The West Hollywood City Council tonight selected a new mayor and new mayor pro tempore in a process that reflected some of the tensions between council members.
As expected, Councilmember John D’Amico, who has been serving as mayor since John Duran abruptly left that position last month, was nominated to serve a full term as mayor beginning in May and got the vote of all of his fellow council members.
Then Duran nominated Councilmember Lauren Meister to serve as mayor pro tempore, clearly surprising fellow council members who had expected Councilmember Lindsey Horvath to get the unanimous support of the Council for that position.
D’Amico nominated Horvath, who won with her own vote and that of D’Amico and Councilmember John Heilman. Meister voted for herself and got Duran’s vote.
In a city like West Hollywood, with a council/manager form of government, the role of mayor is largely ceremonial with a major duty being managing City Council meetings. The mayor pro tempore fills in when the mayor is absent. But while the role is ceremonial, it can be influential, with many seeing the mayor as the official voice of the city.
John Duran gave up the position of mayor on March 4 in the midst of a scandal involving allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with young members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, whose board he then chaired, and inappropriate comments about his fellow Council members. D’Amico stepped into the role because he had been serving as mayor pro tempore.
Duran had endorsed Meister in last month’s City Council election. His decision to vote for her over Horvath tonight may have been in response to the fact that Horvath was the only council member to have said in March that Duran should resign from the City Council because of the allegations of misbehavior and because of his response to them. D’Amico and Meister had said only that they thought Duran should give up his title as mayor.
Meister and Horvath, the only women on the five-member Council, are known for having had a fraught relationship themselves.
City Council should have at least one full time member whose City Council position comes first. The Mayor should be an elected position. There should also be an elected “oversight” board who would review all departments (including City Council) for efficacy, fiduciary responsibility and transparency.
Do the council members spend time in the community? In a given week I’ll be at several West Hollywood restaurants, the gym, dry cleaners, grocery store, car wash, hardware store, etc. I go out on Saturday nights and end up at 2 or 3 places. On average I walk 2 miles a day in West Hollywood. Yet, I never see any of these council members. How can they be in touch with the community when they don’t seem to be here? I support our businesses and observe issues everyday that need to be addressed because I spend so much time… Read more »
I think you’re making a big assumption that the council members aren’t present. I see Councilmember Lauren Meister every morning walking along Santa Monica Blvd going to Starbucks for coffee. I’ve run into her at the supermarket, Marco’s, Bossa Nova, and Yogurt Stop. Don’t know about the others, but I’m sure they are out as well.
Ok, good to know! Because I’m out every day and never see them.
I see them regularly. D’Amico and hubby walk their dog, Heilman regularly runs on the City’s sidewalks. Don’t know where you travel.
Sounds like you have a lot of time on your hands. But these council members have to work for a living.
Does Wehoville believe it is useful to promote the notion that there is a “fraught relationship” between Lauren Meister and Lindsey Horvath?
Real journalists don’t “promote” or “make” news. They find it, and they publish it. Without fear or favor.
Whether a particular reader finds a particular piece of information useful or not isn’t the criteria used in reporting a story.
Our job is to keep a sharp eye on our elected officials to ensure they do the jobs they were elected to. That includes writing about their relationships with one another, which inevitably affect how decisions are made, or not made.