West Hollywood residents have become fed up with the current direction of the city.
Crime – especially after hours when the clubs let out; traffic congestion night and day; ever-increasing prices of parking tickets in a city with ever-decreasing parking options; the homeless – a problem throughout L.A. County and which we have limited control over but more can be done; and over development – something we can control. The decisions on new towering, over-sized commercial and residential projects by the Planning Commission and City Council always favor developers over residents, and the related construction violations, including trash and noise starting too early and going after hours, contribute substantially to the loss of control over the fabric and future of our community. And now, with the COVID pandemic and resulting quarantine, which is likely to continue for many months, the ongoing loss of more and more of our local businesses has accelerated what was already a serious problem with them struggling to survive in a time of increasing rents due to all the new developments squeezing them out.
I have seen firsthand how developers and other outside interests contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to incumbents and candidates who they know will vote in their favor to support their intense projects, regardless of the impact on traffic, parking and residents. This form of legal corruption impacts our quality of life negatively and there appears to be no end in sight.
One incumbent who has been on the Council for 20 years has already received over $200,000 in donations. The other incumbent, on the Council almost continuously since the city was founded 36 years ago, has received to date almost $100,000. One of the new candidates running has received over $70,000. Virtually all the donations for these three individuals have come from developers, billboard companies, lobbying and legal firms with interests in our city. Virtually none of their donations are from residents. By the time of the election, there will no doubt be over a half million dollars spent in the attempt to get their advocates on the council.
Do you think this is a detriment to the interests of the residents and their quality of life?
Although we pay our Sheriff’s department over $20 million a year, our city’s crime statistics have not significantly improved after years of complaints and increased funding of the department. The city’s Crime Blotter continues to record far higher number of T-A-B crimes (Theft, Assault and Burglary) than our surrounding neighbors.
In this era of Police Reform concerns, does the current Council adequately supervise this department and encourage its resources to be directed where it will be most effective? In my opinion, No.
Our city’s employees are among the highest salaried public workers in the State of California (https://openpayrolls.com/city/west-hollywood-ca/page-15). One City Hall employee who has been tasked to address our homeless problem receives $170,000 a year but has been unable to make a dent in the problem and cannot find housing for all of our struggling homeless. This is unacceptable.
I believe I can contribute to moving the city forward in a progressive direction that is aligned with the vision of what so many residents have expressed in recent years.
I have lived in West Hollywood for 34 years. Fifteen years have passed since I last ran for City Council in 2005. I have watched the city change during that time. Yes, much of it for the better. However, like many other West Hollywood residents, I have grown tired of hearing about many of the same issues that continue to impact the quality of our lives and our neighborhoods.
I am an advocate for are public safety, rent control, low- and medium-income housing, social services for our seniors and the disabled, and support more on-the-ground security measures such as foot and bicycle patrols throughout the city, especially during and after club hours.
Over the years, I have frequently addressed the City Council, commissions, and advisory boards, many of whom I consider friends. I am an NYU graduate and served on the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. I am featured in LA Weekly as one of the eight “Local Heroes of West Hollywood”.
When I first ran for City Council in 1999, I was received an endorsement by New Times newspaper political critic Jill Stewart supported by a two-page article. During my runs in 2001, 2003 and 2005, I was endorsed by Frontiers Magazine, the late former Mayor and City Councilmember Sal Guarriello, and long-time community advocate Jeanne Dobrin who passed earlier this year.
Our city deserves new leadership with a progressive vision putting the residents first.
I am your “Residents First Advocate” candidate on this ballot. I will be your voice and ally and will make it my mission to ensure that residents’ issues are the first and main priority of the City Council.
My Facebook page is here.