[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f kicking the can down the road were an Olympic sport, the West Hollywood City Council would have been in Sochi last night. And it likely would have won a gold medal.
Perhaps the most egregious example of the Council’s refusal to act was its stalemate on what to do about LA Pride. City Councilmembers John Duran and John D’Amico have spent months negotiating with Christopher Street West, LA Pride’s non-profit sponsor, to find ways to improve the event. CSW, the Queen of Denial, in essence has said that everyone is happy with the way things are. That’s despite calls at community meetings for improvements in everything from CSW’s choice of parade celebrities to the events and booths at its weekend festival to its poor handling of the long line of people waiting to pay $20 to get into the festival, whose attendance has been in decline.
Unable to get real cooperation from CSW, D’Amico and Duran, working with the city’s special events manager, came up with a proposal that would increase by 14 percent the more than $900,000 allocated by the city to cover the safety and transit and other Pride costs. The additional money would be used to create high quality programming that likely would burnish the tarnished image of Pride and might actually attract some out-of-towners who could afford to rent a hotel room.
The other Council members demurred and suggested forming yet another subcommittee, this time involving the city’s tourism bureau, to study an event that is only a little more than three months away.
That’s not the only can the Council kicked last night. It also effectively took no action on a proposal introduced in November by D’Amico to test for three months whether traffic control officers would improve rush hour traffic flow on Santa Monica Boulevard. This time Councilmembers John Heilman and Jeffrey Prang and Mayor Abbe Land raised questions about the utility of the study — questions that they didn’t think to ask when they sent the idea in November to city staffers to craft a proposal to implement it. In its classic “kick the can” approach, the Council referred the idea to a “subcommittee” composed of Heilman and Prang. They are the same subcommittee members who spent more than eight months supposedly studying campaign finance reform options and returned with a report that said nothing, In response, the Council kicked the campaign reform can so far down the road that it’s unlikely anything will happen before the 2015 City Council election.
We know West Hollywood and its City Council members have grand aspirations, taking stands on issues across the United States and in countries around the world whose leaders are unlikely to have ever heard of them or WeHo. By and large we support the good intentions. But if one of those aspirations is to be seen as a local version of United States Congress, the citizens of West Hollywood have some work to do in the next City Council election.