OpEd: Will John Heilman ever let go?

Insiders and close associates of the former City Council Member confirm that John Heilman, first elected to the West Hollywood City Council in 1984, is considering a run in 2022. Both Heilman, D’Amico, and former Council member John Duran each are eligible to serve one additional term under Term Limits passed in 2013. Council member John D’Amico has announced he will not seek re-election.

Heilman served continuously from 1984-2015 laying the building blocks for many of West Hollywood’s core values. Heilman pioneered West Hollywood’s inclusionary housing programs, affordable housing initiatives, and was often seen as a reliable vote for major developments.

In the 2015 City Council race John D’Amico finished first. Lindsey Horvath bested her mentor John Heilman and Lauren Meister was first elected to the city council. Heilman came in 4th and was defeated. He vowed to not run again.

In 2014 then Council member Jeffrey Prang launched a bid to become the Los Angeles County Assessor. Prang’s victory would set up a special election in June of 2015 for the open seat. Heilman stated that ‘if defeated’ he would not run for the open Prang seat but then changed his mind.

West Hollywood’s first ‘open seat’ would be filled with the first ‘somebody new’ in a long time. In that race, two candidates, Heidi Shink and Cole Ettman chose to focus their resources on the June race and not run in the March 2015 race. Then the big money came in to finance Heilman’s return to the City Council with almost half a million dollars bouncing off the March race to June. The ‘open seat’, the ‘community seat’, went back to Heilman.

Heilman served the remainder of Prang’s term and was re-elected in 2016 to another term. In the 2020 election Heilman was again defeated by two of his own appointees, Sepi Shyne and John Erickson. In all, three of Heilman’s appointees have defeated him. Horvath, Shyne and Erickson.

The 2022 race will once again have at least one ‘open seat’ with the retirement of Council member John D’Amico. Will John Heilman challenge the other only open seat in the last two decades?

Former Council member John Duran has ruled out a run in 2022. But Duran has been active behind the scenes during the major debates over the hotel ordinance and minimum wage. If Heilman is distressed at the direction of West Hollywood, he should take some of the blame, too. It’s his clique running the show. Yet he has been publicly silent on these major issues.

It is interesting to note that when Term Limits, Measure C was passed in 2013 with over 60% of the vote, its author Steve Martin was defeated in the same race for City Council. The voters passed term limits but re-elected John Heilman and John Duran in that same year. Perhaps we need to go full circle . If Heilman needs to run again to save the city, then perhaps he should spearhead Term Limits repeal on the ballot too. Let the voters decide.

I was a founding father of the term limits initiative and the vision was to create a grass-roots community where residents and resident-centric policies had a chance to lead the city. Rotation in government is supposed to be healthy. We don’t have to agree on issues, or we can firmly disagree, but the hope of term limits, – was that residents who cared about local issues could be heard. We used to think in terms of the developer interests and resident interests. But after the defeat of John Duran and John Heilman it is easier to see the influence of UNITE Here Local 11 on city policies. We used to worry about building one floor too high that had a small affect on the entire city. But todays deficits and council initiatives will increase the costs and cost of living for every single resident and tourist.

Heilman clinging to power reminds me of Vladamir Putin or Donald Trump clinging to his influence over the party. A Heilman race will stifle new voices from rising and West Hollywood from evolving. While I love John Heilman and respect him with all my heart, something stinks about this type of establishment power grab. It’s time to let West Hollywood evolve. Heilman’s voice is more important than his vote on the City Council. Perhaps he should come speak up on issues in real time.

While I appreciate Mr. Heilman’s service, and even support the naming of the West Hollywood Library in his honor, it looks a large Putin-like bronze statue in the middle of West Hollywood Park may be in our future. It’s nice to be nostalgic for John’s legacy, but it’s also time to Move West Hollywood Forward. One little clique of insiders is not how a progressive city grows to its fullest potential.

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Gavin Elster
Gavin Elster
10 days ago

If West Hollywood is the municipal equivalent of, say, MGM, it may well be time for Mr. Heilman, to move over to something like Warner Brothers, a-la Joan Crawford, circa 1943? Unlike John Duran, Mr. Heilman did NOT hire well-paid deputies, + after meeting them on Grindr, and having sex with them, and then costing WEHO tax payers $500,000 (Some say much more?) in sexual harassment law suits. Mr. Heilman has also NOT sexually harrassed Gay Men’s Chorus members, and then made vile, racist remarks when called-out for it. As far as “erecting” a bronze statue of a former WEHO… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Gavin Elster
Michael Lee
Michael Lee
10 days ago

Why doesn’t he just gracefully go away? He’s been in the city council FAR too long and we need new people.

DesertBob
DesertBob
10 days ago

WeeHoe…whatta toilet! LMAO!

Enough John’s
Enough John’s
13 days ago

You all got must have your head in ur butts. All the John’s suck. And this John needs to let go. His outsized ego and some of these desperate appeals lack any sense of the future.

angry gay pope
14 days ago

When you have been doing something since 1984 it is time to stop! Go away John! What is he addicted to? Money? Influence? Bribes?

Ernesto
Ernesto
10 days ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

It’s Weho and the answer is all three.

michaelz
michaelz
15 days ago

Larry, Im very fond of you but I cant agree
with this article….
Heilman is the voice of reason, the best council
member for this city…The best council member
we ever had…..Heilman and Lauren can run this
city………and should..

Manny
Manny
15 days ago
Reply to  michaelz

Very true “michaelz”, and the answer to the headline is: I Hope Not.

Graham
Graham
10 days ago
Reply to  michaelz

Says the Marxist skating team of Shyne and Erikson.

Last edited 10 days ago by Graham
voter
voter
15 days ago

If bringing Heilman back will serve to neuter Erickson/Shyne/Horvath in any way, I will certainly vote for him again. Heilman has proven himself to be a stellar council member time and again.

JF1
JF1
15 days ago
Reply to  voter

Yes

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
16 days ago

I do not approve the direction the city is going. Weho has become indifferent and soft and lax on crime and more crimes and robberies and burglaries on the rise! Now most people, elected officials are wanting claim and recognition and pursue political office while maintaining a seat in office. What is not good was Council deciding to ram new laws that should have been voted upon at the polls. Whether it was minimum wage supporting unions who have used their platform publicly while council restricted the general public from speaking in person, putting up immediate consideration to rename the… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by Jamie Francis
WehoFan
WehoFan
16 days ago

Heilman is better for weho than John Erickson and his friends.

Gary
Gary
16 days ago

Great job Larry Block.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
16 days ago

The old guard is clinging to power. The city has changed…….but the city council hasn’t. It’s coming.

We need JOURNALISM
We need JOURNALISM
16 days ago

The real story here is the article’s author Larry Block.
Make no mistake, he’s not a journalist giving you West Hollywood news.
He’s a man with an agenda and opinion who controls this website.
It’s too bad he’s not more Ted Turner and less Rupert Murdoch.

Stevie
Stevie
16 days ago

Which news organization isn’t biased in todays world? None a one, not from the right and it from the left.

We need JOURNALISM
We need JOURNALISM
15 days ago
Reply to  Stevie

Not true. But the goal should be less bias/agenda not, let’s join ’em and create more division!

https://www.allsides.com/media-bias/media-bias-ratings

Weho an
Weho an
15 days ago

I met him in front of his store years ago and a few times since. His agenda was crosswalks and working at his local small business. He came a long way. What’s your agenda?

We need JOURNALISM
We need JOURNALISM
15 days ago
Reply to  Weho an

My agenda (thanks for asking) is we need more journalism.
I don’t agree with buying a news site, to use it for your personal platform. The current owner is not a journalist, he’s a man trying to influence. (Regardless of whether I agree with him or not.)

Joey bologna
Joey bologna
13 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Totally agree with you. Good for you for standing firm. This is WeHo’s only reliable source for news.

We need JOURNALISM
We need JOURNALISM
13 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

I never said I wanted it closed. I never said it wasn’t newsworthy.
You “contribute op-eds”, which means you use your ownership to publish your opinions.
That’s not journalism and that’s my point.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
12 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

You’re doing a fine job, Larry Block. While I wish that commentary would not be ensconced in the toxicity of anonymity, you do provide a forum for debate and community input. It is sad that it often devolves into a forum for invective, but such is the First Amendment right of morons and sycophants. The silly arguments that you use WEHOville as a vehicle for your personal agenda are belied by the demonstrable fact that you invite op-ed input from anyone willing to take the time to write one.

We need JOURNALISM
We need JOURNALISM
12 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

This is my last shot at this. Remove yourself from the equation. This isn’t personal.
In journalism, actual journalism, an owner of a publication, whether it’s you, Katharine Graham or Jeff Bezos (Washington Post) shouldn’t write editorials.
It goes against the tenets of journalism which include: objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and being unbiased.
Writing opinion pieces is the exact opposite. Journalists check their opinions at the door. Rise above your ego.

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