With New City Council, Changes Loom on WeHo Boards and Commissions

The changes in West Hollywood’s City Council are likely to also mean big changes in the 16 advisory boards and commissions that advise the Council on everything from development to transgender issues.

Roy Huebner, chair of West Hollywood Planning Commission
Roy Huebner, chair of West Hollywood Planning Commission

With a few exceptions, each board and commission has seven members. Five are direct appointments by individual Council members; two are “at-large” members appointed by the Council as a whole. The exceptions are the city’s Rent Stabilization Commission, with five members and various advisory boards. The appointments of all current members expire on May 31, at which time the Council reappoints them or replaces them.

Perhaps the most influential of these bodies is the Planning Commission, which reviews proposed developments to ensure they comply with the city’s general plan and other land use and zoning regulations. The West Hollywood Planning Commission also has a Design Review Subcommittee, which uses its leverage with developers seeking certain concessions to push for design improvements in projects.

Donald DeLuccio, an appointee of former Councilmember Jeffrey Prang, is the longest-serving Planning Commissioner, having held the position since 1997. Other appointees of those no longer on the Council are Marc Yeber, appointed by Abbe Land in 2007, and David Aghaei, appointed by John Heilman in 2011. At-large appointees are Sue Buckner, named to the Commission in 2008, and Heidi Shink, who is running in the special election for Council in June, who was appointed in 2013.

Another body that has significant influence on development is the Historic Preservation Commission. Edwin Levin, an Abbe Land appointee, has served since 2005. Paul Rice, an appointee of John Heilman, has been on the Commission since 2008. Brad Torgan, an appointee of Jeffrey Prang, has served since 2010. At-large appointees are Gail Ostergren, who was originally appointed to the Commission in 2009 by Lindsey Horvath and won an at-large appointment in 2011, and Maria Bonacci, appointed in January of this year.

On the Transportation Commission, members appointed by now-former Council members are Steve Wayland (Abbe Land in 2003), Steven Brian Greene (Prang in 2005) and David Eichman (Heilman in 1994). The Council will have to name someone to the at-large position held by Lindsey Horvath before her election. The other at-large position is held by Amy Walia-Fazio (2013).

Other commissions and the positions that will be open are:

Arts and Cultural Affairs: Beverly Denenberg (Land in 2003), Candice Illoulian-Beroukhim (Heilman in 2011), Todd Williamson (Prang in 2011), Peter Mays (Horvath in 2008 and at-large circa in 2011) and Madeleine Rackley (at large i 2007).

Business License: Stacey Jones (Land in 2014), Steven Kay (Heilman in 2012), James Kazakos (Prang in 2007), Chad Cromer (at-large in 2013) and Sibyl Zaden (at large in 2001).

Human Services: Robert Bergstein (Prang in 20130, Ruth Cislowski (Land in 2003), Anne-Marie Williams (Heilman in 2011), Barbara Meltzer (at-large in 2013), Andrew Oldershaw (at-large in 2013).

Public Facilities: Cole Ettman (Prang in 2012), Elena Goldenberg (Land in 2009), Gregory Woodell (Heilman in 2003), Adam Bass (at-large in 2013), Frank Rorie (at-large in 2013).

Public Safety: Alexander Bazley (Land in 2014), Robert Burke (Prang in 2012), Chris Clarkin (Heilman in 2008), Shawn Hoffman (at-large in 2013), Ruth Williams (Steve Martin in 1994 and at-large in 2011).

Rent Stabilization: David Gregoire (Heilman in 2000), Josh Kurpies (Prang in 2013), Agassi Topchian (Land in 2004),

Transportation: Steve Wayland (Abbe Land in 2003), Steven Brian Greene (Prang in 2005) and David Eichman (Heilman in 1994). Lindsey Horvath (at-large in 2011), Amy Walia-Fazio (at-large in 2013).

The city’s advisory boards include the Disabilities Advisory Board (nine members), Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (ten), Russian Advisory Board (nine) Senior Advisory Board (eight), Women’s Advisory Board (eight) and Transgender Advisory Board (eight).

Those interested in applying for Commission positions can find a form on the city’s website. A form for positions on advisory boards also is available.

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Adam Bass
Adam Bass
6 years ago

I stand corrected. The item tabled at the beginning of the meeting November’s Public Facilities Commission was not the Dog Park item. My memory failed me. However, the item was tabled, in a public setting, without objection from any commissioner.

Manny
Manny
6 years ago

@Adam Bass…..I stand by my comment…..with one correction: the City Council meeting was 5 days later (that’s worse!)

Adam Bass
Adam Bass
6 years ago

I just sent this via email to @Manny about his comments above, and offer it here to raise the caliber of the conversation about the commissions and advisory boards: Manny, I just read your comment about the Public Facilities Commission on Wehoville. I’m disappointed at how unfair the criticism is. 1. You don’t mention in your comment that you were late to the Commission meeting, so you didn’t hear up front that the dog park item was tabled by a unanimous vote of the commission. It wasn’t simply overlooked and “not discussed,” but removed from the agenda by a unanimous… Read more »

Disco Dan
Disco Dan
6 years ago

We voted for term limits for members of the City Council. Why are there NOT term limits for people serving on any Commission panel/board? I think it’s time for yet another (long overdue) change !

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

except the planning commission
i keep hearing commissions are used to rubber stamp pre-determined decisions by using staff to filter the outcome making the wind blow a certain direction despite the commisson

and why not???
commissions are the perfect scapegoats for council & city manager
diverting the public angst away from them
city staff can effortlessly filter agendas on the front end
or deal with it behind the scenes on the back end

knowing several frustrated commissioners

jimmypalmieri
6 years ago

I invite anyone to attend the meetings of the Human Services Commission. I think your opinion on commissioners will change greatly when you see the amount of detail and work we put in. AND NO, WE ARE NOT RULED BY STAFF SUGGESTIONS. Quite the contrary. Most times we diesect and change staff reccomendations, except when they are in line with our opinions.

Manny
Manny
6 years ago

Some of these Commissioners are ineffective and need to be replaced. Some of them don’t seem to know what’s going on in the city.

The Pubic Safety Commission was useless during the crosswalk debate.

At my one and only time at a Pubic Facilities Commission meeting they didn’t discuss the Dog Park item that was on their own AGENDA!!!…..AND….they didn’t even known that the Dog Park was up for a City Council vote the next day!

Big waste of time.

Scott T Imler
Scott T Imler
6 years ago

Thanks for this article. It offers a slightly wider view the significant shuffling going on in West Hollywood. Who knew a year ago that the “throw the bums out” crusade would face two voluntary departures, one involuntary self-impalement – stage left, and the floating retirement of dozens of Commissioners and Advisory Board Members all at once.. With only one purported “bum” left on the official chopping block, I guess it’s no surprise that a founder and 30 year veteran of West Hollywood’s development and emergence as a world class city would be abjectly portrayed as the proverbial “donkey’s behind,” on… Read more »

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

the only commission with any effect on the city seems to be Planning
(the others are muted by city staff assigned to em)

Don Azars
Don Azars
6 years ago

I would hope that the City Council would wait until after the June elections to make any changes in the various commissions and task forces to allow the newly elected member to participate???

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