A political action committee formed by the hotel and restaurant workers union is promoting the election of John Erickson and Sepi Shyne to the West Hollywood City Council and campaigning against the re-election of incumbent John Duran.
Documents filed with West Hollywood’s City Clerk shows that the Unite Here Local 11 PAC is spending an estimated $3,300 on a telephone campaign to urge voters not to support Duran, who has been on the City Council since 2001 and is running for a sixth term.
The union PAC reports spending $1,650 to support the election of John Erickson and $1,650 to promote the election of Sepi Shyne. Erickson, 34, is the youngest candidate in the race. He works for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, is vice chair of West Hollywood’s Planning Commission and has been active in many Democratic party groups. Shyne is a lawyer. She is a former member of the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board and currently serves on its Business License Commission.
Erickson and Shyne are two of seven challengers in the Nov. 3 election for two City Council seats held by incumbents Duran and John Heilman, both of who are running for re-election.
Unite Here Local 11 has become increasingly involved in West Hollywood, which currently is home to 20 hotels, with the 21st (the Pendry on Sunset Boulevard at Olive) opening soon. Several others have been going through the planning and approval process, which has slowed considerably because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unite Here Local 11 launched an unsuccessful effort in 2018 to block construction of the Robertson Lane hotel and shopping plaza project. It also failed in its effort to get voters in the March 2019 election to revoke the City Council’s approval of the Arts Club on Sunset Boulevard.
What the Unite Here PAC has spent thus far is very small compared to what it put into the March 2019 West Hollywood City Council election. It spent $16,644 to support Shyne in her then-unsuccessful campaign, and $13,218 to support Mayor Lindsey Horvath and $6,569 to support City Councilmember Lauren Meister, both of whom were re-elected. The PAC’s biggest expenditure was $34,905 to fight the re-election of Councilmember John D’Amico, who won, coming in less than 200 votes ahead of Shyne.
As WEHOville reported earlier another group has been formed to support the re-election of John Duran and John Heilman. That group, “WeHo First Supporting Heilman and Duran for Council 2020,” is an independent expenditure committee that as of Sept. 19 had raised a total of $47,500 from real estate interests and billboard company owners that need approval from the city’s appointed and/or elected officials for their projects. Mani Brothers, the real estate development firm whose owners and their family members are major donors to Donald Trump, has donated $15,000 to that committee.
The next political action committee that is expected to make an endorsement is the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce PAC, It’s members include Ted Green, a lobbyist for real estate developers; Keith Kaplan of the Kaplan Group, a real estate agent; Sherri Franklin, CEO of Urban Design Center, which helps developers and other business interests get projects approved by local governments; D.J. Moore of Latham & Watkins, an international law firm that is known for its lobbying efforts on behalf of major real estate developers and contributions to election campaigns, and Nick Rimedio, general manager of the La Peer Hotel and chair of the Chamber’s board of directors.
The Chamber will be putting on its usual city council candidate forum — on a virtual platform — on Oct. 6 and has said that its PAC will meet shortly after that to choose which candidates to endorse. The costs of the forum are covered by the City of West Hollywood, which some see as an unusual use of city money given that the PAC will spend money to promote the election of candidates that it sees as supporting the interests of its members.
“WEHO PAC advances the business interests of the Chambers’ members by, among other things, advocating on their behalf and cultivating relationships with elected officials who support business interests,” says a description of the PAC on the Chamber’s website. The city also supports the Chamber in other ways, allocating money to it to provide various services.
It is not yet clear which candidates the Chamber PAC will endorse. However, D.J. Moore has already donated $2,500 to WeHo First, the independent expenditure committee formed to promote the re-election of Duran and Heilman. He also has made individual donations of $500 to Duran’s campaign and d$1,000 to Heilman’s campaign. Rimedio has donated $100 to Duran’s campaign and $100 to Erickson’s campaign.
The Chamber’s Oct. 6 forum will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in a virtual teleconference format. Residents can view it live, on-demand, or via replay on WeHoTV by visiting the city’s website at as well as on Spectrum Cable TV Channel 10 within the boundaries of the City of West Hollywood. It also will be available on the city’s YouTube channel (for live stream and replay) and on streaming services such as AndroidTV, AppleTV, FireTV, and Roku. Streaming platform viewers can ind programming by searching for “WeHoTV” within the search functions of these services.
Residents will be able to access the forum virtually by registering on Zoom .
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include revised amounts in the filing of the contributions that Unite Here Local 11 is making to the campaigns of John Erickson and Sepi Shyne and to oppose the re-election of John Duran.
[…] Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union Back Erickson and Shyne for West Hollywood City Council […]
The great money grab of 2020.
Congratulations to Erickson and Shyne! The have my vote! These workers are mainly employed by major chain hotels. They have been mistreated. Just look at the Chateau Marmont management who dumped everyone without notice.
As a member of the Writers Guild and Dramatist Guild, I have surprised how many so called liberal Democrats in West Hollywood are so anti-union.
How many of these hotel and restaurant workers actually live in and vote in West Holllywood?
Our “Boystown” has a lot of residents that lost their jobs due to COVID and Sepi Shyne is the only person running who actually helped the people in need in our city. While all the “Johns” (Erickson, Duran, Heilman) were busy collecting thousands of dollars from land developers and joining the “pay to play” scheme so many electeds fall for, Shyne co-created a neighborhood group called “WeHo Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” which gets food, water, and resources to thousands in need in our community (including a lot of seniors) during these past 6 months of this pandemic and continue to help… Read more »
no they dont its a facebook page that posts articles and possibly references where to go. just read the page rules and see.
Yes they do. You can come talk to my neighbors who have been getting food from volunteers that were assigned by WeHo Neighbors Helping Neighbors for the past 4 months. I live in the Norma Triangle and am an actual resident here in West Hollywood and have been for many years, and I have volunteered with them as well. You shouldn’t make false public statements. That is a Trumpian move.
Part 2 – Who is Unite Here? At this point I decided to reveal my knowledge of the project and how I came to know about it. Still, he persisted in building his story of lies and, without hesitation, asked me to sign his petition. I told him I would not sign his petition and asked him to leave the building, advising him that he was breaking the law. Seeing my partner standing behind me he boldly asked if he would consider signing the petition. I admonished him and again asked him to leave the building. As I closed the door I saw… Read more »
While I agree that campaign workers need to respect security buildings my experience with the campaign for the Arts Club is that the developer spent over $600,000 on “education” to influence residents without really telling us that they were getting a nine story building on a site zoned for four stories. The Development agreement between the City and the developer was totally one sided and an example of egregious “corporate welfare”. Given the resources the developer invested to sway public opinion, I was glad Unite Here entered the fray to foster a more balanced debate of this issue. With the… Read more »
Part 1 – Who is Unite Here? My story about Unite Here and their deceptive tactics to hurt our city and our residents: On Sunday afternoon in late September, 2019 there was a knock on my door as my family and I were inside celebrating my partner’s birthday. I live in a security building so it is odd to have someone knocking at the door without having called up through the security system. And, in fact, if they are not granted admittance through the security system their presence in a building clearly marked “No Trespassers” is a violation of the law. When I… Read more »
Sepi Shyne does not want to destroy anything in this town, in fact it’s the opposite. I’m tired of people tearing her down. Councilman D’amico spent all summer writing hate posts about her on social media and he came off as a misogynist, racist, lesbian-hating man who’s scared of an intelligent progressive women who serves residents, not the elite. I’m a proud gay man & longtime resident & I’m voting for Sepi Shyne. Our “Boystown” has a lot of residents that lost their jobs due to COVID and Shyne co-formed a group early on called WeHo Neighbors Helping Neighbors, that… Read more »
2/2 Part of the charm of West Hollywood is how our local business owners run their businesses and the service key employees provide. WeHocan pull through the worst economic times since the great depression. But, we cannot let nefarious outsiders destroy our character. Sepi Shyne, has twice has been a beneficiary of the tactics of Union bosses who don’t know West Hollywood. Shyne’s website talks about helping small businesses. However, we need the experience of Councilmembers who understand that Hotels and Restaurants provide the majority of revenue to the City that provides the social services we need for our seniors and renters. Unite… Read more »
Shyne and Erickson should have the good sense to reject Unite Here’s attempt to manipulate West Hollywood’s Election! This is not the first time that Unite Here has attempted to insert itself in to our village. They attempted to undermine the approvals for a project, which would rehabilitate the Mitchell Camera Building—a part of West Hollywood’s Cinema and Gay and Lesbian History having been operated both as Studio One and the Factory. Unite Here is only interested in Hotel Worker Wages. As we speak Unite Here is begging Governor Newsom to sign AB 3216 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billStatusClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB3216 This bill would require hotels (and restaurants within… Read more »
Politics makes strange bedfellows.
Unite Here Local 11, who wanted to stop the Robertson Lane hotel and shopping plaza project and Arts Club on Sunset is supporting Planning Commissioner Erickson who can’t say no to any big, shiny, bright, new hotel in our City. Hmmmm?
However most of the time Erickson in unable to recognize the project under discussion because he is too busy slapping himself on the back and running over fellow commissioners. Unite Here Local 11 may want to reconsider.
Larry Block should not be dismissed. His history with the City is as long as Heilman’s.
He’s a thorn in the City’s side at times which is exactly what in needed on the Council that too often appears to rubber stamp staff.