Op-Ed: Union gets unprecedented seat at the table.

The Mayor of West Hollywood position rotates between all 5 council members on an annual basis. Everyone gets a chance to be the Mayor, a largely ceremonial position cutting ribbons and running the City Council meetings.

But not anymore. At this past Monday’s City Council meeting on June 21st, 2021, at about 1 hour 10 minutes into the meeting an additional mysterious council member was added to the meeting by pre-arranged video. Danielle Wilson, from the UNITE HERE, Local 11 union, suddenly appeared on the screen during the public comment portion of the meeting. She had access codes to appear on screen as if she were a City Council member. Residents and Business owners are not afforded the same privilege. This protected information would have had to be given to the Union representative in advance and in-cahoots with Mayor Horvath who is in charge of running the City Council meetings.

For decades, WeHo City Councilmembers have rebuffed UNITE HERE’s attempts to infiltrate City Hall. But on Monday night, UNITE HERE literally had unprecedented access to the dais.

Since the Zoom era of city council meetings began, no public commenters have been permitted to join the videoconference — only audio participation has been allowed. The only faces seen are those of the City Council members, the City Manager, City Clerk, and City Staff.

But, at this weeks City Council meeting on June 21st, Danielle Wilson of UNITE HERE was broadcast live during public commentary in high-quality video with a professional virtual backdrop, appearing equal in every way to each city council member.

The city clerk Melissa Crowder introduced Wilson and stated she was there for “translation purposes.” Danielle Wilson of UNITE HERE then took over the council forum and addressed the entire city in prime time about the hotel worker ordinance. She attacked the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, a 100 year institution that has been around longer than the City of West Hollywood.The Union representative was given special access that is denied to all other public comment speakers.

The authors of the proposed hotel ordinance claim it is about “worker safety” and “rehiring” – but it is not. It is an attempt to turn over regulation of West Hollywood’s 22 hotels to UNITE HERE.

The proposed Hotel Worker Ordinance, brought forward by Mayor Horvath and Councilmember Shyne, has caused severe financial concerns for the West Hollywood hotel owners and general managers because it severely restricts the operations of workers, and therefore how much income hotels can generate.

But the ordinance has one loophole.

Any hotel that allows UNITE HERE to come in and organize their workers gets exempted from the ordinance.

The ordinance has very little to do with worker safety and everything to do with increasing due paying members for UNITE HERE. It would turn hotel management of working hours, overtime and regulation of room cleaning to UNITE HERE and away from the actual property owners and managers. More importantly three Council Members, Horvath, Shyne and Erickson are pushing the Hotel Workers Ordinance without a study. A study has been recommended by the new City Manager David Wilson and was requested by both Councilmembers Meister and D’Amico.

The City Council regularly orders impact studies for almost anything and everything from a dockless bike program to traffic calming measures. But the Hotel Worker Ordinance which impacts one of West Hollywood’s largest source of revenue is being pushed with no study of it’s economic impacts. The City of West Hollywood revenues have declined from 138 million in 2019, to 114 million in 2020 and an expected 104 million in 2020.

The UNITE HERE Local 11 spent tens of thousands of dollars phone banking on behalf of Councilmember Sepi Shyne and Councilmember John Erickson in this past election. They spent additional tens of thousands of dollars on mailers comparing former Councilmember John Duran, a long time civil rights attorney to Donald Trump. The real Donald Trump candidates are the ones who do not listen to public input and push their agenda without regard to public input. And allow their cronies unprecedented access to City Hall.

Mayor Lindsey Horvath is running for County Supervisor and needs to raise millions of dollars to win the seat representing 2 million people in the Third Supervisorial District.   Where will she find millions of dollars?   It is clear that Horvath is putting the Union interests ahead of West Hollywood business and resident interests.

The councilmembers we voted for to protect us against special interests are turning WeHo City Hall into New York’s Tammany Hall – where Union bosses call the shots. And who suffers? Our local hotels and businesses. Eventually our residents. Our city budget already shows a loss of hotel taxes since and the hotels are projecting record losses if the ordinance passes. And ultimately, the 36,000 people who rely on city services will pay the price.

We have become another cog in the Labor and Democratic Party Central Committee machine. The truth is John Heilman provided an invisible line between the City of West Hollywood politics and interests and LA City and Council politics and interests. Today we are becoming just another suburb of Los Angeles.

The union bosses are expecting pay back for their thousands of dollars in investment. How much you ask? As much or more than any developer in the history. And, why is city hall part of this– you cant access UNITE HERE campaign donation documents on the city website. During the election last year I personally attempted to access the campaign finance statements on the City’s Website and it was unavailable. And today, I went to weho.org, searched for Campaign finance statements and Mysteriously – campaign finance statements of the Union was not available still. Copies below. Something stinks around here.

The bottom line is that West Hollywood City Hall is still not open, and the Union representatives are given special access and treatment. While the City of West Hollywood projects a 10-million dollar deficit this year the City Manager and City Council did not initiate any layoffs. City Hall remains closed and is not serving the residents to the best of its ability. Mayor Horvath is putting her personal interests and support from the Union ahead of what is best for the residents and businesses who live and work in West Hollywood. It makes me sad to have to publish this type of piece. The Union is controlling City Hall.

As of today Unite Here’s donations to City Council candidates do not even appear on the City of West Hollywood website.

UNITE HERE’s campaign finance statements from 2019 and 2020 do not appear on the City website as of 2:00 pm today.
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About Larry Block
Larry Block is the Managing Director of WEHOville. He is a local business owner, community advocate and has lived or worked in West Hollywood since 1985. He has also served as Chairman of the Public Facilities Commission and the Chair of the West Hollywood Disability Advisory Board.

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WeHo Rocks!
WeHo Rocks!
2 months ago

That Danielle Wilson with Unite Here is off the rails. Yikes. That’s who Horvath/Erickson/Shyne is alighned with??? WeHo is in trouble.

Reality
Reality
2 months ago

Lauren Meister must feel like she is fighting City Hall. Perhaps she should channel Don Quixote and Winston Churchill so she can “stay calm and carry on.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago

This is a major problem. We can not let this union have further influence over our city council. They should not have been permitted to appear on the video call meeting. Since Shyne and Erickson have joined this council, they have steered the ship off course and into chopping waters and brought our major on board as well. They are not putting residents first. VOTE. THEM. OUT.

Reality
Reality
2 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

Horvath is vote #3 supporting these manipulators. Sad news is Supervisor Janice Hahn just endorsed Horvath. She looks like the golden girl from afar but those that see her in action or non action up close would do well to publicize that fact and activate support for Richard Bloom who has actual on the job experience in SM & Sacramento. Horvath is expert in name dropping but deficient in taking adult action in her own city. That is us. Horvath is his not only Kuehl’s poodle she is sending out emails delivered by her own dog evidently appealing to dog… Read more »

Robert
Robert
2 months ago

Why are we not focused on residents of the city, if we have this put into place we loose money that we can use for services and safety… the Hotels keep us open as a city, the workers were not complaining when they were working prior to the lockdown the hotels take care of the employees and offer great compensation to them, we would all love to make more but we choose where we work. Remember a job is not a jail sentence and you can choose where you want to work…

Ty Geltmaker/James Rosen
Ty Geltmaker/James Rosen
2 months ago

Does anyone believe West Hollywood has a future as a “tourist destination” when one can now be gay in Peoria (my 1950s hometown)? What’s in WeHo to visit or stay at that’s not available elsewhere in LA or most other places in this country? Who in Alabama says: Let’s fly to WeHo. Miami or Chicago, anyone? You don’t have to come to West Hollywood to be Gay. And this delusionary bet is an economic disappointment in the making. When my guy and I moved to LA (Silver Lake/Echo Park) in the 80s WeHo was a provincial outpost even in terms… Read more »

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago

Precisely, have thought this for ages. Better this comment to have come from your particular POV. Now those dreaming of cashing in on the cannabis eruption may have the same experience…a deflating balloon but not before ruining the city that once had some authentic charm. .

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  No, No, No

Yup and ruining it they are.

Last edited 2 months ago by JJ1
90046
90046
2 months ago

Spoken like somebody who can’t afford to buy a home or condo and wants to be subsidized by others who pay property taxes. There is nothing the unions offer these workers that they already don’t have.

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
2 months ago

Shame and pay for play! They need to be removed immediately. Vote them out, file complaints with the LA DA’s office, whatever it takes. Horvath is beyond the pale.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago

Remember the day when the calculations by council members had the appearance of thinking of WeHo first? Sure, a few had other political ambitions, but their filters focused first on WeHo and its residents. Not so much anymore with The Three Stooges. The condescending indifference of the three is political arrogance at its worst. We should be outraged by the political favoritism, but we probably lost all of our outrage over the peccadilloes of one former council member. I miss the thoughtful, reasoned and mature insights and commentary by the former Johns. Instead, now we have performative wokeness and manufactured… Read more »

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

It’s entirely possible that the three 7th graders on CC made a calculation based on the fact that Duran escaped any real punishment other than the rebuke of the election and decided to push the limits on their personal agendas. The most offensive would be Horvath who has been assembling her war chest with equally offensive supporters like the “Call Jacob” clan who is soon to inspire a “Call Lindsey” campaign and the other targets of her coat tail efforts trajectory from Jane Fonda, The Vagina Monologue Lady, Mayor Pete, Mayor Garcetti and this becoming the poodle for Supervisor Kuehl… Read more »

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

I could not agree more. VOTE. THEM. OUT.

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

Larry should start a recall effort

Michael
Michael
2 months ago

Yes, indeed, a recall effort especially of Lindsay Horvath.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago

I would support that. And I believe the majority of informed residents would too. VOTE. THEM. OUT.

Last edited 2 months ago by JJ1
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
2 months ago

The City Council is starting to perform as the Communist Politburo policy making with manufactured consent.

Desperado
Desperado
2 months ago

Thanks Wehoville for this coverage. Wow, the smiles on the he/him and the she/her council persons during the un-hinged zoom speaker’s tirade was very telling.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago
Reply to  Desperado

Nearly as confirming as a polygraph test.
The tirade producing Danielle character has little credibility.
As for this cooked up juvenile presentation, shocking but not surprising for a city losing its grip.

Pat
Pat
2 months ago

Horvath hits 40 next year. She needs a job and that’s why she is going for County Supervisor.

Last edited 2 months ago by Pat
Joseph M. Clapsaddle
2 months ago

Thank you Mr. Block for your summary/commentary/oped

Madame.Horvath and her cohorts (Erickson and Shyne) on the West Hollywood City Council are mis-conducting themselves as representatives of our City to the detriment of all of us. The Madame’s blatant ambition needs to be stopped before she damages other jurisdictions. Our votes are our power. Let’s use them wisely at every opportunity.

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