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.