UPDATE: The City has revised its plans and will now pay tribute to outgoing longtime councilmembers John Heilman and John Duran at the next TWO City Council meetings – Monday and Dec. 7. Duran and Heilman are now scheduled to give their farewell speeches on Dec. 7. See accompanying story for details.
Councilmembers John Heilman and John Duran will not officially leave the West Hollywood City Council until the Dec. 7 Council meeting, but the city plans to honor them at the Monday’s (Nov. 16) Council meeting.
The city will make presentations to Duran and Heilman at Monday’s meeting where both are also scheduled to make their farewell speeches. People who want to pay tribute to them are urged to call into the meeting to do so.
Then at the Dec. 7 meeting, new councilmembers Sepi Shyne and John Erickson will take the oath of office. As part of that swearing in, Shyne and Erickson will make official speeches and residents will have a chance to honor them during the public comment period.
The reason behind this is to separate the goodbyes from the hellos and give all four time to be acknowledged.
“The hope is that we can use this meeting on Monday to focus on the accomplishments and conclusion of terms of service of Mayor Pro Tem Heilman and Councilman Duran. And at the Dec. 7 meeting, we’ll focus on the incoming councilmembers,” said Mayor Lindsey Horvath. “I’m sure the community will have much to say about all four people, we hope this helps to make a cleaner and easier transition and give everybody time to speak accordingly.”
Horvath had the idea to separate the farewells from the welcomes based on her experiences with both situations. After being appointed to the Council in 2009, Horvath was defeated by John D’Amico in a contentious 2011 election. Then, in the 2015 election, voters put her back in office.
Horvath’s final Council meeting in 2011 was a somewhat awkward situation where she made a goodbye speech followed immediately by the swearing in of D’Amico and his speech. During the public comment period, some people were paying tribute to Horvath while others were praising D’Amico. Sometimes the commenters praising D’Amico said less than flattering things about Horvath. Other times commenters honoring Horvath said unflattering things about D’Amico.
“[Having a clear distinction between the goodbyes and hellos] hopefully will make for an easier transition and allow for people to have appropriate acknowledgements,” said Horvath.
The city doesn’t have an established process for handling these transitions since there has been so little turnover on the Council over the years. But with councilmember term limits now in place, these transitions will be happening more often.
Although Monday will be the last FULL City Council meeting in which Duran and Heilman will be participating, both will be present briefly at the beginning of the Dec. 7 meeting to vote to certify the election results, their last official act as councilmembers. Shyne and Erickson will take the oath of office immediately after the certification.
Heilman has served on the Council for 36 years, first being elected in 1984, the same election in which residents voted on cityhood. Duran has been on the Council for 20 years, first elected in 2001.
Due to pandemic social distancing requirements, the goodbye tributes and the swearing in ceremony will be held online rather than in person. Monday’s Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. (a change from the previous 5:30 p.m. start)
The meeting can be viewed on the WeHo TV portion of the city website (www.weho.org/). Additionally, it will be broadcast on Spectrum Cable Television’s Channel 10 within West Hollywood’s borders. The meeting will also stream live on YouTube, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV and Roku by searching for “WeHo TV.”
Those who want to make a comment by telephone during the meeting are asked to email City Clerk Yvonne Quarker at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 4 p.m. on Monday to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Please include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling and what you wish to speak about.
Then, dial-in ten minutes prior to the start of the meeting. You will be placed on hold in the virtual meeting room until it is your turn to speak. The dial-in number is (669) 900-6833 and the meeting I.D. is 974 8186 3267, followed by the # symbol.