Minimum wage may be on the rise — but WeHo’s political divide is getting deeper

Councilmember Lindsey Horvath and Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne defended their work passing a minimum wage rate on Thursday at a City Hall press conference.

For the progressive wing of West Hollywood’s City Council, it started out as a victory lap.

Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne and Councilmembers Lindsey Horvath and John Erickson made no secret they were proud to have put WeHo on track to have the highest minimum wage in the United States — $17.64 per hour for all workers in all sectors by 2023. 

There were plenty of reasons for them to celebrate Thursday evening as they proclaimed their win to the media during a scheduled press conference. 

Councilmember Horvath speaks to KTLA 5

Shyne and Erickson both made raising the rate a central part of their successful campaigns for office last fall, and together with Horvath, the newest members of Council advocated fiercely and relentlessly for the ordinance in spite of major pushback from the Chamber of Commerce and business owners across the city.

WeHo restaurateurs and entrepreneurs, from David Anawalt (owner of Anawalt Lumber) to Lisa Van Der Pump (owner of Pump), dialed in droves to Wednesday night’s virtual City Council meeting to sound dire warnings and beg the them to postpone the vote in order to receive more feedback from the business community — but the five councilmembers were unanimously unswayed.

On the stage outside City Hall, Shyne, Erickson and Horvath were flanked by familiar faces in red shirts — the young leaders and organizers from UNITE HERE! Local 11, who have been appearing with them at rallies and in photo ops all year long. The labor union, which has taken a much greater interest in local politics in recent years, has thrown its support behind them, and they enjoy a close working relationship. Having notched similar victories in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, UNITE HERE! and City Council are following a similar blueprint to get favorable progressive policies passed in WeHo. 

Councilmember John Erickson addresses the media.
A representative of UNITE HERE takes the podium.

Noticeably absent from Thursday’s press conference were the Council’s more moderate voices, Mayor Lauren Meister and Councilmember John D’Amico, who often found themselves in disbelief and disagreement during the months of debate before Wednesday night’s vote. While both fully supported raising the minimum wage, they each voiced concerns. Are we giving businesses enough time to adjust? Are we considering the consequencese?

Even as members of the press grilled them on real-world ramifications, Shyne, Horvath and Erickson kept focused on a bigger picture — that a significant stride toward social justice had been achieved, that workers had been given their due seat at the table, and that the three of them had together re-staked WeHo’s claim to being hte capital city of progressive politics.

Jordan David before interjecting on the councilmembers’ speeches.

Which made the heckler’s words, coming from the left rather than the right, sting a little deeper.

As the councilmembers tried to expound on the virtues of their policy and the scope of their victories to a skeptical press, Jordan David reminded the them that in today’s political climate, they’re not only too progressive — paradoxically, they’re not progressive enough. 

“That’s not a living wage!” he shouted, drowning out their talking points. 

“This does nothing!”

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Free Weho
1 year ago

Recall Erickson NOW!
Tinyurl.com/FreeWeho

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 year ago

Greeneyedguy desperately defending his friends on the city council and bullying anyone who disagrees.

Richard Luna
Richard Luna
1 year ago

The comments below are as insane as these incompetent politicians, Why??? Because YOU elected them…YOU tolerate them, YOU choose to do nothing about them. COWARDS. Period. COWARDS.

Graham
Graham
1 year ago

Just 5 more sick headed socialists on the downward decline..

Scgal
Scgal
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham

Please explain what your definition of socialists are?

Steve Carry
Steve Carry
1 year ago

Liberals don’t seem to understand their insane economic policies only cause more problems than they solve. One thing is for sure; they would flunk at Worton.

Scgal
Scgal
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Carry

Worton? Did you mean wonton?

Wharton
Wharton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Carry

That would be Wharton School of Business at Penn. Wharton what DJT claimed as his validation but most likely he did not get good grades and forbid the school via lawsuit to provide any information. He simply reverted to his DNA and followed up on the criminal enterprise introduced by his father.

Your Republic Has Already Fallen
Your Republic Has Already Fallen
1 year ago

A “living wage” will never make an uninhabitable city habitable. Lots and lots and lots of hip hip hip restaurants, bars, gyms, etc.–all with the same Sysco truck unloading out back–can never compensate for this fact. Neither will lots and lots and lots of shiny *happy* plastic corporate “art”, strewn about like the grafiti and litter present everywhere around the city’s underbelly. West Hollywood began devolving a couple decades ago, and over time it became just another city without soul. Synthetic. Sterile. Antiseptic. You can thank past, present, and future power hungry WEHO “Roman Senators” for this phenomenon. As long… Read more »

West
1 year ago

Those faces on Horvath & Erickson getting high off smelling each others farts… absolutely iconic. These fools are nothing just segregationists.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
1 year ago
Reply to  West

To coin a phrase, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Insidious
Insidious
1 year ago

Insidious behavior towards the community they allegedly serve. Somehow they lured Mayor Meister into this wrongheaded
scheme and misinformed D’Amico exercised his perennial quirkiness.

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
1 year ago

The community would perceive or admit these tactics as political leverage, even say these tactics amount to Political Arbitrage! By definition preventing public knowledge dissent from interrupting self interests, political grandstanding, social agendas and political influences, one sightedness, insights into political forecasts and aspirations to favor elected and appointed city officials and their civic and union representatives/allies to sway a political narrative(s) without engaging public consent getting feedback in public from dissenters or counterpoints by preventing the city residents and the public from knowing the premeditated actions. In a financial market this would be considered insider trading! In politics it’s… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Jamie Francis
:dpb
:dpb
1 year ago
Reply to  Jamie Francis

Could not agree with you more. Very concise.

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
1 year ago

Isn’t it ironic that when council meetings were suppose to be open with limited capacity to the public, there was technical difficulties, yet the Unite Here local 11 has protested hotels keeping Weho residents to hear them for 17 strait months! I live near the Chateau Marmont below Sunset Blvd on Havenhurst. I think military tactics are disrespectful and inconsiderate to residents. Furthermore, why are residents not able to engage publicly with this. Ironically enough the week we the public could go to a public city council meeting was in July when the agendas for hotel workers rally/sit in in… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Jamie Francis
WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 year ago

Adjacent cities are laughing at WeHo. When a hamburger is $20 here, and parking is $12 with homeless beggars all over the place, and a similar hamburger is $15 across the border, with slightly fewer homeless beggars, which restaurant will the patronize? I think the city council feels that some kid right out of high school with zero life experience, is entitled to an identical wage as someone who has worked in a restaurant for perhaps 20 or 30 years.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 year ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

The homeless problem is FAR worse just outside West Hollywood in the city of Los Angeles. Have you seen the tent cities in Hollywood or Beverly Grove?

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 year ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

That’s surprising, since the super compassionate city council of weho does everything possible to welcome and attract more homeless to our city. It’s as if they feel there is a shortage of them, like there is a competition between cities of which one can have the most. You would think with their kind of love of destitute people there would be encampments on all of their front lawns, under gigantic banners saying “Councilmember So and So Welcomes the Homeless”.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 year ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

It’s really not surprising if you live here and just drive around.

Do you even live here?

Randy
Randy
1 year ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

That is absolutely untrue. In fact, this city has an outreach program, and kicks the can down the road. They fund the food line, across La Brea, outside the city limits, on Romaine. The people that do outreach try to get people on the street into shelters, and kick them down the road, to places such as Tarzana. Please, take a walk from Robertson, on SMB, down to Vine, or so. The reality will speak for itself. If you leave our bubble, you will see how bad it really is out there.

Au contraire
Au contraire
1 year ago

If the city council thinks they have made a big advancement for social justice they might think again. By raising the minimum wage they will forever assure that the low paid workers that commute to Weho for the proverbial crumbs and are portrayed as victims and never seek real advancement. Working in establishments serving upscale clientele does not mean the wealth will fall to them. The jobs are traditionally “transitional jobs” for most. What these folks are fighting for seems a mirage as there is no incentive to improve their lives in meaningful ways and the city council has led… Read more »

C.R.
C.R.
1 year ago
Reply to  Au contraire

These comments about incentives to improve one’s life by keeping minimum wage a non-living wage are akin to you saying “If you don’t want me to be strangling you, you need to be in better shape so you can successfully fight me off your throat.” And people like you don’t see yourselves as the bad people here somehow.

Au contraire.
Au contraire.
1 year ago
Reply to  C.R.

Certainly don’t know how you reduce this to a reactive comment such as “people like you” and “bad people”. Possibly you lack consciousness and perspective or you might have had a better understanding the comment.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 year ago
Reply to  Au contraire.

Yeah, he does that a lot!

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