Opinion: When It Comes to Issues Affecting Renters and Working Families, John Duran Doesn’t Vote Like a Democrat

John Duran

The cooks, housekeepers, dishwashers and bartenders that serve West Hollywood’s hotels have pooled their resources so, together, we can have a voice in our city’s Council election, and we are happy that this effort has attracted attention. Our goals are straightforward: hospitality workers ask for a living wage so we can care for our families, and affordable housing so we can live in the communities we serve. We will be spending our resources in equal portions to support Sepi Shyne and John Erickson for City Council. Most of all, we will focus our efforts on communicating a simple truth: on the issues that impact renters and working families, Councilmember John Duran just doesn’t vote like a Democrat. That is why we believe West Hollywood needs new leadership.

John Duran demonstrated his betrayal of renters in several recent votes. When a hotel developer tried to turn apartments that were built as permanent housing into luxury short-and corporate rentals, John Duran voted three times in favor of the developer’s plans and against renters who are facing a housing crisis. The most recent of these votes allowed landlords to convert housing into short-term rentals in multiple buildings. John Erickson cast the lone Planning Commission vote against this terrible idea, and Sepi Shyne spoke out in public on behalf of the renters impacted by it. John Duran also cast the deciding vote to seek a reduction in West Hollywood’s housing construction goal, appealing the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

John Duran cast the deciding vote against the $15 minimum wage, and as a result West Hollywood has one of the lowest minimum wages in the region. His vote was so bad that the Miracle Mile Democratic Club sent a letter admonishing him. Both John Erickson and Sepi Shyne have stood with workers protesting for a living wage.

John Duran sided with landlords, developers and big corporations against renters and working families, and now those wealthy business interests are returning the favor by spending heavily to reelect him. This includes donations from the developer of the corporate rental building we mentioned above and thousands of dollars from major funders of President Donald Trump. These just aren’t the kinds of donations you want to see funding your City Council members, and it’s no accident that Duran has lost the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

Our members have been the volunteers, phone bankers and door-knockers that have been building the Democratic Party for decades. This year, hundreds of hotel workers have left their homes in California to live for months in swing states like Arizona and Nevada to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They have been walking in the searing heat of the desert in one of the most effective ground operations anywhere. We are not going do all this work to save our democracy nationally and then watch while the same right-wing interests control our local politics back home.

Whenever we speak out in an election, we face people that tell us we don’t belong. You may even see this kind of talk from the supporters of John Duran in the comments below this article. Some just can’t believe that hotel workers live among us in West Hollywood. Some call us “outsiders”. Some think that housekeepers and cooks are too dumb to make political decisions, and try to dismiss our efforts as the work of “union bosses.”

We ask you to consider just how offensive it sounds to have a housekeeper clean your bathrooms and floors, build the wealth of your hospitality industry, and then call them an “outsider” when they speak up about politics. It is exactly this kind of right-wing prejudice that we seek to confront in the West Hollywood City Council election. This is exactly why we will work to defeat John Duran and his corporate backers, and why we will work to elect two excellent challengers who stand up for renters and workers: Sepi Shyne and John Erickson.

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A carefull voter!
A carefull voter!
16 days ago

If John Duran a Trump supporter I’m going to vote for him. Thank you for the article, because it was so hard to figure out who I’m going to vote for. This is so unfair who is running for City Council NO Party names (Democratic/Republican) who they are going to represent. Why people not proud about what party they believe? Trump2Q2Q Wake up everybody so much wrong going on behind the Democratic Party. Do your research. Becareful who you going to vote for the Democrats not as good as it seems.

chloe ross
chloe ross
14 days ago

who doesn’t leave a name.

A WeHo voter
A WeHo voter
16 days ago

This is a hit piece, a different kind of hit piece, but a hit piece nevertheless… During the last election, Unite HERE hit D’Amico and thank God, D’Amico was reelected.

:dpb
:dpb
17 days ago

Duran is a disgrace to leadership, any party, anywhere. Disgusting.

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
17 days ago

So the authors support Sepi Shyne and John Erikson. Not either of the incumbents but only attack one of them? Hmmmm. There are 5 current votes on the council but not a mention of the other incumbent yet they’re not supporting either incumbent but the newbies? Doesn’t smell right and won’t buy what they’re selling.

WeHo Poster
WeHo Poster
18 days ago

Duran’s record is bad–but he absolutely does vote like a Democrat. The point of the Democratic Party is to contain and isolate the left, to absorb its energy and stop it cold. Look at the two Bernie campaigns–both times sabotaged by Democrats. Why? To prevent universal healthcare, student loan cancellation, and a better future for millions, so that the party’s donors can remain on top. Here in California, the Democratic-controlled state government has had the votes to pass statewide universal healthcare, but refuses to.

Democrats are bad, folks. We deserve better!

Francis Engler
Francis Engler
17 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Poster

I agree that the battle between corporate and progressive democrats is one of the defining questions of the party. And I think council races like this are a snapshot of that battle.

cody warlock
cody warlock
17 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Poster

Bernie was beat both times fair and square and to suggest otherwise is just sour grapes.

Matti
Matti
17 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Poster

I completely disagree. The way politics work in this country is a product of a system that encourages and solidifies two major parties, and makes it nearly impossible for individuals running outside the two to gain a seat at the table. Bernie and the politics of America he embodies would make an entirely new party in a better democracy. Why haven’t they? Because they know how the system works, and doing so would be a fool’s errand in the current system of American democracy. There’s nothing nefarious going on. The Democrats are just trying win the game they have to… Read more »

kab1200
kab1200
18 days ago

Unite Here is a cult and they play dirty. No thanks!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
18 days ago
Reply to  kab1200

Actually Unite Here Local 11 is a union representing hotel workers and their fight to have our lucrative hotels pay a living wage. Unite Here is lambasted by the Chamber of Commerce and many at City Hall because they have often questioned the status quo. If Unite Here can help make our City Council more accountable and responsive, then we should welcome them as allies.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

They are failing at both if they are feeding their members this garbage.
I believe this is the 3rd local campaign Unite HERE Local 11 has participated in in the past few years and every single time I’ve seen them distort the facts. Shame on them for not being more responsible to their members and voters.
Unite HERE Local 11 has made it clear, they are more interested in having a City Council that feels beholden to them, rather than accountable and responsive.

Francis Engler
Francis Engler
17 days ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Hi Josh,

Which facts do you think are distorted in this article? I’d also like to point out that you use this offensive framing that the “union bosses” are “feeding” their members information, as if the members are animals who don’t know any better. This article is from a member, and members make the decisions in the highly democratic structure of UNITE HERE. I understand if you have a disagreement with a decision or position by a union, but why would any person who calls themselves a Democrat engage in this kind of anti-union vitriol?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
16 days ago
Reply to  Francis Engler

I think it’s a stretch to suggest that because someone is critical of a specific union in a specific town that they are anti-union and thus ideologically impure to the Democratic Party. This applies to the criticisms of both Josh’s comments above, and the general criticism of Duran vis a vis Unite Here Local 11. There is no one single way to be or vote like a Democrat. Demand for ideological purity is what led to the Tea Party, I’d prefer not to be a part of creating the Tea Party of the Left, but I fear it’s too late.… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by Alan Strasburg
Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
16 days ago
Reply to  Francis Engler

Hi Francis: Thank you for asking. Claim 1: “…tried to turn apartments that were built as permanent housing into luxury short-and corporate rentals, John Duran voted three times in favor of the developer’s plans and against renters who are facing a housing crisis.” First, this statement implies these units were at one time not “luxury”. Other than the inclusionary affordable units, none of the units in either of the two towers were going to be at a level of rent that most West Hollywood residents could ever afford to pay . Second, votes related to this property’s ability to offer rentals of 31… Read more »

Francis Engler
Francis Engler
15 days ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Josh, The claim you didn’t dispute was the fact that John Duran voted against the $15 minimum wage, and that the Miracle Mile Democratic Club admonished him for this. Let’s not let the larger point get lost in this – you are defending the candidate of the Chamber of Commerce against the candidates endorsed by the LA County Federation of Labor. The underlying politics of this are clear. Are there any Democratic Party bodies or clubs that have endorsed Duran? Let’s also address your rhetoric up front. I have found that you really learn whether a leader has “pro-labor, Democratic… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Francis Engler
Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
19 days ago

Sepi lost me when she played the victim card. That alone was a major turn-off. I can’t find any reason to support her.

I got a call from a guy seeking my vote for John Erickson and everything he said in John’s support had the opposite effect. Erickson dropped to the bottom of the list for me thanks to that call.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
18 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

I don’t want to sound like I am trying to contradict your comment, but the incumbents are often adept at playing the “victim” card. They often play on the need for a gay majority.

Huh
Huh
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Actually it’s a female candidate running that seems to play the female majority – and the gay majority and the I am a lesbian all the time. There is no other candidate that has divided us racially as the one u defend and support.

Jason K
Jason K
19 days ago

Not only does Duran need to go but their needs to be term limits set for the city council. We need to insure that we have some fresh faces and new ideas after a period of time. It also ensures these developers and other special interest can’t establish life time relationships with the council and control the city.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
18 days ago
Reply to  Jason K

There are term limits. The law passed in 2013.

cody warlock
cody warlock
17 days ago
Reply to  WeHoMikey

If there are term limits then how many more terms does John Duran get?? He needs to go NOW.

kab1200
kab1200
18 days ago
Reply to  Jason K

Uh, there are term limits, we voted for them.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
18 days ago
Reply to  Jason K
Joshua88
Joshua88
19 days ago

Thank you for your input. I keep trying to get these long-time incumbents out, but 27% voter turnout hasn’t worked, yet. Let’s hope this year is the year.

Ezra Buzzington
Ezra Buzzington
19 days ago

Wow. Like he was the lone vote on all of these or that he’s the only candidate (including Heilman and Horvath) who has taken money from the ONE Trump supporting donor you cite. This isn’t an opinion piece. It’s a misleading hatchet job. Again. No big supporter of Duran. Just a huge supporter of non-manipulative articles. Check the links. The introductory sentence to each one is specious at best.

kab1200
kab1200
18 days ago

I agree.

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