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.
Joe Guardarrama is a smart guy with a record of service in West Hollywood. He will raise the level of debate in this race which I think we would all agree is a good thing.
For the record, when there was a vacancy on the City Council, initially John Duran and Jeff Prang voted for Guardarrama while Land and Heilman voted of Lindsay Horvath. Prang then switched his vote to Horvath for reasons that were clearly self serving.
Stamp out self service in Weho. Give the boot to those that subscribe to that concept. That goes for potential candidates for council that have conveniently been mentored by like minded folks. Let’s drain the swamp!
Afriat is not running Joe Guardarrama’s campaign.
Where has Joe Guardarrama been for the last four years? He was not reappointed to the planning commission and has been MIA ever since. Looks like he only wants to contribute when he’s getting paid by the city.
Kayaytche: I thought the same exact thing! Once Afriat’s client Prang won, Afriat’s other client Guardarrama jumped in. Why is Afriat allowed to run the campaigns of the council people and then put his other business (millions and millions of dollars worth) before them in council? I always wondered if he charges his candidate clients less money in exchange for their votes should they win. Wouldn’t put it past any of them, especially considering how expensive our local campaigns have become. If they can cut out some of the money they’re paying to their campaign manager, they have more money… Read more »
Affriat ran Prang and Duran’s campaigns in 2013. He will likely run Guardaramma’s…enough said.
Agreed, Cy, Rudolf, and Emilija. Also, do we think it’s coincidence that Joe’s candidacy was announced the day after Prang won his Assessor seat and, accordingly is off the council? Is Prang associated with Afriat? Is Joe Prang 2? I don’t know, so I’m asking. Does anyone know?
I have no issue with Siberia, it’s a lovely place. I used it simply as a figure of speech.
To: Rudolph, Emilija, Cy and Bernadette, thank you for your on point remarks. Although Mr. Guardaramma may have some eminent legal qualifications the fact remains if one is unable to realize that theory must be put into practice, and continue to speak about campaign reform in the abstract, they are yet another hollow voice. WeHo does not need yet another individual connected at the hip to Mr. Afriat and other likeminded entities. We deserve and should welcome grass roots campaigns about ideas not smoke. Without Public Funding in place we can simply ignore the abusers and let them reside in… Read more »
Both Rudolf & Emilija bring up very good points!
If we had Public Funding of Elections “Who will finance their campaign” would NOT be an issue but, “real” issues would be!
Steve Afriat is really bad for our community. If I were Joe, I’d RUN from this unethical windbag and find someone else to manage my campaign. Afriat’s firm represents Charles Cohen who gave us the EMPTY monstrosity that is the red building at PDC, and now is planning to develop the MTA site, which is the size of 10 football fields. I guess if Joe or any of Afriat’s clients are voted in, they are automatic YES-es for projects like this and all the ones Afriat’s firm represents: like Ace Billboard – which wants to erect a 14 foot by… Read more »
Steve Afriat’s candidate and one of his best friends- don’t be fooled by the wolf in sheep clothing- another planning commissioner with relationships to the big developers-
I had no idea the city had a campaign finance reform committee! I’d love to know what their suggestions and actions were (if any) and when they were implemented. I’m intrigued.
Will he be John Duran’s wing man or does he “want to bring real ethical reform”? Who will finance his campaign?
“Certain practices create a bad perception among citizens.” You bet!
Given his background I would love to know JG’s thoughts on our council’s current ethics in more detail.