Prospective candidates are hurriedly filing papers (the deadline is Wednesday) for the March 3 West Hollywood City Council election, and the already announced are already hosting events to raise money to fund their campaigns.
So now it’s time for West Hollywood residents (rather than campaign consultants and major donors) to set the agenda for the 2015 race.
WEHOville wants to know what questions you think candidates for the three seats on the Council should address in their campaigns. What matters to you? What matters to the future of our city?
Please email me at Henry@WEHOville.com with your ideas about what the candidates should be addressing if they want to get your vote. (Next Monday we’ll post on WEHOville a list of the most frequently mentioned issues.)
Here are a few issues that are clear, given the events of the past year:
PLUMMER PARK. Candidates are likely to take positions supporting more community involvement in the Plummer Park master plan and seeking more study of some of the current plan’s proposals. But if we want to get down to brass tacks (something the West Hollywood City Council rarely does), the question is this: Do you support moving Great Hall / Long Hall from its current location or do you support leaving it where it is?
8899 BEVERLY. The immediate issue is whether the Council, some of whose members have received major financial support from the 8899 Beverly developer, will vote to amend the city’s three-year-old General Plan and zoning ordinance to permit construction of a project that already doesn’t meet the standards of the General Plan and the zoning ordinance (it was grandfathered in.) That’s a decision that’s likely to be made before the election.
But going forward, should a developer have to make an exceptional case for the Council to grant such an exception? And what should that case be? Creation of a certain number of new jobs? Provision of a certain number of low-income housing units? In other words, if we’re going to let someone break the rules, why?
TRAFFIC. It’s clear from the comments on WEHOville that you, our readers, have differing opinions on this issue. Managing traffic in a densely populated city that sits in a major urban area and is crossed by several major thoroughfares is not easy. But as the future Council considers traffic issues, do you want the newly elected members to lean towards expediting east/west traffic flow or lean towards making West Hollywood a more walkable city (even if that means it takes longer to get from East Los Angeles to Beverly Hills?)
ETHICS. The West Hollywood City Council pats itself on the back, and thumps itself on its collective chest, when it comes to taking stands on ethical and human rights issues across the nation and the world. But when it comes to its own campaign finance issues and conflicts of interest, the Council’s approach is duck and cover.
As WEHOville has documented, some of our Council members feel no shame in hiring someone to raise money to get them elected, and then letting that campaign manager show up before the Council with a client seeking the city’s largess. Most of our Council members get most of their campaign contributions from developers based outside the city and from vendors who seek or have city contracts. Not a pretty picture.
Here are some questions we’d like to see Council candidates answer on campaign finance and ethics issues:
1) Should the City Council bar campaign managers from lobbying the Council?
2) Should a Council member recuse himself from discussing or voting on an issue brought before the Council by a company or organization that has donated (either through the company or its senior executives and their immediate family members) more than $2,000 to that member’s campaign for City Council or any other office within the previous 24 months? By the way, we’d include donations to so-called “independent campaign committees,” the GOP’s end run of choice around national campaign finance laws.
3) Should a Council member be able to get campaign contributions, a job or donations to a non-profit organization on whose board he sits (or which he or she runs) from someone he’s voted to give a city contract or a land use benefit worth more than $25,000? (In Santa Monica, that’s been against the law for 14 years).
Of course there are many other issues candidates should address: The parking situation, the city’s expensive subsidy of financially troubled events such as L.A. Pride and the Sunset Strip Music Festival, the construction of so-called “big box” houses, to name a few.
Let us know your thoughts, written in the form of a question you’d like to see WEHOville put to a candidate. And please frame that question so the candidate is required to give a “yes” or “no” answer — no “if’s,” “ands,” or “buts.”
Mayor John D’amico , This may be a rant, but its my chime in on the upcoming election and what I think is needed. Its just one mans opinion and that one man is me. Also I’m posting this in a public place here on FB because I believe discussion is good and a strong debate is a healthy democracy. Its not meant to be anything other than that. Not a call out out more a call to. After coming across this weho ville post I put my mind to work and the following or things I think need TO… Read more »
Per the Parking Enforcement Contractor, Vehicles displaying Disabled Placards or License Plates are subject to being cited with a fine of $518.00 which can only be dismissed with a visit to their office, not city Hall, by the vehicles owner and numerous required forms.
Duran recused himself from several votes last night while the mayor refused to do so.
For the record, when I was a Council member I was able to pass legislation that banned the City from providing funds to any non-profit where a City Council member sat on the Board of Directors. At the time the majority of the City Council members viewed such situations as an obvious conflict of interest. Alas over the last decade we have seen a decline in ethics at City Hall and the repeal of that ordinance was simply part of that sad process. If you are seriously dedicated about doing your job as a City Council member you would not… Read more »
Thank you WEHOVILLE for asking these questions and asking residents and stakeholders to come up with more questions to be answered. I appreciate all the commenters and agree most. The real point is, in my opinion, how can we get people to actually pay attention to these questions and how can we get them to listen to the answers from the candidates. In the last 5-10 years, the Council has created, via development, a City of Transients. It is hard to get transient residents to take a stand, but try we must.
Josh Kurpies for Council!!
Actually here is another question for the candidates that never take real positions on anything:
– We have not heard you take any positions in public on any of the issues in the last few years until this “campaign season”. Why should we believe that this will change if we go nuts and elect you to city council?
I agree with most previous commenters and I love the idea of pressing candidates on what their previous and current involvement in the community is. I want people who are passionate and involved, no matter if elected or not. If someone is not involved now, chances are they won’t be if elected to council. I’m not sure that sitting on a commission is enough Very good questions have been suggested already. I would add/tweak: On Plummer Park and East Side development: What have you done so far on the issue of Plummer Park? Have you spoken out in front of… Read more »
If anyone is truly paying attention to the real issues affecting the residents of West Hollywood, they’d realize it’s not whether Great Hall is preserved or demolished, or whether Crosswalk A is removed or gets a traffic signal – yes, all those things might have its pros and cons, but the most important issue facing most West Hollywood residents is the question of whether they’re going to be able to afford to remain living here. I want to hear from each of the candidates about the followoing: 1) what have you done to date to preserve existing affordable units in… Read more »
I’m also looking for some big ideas – something that can capture the attention of voters to get them to vote! A few years ago, we had one candidate that was championing evacuated tube transportation – still a viable concept that seems to have gone nowhere. Now Seattle is considering something interesting too: A land-hovering air bus. Not tunnels needed, it just soars over traffic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO5asUTbCR0 Maybe Robertson Blvd between Santa Monica Blvd & Melrose needs to become a pedestrian street. The developers of 8899 should be turned down for the entire project. They need to come back with something… Read more »
The 8899 Beverly development is a flagrant example of the “give me money and I’ll jump as high as you like” mindset of the current city council. Drive around the city and view the projects that this council has approved. All out of scale, giant, disappointing architecturally. More important to me, and I am sure, many of the residents who moved to West Hollywood years ago..is the disregard for our basic humanity. There is nothing redeeming about these oversized-out-of-scale buildings with regard to the living comfort of our residents. Each new oversized project has created an atmosphere of destroying what… Read more »
Anyone can get a few signatures and put their name on the ballot. Anyone can make promises or take positions. We should be asking candidates for their current resume of bona fides as an active resident on the issues they purport to care about.
Rather than tell us what issues / positions you “would” support, if elected… What specific issues / positions have you “already” been fighting for – openly and actively, alongside your fellow residents?
To begin with I would like to see those on the council banned from voting on issues that are supported by a contributor no matter how much money was given. Santa Monica Bl. is gridlocked twice a day. it’s time the city pushed hard for a Light Rail Line down the middle of Santa Monica Bl. from West Los Angeles at least to Downtown Los Angeles via Santa Monica Bl./ Sunset Bl. The grass and tree’s may look nice in the middle of the street but it was a streetcar right of way originally and that is what it should… Read more »