Marco Colantonio Is the 8th Confirmed Candidate in the Nov. 3 WeHo City Council Election

Marco Colantonio

Local real estate agent and property manager Marco Colantonio has announced that he will be in the running for one of two seats on the West Hollywood City Council in November. Those seat currently are occupied by John Duran and John Heilman, both of whom are running for re-election.

Colantonio has filed a statement of intent and must collect the signatures of 20 registered West Hollywood voters to be put on the ballot.

Other candidates in the race are Larry Block, owner of the Block Party store and chair of the city’s Public Facilities Commission; Jack Cline,  a nurse and drag performer who also goes by the name “Jackie Oh My Goodness”; John Erickson, a city Planning Commission who is director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and president of the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women; Sepi Shyne, an attorney and member of the city’s Business License Commission, and Noemi Torres, a real estate agent and a member of the city’s Public Facilities Commission.  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.

In an announcement of his candidacy, Colantonio said “I’d like to begin my campaign by having a conversation about what sort of city we want West Hollywood to be, and that requires ‘change,’ and change means a new narrative. Our current City Council is controlled by special interest groups, mostly real estate developers, unions and other big-money donors who heap massive amounts of cash into the coffers of campaign election funds and the pet projects of those members who seek to control the majority vote on City Council. I am running to serve West Hollywood to ensure the city equitably works to improve the quality of life for all residents, workers, and visitors. “

“It’s time to remember why we campaigned for ‘change,’ voted for ‘term limits,’ fought for sensible development, and advocated for saving cultural resources like Plummer Park’ s Great Hall/Long Hall. The conversation has been paused for too long and we need to press the reset button and return the focus to issues that affect our lives daily.

“We need independent leadership, an aggressive plan for small business recovery, improved public safety measures, and a moratorium on large-scale development as West Hollywood attempts to rebuild our community devastated by a pandemic and the struggle for social justice. Now is the time for grassroots activism and empathy, not elitism.

Colantonio said he intends to address the following topics:

  • A plan for senior and disabled community members to age and thrive in place.
  • An income-based cap to eliminate annual rent increases for rent stabilized housing units.
  • Affordable housing exclusively for West Hollywood residents.
  • Increasing the number of Sheriff’s deputies under contract.
  • Security Ambassador foot patrols.
  • Mandatory postings and annual inspections for rent stabilized multi-unit dwellings.
  • A small business recovery task force.
  • Increased traffic calming and ongoing pedestrian safety programs.
  • Enhanced street sanitation programs.
  • The immediate revitalization of Plummer Park and other neighborhood parks.

Colantonio moved to West Hollywood 15 years ago and has served on the city’s Disabilities Advisory Board and as founder and former publisher of WeHo Times.

To become a candidate for the 2020 election, you must 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 Office at (323) 848-6409 in mid-June 2020 to schedule an appointment to receive specific election information and official nomination papers.


12 Comments
  1. The more, the merrier. Experience counts, but you do not need to be an activist or hold a prior position before running for office in a city you live in, love, and feel needs change. That should be obvious. How easy is it to get on one of the recommended commissions? Appointed by a sitting member? Pshaw!

  2. I agree with Rob. I believe you are well intentioned and articulate, Marco. But, it’s clear that you haven’t been involved in our city at any level. I think you should consider joining a few commissions before you try to represent our interests. Most new candidates from John Erickson to Sepi Shayne have spent years navigating our city and understand how to effectuate long term change. You should align yourself with one one (or both) of them and learn about our city (beyond being a resident).

    We went through the same thing with Lauren MEISTER’s lack of experience when she became a council member. She had a lot of silly ideas and to this day, has been unable to effectuate real change (other than deny projects in her beloved West Hollywood west).

    How many new affordable units have been added in West Hollywood west? Zero.

    How many new senior units have been added in West Hollywood west? Zero.

    She had promised us both and never delivered.

    I urge you to join a commission or committee and hopefully run for the next election.

    1. Hi Jack,
      Thank you for taking the time to write and as you do, I also admire experience and will admit that I am not a professional politician, so I don’t bring along any political baggage or bias, nor have I curried the favor of special interests in accepting their donations.

      I am running for City Council to serve our residents, workers, and small business owners.

      At my core, I am a community activist, having advocated for renters’ rights, pedestrian safety issues, seniors, and community members living with disabilities for more than a decade. I proudly served as an “at-large appointee to our Disabilities Advisory Board as a member and also as Vice-Chair. I have attended all of our Advisory Board and Commission meetings multiple times and proud to say that I am well known to most of our Commissioners, Board Members, and just about every employee at City Hall and most Department Managers.

      I am a licensed Realtor, General Contractor with a comprehensive knowledge of Building and Safety Codes, and well versed in the application and nuances of our Rent Stabilization Ordinances.

      I am proud to be a supporter of Lauren Meister and respect her dedication, fortitude, knowledge of the issues as well as Lauren’s uncompromising commitment to our residents. As most political insiders would agree, there exist decades of cronyism on our Council and tremendous loyalties to Special Interests, Big Business, and Developers.

      I offer a fresh perspective, experience as a community activist, and advocate unbridled enthusiasm with a deep love and a sincere desire to serve our City and its residents. I look forward to meeting at some point so you can get to know me. Email me anytime:
      marco4weho@gmail.com

    2. Would like to correct for the records some things mentioned in Mr Smith’s comment above.
       
      Most importantly, the majority of West Hollywood West has always been zoned as R1 single family or 2-unit structures, or as commercial, so there isn’t a lot of options to add additional affordable units.
       
      However, in areas that a larger project is allowed, these proposed and permitted buildings in West Hollywood West, ALWAYS have low-income and very-low income units:

      • Fiona at 375 N La Cienega Blvd – 11 apartments for very-low income folks
      • 8899 Beverly Blvd – 15 apartments for low- and moderate-income folks
      • Melrose Triangle – 15 apartments for low- and moderate-income folks (that project is on hold, not because of WHWRA, but the developer Arman Gabay – a very generous donor to certain WeHo City Councilmembers – faces a federal bribery charge in L.A. County & has also supposedly changed the project to be office space)
      • 8713 Beverly Blvd (proposed) – 5 apartments for low-income folks (this project was rejected by the City’s Planning Commission, not WHWRA)

       
      Councilmember Meister had been engaged for decades on local issues and was well experienced before she joined council; including serving as president of the West Hollywood West Residence Association (WHWRA) addressing issues of planning, zoning, traffic, parking and crime; as a respected Commissioner on the City’s Public Safety Commission and as the Chair of the successful “Yes on Measure C” Term Limits ballot initiative.

    3. Mr. Smith’s comment reads like a hatchet job of both Colantonio and Councilmember Lauren Meister. To attack without knowing that West Hollywood West is overwhelmingly zoned R1 is irresponsible and could be construed as malicious. Many candidates, including sitting council members, campaigned against over-development and for responsible growth. Yet, Lauren Meister, since day one and often, has shown with her vote she is willing to stand up for residents over large outside money interests and developers when needed.
       

  3. West Hollywood has a comprehensive “aging in place” program originated by staff, the Human Services Commission and public outreach;
    We have an active Disability Advisory Board that constantly works with staff to provide our disabled residents with the tools they need to live active, full lives;
    Changing our rent stabilized housing to “income based” would result in thousands of residents seeing their rents go to market rate. That’s not the way to increase affordable housing stock;
    The only way affordable housing can be restricted to West Hollywood residents is if The City pays for the entire cost of the buildings (in CA it’s about $500k per unit) If you accept outside loans and grants, you cannot discriminate based on a prospective tenant’s current residency. When the LGBT Center built their senior affordable housing in Hollywood they used outside funding and federal money & thus tenancy must be for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation;
    The City is already moving towards mandatory inspections of all residential rentals (initiated by the Rent Stabilization Commission) by starting with mandatory inspections of all common areas and exteriors. I suspect once that phase is done, with the thousands of buildings in our city, they will move to interior inspections;
    The City has already done much for traffic calming and to increase pedestrian safety yet we continue to have pedestrians ignore the law and cross against the lights or mid block. You can’t legislate away poor judgment;
    Funding to renovate Plummer Park was mostly lost when California dismantled all redevelopment agencies. There is a sub committee at Council for the parks’ renovation and I believe that they will soon begin public outreach to plan for the park’s renovation with the funds that are available.
    It’s easy to be involved in our city–attend council, commission, board and neighborhood watch meetings. Serve on a board or commission. Be an engaged resident BEFORE you run for council,

    1. Hi Rob, I respect and admire your service as well as all of our Council members, Commissioners, and Board members. We have much to be proud of, but can always do more to improve outreach and services and that’s why “Change” and fresh perspectives are a good thing. When we think we have done the best we can, it’s time to look for people who want to push boundaries further. That is one of the reasons I am running for City Council.

      When I speak of an “Income-Based Cap” on Rental Increases in Rent Stabilized units, I am specifically referring to a cap or eliminated annual increases for residents with lower to moderate-incomes, like students, seniors, and people living with Disabilities in a similar way to what we do with inclusionary housing. If your income is below a certain number, for example, if you are living on SSDI or SSI, then you would not be subject to the annual increases that are determined by the Rent Stabilization Commission.

      As for Aging Housing Stock, we need to be more proactive about ensuring that landlords comply with existing ordinances.

      In addition to the $125 million already committed to West Hollywood Park, which now may not open until 2021, we need to invest more funds into neighborhood Parks. Plummer Park is a much-loved community resource and now, more than ever we should be rehabbing and re-purposing the existing facilities, especially Great Hall/Long Hall.

      Btw, I served on the Disabilities Advisory for 3 years, on sub-committees for Aging in Place, and have advocated extensively with our Social Services department for senior citizens in our community. As the former publisher of WeHo Times, I was the first to investigate and publish the story of the death of Gemmel Moore in Ed Buck’s apartment. I was also a founding committee member for the Los Angeles Resist Movement and March.

      There much more to the conversation about what kind of a city our residents want West Hollywood to be and I look forward to engaging residents and voters.

      1. I support someone new…..with fresh eyes. The city must change and serve the homeowners/residents who live here today…..not 25 years ago.

    2. Yes! As a longtime renter in West Hollywood, I say, “Bring on the mandatory inspections!” So many landlords/landladies get away with doing as little as possible to maintain a safe and healthy environment for their tenants.

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