Commissioner Profile: Andrew Solomon

WEHOville is proud to introduce you to the new voices serving our community. Andrew Solomon is the newest member of the Public Facilities Commission and a direct appointee of Councilmember John Erickson.

Andrew and his wife Kali are residents of Kings Road

Meet Commissioner Solomon.

Andrew answered an open call by Councilmember Erickson for new appointments on the Public Facilities Commission. He is an Entertainment Attorney and his wife, Kali, works from home as a therapist and runs a company called Blush Life Coaching.

Andrew stands just shy of 6 feet 4 inches tall and describes himself as one of those “vanilla straights who are changing the fabric of the city.” But what attracted Andrew and Kali to West Hollywood was, as he described, in a bible verse.

West Hollywood “is the light of the world, a city on a hill,” he said.

The birthplace of civil rights with a vibrant gay community.

A city with rent-stabilized housing.

And the first city in the nation to ban the de-clawing of cats, which, as cat lovers, they were very proud to learn.

“What I love about West Hollywood,” Andrew said, “is that it is probably one the gayest cities in the United States, but I don’t feel excluded or feel not welcomed anywhere. In Texas, the gay bars are only for gay people, but in West Hollywood the gay bars are all-inclusive. And I miss Flaming Saddles!”

The couple moved to West Hollywood from Austin, Texas, in 2014 and took root in a rent-stabilized apartment on Curson Ave. After two years they moved into a market-rate rental unit on Cynthia Ave. But after a 10% jump in the rent and the desire to plant permanent roots in WeHo they explored home ownership. In 2018 they were able to take advantage of a first time homebuyer program to purchase their condo with 5% down. It was a fixer-upper on Kings Road. “Our investment in that condo is our entire portfolio”.

Andrew quickly went to work joining his homeowners association board and soon became the HOA President. Kali also serves on the board as this years HOA President. The condo building they had just purchased had a leaky roof was creating a burden on the homeowner association budget. Andrew took a firm look at the budget and made a controversial decision. The building has 53 units and the homeowners association was paying for the cable tv for all units.

Andrew proposed the elimination of the free cable. Many were not happy. But the item passed the HOA board and generated tremendous savings.

With the board’s approval Andrew set out to refinanced the existing building loans at better interest rates. The new loan plus the savings would allow the building to make much needed repairs without a special assessment.

Over time the building put on a brand new roof and added a new rooftop deck for all the residents to enjoy. The entire building was repainted and new windows were added to the exterior. The laundry rooms were revamped and new landscaping with drip lines lined the exterior. All the improvements were made without any special assessment to the owners. (A special assessment is the way condominium or co-op type housing pay for needed improvements and must be paid by all the homeowners even if they did not vote for the improvements or cannot afford the expense.)

One of the things Andrew would like to see in West Hollywood is “pickleball courts.” It is one fastest growing sports in North America. It’s more democratic than tennis and more accessible.

Pickleball is meant to be played as doubles in half the space of tennis courts. Beverly Hills has pickleball courts in two of their parks. West Hollywood has none. Andrew hopes that he can help influence the re-design of Plummer Park to plant our flag in the ground with West Hollywoods first pickleball courts.

Andrew grew up in the small town of Mount Vernon, Texas, with a population of about 2,200 people.

His grandfather was the mayor and his dad the high school football coach.

He has fond memories of growing up in a small town, and he wants to foster that sense of close-knit community for WeHo’s future generations.

One of his hopes is that one day he and Kali can send their children to a future “West Hollywood High School.”

“An important piece of creating an identity of a town is having a school that’s yours — a hometown identity,” he said. “It would be one of the most progressive high schools in the country and would complete the fabric of the city.”

But there are no high schools in West Hollywood. Andrew did his research. too. On May 3rd, 2010, the West Hollywood City Council passed an agenda item to commission a study for a charter school district. On May 16th, 2011, the consultant Abby Arnold delivered a report to the West Hollywood City Council that showed her findings.

One big hurdle was the number of teens in the city to establish a charter school at the time.

Today if you are a teenager in West Hollywood you would need to attend an LA Unified School district and most likely go to Fairfax or Hollywood High.

In the 1950s Beverly Hills and Culver City both de-annexed from LA Unified School District and established their own school districts.

Today, Malibu which is part of the Santa Monica School district has a campaign to de-annex themselves from the Santa Monica School District and form their own Malibu School District.

Andrew wants to see the most progressive high school in the United States called West Hollywood High School.

“What I hope to do on the Public Facilities Commission is to help build new spaces for recreation. Top of the list is pickleball for us and for our kids so one day the West Hollywood High School pickleball team can beat the shit out of the Beverly Hills High School pickleball team!”

The couple’s favorite places to eat?

“Barney’s Beanery and Tortilla Republic before it closed. Craig’s and Dan Tana’s are our special occasion places.”

Publishers Note: Commissioner Solomon came to his first two Public Facilities meetings prepared with excellent input. He did his homework focusing on the Disability Advisory Board’s recommendation for disability access at the re-design of Hart Park and was a fierce advocate for those living with disabilities. The core responsibility of all commissioners is to advocate for all citizens, and it was especially gratifying to see Andrew’s commitment to community.

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About Larry Block
Larry Block is a contributor and shareholder in Boystown Media. He is a local business owner, community advocate and has lived or worked in West Hollywood since 1985. Larry has served as Chairman of the Public Facilities Commission and Chairman of the Disability Advisory Board.

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Patricia Dixon
Patricia Dixon
1 year ago

We could have used an Andrew Solomon when our board discovered that the new Community Center did not have any space set aside for a kitchen, which means if there are any social activities or meetings in the new Community Center, you have to bring your own setup. Also no equipment for seniors to do exercises unless you are a 6’4″ “older adult” who wants to play basketball. Again, a small room with some gym equipment might have been a consideration.

Blue eyes
Blue eyes
1 year ago

Love this! Thank you.

David J. Bolger
David J. Bolger
1 year ago

My nephew, Andrew Solomon, is the latest generation of our family to commit to public and community service. He is superbly qualified with an arsenal of skills that will serve the citizens of West Hollywood. Hook’em Andrew! You’re going to continue to do great things.

Ben
Ben
1 year ago

I’ll take that vanilla straights up.

Cy Husain
1 year ago

Let’s see generic privileged straight white male small-town Texan entertainment Attorney (appears likely to be a closeted conservative as opposed to member of the ACLU or NLG) who looks like he’d be a better fit for the Hamptons, being sold to West Hollywood as a major part of the Public Facilities Commission. 🤣 One of those projects that’s great to be a spectator of, as opposed to responsible for

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Never been to the Hamptons but they sound fun! In all seriousness, would love to sit down with you sometime and listen, learn and figure out what you would like to see from the PFC. my email is solomon.weho@gmail.com and my cell is 903.285.1817 if you’re interested!

Probably not
Probably not
1 year ago

Did he have any relevant experience having to do with public planning or parks design?

Man on the moon
Man on the moon
1 year ago

I’ve left weho for DC and check back on wehoville and enjoy the new content .

90046
90046
1 year ago

This is great local coverage and glad to know I’m not the only straight guy in town.

Observer
Observer
1 year ago

Gay bars that are all inclusive, like The Abbey, are not truly gay bars in the traditional sense. Now, they are just bars that anyone can patronize. They can no longer can be considered gay establishments.

Richard Karliss
Richard Karliss
1 year ago

Great addition to the PFC!

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
1 year ago

Thank you Richard! I’ve got a lot to learn from y’all and excited to serve with you

Vatra
Vatra
1 year ago

Hot!

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