City Council Appointments Reshape WeHo’s Most Influential Commissions

Residents attending a West Hollywood Public Facilities Commission meeting.
Residents attending a West Hollywood Public Facilities Commission meeting.

With another round of appointments, the West Hollywood City Council last night reconstituted the city’s most influential commissions.

The Council renamed Sue Buckner and Donald DeLuccio to the Planning Commission, with both of them filling at-large seats. Councilmember John Heilman named David Aghaei to the commission. Aghaei was forced off when Heilman lost in the March general election (he was re-elected in the June special election) and newly elected Councilmember Lauren Meister dismissed all of his appointees. Mayor Lindsey Horvath named Stacey Jones to the commission. Marc Yeber, who had served on the commission for more than 10 years, announced last week that he would step down. Heidi Shink, an at-large appointee in 2013, was not renamed to the commission.

The Public Safety Commission saw the biggest shakeup, with three incumbents who had requested reappointment replaced last night and another dismissed earlier by Meister. Those replaced were Alexander Bazley, appointed by former Councilmember Abbe Land; Robert Burke, the commission chairman, appointed by former Councilmember Jeffrey Prang, and Shawn Hoffman, an at-large appointee. Chris Clarkin, who had been appointed by Heilman, was dismissed by Meister. Ruth Williams was re-named to an at-large seat and Ben Coleman also was named to an at-large seat.

On the Historic Preservation Commission, Bradley Torgan, who had expressed interest in reappointment, was not renamed to the commission. The Council named Gail Ostergren and Yawar Charlie to at-large seats. Heilman named Maria Bonacci, who had held an at-large seat previously, to the commission. And Horvath named Ed Levin, previously appointed by Abbe Land.

The Transportation Commission also saw major changes. Commission members Steven Greene and Amy Walia-Fazio both of whom had expressed interest in reappointment, were not renamed to the commission, nor was Steve Wayland. The Council named Evan Richter and Richard Bernard to at-large positions. Heilman named David Eichman to the commission, Horvath named Dan Wentzel.and Councilmember John D’Amico renamed David Warren to the Commission.

The Council still has seats to fill on the Business License Commission and on various advisory boards.

A list of current members of city commissions is on the  pages that follow:

Page 2: Arts and Cultural Affairs

Page 3: Business License

Page 4: Historic Preservation

Page 5: Human Services

Page 6: Planning

Page 7: Public Facilities

Page 8: Public Safety

Page 9: Rent Stabilization

Page 10: Transportation

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Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

Now that council members have term limits, commission member term limits are unnecessary. If a commission member is good and recognized by the public, they can be endorsed by a new council member. Otherwise, it will be a natural change out with every election.

fine7760
6 years ago

While we expect those appointed to commissions to be well qualified a glaring example of the opposite is a recent appointee to the Planning Commission. That commissioner has not only proved to be unqualified but has held up decisions on several projects before it.

Leslie K
Leslie K
6 years ago

Mike Dolan, re Restoration Hardware my point is that the planning commissioner in question is not an architect and was clearly unable to visualize the project, as evidenced by his comment after it was built.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
6 years ago

Hank has reported and adopted by City Council that Councilmembers John D’Amico and John Heilman have asked the City of West Hollywood to develop standards for excellence in architecture and urban design. Additionally, “In a proposal adopted by the City Council tonight, D’Amico and Heilman also suggested that the city consider establishing a “Resource Center for Architectural Excellence” in the lobby of the Community Development Department at City Hall. That center would provide examples of award-winning buildings in West Hollywood and information about architectural schools and organizations that promote high-quality architecture and design. Also reported by Hank. These measures will… Read more »

Leslie K
Leslie K
6 years ago

Mike Dolan, you’re correct that an architectural license is not a prerequisite to serving on the planning commission, but as one of the planning commissioners said after the fact, he didn’t realize Restoration Hardware was going to be as big as it is.

Lynn, I agree on both counts. Perhaps Hank can provide some more information.

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
6 years ago

It would be helpful if the public was informed about the qualifications of the commissioners and board members and what they feel they have to contribute to the community. Through a public documents request a few years ago, I received copies of cv’s/resumes and applications which were illuminating, as several were handwritten and fairly sketchy.

In Santa Barbara, if I’m correct, the planning commissioners require a public vote prior to appointment. Not a bad idea.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
6 years ago

It is not a requirement to be an architect to be appointed to the Planning Commission but to thoroughly review with the architect and developer of their proposed project. It is the Planning Commission responsibility to ensure that each project meets or exceeds the standards set by the City and complies with the City’s General Plan and Zoning regulations.

Jimmy Palmieri
Jimmy Palmieri
6 years ago

Commissioners and Board Members will term out naturally as the council terms out. I disagree with appointed officials having term limits. We already know that there is a possibility of terming out with our council member or not being reappointed or being removed at anytime.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
6 years ago

Larry- totally disagree with you on this one. Should we have term limits for people’s jobs? Sorry, you’ve worked at this company 10 years, out with you. I agree a mixture of experience is good, but experience should never, ever, be disdained. It’s as terrible idea for commissions as it is for legislative elected officials.

Larry Block
Larry Block
6 years ago

We need term limits on commissions and boards. In the coming years term limits for city council members will take root. The best way to groom new experienced city council members or candidates is to have them involved in more than one board or commission.
As of this point zero candidates from these past two elections have been able to secure a commission seat. Some members on some commissions have a ‘tried that ten years ago’ approach. Many of the boards and commissions can use fresh ideas and new public input.

Richard K
Richard K
6 years ago

A planning commission with one architect. One person who can read and understand the architectural drawings being presented by developers. One person who with certainty can question the applicant or staff on what they’ve recommended or not.

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