West Hollywood Celebrates New Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti swears in Lindsey Horvath as mayor of West Hollywood  (Photo by Jon Viscott)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti swears in Lindsey Horvath as mayor of West Hollywood (Photo by Jon Viscott)

The West Hollywood City Council installed Lindsey Horvath as the city’s mayor and Lauren Meister as its mayor pro tem last night at a standing-room-only event attended dozens of local and state politicians or their representatives.

Among those in attendance were former Council members Abbe Land, Valerie Terrigno, Jeffrey Prang (now L.A. County Assessor) and Paul Koretz (now an L.A. City Council member). Others at the event, which took place at the City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., were Steve Zimmer, a member of the L.A. School Board; Wendy Gruel, former controller of the City of Los Angeles, and John Mirisch, a member of the Beverly Hills City Council.

Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black swears in Lauren Meister as West Hollywood's mayor pro tem
Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black swears in Lauren Meister as West Hollywood’s mayor pro tem

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti swore in Horvath as mayor. Meister’s oath of office was administered by Dustin Lance Black, the film writer and gay rights activist. Both Horvath and Meister were elected to the Council in March. John D’Amico, who held the title of mayor until last night, won re-election and remains a City Council member.

The mayor and mayor pro tempore positions are largely symbolic, with the mayor’s primary responsibility being to manage City Council meetings and put his or her signature on certain city documents. The position rotates each year among the elected Council members, with the mayor pro tem typically assuming the mayor’s role each Spring. This year the process was changed because of Council members’ concerns about the controversy surrounding John Duran, the only incumbent Council member other than outgoing Mayor D’Amico, who was accused by a lawyer for his Council deputy of soliciting sex from that employee. Duran has denied that accusation although he has admitted having sex with his deputy before hiring him.

While the evening largely was devoted to the installation, the Council took action on several matters designed to appeal to various interest groups. For example, it approved a proposal by newly elected Councilmember Lauren Meister to declare May 22, the birthday of noted gay activist Harvey Milk, as a holiday during which parking meter regulations won’t be enforced. Earlier Meister had won Council approval of a similar proposal to recognize the birthday of Cesar Chavez, the Latino activist.

The Council also agreed to a proposal by John Duran and Meister to bar those with records of criminal animal abuse from adopting animals as pets. It is unclear how such an ordinance would be enforced given that there currently is not an official registry of animal abusers. An effort in 2010 to have the state legislature establish a California registry failed when state officials estimated it would cost from $750,000 to $2 million to establish and the concept drew opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Humane Society of America.

The Council also adopted a resolution put forth by Horvath commemorating the 100th anniversary on Thursday of the Armenian Genocide, the murder of over a million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in the early 1900s, and condemning mass atrocities around the world.

More substantive matters included the Council’s adoption of a proposal by Horvath and Councilmember John D’Amico to establish an ethics task force that would develop recommendations for ethics reform. The task force would be composed of Joe Guardarrama, an attorney whose practice focuses on legal and ethical matters for political office holders; Bob Stern of the Center for Governmental Studies, and Elizabeth Ralston, president of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles. The Council agreed to a proposal by Meister that the task force hold at least three community meetings. But it rejected her proposal that each Council member name his or her own appointee to the task force. Council members John Duran and John D’Amico argued that that would inject politics into the ethics review process.

The Council also agreed to appropriate $5,000 to fund a campaign proposed by Duran to educate gay men about the risks of anal cancer. Duran’s proposal cites data that men who have sex with men are 20 times more likely to have anal cancer if they are HIV negative and 40 times more likely if they are HIV positive. About 40 percent of West Hollywood’s population consists of gay men.

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Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

I drove down one side, so didn’t see the 2 hr signs on the other. I appreciate the correction Manny. That sounds somewhat more reasonable. (It’s NIMBY btw – Not In My Back Yard).

Manny
Manny
7 years ago

@Chris Sanger, The street you are referring to sounds like Rangely. That street, along with the others has always had permit parking for residents with a 2 hour exemption on one side. We don’t demand “special” treatment from our city. I don’t speak for Ms Meister, but I can say that our neighborhood stands up for itself in a very fair and reasonable way. I assume all neighborhoods in West Hollywood do the same….or they should. Sometimes government and elected officials, the ones who are suppose to have our best interest at heart, aren’t fully familiar with the conditions or… Read more »

SUPPORT HORVATH!!
SUPPORT HORVATH!!
7 years ago

If you voted or support Lindsey Horvath please, stay close to her! Horvath is going to have a rough road ahead of her with D’Amico and Rex and god help us if Heidi Shink gets elected. God Speed Lindsey – we support you! we stand with you!!

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

Manny – my apologies – I guess it’s Meister and her allies who have given me that impression. I also note that the street b/w Doheny and Robertson south of Petco now has residents only parking all day long for some reason – it just seems to me that they are demanding special treatment beyond what is normal in WeHo.

Manny
Manny
7 years ago

@Chris Sanger…..I agree with much of what you say except for the characterization of Meister’s neighborhood as a “NIMBY-obsessed neighborhood of new wealthy residents who have little in common with the rest of WeHo”

I wish you would try get to know us better. If you did, you wouldn’t think of us that way.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
7 years ago

Finally, an ethics task force! Congrats to Lindsey Horvath and Lauren Meister on finally getting the ball rolling as the 2 rookies on council! Though I’m a little suspect of Mr. Guardarrama’s neutrality and The League of Women Voters’ agenda (how did they slip into this process???), I will remain open minded and am hopeful that this is the beginning of much needed ethics reform of our political process. I’m glad this task force will hold at least three public meetings and I agree that it’s best to keep council member appointees as far away from the process as possible.… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

oops “run before” not “won” before – the key to winning (see under both Horvath and Meister, possibly Heilman next) seems to be losing once then coming back – but again with the closeness of the race both women needed endorsements from other candidates to win

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

Woody – it’s delusional to say Meister “won big.” She narrowly won, and without D’Amico’s backing would not have. The difference from Guardaramma is that she had won before and lost and built up a base, to state the obvious. She also had a strong base in her NIMBY-obsessed neighborhood of new wealthy residents who have little in common with the rest of WeHo, as well as the strategic help of her Republican political guru, now her city-paid assistant who clearly is the power behind the throne. Caveat emptor.

weho local
weho local
7 years ago

woody your point about lauren winning w dominos endorsement versus joe is not a good analogy– his endorsement helped them both–whatever votes it was worth to each. comparing it to bobby shriver as if damico should carry the county is also not a valid statement at all.. so I’ve got to dish your paragraph as a bunch of nit-picky nonsense points. lauren was 100 votes off 4th–damico was 300 votes from 4th.. Lauren has an opportunity to earn our trust but you might be too ga ga to realize it if she doesnt– certainly firing all the heilman appointees before… Read more »

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
7 years ago

Lauren Meister ran a Class A campaign & won 100% on her own merits. The lady worked the streets, the parks, the parking lots, the community meetings & she personally earned every vote. I know because I saw & heard her in action. It is ludicrous to say Lauren won so big because of John D’Amico’s endorsement. If that is so, why didn’t Joe Guardaramma win as well, since he was also endorsed by D’Amico? In fact D’Amico doesn’t exactly have a stellar record of successful endorsements for anyone Bobby Shriver & John Duran for County Supervisor, Sandra Fluke for… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

Meister so far looks way out of her depth. The much younger Horvath is the new star of the council (though I suspect she will try for higher office before her second term expires – having Garcetti swear her in shows major respect from a major party figure). Meister will get minor stuff done (like the new parking meter holidays), but her appointees to the commissions likely will alienate her further from her fellow council members. Don – Meister beat Heilman by 72 votes out of the 2,138 she received. That’s only 3% of her total. To say the joint… Read more »

Don Jones
Don Jones
7 years ago

I’m not buying this premise that Meister needed help from D’Amico to win. Past election results are on the city website. Meister’s last election she had 37% of the vote. Horvath’s last election she had only 35% of the vote.

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