WEHOville Exclusive: Former Councilmember John Duran wades into tonight’s budget discussions:

Former City Councilmember John Duran writes to his longtime colleagues, Councilmember John D’Amico and Mayor Pro Tem Lauren Meister



Dear John and Lauren,

I am deeply concerned about the budget tonight and felt compelled to write you both. You are the only two being responsible about the city’s finances!

  • Over the past 3 decades, West Hollywood’s budget has had significant growth in multiple tax revenue streams based on the addition of new hotels and billboard media approved by past councils.
  • COVID 19 pandemic has had a substantial negative impact on city’s revenues and staff projects it will take years for the city to recover.
  • The Council’s proposed hotel ordinance of July 19, 2021 will add pain onto misery when the hotels are attempting to recover from COVID. The ordinances in Santa Monica and Long Beach were adopted during “normal times”. The State of Emergency in California is not yet over and council’s timing couldn’t be worse for the hotels and tourism industries.
  • The proposed ordinance is expected to cause loss to the 22 hotels in the gross amount of approximately $51 million – $79 million loss to the hotels. This will translate to a TOT reduction to the city of $6.3 million – $9.8 million loss annually. The additional loss in tourism tax dollars is expected to be $5.2 million to $8.1 million annually. All of this is being done without the study requested by incoming city manager David Wilson. Council should heed the warning of both the current city manager and incoming city manager to send this proposal to study.
  • The total loss of TOT and sales tax to the city of passage of the proposed hotel ordinance is cumulatively $13 million – $20 million annually.
  • The current city budget does not include these potential impacts and has thus overstated revenues in TOT and sales tax without considering the proposed hotel ordinance. Thus, the budget is being adopted with faulty assumptions that are overly optimistic without studying the revenue consequences of the proposed hotel ordinance being considered by council on July 19, 2021.
  • The council has refused to study an ordinance which impacts its largest source of revenue – TOT. Long Beach has a population of 467,000 people. Santa Monica has a population of 91,000 people. West Hollywood is one third the size of Santa Monica at 36,000 people. And less than one tenth the size of Long Beach. These ordinances have caused difficulty in these larger cities. But what it means for a small town of 36,000 people could be catastrophic and there should be careful study before adopting what the larger cities have done.
  • The proposed budget tonight is drawing another $10 million out of prudent reserves to balance the budget. If the city continues to draw down on reserves each year to balance its budget like it has over the past 2 years – and then adopts an ordinance that has another hit of $10 million loss in TOT annually or $20 million loss of total revenue – the city will have to continue to draw down on reserves or cut city staffing and services to residents to balance its budget.
  • Eventually these cuts in staff, services and reduction in prudent reserves will cause the city to lose it AAA bond rating meaning higher interest rates for capital improvement projects and a reversal of 30 years of excellent bond ratings for the City. This would mean this council would be the first fiscally irresponsible council since city hood if the city loses its AAA bond rating.

Please stop the madness of the other 3 council members. If you adopt this budget – you must INSIST that the hotel ordinance be carefully studied before it impacts every facet of city life!
Thank you.
John Duran

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Edd
Edd
20 days ago

Hey John, sorry to have to be the one to tell you this but, WeHo just isn’t into you anymore, you need to move on. It’s getting to be a little embarrassing.

Robert Zabb
Robert Zabb
2 months ago

Personally I think Duran should stay silent or stay strictly behind the scene. He has abundantly abused the public trust in multiple petty ways. I’m sorry his Grinder hook ups aren’t as easy and he finally has to pay for his own lunches, but I for one have had enough.

Liam
Liam
2 months ago

Why does wehoville solicit the advice of this man? He has already proven himself to be dangerous to the city of West Hollywood. Stop giving him a platform and let’s move on from his dangerous and costly actions.

Larry Block
Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  Liam

If you dont like seeing Duran you might have to stop reading. He is part of the community, a contributor and part of the WEHOville board of community advisors.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago
Reply to  Liam

“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. For ’tis better to be alone than in bad company”.

George Washington in his farewell speech.

Reality
Reality
2 months ago

Time to change lanes and get back to the rise of the Delta Variant sneaking up on everyone. Daily reporting as folks are becoming lazy.

John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
2 months ago

Thank you John for Sense and Sensibility with your plea

Kings Road
Kings Road
3 months ago

Why do we care about what the 5th place finisher thinks? Hell even Larry got more votes.

Mike
Mike
3 months ago

They only way to get rid of the “Unisex Anti-Urinal Public Toilet 3” is recall them. Make an effort. It could be possible. Also, file a complaint with the City Clerk regarding the Brown Act violations by Shyne and Horvath texting during the City Council meeting recently. When you study the videos of the council meeting it’s obvious. Unless, they were on Grinder. You never know in gender neutral WOKE WEHO what gender people are claiming to be, However, last nights meeting was disturbing, when Shyne added more initials to the LGT.etc list. But excluded the rights of FURIES! Which… Read more »

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
3 months ago

We have lost West Hollywood.

Vote the Three Stooges out! Thank you, John, for your voice of sanity.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago

AMEN.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago

While I don’t necessarily subscribe to the fear tactics regarding the hotel housekeeping ordinance, it is good to hear from John Duran. Our hotels are going to have a good summer. I just got back from Hawaii and it was crazed. As Europe is less of a practical option at the moment, the travel pundits are all predicting a banner year for local venues. Frankly I am more concerned about the mindless approval of new hotels. The City had commissioned a consultant to do a study to determine if there was an over abundance of hotel rooms. That study cautioned… Read more »

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Duran was elected chair of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund in 2016. WEHOville covered the story here:

https://wehoville.com/2016/12/19/wehos-john-duran-elected-chair-latino-elected-officials-group/

So I’m bewildered why he would thrown West Hollywood’s overwhelmingly-Latino hotel housekeepers under the bus by taking up the hotel owners’ cause against the underpaid and overworked staff.

Would Duran have taken up sides against Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers in the 1960s and ’70s? He’s always been for sale to the highest bidder, now he’s not even trying to hide it. ¡Si Se Puede!, indeed.

hifi5000
hifi5000
3 months ago

John Duran is an experienced ex-councilman and he knows his way around city finances.I think the council needs to stop and really look at the consequences of the proposed hotel ordinance.The inexperienced council people are taking the city into financial uncertainty with this vote

I was surprised John D”Amico wasn’t present for this important vote.At least, Meister spoke up and voted no.

Larry Block
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  hifi5000

At the last council meeting Council member D’Amico had explained a pre-planned trip to bury his mother’s ashes.

Randy
Randy
3 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Yes, he did state that. They should have tabled this important item until he returned.

:dpb
:dpb
3 months ago

As shocking as it is for me to say, thank you John Duran for your mathematics and sensibility. Now let’s get to the Mean Girls that think only about themselves and they’re optics on board. And thank you for thinking about the City of West Hollywood’s future.

JJ1
JJ1
3 months ago

Say what you will about John Duran’s personal behavior, he was always a reasonable voice on the city council. We have three members who are acting irresponsibly and disregarding the residents of whom they serve. John Duran is right we need to stop this madness. One bad decision after another from Horvath, Erickson and Shyne. Vote. Them. Out.

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