Op-Ed: Time to Open City Hall?

Re-Opening should begin with smaller cities first.

UPDATE: April 24th. Beverly Hills announced their City Hall will open on May 3rd.

West Hollywood City Hall has been closed since March 12, 2020.

Over 13 months ago: City Manager Paul Arevalo issued an immediate order for all staff members to leave work. City facilities have been closed to the public, and staff who can work remotely are being transitioned to work-from-home schedules for continuity. All city facilities will undergo immediate sanitization procedures.

The City of West Hollywood is continuing to follow the lead of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health), the California Department of Public Health (CA Public Health), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

That was over one year ago.

Today, the West Hollywood Library re-opened.

City Council approved the “Out on Robertson” street closure project to encourage public gatherings. We also are planning our first WeHo Pride for June 26-27th. Things are happening!

Questions are directed to answering machines. It takes a month to get your parking permits by mail. In-person questions to planning are handled by email.

Paul Arevalo, the city manager, has also announced his retirement at the end of June. One might consider the ramifications of not opening city hall.

Restaurants are now serving at 50 percent capacity. Movie theaters have re-opened. Gyms have re-opened. Hair salons are open. The DMV has been open for months.

There is business to do! But our City Hall remains closed.

Our city council chambers have plenty of room to accommodate the city council and staff to have in-person live meetings.

West Hollywood “followed the lead” of the L.A. County Health Department in closing City Hall when the pandemic hit. Re-opening should begin with smaller cities first. Since this article was printed on April 21, the City of Beverly Hills announced it would be re-opening its City Hall on May 3.

Let’s begin with alternating work schedules for city hall employees and open the front doors to the residents again.

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[…] Hall may not be open yet, but its neighbor Conservatory […]

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
3 months ago

As it becomes safe, public agencies need to re-open and serve the public! With vaccines available and businesses, restaurants and theme parks reopening right and left, the local governments have no excuse not to get back to work for the people they serve. Open the doors!!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago

Given that employees have their own cubicles, it is possible to socially distance at City Hall. The City Manager could have people come in on an alternate day basis to keep the number of people in the building. Certain divisions are more effective if they are at City Hall, others no so much, but that is why you have a City Manager to make those sorts of decisions. There is definitely a white collar sense of privilege as we see the City demanding that restaurants open to help re-build the City’s coffers when the bulk of the employees that work… Read more »

Rich Scott
Rich Scott
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I agree with your sentiment, but where did you see a “demand” to reopen? I’m sure council members probably assume they have a right to “demand”, but I can’t imagine they actually issued a directive.

Rich Scott
Rich Scott
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

(But if they actually did, we have some serious problems.)

Richard Luna
Richard Luna
3 months ago

They’re lazy cowards, much like the teacher’s union. Everyone in the private sector is back to work. These incompetent hacks need to go. A product of big government, and yet the people in this city want to give them MORE power!

Rich Scott
Rich Scott
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard Luna

You’re exactly right! I suggest sell the building and the land it sits on, then use the proceeds to help out local businesses and/or the homeless crisis. Whatever agency that actually needs physical space to rent it from the library or the Red Building. Or even Basix!

90046
90046
3 months ago

You nailed it .

hifi5000
hifi5000
3 months ago

Mr. Block is a small local business owner,so he knows what he is talking about.Maybe it is time city hall come back to life and start serving the residents in a more timely matter.

William Seegmiller
William Seegmiller
3 months ago

Some members of CC are noticeably becoming histrionic and out of touch. I will not be represented by anyone too afraid to go to the grocery store. Get back to work, everyone else has had to.

Sweetzer
Sweetzer
3 months ago

Please don’t open the city hall Finally can park near my apartment.

Michael
Michael
3 months ago

The city also doesn’t do background checks on the commissioners. Recall a couple of years ago there was a guy that was totally wanted by the police or something very serious? Also, they were never concerned that John Duran had numerous tax liens. Which any good attorney would tell you the FBI would look, just because it could be a problem with bribes and pay for play. But no one in West Hollywood ever do that would they?

Michael
Michael
3 months ago

Small cities should open first and could not agree more.

WehoJoe
WehoJoe
3 months ago

City Hall should have been opened as soon as essential workers were able to get vaccinated. For a city government that claims to be concerned about it senior population, being closed has made them unavailable to the many without the computer savvy of younger generations.

Michael
Michael
3 months ago

In August the NY Times ran a major puff piece on the Sunset Strip! Quoting John D’Amico as the Mayor of West Hollywood. The story was submitted in Jan or Feb 2020 and the Times sat on it for months. It mentioned nothing about the impact of Covid. I know the story’s writer and she said it should have been rewritten because it made no sense considering the economy and Covid. After we spoke, the Times made the correction. The bottom line is the West Hollywood Media Officer was never involved. She should have been on top of this and… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael
leon
leon
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael

sounds like you might think not only a hard look at the city’s budget, but also at the city’s HR files might be helpful?

Vigilant
Vigilant
3 months ago
Reply to  leon

Demand Register @ City Council. V interesting.

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