Opinion: How can we better engage residents in creating West Hollywood?

I find making appointments to our city’s commissions and advisory boards one of the most challenging responsibilities of serving on the City Council. I get excited about the prospect of bringing new ideas into the fold until I am reminded that in order for new people to serve, I have to replace current appointees or wait for them to step aside.

Lindsey Horvath
Lindsey Horvath

Frankly, the whole process has become too politicized and not enough about public service, which is why I propose making all appointments at-large by the entire City Council. While it might be easy and safe to simply protect the status quo, I believe it is our council’s responsibility to ensure that a diversity of perspectives is included in our community dialogue and to try to give more people an opportunity to be involved. In addition to being passionate, our community members are wildly talented with a range of experience and expertise.

At our last two meetings, the City Council considered many of our direct and at-large board and commission appointments. We chose to re-appoint some commissioners and board members while also inviting new voices to be part of the conversation. I have been personally focused on bringing in a new generation of leadership to our community, which was a focal point of my campaign for City Council. In doing so, I made sure there was at least one woman on the Rent Stabilization Commission and one appointment to give the Planning Commission a voice from the Eastside, of which there was none beforehand.

In the process of being more inclusive and ensuring representation of key constituencies, some experienced, beloved voices have been lost. The contributions of Donald DeLuccio and Ruth Cislowski, among many others, will long be cherished by the city.

In our effort to balance a commitment to get new people involved with our desire to keep long-serving leaders engaged, we also must find new ways of doing things. Currently, there are different ways that people interact with City Hall. From time to time, the city sends out surveys and creates pop-up spaces for various projects to gather community input, but our community is yearning for more and I welcome your input.

My commitment to expand our civic discourse and to include new and diverse voices will not stop with one event or action. There are people who have lived in the city for decades but have never had the opportunity to serve – I want to give them that chance. I will continue to increase engagement of all generations from our entire community.

Lindsey P. Horvath was elected to the City Council in 2015. She has spearheaded policies to make West Hollywood an “age-friendly community.” She is leading the city in hosting an event to focus on civic impact for West Hollywood’s next generation on July 20 at the Andaz Hotel from 6 to 8 p.m. All NextGen leaders are invited to attend and participate.

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AM
AM
5 years ago

Horvath wants new & different people to become engaged in the city functions, so she appoints her pal Land’s husband to the Arts board, who has been around forever. And 2 employees of the LACC as commissioners. It’s called political nepotism. This is why people don’t trust politicians to do what’s right for the community instead of themselves. It’s also why everyone want’s term limits. If politicians can’t grow out of their local positions, they’ll hang around forever. It is nothing but counterproductive for the city as a whole

Truth be Told
Truth be Told
5 years ago

When the next agenda comes out we will see if this proposal is moving forward with deeds or its just words of a politician doing damage control.

Karen Eyres
Karen Eyres
5 years ago

@Jessica — I’m also willing to share with you my background. — Karen Eyres, Vice Chair, Women’s Advisory Board

Greg
Greg
5 years ago

anything Steve Martin says do the opposite. he is wrong every time including that making all the appointments at large will make commissions more political. nothing can be as political as when Lauren Meister was elected and fired all the John Heilman appointees before the even finished the last month of their term

Adam Bass
Adam Bass
5 years ago

@Jessica – Nothing to hide here – Let me know if you’d like to know anything about me, I’m more than happy to even sit down for coffee, so you can ask in person if you’d prefer that. My personal email is adamgbass@yahoo.com, and I’m more than happy to chat with you if you have concerns. – Adam G. Bass, newly appointed to the West Hollywood Planning Commission

Jessica Mitford
5 years ago

@Just sayin’: I’m afraid they don’t have that information. Posting it on the so-called “creative city’s” website would be much more practical than having city personnel have to look this up for anyone calling to find out who these people are. But probably you’re not in business and don’t see these as a waste of employee’s times. None of the City Council members pushing their appointments even did a log line on who they were which means they will be available soon on my website. I hope when these folks volunteered they realized that they are now public figures in… Read more »

Just sayin'
Just sayin'
5 years ago

@Jessica: Please get over yourself and these myriad presumed conspiracy theories. If you ask the clerks office nicely to provide the resumes and applications for any advisory board or commission member, they likely will. Guy Vespoint was always very good at responding to these requests in the past, which I regularly made. It’s no big secret….it’s public information…. by request.

Jessica Mitford
5 years ago

Why are the West Hollywood City Council members refusing to put up biographies on the city’s website of commission members? After numerous calls to WEHO City Hall, staff members were unable to answer why there was no information on any of the commissioners including the Planning Commission members. What is WEHO hiding? What kind of collusion exists between LA City Council appointments and WEHO? The dreary members of the City Council might block Trump from visiting or wanting his impeachment but there’s no way they can stop the AG and FBI from taking a strong look at WEHO and turning… Read more »

Old Timer
Old Timer
5 years ago

I am a 45 year resident and have never felt included in any city function. This publication is about as close as it gets for me to know whats going on. But occasionally watching a council meeting on tv is like a soap opera where the cast never changes. The characters in this soap opera are Princess Lindsey, Wicked Witch Lauren, JH Ewing, and his brother JD Ewing, Columbo D’Amico. We need a new cast of characters.

Rob Bergstein
Rob Bergstein
5 years ago

Well spoken Lindsey, well spoken! Back when Gov. Brown dismantled the State’s redevelopment agencies and West Hollywood’s Eastside Project Advisory Committee was dissolved, there was a dearth of representation on the City’s boards and commissions by Eastsiders aside from the Russian Advisory Board. I remember coming to a Council meeting to talk about that and asked that Council consider appointing qualified Eastside residents, but then reminded our residents that Council needs good people to apply in order to be appointed. I am honored that at this week’s Council meeting, I was unanimously re-appointed to the Rent Stabilization Commission. I am… Read more »

Jimmy Palmieri
5 years ago

Although I admire many of your ideas Lindsey, I do not support all at large seats. The very reason they were changed to direct was because certain boards had run haywire and there was no accountability. Some people remained Chair for 10 or more years, and also because of their tenure, seemingly intimidated people to vote “a specific way”. Accountability to each council member by at least one appointee along with two at large for true balance, is the fair way to do it. I have been around long enough to tell you, if there is impressive new blood out… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
5 years ago

If you want to see the process get really political, then have all appointments at large; that would insure that the a 3 person majority on the City Council could appoint their friends and allies and stifle the voices of any minority Council members. Many years ago most of the Board, (not the Commissions) were all at large; that changed as the appointment process had become very political and exclusionary. But I agree that the jockeying for appointments by certain folks, including some incumbent board and commission members, is getting a bit aggressive and absurd. It was embarrassing to see… Read more »

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