City Council Members and Residents Condemn Anti-Meister Campaign Mailer

A controversial campaign mailer disparaging candidate Lauren Meister was condemned as misogynistic by numerous speakers at the West Hollywood City Council tonight.

Lauren Meister
Lauren Meister

The mailer was paid for by “Friends of West Hollywood: A Committee to Elect John D’Amico, John Heilman, Lindsey Horvath & Joseph Guardarrama to the West Hollywood City Council,” one of whose organizers is Councilmember John Duran.  The so-called “independent expenditure” committee by law is barred from coordinating its campaign efforts with any candidates. Challengers Lindsey Horvath and Joe Guardarrama have publicly condemned the mailer. Mayor John D’Amico and Councilmember John Heilman also condemned the mailer at tonight’s Council meeting. “Sadly, this one was paid for by funds raised by a Council member,” D’Amico said, referring to Duran, who was not present. “Given all that’s going on … this is near the bottom of the deepest sea … If we allow this to happen, if we cause this to happen, we have really lost our way.”

The mailer attacked Meister’s claim that she opposes overdevelopment by saying she solicited campaign contributions from the Beverly Hills / Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors (Meister has noted that its members sell real estate, not develop it). And it attacks her claim that she has business experience (Meister is a research consultant) by noting only that she once ran a company that sold adult novelty products and marital aids for women.

Among those condemning the mailer tonight was Ivy Bottini, a prominent lesbian activist, who urged voters to elect two women to the Council. Others complaining that it is misogynistic were Sam Borelli, a former Council candidate, and community activists such as Elyse Eisenberg, Cathy Blaivis and Virginia Gillick.

The “Friends Of” committee that produced the mailer is funded largely by developers. They include: 1) Townscape Management, owned by John Irwin and Tyler Siegel, the developers involved in the controversial 8899 Beverly Project; 2) Anthony Zehenni of Aladdin Development, a company with international interests that is headquartered on Sunset Boulevard; 3) three development companies controlled by Jason Illoulian of Faring Capital, which has numerous projects planned for West Hollywood; 4) Excel Property Management, controlled by Arman Gabay of the Charles Group, which is the developer of the Melrose Triangle project; 5) BMB Investments, controlled by Benjamin Soleimani, who built the Restoration Hardware building; 6) Daniel and Simon Mani, owners of the 9000 and 9200 Sunset Blvd. office buildings; 7) Reseda Plaza Holdings, which is connected with David and Yousef Emrani’s Venice Investments, developer of the Sunset Plaza project at 8255-8295 Sunset Blvd. near Sweetzer, and Kali Capital, which lists its CEO as Tyrone McKillen, a real estate agent with Hilton & Hyland.

Numerous political observers see the mailer as potentially backfiring on its backers, many of whom will have to bring proposed projects before the City Council if Meister is elected.

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terryoleson
terryoleson
7 years ago

I don’t think it requires any Gay gene to be mean spirited, but mean spirited types do exist.

George Hirst
7 years ago
Reply to  terryoleson

Oh trust me they are the worst kind of mean. Not all gay men are like that but some of the ones I have known especially lawyers are the worst.

Terry Oleson
Terry Oleson
7 years ago

I have lived in West Hollywood since before it was incorporated, and I am very disturbed by all this focus on the anti-Meister campaign mailer, which I do not recall receiving, as opposed to the multiple anti-John Heilman mailers that I received. The dirty politics against some unknown female politician bothers me much less than the dirty politics against one of West Hollywood’s most prominent original council members.

George Hirst
7 years ago
Reply to  Terry Oleson

Politics, elections can be brutal! At the end of the day the best man or woman wins.

terryoleson
terryoleson
7 years ago
Reply to  George Hirst

It is nonetheless surprising the the politics of such a small, usually friendly city can be this brutal.

George Hirst
7 years ago
Reply to  terryoleson

Gay men can be very mean spirited.

skywatcher888
skywatcher888
7 years ago

Now that the election is over, what this city needs is a MORATORIUM on green lighting future development — especially along Santa Monica Blvd. Let us take stock of what we have and where we are, before allowing any more of our city to be torn up and spit out by the developers.

George Hirst
7 years ago
Reply to  skywatcher888

I agree with “skywatcher888”. This is the first time I think EVER that the city of West Hollywood has EVER had a balanced panel of council members making important decisions pertaining to the cities future growth. I feel positive about these election results! Things are ONLY gonna get better form here now. The dark days of Land/Heilman are behind us. John Duran will be gone next time and a whole new era begins.

Dapper Dan
Dapper Dan
7 years ago

I thought, incorrectly, that this campaign would deal with the issues NOT personal attacks. But last Friday, I received that obscene attack on Lauren Meister. How LOW can you go?! It was disgusting ! And, I went to the address noted on SMB. Turns out it’s a mailing/PO Box service. Yeah, DO protect yourselves from the outrage.

George Hirst
7 years ago
Reply to  Dapper Dan

Well, if the number of people who live in the densely populated city of West Hollywood then the individuals who want to make West Hollywood the gay Las Vegas out of the decision making for the city. These council memebers presently are corrupt especially Duran, Heilman & Land. They want the former council member, republican Lindsayhorevath to get a seat on Coucil because she votes on everything Heilman & Duran want.

KG
KG
7 years ago

I personally have deep respect for Lauren Meister. She will be a great asset to the residents of West Hollywood. And I tend to think the sponsors of this flyer know that she will be an asset to the residents (and not to their outsider interests).

Richard K.
Richard K.
7 years ago

@Manny, with all due respect, we’re not stuck with any developers. I don’t believe city councilpersons and candidates are innocent or bewildered by the IE funding “not being coordinated” on their behalf. If they don’t agree with the clear and obvious message their affiliation with these PAC’s imply, they should be clear regarding their dissent. Nothing gets built in West Hollywood without the city or city council’s approval. If anything, it’s council and their commissioners we’ll be stuck with if we don’t vote to protect West Hollywood.

Lynn
Lynn
7 years ago

Agree with Chris Sanger. Seriously, are all city councils full of such drama? Vote for people that don’t bring it.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

The hypocrisy in the outrage over the Meister flyer when equally misogynistic and equally nasty ones have been used in the past against Horvath, Heilman, Land and others is remarkable. The one against Meister was over the top, but it didn’t happen in a vacuum. And where are the condemnations from her supporters about the lies on her behalf about her supposed endorsement? People are blinded by their partisanship. She’s going to win, but she’s not starting in a honorable position.

Nic M.
Nic M.
7 years ago

Absolutely appalling. I intended to email Hank to see if he had any info on the source, and it was great to see this information posted already. Kudos on the excellent and timely reporting.

It would also be great if you could reach out those funding this for comment on the appropriateness of this, and how they think we should consider their efforts to build in our community in light of such a gross (and sexist) display of thoughtlessness.

Jim Chud
Jim Chud
7 years ago

I never saw the flier, but I watched the council meeting and got a clear picture of what was sent. I do happen to support Lauren – big time as we both feel the same about the over development of Weho. I am heartened that so many folks – whether they supported Lauren or not, abhorred that kind of assault of anyone. To be honest, that borders on being a hate crime. Thank god they didn’t stoop to making a lifestyle or religious smear, or someone would be going to jail. I kinda think that whoever did this should be… Read more »

Manny
Manny
7 years ago

This attack mailer may finally raise some eyebrows and show that it isn’t only our council members totally responsible for unwanted and overbearing projects….it’s the handful of developers we seem to be stuck with.

Shawn Thompson
7 years ago

Its Obvious Miester has broad community support and is a non-incumbinet that’s not about the old pay to play politics in #weho. And because she has broad support from many in the community to get elected, the out of town real estate speculators are using their money to try and spin her away. Also I think that since Mr Duran has a history with this PAC, and large amounts of money from it were used to help him get elected, many see this as a low point in how our elections play out in the final days. This same approach… Read more »

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