Mayor Meister sees red flag in Mayor Pro Tem Shyne’s wife hosting a city-sponsored event

Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne vigorously defended her proposal to have the city fund a Black History Month event hosted by her wife, Ashlei Shyne, as Mayor Lauren Meister suggested it might be a conflict of interest or have the appearance of impropriety.

The proposed event — “Sacred Space,” a wellness-themed Zoom conference featuring meditation and breathing exercises — is set to be hosted by Ashlei Shyne, the event’s creator and a board member of the organization in charge of it. The proposal requests $850 from city coffers to cover the cost of the practitioners plus supplies and a gift for the attendees. The proposal notes that Ashlei Shyne will be volunteering as host without compensation. 

The item was moved to the consent calendar and passed early in the evening Tuesday by four of the five councilmembers; Meister abstained from the vote. 

At the tail end of the nearly six-hour meeting, Shyne raised her hand to deliver her final comment of the night. 

“I just want to really say for the record that one of the values that I hold dear and live by every single day is integrity and ethics,” Shyne said.

“My wife is hosting (the event). She’s not making a single penny from this. She is a volunteer for this organization and from my discussions with our city attorney, there is no conflict of interest. There is no impropriety. There is absolutely no rule that is being broken.”

Meister explained her position.

“I can understand, and I wish that I could have given you a heads-up conversation before this meeting — but obviously with the Brown Act, that’s not possible — I do feel that there is the appearance of impropriety because it is my understanding from the staff report, Ashlei is on the board of that organization,” she said. 

“What it means is that there is more access. That’s what it looks like: the access. And to me, that’s the appearance. I just don’t think it’s a great precedent for us to be setting. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to offend you, but I couldn’t in good conscience vote for the item.”

Shyne reiterated her stance.

“(Ashlei) is literally the only Black person on this board, who created this event during a pandemic, and is not benefiting in any way,” she said.

The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9.

Ashlei Shyne, right

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Randy
Randy
8 months ago

OK, I agree with Mayor Meister. This has created a situation where there is the appearance of impropriety and/or conflict of interest. But can we all recognize that this was an $850 payment (which does not include the publicity), and that it might be well-intentioned, even if it may have been proposed, with some ignorance? Can we move on from this? Not exactly the most burning issue happening in the City. I swear, there is a contingent of commenters on this site who will pounce at just about anything that Shyne/Horvath/Erickson does, or says. This is a limited group of… Read more »

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

So in other words, you fully support their transgressions? How much does the amount in question need to be for you to be at all concerned? In all seriousness, please tell us.

Randy
Randy
8 months ago

Danielle (are you from the “Halloween” series, movies four, five and six?), how about you tell us the amount for us to be concerned, regarding this cost?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

The dollar amount is completely irrelevant.

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

It was a serious question that you would rather deflect than answer which is unfortunate but not surprising during these times. The majority of this Council has not only been exposed but have blatantly shown by their own actions their lack of ethics. All WeHo residents should be concerned and have a right to ask questions and make critiques.

Thank you, Wehoville, for covering this. Our local elected officials must be held accountable. They signed up for the job and must expect scrutiny for both their good and bad decisions as our representatives.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Ethics matter, and winning doesn’t exempt anyone from legitimate scrutiny and criticism.

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Yeah, Alan, the dollar amount is relevant. Everyone is ready to pounce on Shyne, Horvath, and Erickson. There are about a dozen of you. Doing this over and over and over again. Suck it up, people. Two of them won the election, just about 14 months ago. Fair and square. Nothing you can do about it. Except complain, and complain, and complain. Erickson and Shyne ran on a platform. And they were elected. and they are fulfilling on what they campaigned for. And they are with us for another almost 3 years, at least. In fact, one of them is… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is… Read more »

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Alan, it is funny how you can accuse me of being condescending, while, in the very, very next sentence, say “that this site has become a cesspool of idiocy and lack of thinking.” Well, that is about as condescending as it can get. Also, I recently commented about how this site has become “a cesspool of negative comments.” Not sure if you saw it, or if it is a coincidence. I didn’t state a “sycophantic lecture.” I called out the facts, which are (and there might be some new ones, here): The same group of you, over and over again,… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Randy
Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Condescending? Alan, your message is nothing if not very, very, condescending. You referred to me as an “idiot,” where I simply stated facts.And thank you for the history lesson. I never went to your level of name-calling and labeling, and that is about as condescending as it can get. I don’t see much progress being made, with that kind of attitude. A contingent of people on this site continue, over and over again, to complain about “SHE,” without acknowledging that D’Amico voted for the hotel ordinance and living wage ordinance, and Meister voted for the latter. I do not think that “SHE’s” proposal of a… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

I referred to WEHOville as a cesspool of idiocy. I did not refer to you as an idiot. Words matter. I’m done. Enjoy the cesspool. I will close with a suggestion that you comprehend the difference between a “complaint” and a “critique”. Again, words matter. If you wish to debate further, I’m available on Facebook, as you well know.

Last edited 8 months ago by Alan Strasburg
Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Alan, I shall keep that in mind. And sorry for the duplicate response. I didn’t think the first one went through. Regarding the “idiocy,” I’m not really sure who you were referring to, then. I shall not “enjoy the cesspool.” I’m actually calling out people who add to it being one, with their constant negative comments. Nothing is being accomplished here. Going forward, I shall use the word “critique.”

I have a high level of respect for you, even if we don’t always agree.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

I ask only that you consider the difference between negative commentary, which I agree is useless and toxic (particularly when anonymity reigns supreme), and legitimate political discourse in which critique is a healthy part of democracy. That was my point of sharing the TR quote. Regardless of their tenure or remaining time in office, no elected public servant should be spared the legitimate civic critique that is due them for their actions or words. I find the negativity and name-calling and anonymity and pissant attitudes combined with the seemingly incessant deflection, denial and diversion on here to be worn and… Read more »

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Alan, your last two comments just made me laugh, out loud (literally).

I semi-agree with you on the anonymity factor. You know who I am. But I don’t want everyone else to. Forgive my paranoia, but this is a small town.

I agree with you on negativity vs. critique, but what are we gaining from the latter? Here? I think you already answered that last question, in your last comment. Have a great evening.

And, regardless of my handle, I am a “fan” of WeHo.

that's right
that's right
7 months ago
Reply to  Randy

yes, and if your commentary is the least bit on the more conservative side, ones fears for ones safety.

Randy
Randy
7 months ago
Reply to  that's right

As far from conservative as one can be. I am a far-left, Bernie/Warren/AOC-supporting, progressive Democrat, who has the sense to vote for who can win, vs. who cannot, when it came down to it. Meaning, I voted with my heart in the primaries, then voted for who would beat Trump, in the main election.

Nice guess, though.

You know absolutely nothing about me. I know nothing about you, either. Not even your first name.

90046
90046
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Randy it’s clear your a stooge for the she member your in contact with and if you think they don’t know what’s on wehoville then your not listening. That fool is on this site everyday. But you are just a stooge. It’s clear these people are stooges for the union too. But in all your posts your a know it all, when your just a kiss ass .

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  90046

90046, is that your real name? It is clear that you know absolutely nothing about me But thank you for your assumption, and your disparaging label (calling me a “stooge”). Have a nice day.

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
8 months ago

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…Shyne should have recused herself on this item and the others should have called her out on it. It wreaks of impropriety.

Chloe Ross
8 months ago

Not a good move from the jump.

WehoFan
WehoFan
8 months ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

Agreed.

WEHO Conscience
WEHO Conscience
8 months ago

I get it now. Any spouse of a council member that sits on the board of an outside organization can get city funds for their favored projects. This makes the organization a favored group for funding, publicity and access to and influence with the involved council member. A developer -or any special interest – seeking to influence and curry favor with a council member would surely contribute to that favored organization. That is the very definition of an improper conflict of interest. It’s a highly effective form of pay to play and an indirect bribe. Were I a shrewd developer,… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago

Because if you call her out on it she can and will claim whatever identity politics will make her and her wife the victim. That’s the new reality of ethics compliance. There’s also the attempt to gain martyr status with the claim that this was all developed “DURING A PANDEMIC”. Does that give everyone a free pass?

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

See my comment (response), above. Can we move on? Seriously? I agree that she should be called out. At the same time, it seems like there is a contingent of people who will call her out on just about anything, in these forums. Ready to pounce. A constant tear-down. Sorry, people, she’s with us for almost another 3 years, at least. Keep ragging on her, if you must. Or, consider maybe working with her? This is not the most explosive situation. But based on the overwhelming number of tear-down comments in the 89 comments on this thread, you’d think that… Read more »

voter
voter
8 months ago
Reply to  Randy

I disagree, Randy!

Sepi Shyne has offended a lot of people in West Hollywood with her brand of politics. I hope voters will always feel free to speak out against elected officials who are working against the best interets of the community.

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  voter

Well, I said that “I agree that she should be called out.” But I also think we have more important things to deal with. 97 comments, and counting, on this thread. Once again, almost everyone here seems ready to pounce on her.

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

In every interaction I have ever had with Laure Meister, I have always walked away having gained more respect for her.

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

In every interaction I have ever had with Lauren Meister, I have always walked away having gained respect for her. WeHo city council culture has always been one of a “good ol boys club”. This shouldn’t be the case today. But cultures run deep and they’re not gender or sexual orientation exclusive. Mayor Meister has never been afraid to stand up and speak her truth. It’s a shame she had to do it alone and in such a public forum but she did the right thing. More substantial work might get done if she wasn’t always having to do it… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Lauren Meister has always been a profile in courage. She serves the City of West Hollywood and not the other way around.

Lynda
Lynda
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

100% Agree.

JF1
JF1
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

100%

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark

I did not walk away with respect, when I asked her about the proposal she made for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, being on the library name. In fact, Mayor Meister told me a lie. She said that it was going through a public process. It was not, at all. Unless you count some board. That no one really knows about. That said, I agree with her 95% of the time.

Last edited 8 months ago by Randy
Thomas S
Thomas S
8 months ago

This is another level of self entitlement. Is she using the race card to get her way or for people to ignore this unethical situation?
Please just like Lindsey H vote these people OUT. Looks like you give an inch they take 10 miles. Nobody can not trust them. We need to clean house.

JF1
JF1
8 months ago

I’m sorry, her wife is getting some visibility (publicity, which could further her career) by having direct access to a city council member. How is that not a conflict of interest? Doesn’t matter what color her skin is. Doesn’t matter if she’s not making any money. How does an educated person, sitting on a city council not understand that? Unbelievable. VOTE. THEM, OUT.

WehoFan
WehoFan
8 months ago

Weho city hall is corrupt. The whole council should be dismissed.

Pathetic
Pathetic
8 months ago

Has anyone asked Lauren Langer, the city attorney, to substantiate Ms. Shyne’s claim that Ms. Langer advised Ms. Shyne that there is no conflict of interest, no impropriety and no rule being broken?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
8 months ago
Reply to  Pathetic

Glancing at the photo of the meeting, Lauren Langer and City Manager David Wilson sure look like they wish they were somewhere else. While this event is clearly well intended, the optics apparently were not considered, which is why Staff is supposed to vet the agenda items before the meeting.

Diane F.
Diane F.
8 months ago
Reply to  Pathetic

The conversations between Council members and the City Attorney are privileged. In any event, only the Council can approve a Contract for the City Attorney. Ms. Langer knows where her bread is buttered. The amount of “back door deals/arrangements” that go on at the City are astonishing! The only way you might ever get the City of West Bell cleaned up is to involve the U.S. Attorney’s office or the F.B.I., and even then, look at Los Angeles–their City Attorney is being investigated by the State Bar in relation to the DWP settlement, yet he wants to be LA’s next… Read more »

Incorrect Facts
Incorrect Facts
8 months ago
Reply to  Diane F.

Incorrect. It was an attorney in City Atty. Mike Feuer’s office that pleaded guilty and consequently resigned in 2019. Please be accurate and not cast a unnecessary shadow on Mike Feuer.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago

This is NOT about whether or not Ms. Ashlei Shine gets an immediate financial benefit from this abuse of public trust. It is about the impropriety of Ms. Sepi Shine’s abuse of her office to give her wife an advantage based solely on her status as a councilmember and the goodwill it inures to her wife’s businesses. It is trumpian plain and simple, but both Shines will cite identity politics as a defense for their provincial antics. Sepi Shyne is West Hollywood’s Donald Trump. She is an offense to sound governance and public service without ego.

voter
voter
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Thanks, Alan. Well put. But I think John Erickson is also a contender for West Hollywood’s Donald Trump.

JF1
JF1
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

WehoFan
WehoFan
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Shyne should resign.

Randy
Randy
8 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Ha ha ha. She’s going to be your mayor, in about ten months. Have fun with that.

TomSmart
TomSmart
8 months ago

I get both sides and it’s now all above board. I’m more worried about improprieties we are NOT aware of.

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