Editor’s Note: This is the transcript of John Heilman’s farewell speech to the people of West Hollywood, given on Dec. 7 during his final West Hollywood City Council meeting.
I want to first congratulate the new councilmembers, Sepi and John, and wish them well. I hope you find your service half as rewarding as I have. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it and I look forward to seeing the improvements that you are going to make for our community.
Secondly, I want to thank all of the councilmembers, Mayor Horvath, all the current councilmembers and past councilmembers, for all of their kindness to me over the many years that I served. A special shout out to John Duran. Thank you, John, for all of your advocacy for the LGBTQ community, for people living with HIV and AIDS, for people in recovery. Thank you for everything you’ve done on behalf of our great city.
I want to make sure I thank all of the people who serve on our city boards and commissions and task forces. The council gets a lot of credit for improvements, but many of those initiatives wend their way through our boards and commissions and they do a lot of the heavy lifting, often times without a lot of fanfare and a lot of praise or approval, and without much compensation either. So, I want to thank all of the people who served for me, but all of the people who served West Hollywood and continue to serve West Hollywood on our boards and commissions.
I want to thank our sheriffs, our public safety professionals, our fire fighters, the sheriffs who make us safe in the community. I want to thank them for all of their service to West Hollywood.
I want to especially thank our city staff. I’d love to name all of you by name, but we’d never get out of here tonight. It is such an amazing group of people. We are so lucky. I can say this not only as a councilmember, but as a resident. We are so lucky to have so many people who are so dedicated to serving our community, who make our community look good and who work tirelessly everyday to make West Hollywood a better place. It has been an incredible honor to serve with all of you and work with you. So, I want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me and everything you continue to do for the community.
Of course, I want to give a special shout out to our incredible City Clerk Yvonne and her staff, our assistant city managers, the ever responsive Oscar and the ever quiet David Wilson for maintaining our financial stability. Our city attorneys Mike Jenkins and Lauren Langer, we are so lucky to have both of you and have your service. You are both recognized experts in the field and you have served us so well.
And of course, our long suffering city manager. Long serving and long suffering. I remember before you had gray hair and I know that we certainly have given you a lot of it over the years. Thank you for keeping our city going and keeping things moving here. You’ve been an incredible resource for our city.
I know I’m forgetting a lot of our key city staff people, all of the people who run our social services programs, our transportation, our public facilities, our parks and rec. It is an amazing group. I will continue to admire you and support you in any way I can.
Finally, I want to thank the people of West Hollywood for giving me this incredible honor to serve the community for such a very long time. It has been such an incredible journey. We have collectively made West Hollywood a better place than what it was 36 years ago. I know that it is only going to keep getting better.
I want to end by letting everyone know – council, commissioners, staff and members of the community – I am not going anywhere. I am still a resident. I am always available to help and serve this community and to help any of the residents in need. I love this city so much. It has been an honor to be a part of it. I will continue to serve it, but just in a different capacity. So, thank you all so much for your kindness, your support and giving me the opportunity to do this for so long.
With that, I will say thank you and goodnight.