The recent histrionics displayed by John Erickson and Lindsey Horvath regarding the poll conducted by the Pandemic Recovery Coalition should raise concerns among all the residents and businesses in West Hollywood.
Upon hearing rumor of a poll, before any real idea of its contents or who was behind it the false accusations and allegations came ripping from John and Lindsey. What could they be so afraid of? Surveys like this are done almost every day across the US and their results are shared regularly in the news media. It is, in fact, an important part of our democratic process to take the temperature of voters on issues and job performance. There is nothing unusual or suspect about this kind of polling. So why did they feel so compelled to try to strike down this poll and the people they believed to be behind it?
To be clear, this poll was not commissioned by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce as they were claiming, but by the Pandemic Recovery Coalition, a 501 c (6) organization that was created by a group of us (now growing) that were concerned about the direction our city was going in terms of policies that impact our businesses and residents. With a nearly 30 year career in public policy and public relations I was one of the core founders of this coalition and I worked closely with J. Wallin Opinion Research in drafting and executing this survey. For those who claim it is a “push poll” or there are “leading questions”, where Council provided no study nor allowance for discussion on an issue facts were provided for context. It is fair and normal to provide this kind of background to allow an honest consideration of an issue. And now for an interesting side note, I did reach out to Ms. Horvath via text to advise her of this and invited her to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I have not heard back from Ms. Horvath.
If you read WeHoVille regularly you have likely seen the survey including the questions asked and the results. The questions prove the absolute falsity of allegations made by Ms. Horvath and Mr. Erickson that the poll intended to push for a recall election or included discriminatory comments about our trans community. What it did show was how voters feel about our city’s handling of issues like homelessness, crime and response to COVID. On some issues the response was very positive, on others it was not. It also showed how voters prioritized the issues facing our city. And it showed that while a majority approved of the job our city was doing, less than a majority approved of the job our Council was doing. There is a good deal of valuable information here if the Council were open to reviewing and accepting the results. On specific policy issues such as the recent Hotel Worker’s ordinance put forth by Unite Here, when educated on the facts surrounding the issue, voters were not supportive of Council’s actions
AHA! Could this by why Ms. Horvath and Mr. Erickson were so concerned? After virtually no discussion of the proposed policy and little community engagement the matter was moved swiftly to the consent calendar and approved. Could this have anything to do with the rather significant campaign support Horvath, Erickson and Shyne received from Unite Here, or the promised support for Lindsey’s campaign for LA County Supervisor? Frankly I am at an absolute loss to come up with any other reason how or why our city council would propose such an egregious ordinance on our hotels at this moment in time as they struggle to recover from a year and a half of tremendous business losses due to COVID and now another hit resulting from the Delta variant. Is this why they fought so hard against the poll before it ever went into field?
Now the fallout continues as Council has added a discussion of eliminating Chamber contracts to its agenda. These are contracts for which the Chamber performs specific functions quite effectively and efficiently for the city and has done so for many years. It smacks of retaliation. It is a blatant attempt to try to silence discordant voices. And for that, every resident and business in the city should wake up and be concerned.
Our five council members are elected to represent a constituency of local residents and businesses, not special interest groups from outside our city who provide little to no benefit to residents or businesses within our city. They are accountable to us. It is time for the residents and businesses of our city to wake up, see what is happening and force this accountability.
Keith Kaplan is a resident and property owner in West Hollywood for over 35 years. This reflects his voice, not the voice of any other individual or organization.