Highlights from WeHo’s ‘State of the Community’ event

The City of West Hollywood held its first “State of the Community” meeting via Zoom on Wednesday night, featuring the full gamut of department heads rounding up their recent achievements and previewing the projects their teams have ahead of them.

“The state of the community is intended to give our community members an update on some of the major initiatives programs,” said City Manager David Wilson, “but more importantly it’s an opportunity to listen to issues and concerns of the community and answer any questions you may have.”

THE BUDGET 
David Wilson, City Manager — dwilson@weho.org

Wilson began the presentation and revealed how WeHo is faring post-COVID.

“Initially, during this period we had projected about a $35 million deficit,” he said. “As you can see here that number has gone down to closer to $17 million.”

He credited the city’s conservative approach to budgeting, along with additional revenue from the new sales tax and additional billboard development agreements.

“But we still haven’t recovered,” he said.

The city’s current revenues stand at approximately $22 million, while expenditures hover around $33 million.

CITY SURVEY
David Wilson, City Manager — dwilson@weho.org

In the wake of a controversial private survey that ruffled feathers on City Council, WeHo is planning to conduct its own research — a “statistically valid” survey, as Wilson described it — as part of a new push to improve citywide safety. City Council will hold a special meeting Nov. 15 to discuss the topic.

TESLA SUPERCHARGER STATIONS
Ric Abramson, Community Services Department — rambramson@weho.org

“Our innovation manager and his team have been working on a new partnering venture called the WeHo + Tesla supercharger station, which will be the city’s first electric vehicle fast charging station. These initial stations are expected to be launching in December. It’s a pioneering effort that will include eight Tesla fixtures and four universal fixtures, with the intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the city’s ongoing sustainability and climate action efforts.”

PLUMMER PARK
Ric Abramson, Community Services Department — rambramson@weho.org

“Staff is working to create a temporary dog play area for Council consideration, so look for that to be coming very soon.” In addition to Fiesta Hall Great Hall/Long Hall upgrades, “a longer term master plan revision effort for the entire park will be taking a fresh look at that revision in commencing in 2022. And for this longer term visioning we’re anticipating forming a community based steering committee or advisory group.”

SEISMIC RETROFITTING
John Keho, Planning & Development Services — jkeho@weho.org

“The building division and staff is working on a seismic retrofit program. The city understood that we need to become more resilient and improve and strengthen our building so that there will be less damage when the next earthquake hits, and also try to make it to where we can recover more quickly after an earthquake.” The city council adopted an ordinance in 2017, requiring retrofitting of two types of buildings — apartments and one-stories, and larger commercial buildings. The department identified 821 total buildings. “We have a plan in which every one of those property owners need to submit documents to the city for review and if necessary, they’ll need to renovate those buildings through a seismic retrofit project. In order to help our community building staff applied for and received a grant from FEMA, as part of their hazard mitigation grant program, an amount of $10 million. And with that money the city will develop a grant program to help property owners retrofit their buildings, and hopefully that program will start in the winter.

DESIGN DISTRICT STREETSCAPE
Jackie Rocco, Public Works Division — jrocco@weho.org

“This project will implement the recommendations adopted by the West Hollywood design district streetscape master plan. And this is an exciting project that is the project boundaries. Features of this exciting project include pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, new pavement and sidewalks distinctive trees and landscape, as well as upgraded street furniture and street lights, along with smart city infrastructure installation that will include street electric vehicle charging stations and the utility under-grounding of many of the utility poles along Melrose and Beverly in Robertson Boulevard, south of Melrose as well to the Beverly limit. The first phase of this program will start later this year with the undergrounding of utility poles on Melrose between San Vicente and Doheny, with the next phase starting in March of 2022 when we will be working on Melrose between San Vicente and Croft. This project is expected to be completed by 2025.”

VIRTUAL PARKING PERMITS
Jackie Rocco, Public Works Division — jrocco@weho.org

We are happy to report that we will be expanding the virtual parking permits program to add residential and guest permits. In September of last year, the Parking Services Division implemented the virtual visitor permits, which allow residents to obtain permits, using a portal that they can access from a mobile device or a computer to register the plate or plates of vehicles that need a permit. We started with the visitor permits, so that people could get acclimated to the way that the program works, and the electronic record then becomes the permit itself and the information is communicated to parking enforcement officers so that the vehicle with valid permit will not get cited. This process really improves overall customer service by allowing residents to obtain permits from the convenience of their home rather than requiring in-person visits to City Hall, or the Kings Road parking structure. Now the next step in the program will be to add the guests permits and residential permits making it possible for all the residential permits to be obtained electronically and eliminating permit hang tags or those permits that you have fixed on the windshield.”

WEST HOLLYWOOD PARK
Steve Campbell, Facilities & Recreation Services — scambell@weho.org

“This project represents the largest capital project ever undertaken by the city. The new 75,000 square foot West Hollywood Park Aquatic Recreation Center will provide the community with additional green space and amenities for premier recreational fitness community, and social services, activities and programs. The project is finally nearing its completion and we anticipate a soft opening of the Aquatic Recreation Center before the end of this year. Staff will begin operating in a limited fashion, including some limited use of the pools and gymnasium, and likely some limited recreation programs.”

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM
Christof Schroeder, Human Services and Rent Stabilization Services — cschroeder@weho.org

“The city is exploring the development of a behavioral health crisis response team which we provide first responder type service for mental health crises for both house and unhoused community members in West Hollywood. Staff continues to gather information and study best practices from other similar programs, relevant city commissions and advisory bodies. A follow up item on this will go before the city council on November 15.”

GUARANTEED INCOME FOR LGBTQI OLDER ADULTS
Christof Schroeder, Human Services and Rent Stabilization Services — cschroeder@weho.org

The city is working toward the launch also have a guaranteed income micro pilot program to provide a guaranteed income to LGBTQI older adults in West Hollywood. The program will provide $1,000 a month for 18 months to 25 residents. More information will be available regarding the application process in late December and or early January city funds will not be used for the fund disbursement staff are pursuing other government and philanthropic funding for those costs.”

MICROBILITY PROGRAM (ELECTRIC SCOOTERS)
Robin Eason, Long-Range Planning Division — reason@weho.org
Coby Wagman, Parking Services — cwagman@weho.org

“We’ve been scheduling a number of pop ups at the farmers markets with the providers to talk about safety and the use of devices, and how to use them throughout the city. We also are in the process of stalling signage at the various existing designated areas for scooters, and as we continue to expand the program will have signage throughout the city that promotes safety and proper ridership. We’re also working on establishing regular demo or outreach events with the different providers. The idea is to alternate between the west and east side on monthly intervals, as well as our field team is about to begin doing safety pop ups where they’re going to park around the city and they will do some informational campaigns and hand out helmets to riders that are interested, or may look like they they need one. We continue to expand our parking stations that are accommodated by parking signs as well as we’ve just installed signage at different advertising panels throughout the city.”

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Joshua88
Joshua88
3 months ago

A good agenda.
Good luck, guys.

Joshua88
Joshua88
3 months ago

Is the following portion of a sentence missing a comma, or is this something new?: *new pavement and sidewalks distinctive trees and landscape,*

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago

Perhaps if some of these items, such as the Re-Design of the Avenues of Design, were put on hold we might not have a ten million dollars short fall. Throughout the pandemic City Hall seemed anxious to move full steam ahead with non-essential programs without meaningful public discussion just to keep staff busy. The last thing we need to do is to pay for another City Hall “push poll”, one that favors the City. The City has done countless surveys that have been of rather limited use or relevance other than to confirm what City Hall wants to hear.

Design District
Design District
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

The city allowed the erasure of the original Design District, including some John Elgin Woolf on Melrose and Robertson in favor of the Re-Design of the Avenues of Design and making it easy for Ben Soleimani, with his grandiose idea of re- creating London’s High Street in West Hollywood. What?

The community benefit is Restoration Hardware and pal Gary Friedman’s branding of Soleimani’s polo team in Santa Barbara,

West
West
3 months ago

All the trappings of progress to hide the naked ugliness of a medically segregated society. None of it absolves the shame of our fake leaders who’s only morality is dictated by Party consensus. The staff and employees who enforce are just as guilty, at least for all of us who still honor human dignity and the Nuremberg code. They would be wise to remember the legal penalty for violation.

Last edited 3 months ago by West
Just stop already
Just stop already
3 months ago
Reply to  West

Lol, this is the funniest comment I have read on wehoville ever. QAon much?

Weho Tarnished
3 months ago

Yes, coming together in a zoom call from their mansions in Santa Monica and Pasadena. Who could have guessed the City would have fallen so hard and so fast since the last election. Really embarrassing and a disgrace.

Andrew Campbell
Andrew Campbell
3 months ago

So pleased to hear about these progressive and innovative projects in our beautiful City. Just now I’m sitting in the Vancouver International Airport waiting for my flight back to LA. So impressed with the innovations I’ve seen in Vancouver during my visit and equally impressed with the pilot programs and park projects the City is trying, not unlike the more sophisticated approaches many international cities are taking to continue to move us forward. As a 30 year resident of the City, I can’t think of another City in our region that I’d rather live in due to the many talents… Read more »

disagree
disagree
3 months ago

How do you prove that you are gay enough to receive the $1,000.00 monthly payouts from the city of West Hollywood. Are photographs required?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago
Reply to  disagree

John Duran will vouch for you.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago

 a guaranteed income to LGBTQI older adults in West Hollywood. ” – I am against this project. Why only LGBTQI older adults? This is very discriminatory. This City is not only made up of LGBTQI citizens. In fact, they are still a minority of the population. There are many older adults who are struggling.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
3 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

And also……anyone could say they are gay.

Such a ridiculous idea. But this is not a serious city. Just silly people that run for City Council.

OMG Weho
OMG Weho
3 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

These three. The SHE. Shyne, Horvath and Erickson. They get elected, and have this big agenda. Supposedly to help everyone. The only people they’re helping are themselves. Two of them claim to be white, and the other one claims to be a person of color. Let’s start DNA testing. Plus examinations to see if you’re really a Lesbian or Gay or any of that ridiculous community alphabet soup. Ask how many gay guys are hanging out with Trannies, it’s pathetic. If there was a social registry for West Hollywood these three would be on the blacklist.

Joshua88
Joshua88
3 months ago
Reply to  OMG Weho

I have no clue about what you are griping.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Rather obvious pandering; this is not a particularly viable “guaranteed income” program in addition to being discriminatory. My friends who need help are from all orientations. But this program is really not designed to provide a safety net that will guarantee seniors, the disabled and limited income people can remain in their rent controlled apartments. It seems more like a lottery. I know this is well intended but staff has really butchered this proposal.

Joshua88
Joshua88
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Agree.

Joshua88
Joshua88
3 months ago

Eight Tesla charging stations and four universal?

OMG Weho
OMG Weho
3 months ago

This is just more grandstanding. By the SHE: Shyne, Horvath and Erickson who was zooming in direct from Oshkosh, Wisconsin..One of them had to create this “State of…” gimmick for attention.

Big waste of money. Having all these West Hollywood city employees, averaging about $200,000 a year, who don’t even live in this city participate in a zoom video with what 28 people watching and now about 50 views.
And the city’s flack going on about the many Z and millennials watching.

The SHE have turned Boys Town into Glum Town

Wishy Hopey
Wishy Hopey
3 months ago
Reply to  OMG Weho

“Saturday Night Live with Weho City Council”. No auditions necessary. all pre qualified. Revenues will flow towards Cleaning up the city, behavioral seminars and seniors remaining in their homes.

Just stop already
Just stop already
3 months ago
Reply to  OMG Weho

Someone sounds jealous that they don’t work for a place that appreciates it’s employees, and pays them what they’re worth.

trackback

[…] THE BUDGET David Wilson, City Manager — [email protected] […]

Manny
Manny
3 months ago

Four months into the scooter pilot program there is no visible change in “education”, behavior, or enforcement. What are we waiting for?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
3 months ago
Reply to  Manny
Wishy Hopey
Wishy Hopey
3 months ago
Reply to  Manny

The scooter program is one that has city staff invested far beyond the sensibility of it and the reality of life on the street. Wishing and hoping for this to be a success is folly until they are able to change the personal behavior and responsibility of many residents presenting the hazard.

Tickets issued to offenders eventually make a dent which could lead to banning them from scooter rentals. Weho’s “wishy hopey”, not wanting to be perceived in a bad light and discourage tourists is dangerous to everyone.

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