Joe Guardarrama, a lawyer who has served on two of West Hollywood’s commissions, has registered as a candidate for the March 2015 West Hollywood City Council election.
Guardarrama, who has lived in West Hollywood since 2000, said he has “a real deep love for this city.” His parents fled Communist Cuba for the United States, with his father opening what became a very successful glass and mirror store on Melrose Avenue just east of West Hollywood.
Guardarrama served on the city Planning Commission for more than seven years, presiding over Commission meetings as both chair and vice chair. In that role he dealt with complicated land use policy matters such as the creation of a new general plan, the Red Building expansion of the Pacific Design Center and multiple affordable housing developments. Guardarrama also served as a business license commissioner and on the city’s Campaign Finance Reform Committee.
Campaign finance issues, election law and government ethics are a part of his practice at the Kaufman Legal Group, which Guardarrama joined in 2011. He advises candidates, officeholders, political action committees, independent expenditure committees, major donors, lobbyists and corporations on legal aspects of their involvement with the political process at the state and local levels.
Guardarrama said he hopes to apply that knowledge if he’s elected to the City Council. “If I get elected, I want to bring real ethical reform,” he said, cautioning that while he did not see any evidence of corruption on the City Council, he felt certain practices create a bad perception among citizens.
Guardarrama was one of two final contenders in 2009 for an appointment by the Council to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sal Guarriello. The Council chose Lindsey Horvath for the position in a three to one vote, with Councilmembers John Heilman, Abbe Land and Jeffrey Prang supportiing Horvath and Councilmember John Duran supporting Guardarrama.
Guardarrama currently serves on the board of directors of the California Political Attorneys Association. He previously served as vice [resident of the board of directors of Equality California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science, cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine in 1996, and his law degree, cum laude, from Loyola Law School in 1999.
With the election yesterday of Prang as Los Angeles County Assessor, there will be four seats open on the five-member City Council. Incumbents John Heilman and John D’Amico already have announced their intent to run again. Councilmember Abbe Land has not yet said whether she will seek re-election. With Guardarrama’s filing, there now are 12 candidates in the race.