City Councilmember John Duran was installed as West Hollywood’s mayor tonight at an event whose location emphasized his focus as mayor on revitalizing the Sunset Strip.
The City Council meeting at which the installation took place was at 1OAK, the nightclub on Sunset Boulevard, rather than the City Council Chambers, the traditional location of such installations.
Duran was sworn into office as mayor by Eddie Money, the legendary rock star, known for songs like “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise” and the album Can’t Hold Back. Councilmember John D’Amico was sworn in as mayor pro tem. Duran assumes a position held for the past 12 months by John Heilman. The brief City Council meeting after the installation was followed by a reception at the Rainbow Bar and Grill, the iconic club on Sunset.
West Hollywood has a council/manager form of government in which the elected City Council sets policy that is executed by the City Manager, who reports to the Council and manages the city’s staff. The position of mayor thus is honorary and rotates each year to the mayor pro tempore, who acts as the substitute for the mayor when he is not available for an official city meeting. However, the person serving as mayor is viewed as the leading spokesperson for the city.
Duran, who has been on the City Council for 18 years, has served three previous terms as mayor.
After being sworn in, Duran made a speech recalling the history of the Sunset Strip from before the city was incorporated in 1984. He emphasized the Strip’s history as a destination for celebrities from old Hollywood, moves by stars like Marilyn Monroe to open clubs to black performers like Lena Horne and also its embrace of sexual freedom, citing examples such as the birth of performances by go-go girls on Sunset.
Duran also cited the Sunset Strip as an example of what’s distinctive about the culture of West Hollywood.
“The soul of the Sunset Strip has never been defeated by those cranky miserable cantankerous voices who want Sunset to look like Victory Boulevard or Sixth Street or maybe Maple Street, Anytown, USA,” he said.
“Sunset, like the people of West Hollywood, remains creative, colorful, outlandish, garish, outrageous, extreme, nonconforming, sexual, giddy, joyous feeling, with laughter and romance and sex and lights and noise and traffic and most of all music, every night of the year.
“Shakespeare said ‘If music be the food of life, well then, play on’. And that’s what I’m hoping we see on the Sunset Strip and on Santa Monica Boulevard and on Robertson.
“Like Austin, like Nashville, like New Orleans, music and laughter and fun should always be the story of the City of West Hollywood, and long may the soul of West Hollywood remain defiant, resistant, liberating, angry, satirical and unconstrained by those who would intend to impose their moral judgement on the city.”