Opinion: Getting Back to the Basics on the City Council

Matt Ralston
Matt Ralston
I am running because our City Council needs to get back to the basics of what makes West Hollywood the place we love. It is a precarious situation for me to write this in criticism of our current Council, but criticism is not to be taken negatively when it comes from a position of respect. They have made this city not only a pleasant place to live, but a beacon of light for the rest of the country to look towards and hopefully follow. Our social programs take care of our residents. We have a budget surplus. We are a symbol of the beauty of diversity. They have done a fine job ,and I have the utmost respect for each of them, and I mean that. And yet:

We need to work small to big. Why are we concerned with erecting shopping centers when we can’t even make crosswalks safe? Towns don’t elect councils to bring out a wrecking ball and demolish structures so they can allow the real estate lobbyists who manage their campaigns to build. Or those lobbyist’s clients. They elect them to manage the city that existed when they were elected.

Financial collusion is a huge problem. This is why, I suspect, the crosswalk situation remains at best unsatisfactory and at worst dangerous. There’s not a lot of money in crosswalk contracting. While important, the crosswalks aren’t the largest problem we face. They are a microcosm of a political culture that has been fostered by a monetary circuit that flows from real estate developers to members of the Planning Commission and at some point dissipates once developments are approved by the Council.

Developers don’t care about the city because they don’t live here. They won’t be stuck in traffic. They don’t care about us, they care about the money. This doesn’t make them bad people, nor does it make me a bad person if I don’t agree with their proposals. If you aren’t aware, the amount of projects the Planning Commission has approved that are slated for future construction is a bit jaw dropping. It’s not difficult to find the campaign finance statements of those who have served on that Commission and see what is clearly a conflict of interest.

When I have campaign events or knock on doors or attend community gatherings, the first thing an overwhelming majority of people say they are concerned about is overdevelopment. This is true of people who live from Doheny to LaBrea and Sunset to Melrose. Yet the City Council meetings are a farce on this issue. People speak up, say they don’t want a five-story building in their back yard, say Kings Road for example. The Council listens, and the development is inevitably approved.

It seems there is a disparity between what the residents want and what the Council envisions. Luckily the people elect the Council to represent them. West Hollywood needs someone to say “No” when it is appropriate. I fear what will happen to the city if three former Planning Commission members are elected to the Council. Their track record does not jibe with the wishes of the people. I am not against development, I’m just against what is going on right now. We need checks and balances.

For that reason, I ask for your vote on March 3rd.

We are relying too heavily on ticketing to raise revenue. Income inequality is surpassing levels we saw during the Great Depression. It’s hard enough to get by without exorbitant penalties for minor mistakes. It’s not fair to our residents or our neighbors in the Los Angeles area or the people who visit our city. We are outsourcing our parking enforcement to Serco – a faceless corporation that runs, besides meter maid services, private prisons. This is the polar opposite of the example we should be setting.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bill Braendel Jr
Bill Braendel Jr
7 years ago

Sorry you didn’t win this time around Matt, try again! I like what you are saying.

Matt Ralston
7 years ago

Thank you. We will have to focus more on fundraising. Will keep you posed thanks for the support. Matt.

Jim C
Jim C
7 years ago

Hey Matt, sorry you didn’t win last night. You would have if you had the campaign funding. I hope you run again in June. I would like to see you on the City Council. A lot of people I know voted for you. Keep going, man. This is just the beginning for you. You will do great things for this city.

ina ralston
ina ralston
7 years ago

Brain Holt needs to get off his high horse and listen to what Matt is saying.

Matt Ralston
7 years ago

Would like to invite you all to a campaign meet and greet on Monday at the Gym Bar. Share with any friends, neighbors, or community members.

6:30 – 9:00 pm
Gym Bar
8737 Santa Monica Blvd.
No RSVP Necessary, just come by.

Matt

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
7 years ago

Matt, didn’t you know you were supposed to write a status quo affirming op-ed of non-controversial platitudes we can all agree on? Elected or not, I hope you stay involved on these issues.

Brian Holt
Brian Holt
7 years ago

Matt: Thanks for clearing that up. One thing I know fer sure is I want an experienced council person on the dais. I have one vote up for grabs; it was formerly intended for a candidate I’ve since become disappointed in and with. Keep me posted on ur upcoming events and I will do my best to attend one. Brian.radio@gmail.com

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

Matt, you seem like an intelligent young man. But to make such a silly blanket statement as “Our current council has been bought by developers” just proves that while idealistic, you don’t have an understanding of how a city functions. There may be some instances where developers have held sway over decisions but to insinuate that it’s 100% exploited by developers just isn’t true, and frankly it makes you sound naive.

You say that you’ve had several years of experience in politics. Where, in West Hollywood? I’ve been around for almost 20 and I can’t recall hearing your name.

Matt Ralston
7 years ago
Reply to  Steve

I have a fine understanding. If you’ve seen instances of it happening, rest assured it’s more common than you’d think. Once one’s integrity is compromised, it’s gone forever. There’s no middle ground. Either you act ethically or not. This council hasn’t. I’ve attended just about every meeting, rally, march, and parade in West Hollywood in the past seven years. Prior to that I fought the Bush Administration on environmental issues, and lobbied the Obama administration to increase fuel efficiency standards in vehicles, amongst other actions. I’ve never run for office before, which frankly I think is a positive. I’m not… Read more »

Matt Ralston
7 years ago

Steve, nobody is saying we shouldn’t have development. I am just concerned our current council, which has been bought by real estate developers, are too arrogant to fix basic things like cross-walks. Meaning, they don’t care about us. Of course the council has to do many things simultaneously. Brian you’re wrong on this, I have several years of experience in politics, let alone a degree. I have fought the Bush administration on their “Clear Skies Act” and designated new wilderness areas in Washington State where I attended college. I have also lobbied the Obama administration to increase fuel efficiency standards… Read more »

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

This candidate doesn’t understand that a City Council can do many things simultaneously. I have no interest in living in a city where their only priority is to improve questionably unsafe crosswalks for people who are frequently either too drunk, arrogant or distracted to pay attention.

We can have safe crosswalks and robust development.

Brian Holt
Brian Holt
7 years ago

Matt: I like what you’re saying yet ai feel I know/ so little about you, your experience in government or politics – not that you have any. My limited research on the net shows a couple of youtube videos. Any plans to hold public events – for us to hear more. Learn more.

12
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x