Fellow members of the West Hollywood Planning Commission and other political figures, including County Assessor Jeffrey Prang, showed up at last night’s commission meeting to celebrate Donald DeLuccio’s 20 years on what arguably is the city’s most important board or commission.
DeLuccio was not reappointed to the commission at the expiration of his latest two-year term. He was replaced by Adam Bass, who is the communications director for L.A. City Councilmember Nury Martinez. WeHo City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath’s decision not to support DeLuccio’s reappointment has become an issue among some political insiders, who claim that Horvath had told DeLuccio he had her vote and that Horvath is favoring commission candidates with ties to L.A. City Hall. DeLuccio is an at-large member of the commission. The City Council chose Bass over DeLuccio in a three-to-two vote, with Councilmember John Duran and Mayor John Heilman voting for DeLuccio while Horvath and council members John D’Amico and Lauren Meister voted for Bass.
Horvath didn’t respond to a request from WEHOville to comment on her decision not to back DeLuccio. But in an op-ed in WEHOville last month, she said the board and commission appointment process had become too politicized and that all commission members should be at-large appointees. Horvath also said she believed fresh blood and new ideas are needed on boards and commissions.
Bass is one of three employees of L.A. City Council members who sit on prominent WeHo commissions. Estevan Montemayor, Horvath’s campaign manager, is her appointee to the Public Safety Commission. He manages communications for L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu. Robert Oliver was recently chosen by the Council as an at-large member of the Public Safety Commission. He is the field deputy for L.A. Councilmember Paul Koretz.
Prang, who presented DeLuccio with a proclamation from the Assessor’s Office for his work, said he “has been one of my closest friends for decades.” He said that DeLuccio worked on Prang’s 1996 campaign for West Hollywood City Council and served as the campaign’s treasurer. Prang appointed DeLuccio to the commission in 1997.
“He was the neighborhood guy,” Prang said, noting that DeLuccio had been chair of the West Hollywood West Residents Association. “He weighed community concerns with economic development needs of the city.”
Councilmember John Duran also attended the meeting, calling out DeLuccio for his years of service and noting the subtle shift to a new generation in civic life exemplified by Councilmember Horvath’s hosting of a NextGen conference that same night to engage more younger people.
Acting Planning Commission Chairwoman Sue Buckner presented DeLuccio with an award for his service. She noted that there have been 47 Planning Commissioners since the city was formed in 1984 and that DeLuccio was one of them. DeLuccio also got praise from commission members Stacy Jones, John Altschul, Rogerio Carvalheiro and Lynn Hoopingarner.
Jeanne Dobrin, a resident of West Hollywood for 40 years who has attended almost every Planning Commission until her recent disability, hugged DeLuccio and praised him for his “affability and graciousness.”
Bass was sworn into the office of commissioner by Councilmember Meister.