Developer-Backed Group Attacks Candidate Martin for Supporting Development

West Hollywood City Council candidate Steve Martin
Steve Martin

West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran and a campaign committee supporting him are targeting challenger Steve Martin in their latest series of mailings to voters.

The mailings are funded in part by newly reported donations to the Friends of West Hollywood Committee Supporting John Duran for City Council 2013 that boost overall contributions to $324,425, or $162,213 for each of the two council seats in contention in the March 5 election. Half of that amount has been donated to Duran or his supporting committee. Mayor Jeffrey Prang has raised $83,540. The bulk of contributions to both incumbents have come from real estate interests and from outside West Hollywood.

Ironically, the Friends of West Hollywood committee, whose mailing criticizes Martin for voting for the Gateway Center at La Brea Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard and the Sunset Millennium project at Sunset Boulevard and La Cienega, has major financial backing from real estate developers, many from outside West Hollywood.

According to the latest reports released by the West Hollywood City Clerk, the committee has raised $46,750 to finance its mailings and other support for Duran. Of that amount, $13,000 comes from real estate interests. Those donations include $5,000 from BMB Investment, a Beverly Hills-based builder of a 30,000 square foot showroom on Melrose Avenue at Westmont Drive that is opposed by local residents; $5,000 from Excel Property Management of West Hollywood, owned by Arman Gabay of Bel Air, who also owns Charles Company, another developer; $1,000 from Cunningham Development, one of several developers associated with Gary Cunningham of Redondo Beach; $1,000 from Nasa Investment Group, a construction management company based in Los Angeles whose president is Yousef Akhtarzad, and $1,000 from Jerome Nash, owner of the historic Mirador apartment building on the corner of Fountain and Sweetzer avenues, who has threatened to demolish the building if he can’t come to terms with the city on a plan for redeveloping it.

Other major donors to the Friends of West Hollywood committee include Athens Services, a city trash pick-up contractor, which has given $10,000, and W.H.B.T, owner of Micky’s, the gay bar on Santa Monica Boulevard, which has donated $5,000.

The Friends of West Hollywood mailer accuses Martin of soliciting money from developers of Gateway Center and Sunset Millennium projects. It also quotes Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition of Economic Survival, a group that has fought for rent control regulations in West Hollywood, as saying Martin is a “threat to rent control.” A mailing by Duran’s own campaign committee quotes council member John Heilman as endorsing Duran. It also quotes Gross as opposing Martin.

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Bronwen McGarva
9 years ago

I think Steve would make a great addition to City Council — a second time. It is time again for his moderation, his sensitivity to pets, to seniors and the disabled, and to renters. I mean, do we really need another development in West Hollywood, or the destruction of any more rent-controlled apartments (granted some heinous ’70s design) in favor of Live-Work-Lofts? Do we need another car in this small but fabulous city? Let’s bring Steve back and keep West Hollywood politically uber-progressive, but livable. We working class residents don’t want to be kicked to the curb. Bring back Steve!

Chloe Ross
9 years ago

Bronwen – I agree with you.

voolavex
9 years ago

I truly dislike our political seasons. When I open the mail there are always expensive looking fliers (4 color seps and heavy, glossy stock) and they are usually crap. I know who I support on every voting level and with this in mind I find the waste of money and paper aggravating. Having made this clear, today was huge example of this waste. When I opened my mailbox I found not one, but four pieces of political “information” – two of which were “guides” and the other two were from the “Friends of West Hollywood” – not any friends of… Read more »

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
9 years ago

@ Rudolph Martin. When I posed the question of campaign finance reform to Steve Martin recently he responded by saying “I think we may need to consider having public financing if incumbents spend more than $60 k or if there are active Independent expenditure campaigns. Just an unformulated idea so far”. The answer surprised me in that although Steve is obviously able and intelligent he was not particularly smart about solutions to his objectives. With all these many years devoured by a personal need to be on the council, I believe Steve failed to see or lost sight of the… Read more »

Chloe Ross
9 years ago

@ Rudolf: if they are Mormon polygamists it could be the FLDS or even former candidate Mitt but I suspect more likely a group who like watering holes like the Bada Bing.

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
9 years ago

@Rudolph Martin. Your analogy of a president staying in power for life is highly unlikely on several levels. A review of the history of how it is that Roosevelt was to able to accrue successive terms illustrates several issues in play at that time. A movement following his presidency drew several factions into the two term outcome. It is interesting to review exactly how this came about. There is no easy link to connect you to the answer and a bit complicated to explain in this forum. West Hollywood City Council does not appear a fair comparison as the City… Read more »

Chloe Ross
9 years ago

– Well, that might be one way of looking at Athens. I thought more that the owners had a blue moon in their eye.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

@Don Norte – you are correct. Sacramento is trying to do away with CEQA as we know it (“reform it”) and that would be a big mistake. Wish more people were aware of this very serious issue. Maybe if we had council members who really cared about environmental issues, our City would be lobbying Sacramento to save CEQA… as is.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
9 years ago

“TMS”, have you voiced those concerns about the presidential election? do you feel you are being told who you can vote for in a presidential election? would you like a president that can stay in office for life?

“Voolavex” are you suggesting that the Athens guys are depicted in “Big Love”? are you calling them mormon polygamists?

So who is the lobbyist for Athens? Lobbying for the big contract the city will give out before 2016? Anyone?

Sheila Lightfoot
Sheila Lightfoot
9 years ago

Dear TMS, Are you concerned about the motives of all those big contributors from outside West Hollywood to the incumbent Council members? Why do you think they’re spending all that money to try to keep Steve Martin off the Council? Do you really think they’re doing it because they care about West Hollywood residents? Boy, do I have a bridge I want to sell you!

voolavex
9 years ago

Rudolf Martin – FYI – the waste management business; hauling and rubbish removal and related companies are usually managed/owned by companies that are depicted in HBO original series as fiction. There is some confusion if these shows are in fact fiction and by extension – whether the real companies are genuine inspiration for such shows. I hope this gives you some idea of how and who the lobby operates for companies such as waste haulers.

Don Norte
Don Norte
9 years ago

The proposed legislation to eliminate the CEQA review process in Oakland is irresponsible and dangerous to communities throughout California. Potential developments are going to miss a much needed effort to evaluate environmental impacts that are cumulative and often require interagency coordination based on criteria set forth in the law. Doing away with the process of environmental review that is comprehensive is dangerous and poses risk to communities that are dependent on the oversight of government. Doing away with this process clearly favors developement and takes away the mechanism for the public to be informed. The future of California is not… Read more »

Me
Me
9 years ago

DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT, SEE FOR YOURSELF WHO IS DONATING TO THEIR CAMPAIGNS:
DURAN: http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1120
PRANG: http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1065
NO ON C CAMPAIGN: http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1210

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