current property at night due to its being dark, rundown, and so badly maintained. What he failed to realize is that, on camera, he spoke ill of the Appelant.… Read more »

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
1 month ago

I watched him on the planning commission. He’s got a great smile, good looking, and there is a touch of something that’s very obnoxious. He seems to be a know it all. He diminished the other planning commission members comments. When you shared some inside knowledge about being an assistant to a former council member. Like he knew the ropes. But, the bottom line, this is another political potential hat. Underpaid to place circuit. Taking money from a lot of really lose some developers who do not live in west Hollywood. We’ve done nothing for West Hollywood. Except buildings that… Read more »

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Grace

Seems I had posting problems. Here is my comment: . I watched Erickson on the planning commission sometime back. He’s got a great smile, very good looking, and a self proclaimed WEHO raconteur pitch that attempts to hide his midwestern twang and POV. Unfortunately, he has a touch of something that’s very pushy and obnoxious. He seems to be a know it all. He dismissed the other planning commission members comments. It was about the French Quarter. He shared some inside knowledge about being an assistant to a former counsel member. Like he knew the ropes. But, the bottom line,… Read more »

Marco Colantonio
Marco Colantonio
1 month ago

TRY TO REMEMBER! Erickson is a good man and I respect him and his advocacy. He is, of course, a Heilman appointed Planning Commissioner and loyal disciple of Abbe Land and John Heilman, handpicked by Heilman as was Lindsey Horvath in 2009. This move allowed Heilman to maintain and solidify his vice-like grip and stranglehold on West Hollywood City Council. A vote for Erickson guarantees that John Heilman, the Godfather of West Hollywood, who pulls these puppets’ strings, will continue to control the destiny of WeHo, the City he believes he created and looks down upon from his 12th floor… Read more »

:dpb
:dpb
1 month ago

I was happy to see Erickson’s announcement to run for the Council; with a few days perspective, I believe that I was naive in my thinking of his agenda. The fact that his opponent, Heilman, has endorsed him is an indicator that should Heilman lose, the greedy development driven status quo will be maintained.
I am rescinding my endorsement.

Eric Jon Schmidt
1 month ago

He might be a nice guy, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that he will be an extension of the current City Council. If the Residents (not developers, city vendors and business owners) want any kind of change for the better, they should consider a Candidate who is not so entrenched in the current political arena. Someone who will engage with and listen to the Residents and who brings fresh, new ideas and the ability and willingness to think outside the current box.

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