The City Council meeting was cancelled midway when internet issues at West Hollywood Park caused WeHo TV, the city’s official network to go down. There were hints during the early part of the meeting that at the next City Council meeting on Monday, June 21st, there would be an update on re-opening plans. City Hall has been closed since March 2020.
During Councilmember comments prior to the cancellation of meeting a reference was made by the newly appointed City Manager that the Log Cabin might be expected to open as early as June 15th, when the County lifts all restrictions.
Upon entering the first floor of City Hall there is an information booth in the front with large bullet proof glass partitions. A city staff would normally be behind these partitions to direct guests and answer questions. The first floor at at city hall has a community meeting room, bathrooms, and the city’s parking permit counter along the west wall. The city clerk counter is also located on the first floor behind a heavy glass partition. There is also many brochures and pamphlets for a number of city services which is locked inside the closed City Hall.
The second floor has a small lobby area. On one side is the City planning desk and city staff offices and on the other side there is a door that separates additional city staff offices that house public works . All City staff except planning work behind bullet proof partitions even prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The third floor houses the executive offices. As soon as you exit the elevator there is a small sofa and two doors that separate the public from all City workers. Many City Staff have private offices and other desks are in cubicles with generous spacing.
It has been reported that managers have been coming into city hall on a rotating basis once or twice per week over the last month or sp.. but the doors remain closed to the public. All city hall employees are working from home at full pay. There have been no layoffs of any city hall staff since the outset of the pandemic.
City Hall will look quite different upon re-opening. When the doors to City Hall closed in March of 2020 photos on the wall of the then current City Council included Mayor Pro Tem John Heilman, Councilmember John Duran, along with Councilmembers Lauren Meister, Lindsey Horvath and John D’Amico and the City Manager Paul Arevalo. Upon re-opening the public will be able to see three new faces in the lobby area, including Councilmember Sepi Shyne, Councilmember John Erickson and the new City Manager David Wilson.
But how hard can it be to open the doors to the public? How hard can it be to have one of those employees, fully vaccinated by now, standing behind the glass partition to answer a resident with a question?
At the previous City Council meeting Councilmember D’Amico suggested that we have future meetings at the Council Chambers. There is room to accommodate the entire council and necessary staff and a number of residents. If we were in the Council Chambers last night’s meeting would have continued and the business of the City put first and foremost. But the meeting was cancelled. And you can’t go to City Hall.
Beverly Hills City Hall opened on March 3rd for appointments. Palm Springs City Hall opened last week June 1st. West Hollywood City Hall remains closed until further notice.