Opinion: The WeHo Budget — To Complain or Not Complain. Is that Really the Question?

When the city recently released its budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, some residents complained about the spending proposed and about how much city officials and employees were making. But the way the city spends its money, and the people it has on staff, actually help make West Hollywood fiscally sound and successful, a place sought after to live, work and play.

On the street, one sees a vibrant city filled with hospitality businesses that attract wonderful people far and wide, a city inclusive to all. Our parks and our recreation programs, our incredible public art and our architecture — all appeal to anyone’s aesthetic. The well-maintained, tree-lined streets and sidewalks, the drought-tolerant parks are more signs of a well-managed city.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan

West Hollywood is financially in the black, and the city’s employees are the best — talented and deserving of the salaries they are paid. We — residents, businesses and tourists — benefit from City Hall’s diligence, and every department is at the top of its game. So I am befuddled by those who complain. Before you question the 2016-2017 budget, look at the value you get, the amazing quality of life here, and think where else you could live that is so accepting, nurturing and compassionate, with such a vast array of services. Complaints about the salaries of our civil servants reek of thanklessness and disdain for the altruistic governing body of the City of West Hollywood.

The city is young and still on the move. It is working to improve our transit system by pushing for Metro’s Crenshaw subway line to come to West Hollywood, connecting us to the existing rail system. Our city manager, directors, managers and staff work diligently to ensure West Hollywood’s residents, visitors and businesses will always have One City One Pride.

The “West Hollywood” brand is positioned to attract creative professionals and business owners, in a way that sets us apart from most other cities. Attracting those businesses and people requires a robust urbanization and density to support the businesses and provide the housing crucial to West Hollywood’s economy.

Increased density also is important if we want to keep providing affordable housing. We have rent-stabilized housing units, low- and moderate-income units included in new developments and projects managed by our West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, which addresses the housing needs of our seniors, the disabled, the elderly Russian and the HIV/AIDS communities.

New development also is necessary to keep the charm and diversity of our city. Vertical density helps offset the loss of affordable housing. Developments planned and guided to fit into our existing neighborhoods, with an easing on zoning to allow vertical growth, are needed. Accommodating poor and low- and moderate-income individuals and families was an important factor in our city’s incorporation in 1984. They are part of what makes West Hollywood diverse. Accommodating them is a core value of our great city. Collectively, Weho must unify to fight to preserve our core values — not just for us who live here, for those yet to come to West Hollywood.

The city and its new urbanism movement are well managed by Paul Arevalo, our city manager, along with our city council, city department directors and planners and managers and staffers. With excitement and anticipation, I look forward to what’s to come. Progress West Hollywood!

0 0 vote
Article Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

22 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JIm
JIm
4 years ago

This is a stunning op-ed that ignores so many issues including homelessness, deputy gate, pride, overdevelopment and insider dealings at city hall. It is clear that author is not fair or objective.

David Reid
4 years ago

#WeHoWomen2017 Let’s elect a board of four women!
and as to WeHo outlawing AirBnB…
https://staging.wehoville.com/2016/07/07/airbnb-listings-30-west-hollywood/

Randy
Randy
4 years ago

David, Thank you for your response. – I too have been here a long time. Since 1999. Not as long as you, but I’ve invested myself into this community for almost half of my life. – I don’t know how I feel about the robogarage. I keep hearing that it will be covered by repaying “bonds,” which I understand means that parking fees will eventually replenish what was borrowed. Part of me thinks it is a waste, and part of me thinks it is cool, and something we can afford. And an efficient use of space. We shall see. It… Read more »

David Reid
4 years ago

Randy- That’s how we all should feel. Thank you for the time you took to respond. Regarding AirBnB I just search ‘90046’ and if you go to the bottom of the first page it says 300+ rentals. Sure, let’s say 80% are not legally WeHo look at the map pins. this one in the middle for example. the comments confirm it. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3751523?guests=1&s=mLJJKYCi Rumor has it The Dylan has several apartments on airbnB. Not my job to check it out, i’ll just rumormong as the issue is in play. The building next to the Dylan when complete add to the available… Read more »

Randy
Randy
4 years ago

David, I don’t agree with everything in this opinion piece, so I’m not here to defend all of it. And you make some interesting points, however: – AirBnB has been banned in the City of West Hollywood. That’s why the city isn’t interested in the taxes, because they decided to ban it all-together. And I know someone that had one, and code enforcement is searching AirBnB listings within the city limits and are sending out warning letters. https://staging.wehoville.com/2015/07/21/weho-formalizes-its-ban-on-short-term-rentals/ – Of course swimmers stare at the bottom of a pool. But a lot of swimmers want to be outside, in the… Read more »

David Reid
4 years ago

“New development also is necessary to keep the charm and diversity of our city.” George Orwell has nothing on the author of this piece. If the city gives out Gunga Din awards for carrying water… The monster buildings on the east end are now in the realm of charming. New development, not over development. The seven story monolith at Movietown Plaza should have been a public park. It was suggested when the space was vacant to use eminent domain and make that land a public space. Including a east end dog park. This would be money better spent than the… Read more »

Truth be told
Truth be told
4 years ago

@mike, you wrote the article, your the one who should understand what you are talking about

Larry Block
Larry Block
4 years ago

The facts are double Josh’s numbers for people such as Fran Soloman and she will receive 10,000 a month for life. Multiply that by 200 retirees.. Not all at the same rate, some like our city manager will be vested at 320k base and get 200k a year for life. Give me a break in years to come the pensions will cost millions and millions of dollars per month. The city is only so big to absorb all this.

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
4 years ago

Thank you Josh for taking the lead in explaining retirement P/O. Much appreciated, since it was not answered to whom it was addressed.

Maybe (I doubt it!) Larry can explain how a City keeps a pension plan solvent like West Hollywood in the future even after those who retire begin to receive benefits? Don’t Larry make unsubstantiated claims without facts!

Fictitious fear-mongering seems to be your forte. Show the whole picture! What keeps the City’s PERS system solvent. Larry, it a simple question but involved answer. Any council candidate, that may run again, should be able to explain with facts?

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
4 years ago

Fact Check…. 1) Wages for WeHo City Employees are set at salaries based on comparison studies based on like positions in surrounding cities. “Like positions” means job positions/classifications that require similar training, carry out similar functions and have similar responsibilities. Once that comparison study is done, the City then makes a policy determination to set wages below, in the middle, or just above those salaries of comparable positions. While people may claim WeHo City employees are “overpaid”, without evidence of what nearby cities pay for similar positions with similar duties and responsibilities, these claims are simply baslis subjective opinion. 2)… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
4 years ago

Pensions are paid to city hall employees after they become ‘vested’. I am not sure the time limits to become vested. (I think its 5 years) But, once an employee is vested after a minimum number of years they continue to vest until they retire. Retired employees will continue to receive their pension after they retire for the rest of their life. After speaking with a number of people connected to city hall it is clear that retired employees who are fully vested receive 80% or more of their salaries forever. Our city, a young city, has not had to… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
4 years ago

While Mike makes a number of good points I don’t think that anyone believes adding more density to this over crowded community makes any sense unless you are a developer. We have a ton of affordable housing, but with pressures to add more density, our rent controlled units become increasingly in danger of being demolished. Loss of long term residents who actually add to the bohemian vibrancy of this community is not a good thing; neither is the dramatic changes in our neighborhoods. We moved here because we loved West Hollywood; unfortunately the West Hollywood we love in under siege… Read more »

Click to Hide Advanced Floating Content

0 0 vote
Article Rating
22
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x