Anti-Development Group to Rally in Opposition to John Heilman

Update: several readers have informed WEHOville that this  protest has been cancelled, but we are unable to get confirmation of that from its organizer.

Anti-development forces will rally at the Sunset Tower hotel tomorrow to express their opposition to John Heilman’s campaign for West Hollywood City Council.

John Heilman
John Heilman

A group that calls itself “Our City Is Not for Sale” is organizing the 8 a.m. rally. It is calling the event “Protest Developer Fundraiser for John Heilman.”

Heilman, who served on the Council for 30 years before losing in the March 3 election, is one of four candidates for one seat in a special election on June 2. Two of his opponents, Heidi Shink and Cole Ettman, have worked to portray Heilman as a supporter of overdevelopment and housing density in West Hollywood, which is opposed by some homeowners.

A group of Heilman supporters including Steve Afriat, Jeff Seymour and Jim Arnone will be hosting a fundraiser for Heilman inside the Sunset Tower hotel. Afriat and Seymour are lobbyists. Arnone is a lawyer with Latham & Watkins who represents several developers involved in West Hollywood.

Heilman is being backed by an independent expenditure committee whose donors include developers such as Townscape Management and Venice Investments. As of April 14, that group had raised $40,000 to promote Heilman’s candidacy. By law it cannot coordinate its efforts with the Heilman campaign.

As the campaign moves into its final weeks, the focus seems to be on restricting development, which is likely to appeal to many active voters in an election where the turnout is expected to be small. For example, Shink on Monday backed away from her support for a proposed 44-unit residential building at 826 Kings Rd. that she voted for as a city Planning Commissioner. Her decision, which she announced to the City Council, has angered some of her fellow Planning Commission members who see it as politically motivated.

Neighbors opposed to the 826 King Rd. project have put together an aggressive campaign to fight it, which will include a meeting at the Charlie Hotel, 819 N. Sweetzer Ave., at 3 p.m. Sunday to further strategize. They have organized as a group called United Neighbors for Responsible Development (UNReD). The City Council will hear an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision to authorize the project at its May 4 meeting. The United Neighbors group is basing its appeal in part on an argument that more housing will create greater use of water during the drought. Perhaps more controversially, it is arguing that West Hollywood does not need more housing for low income people, saying that it has “far exceeded the construction of 77 units of affordable housing required by the State Regional Housing Needs Allocation Plan.” Now, it says, developers should “turn their attention to the remaining ‘great unmet need’ (for affordable housing) of the rest of Los Angeles County.”

The campaign against increased development and increased housing density poses a conundrum for Council members such as John D’Amico and Council candidates who profess to support  more affordable housing in West Hollywood but oppose what they see as overdevelopment. Currently the city has in place regulations that require developers of a project of a certain size to include affordable housing units. Restricting development will mean that fewer affordable housing units will be built.

According to a study by the state Legislative Analysts Office, building less housing than people demand  makes housing more expensive. The study, “California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences,” cites areas such as Los Angeles County where it notes that “community resistance to housing, environmental policies, lack of fiscal incentives for local governments to approve housing and limited land constrains new housing construction.”

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boilerplate
boilerplate
7 years ago

This Heilman strategy of sending people to protest works only if the people are real. Sorry!

KG
7 years ago

Don’t be fooled – developers being required to have affordable housing units in their new builds is a sham – it sounds like a good thing on paper, but in practice what is actually happening is: -several rent-control and/or already affordable spaces are demolished -several new market rate and above spaces are added -a very small handful of currently affording housing is returned — the huge caveat with this is that the city does not monitor this, so when the initial low income tenants move out, the owner is free to hike the rents up to whatever they want to… Read more »

Lynn
Lynn
7 years ago

So many commenters soavking in perspective other than their own narrow pov

Alison
Alison
7 years ago

Quoting a 3 yr old article about El Mirador? Thanking Heilman for rent control? Saying development is good in our small city when the East Side is definitely over-developed…..the Heilman supporters are out in numbers on this thread. Stephanie’s concern was/is Plummer Park. She had nothing to do with El Mirador, but I can tell you she is for preserving our historic structures. I, for one, am a renter that feels our rent control laws need a tune-up. I do NOT give Mr. Heilman all the credit for writing the rent stabilization laws, because he was only one of 5… Read more »

Roz
Roz
7 years ago

How many of complainers against John Heilman are renters? You can thank John Hellman
Every time you make out your rent check

Over-development: Kings Road
Over-development: Kings Road
7 years ago

What about the illegal building of 8350 SMB at Kings, 1028/1030 n. kings (recently sold to developers) and of course 826 N. Kings? No water, traffic or environmental impact studies. Removing trees, destroying people’s village; taking out views. Mc Mansions built out to the sidewalk not matching any of the existing architecture. It’s okay to have mixed architecture but it must be within scale of the neighborhood. No more monster buildings. Stop development of these projects on kings road. May 4 city council meeting…please speak up

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

I immediately thought of Jerome Nash having a hand in this. That’s why I hope Hank can find out who’s behind this and other anti-Heilman activity and funding.

One of Cassandra's Snakes
One of Cassandra's Snakes
7 years ago

Who is Stephanie?

STOP D'AMICO STEPHANIE - SAVE EL MIRADOR!

Shame on you Stephanie! Why doesn’t Stephanie and her group protest John D’Amico’s donations from Jerome Nash and his close friendship with Nash, who wants to tear down West Hollywood’s iconic El Mirador and other historic buildings in LA? John D’Amico has taken money from the worst developer in town! How is this even remotely OK with anyone in weho?

Also, Lauren Meister took a lot of money from developers!

They all take money from developers Stephanie! You are a hypocrite!
STOP D’AMICO STEPHANIE!

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
7 years ago

All Development isn’t bad——but the kind that gets pushed through the City Council due to developer donations to the Heilman campaign is CRIMINAL!!!

Lynn
Lynn
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

Tom Smart: I urge you to show one piece of evidence of your unfounded claims. It is clear that you don’t know what you are talking about and furthermore I believe Tom Smart is a completely made up name for the purpose of furthering your less than noble agenda.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
7 years ago

@Insider…..those protestors clearly aren’t getting up and going to work in the morning either.

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