OpEd: To Run or Not to Run – that is the Question- City Council 2022

The 2022 West Hollywood City Council Election is eight months away and the field of candidates is beginning to take shape.

Councilmember John D’Amico has announced he will not be seeking re-election. Councilmember Lindsey Horvath is running for Los Angeles County Supervisor to replace Sheila Kuehl in District (3). If Horvath is able to secure one of the top two spots in the June runoff election she would be ineligible to also run on the November ballot for West Hollywood City Council. West Hollywood voters are facing the possibility of two open seats with Mayor Lauren Meister, the only incumbent who has declared her intention to run and serve the people of West Hollywood.

Those who have declared their intention to run the upcoming WeHo City Council race include: 

MAYOR LAUREN MEISTER

Mayor Lauren Meister was first elected to the City Council in 2015. She was re-elected in 2018, and if she is successful in her 2022 race, Meister will become the first Council member to ‘term out’. It’s an interesting twist of fate as Meister led the term limits initiative Measure C that was passed by the voters in 2013. Meister has proven herself to be a true champion for the City of West Hollywood residents and businesses.

COMMISSIONER MARQUITA THOMAS

Marquita Thomas also previously ran for West Hollywood City Council in 2018. She garnered just over 1,000 votes in her first run and came in fifth. Thomas currently serves on the Planning Commission and formerly served on the Human Services Commission and the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board.

COMMISSIONER ROBERT OLIVER

Robert Oliver is new to West Hollywood politics. Oliver’s claim to fame was his dramatic departure from the Public Safety Commission in 2019. Oliver resigned in ”protest’ over the Commission’s refusal to censure then-Councilmember John Duran for allegations of impropriety. The item to censure was not on the Public Safety agenda and could not be voted on despite the drama. Oliver left that Public Safety meeting with former Horvath campaign manager Estevan Montemayor. Montemayor is a registered lobbyist with the City of West Hollywood and ran Horvath’s first campaign for West Hollywood City Council in 2015. Shortly after Oliver resigned from the Public Safety Commission he left the City of West Hollywood for approximately one year and recently returned. He was quickly re-appointed to the Public Safety Commission as an at-large appointee with the support of Horvath, Erickson and Shyne.

COMMISSIONER CHELSEA BYERS

Chelsea Byers is the other formerly declared candidate for this year’s City Council election. Byers is the girlfriend of Horvath’s 2018 campaign manager,Austin Cyr. She is also Councilmember Erickson’s direct appointee to the Human Services Commission. Byers recently moved to West Hollywood in order to file her paperwork and run for council. She made her first appearance at a city council meeting in early February during the public comment period. Byers will have the benefit of Horvath’s and Erickson’s endorsement. Insider buzz says that Byers will also have the benefit of the UNITE HERE Local 11, being pushed by Horvath.

There are other candidates weighing their options ‘to run or not to run’, including former City Council member Steve Martin, former City Council member John Heilman and myself, too.

FORMER COUNCILMEMBER STEVE MARTIN

Martin was first elected in 1994 and served until 2003 when he was defeated by former Councilmember Abbe Land. Martin attempted a comeback in 2007, 2011, and 2017 and was defeated in each of those races. Martin has continued to be engaged IN local politics and is a regular commenter at City Council and Planning Commission meetings. While Martin is hoping for the endorsement from UNITE HERE Local 11, it is not certain he will receive their support.

Should Steve Martin run?

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FORMER COUNCILMEMBER JOHN HEILMAN

Also pondering a run in 2022 is former longtime City Councilmember John Heilman. Heilman served over 36 consecutive years from the founding of West Hollywood in 1984 through 2020. Heilman was defeated in 2015 by Horvath, Meister and D’Amico in the March election. In the same year Councilmember Jeffrey Prang was successful in his run for Los Angeles County Assessor and left an open seat. Heilman mobilized quickly to run for Prang’s open seat in the June election and returned to the City Council. But when he returned to City Hall his office was now the property of Councilmember John D’Amico.

Heilman is considering a return to the dais. Despite his 36 years of service, he has one possible term left since the term limit initiative passed in 2013. Heilman is said to be dismayed over many decisions pushed forward by the current city council. Despite his behind-the-scenes jockeying on issues with Horvath or Erickson over minimum wage increases, he did not sway heads. And he was not an effective spokesperson for his positions and has disappointed many in the business community.

My expectations are for Heilman to enter the race if Horvath makes the runoff in June. He has name recognition and received over 5,000 votes in the 2020 election. Heilman could possibly be running with the endorsement of Horvath, Erickson and Shyne, three of his appointees to office.

Should John Heilman run?

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LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER LARRY BLOCK

I’ve also written here in WEHOville about my own interest in running for City Council. I ran in both 2015 and 2020 and was defeated in both races. Both campaigns lacked any staff or fundraising to compete but were great learning experiences. In 2015 I ran against Heilman, Meister, Horvath and D’Amico, and in 2020 against Heilman, Duran and two well funded UNITE HERE Local 11 candidates Shyne and Erickson Times have changed and I’ve learned a lot. Our City Council needs balance, a business perspective, a laser beam focus on our public safety needs and how to fund them, not defund them , And to protect the quality of our residential life that is going downhill quickly. Some don’t like my style but I’m just a straight shooting New Yorker. I don’t seek higher office — West Hollywood is my life.

But for me personally times have been difficult, numerous losses have rocked my world over the past six months. My brother passed in January and my mom had a stroke. This is not the right time to kick off a campaign. But while I’m not in campaign mode I am in WeHo and WEHOville mode everyday and understand the issues. I expect to file my candidate intention statement in the next week and be prepared to be part of the debate about the direction and future of West Hollywood.

Should Larry Block run?

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Running for City Council is a wonderful experience. In my first campaign in 2015 Lauren Meister gave me some good advice — she told me that it is the people you meet along the way. For me running for City Council helped me grow up, face the issues and stand up tall despite my visual disability. So if you are thinking of running for City Council I urge you to get involved. West Hollywood needs local residents who want to serve the community at large, representing our city and our needs. And to all candidates and all who hope to be candidates these pages are open for you to engage the public on the issues of the day. My promise is a WEHOville that is ours, to promote community engagement. So get involved, run for office, and tell your story right here.   

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Enough!
Enough!
3 months ago

I’ll take Heilman, Martin, Block and Meister. The rest…a hard NO.

Jess
Jess
3 months ago

I hope we can finally get a council that actually cares about WeHo residents and especially seniors.

Chloe Ross
3 months ago

Frankly folks since my first year in WeHo…I often thought the CC was actually The Little Rascals putting on the same show every month. I kinda still do. The Rascals get younger and see themselves as highly evolved,much more PC and empowered by some imagined experiences they will never have. The latter through NO fault of their own. Intel based on being looked up on a smartphone is not life experience. No matter what Mr. Meta says; virtual experience is not the real thing. But, this “Hollywood”…So let the show go on!

Run Out of Town
Run Out of Town
3 months ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

Little Rascals? Perhaps incestuous levels of fraud by miscreants that keep circling the drain and cycling through the city labyrinth. Apparently no one ever took an ethics course but we have one member of the Ethics Task Force that was a pal of Ed Buck. Nice.

Chloe Ross
3 months ago

Perhaps I should toss my hat in the ring…why do I make this comment? Thirty two years in town. Highly opinionated and often unpleasant when it comes to the unvarnished truth. A deep diver into the truths we often miss. A dedicated renter. And above all, old enough to know better because I have seen enough to have see so much more!! Now that the ROFLing is over..Support Ukraine!!!!!

Cyn Guy
Cyn Guy
3 months ago

WeHoVille Community – with all that’s going on in the world today, and with serious risk of a nuclear confrontation in 60 years, it is sad to see the commentary on this thread so full of senseless personal attacks, petty vindictiveness, libelous accusations and the like.
As a progressive City we ought to not act like a Blue version of Idaho. Sadly – this shows we are no better – just have different policies.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
3 months ago
Reply to  Cyn Guy

Liked for “Blue version of Idaho”.

Chloe Ross
3 months ago
Reply to  Cyn Guy

True

West
West
3 months ago

How many sitting Councilmembers and candidates have been privvy to the open secrets about Heilman’s alleged sex tourism abroad with minors?

Why did the responsibility to report Heilman to DHS fall on a former hooker like myself, instead of the people who continue to benefit from his political capital?

GayWaspLivesMatter
GayWaspLivesMatter
3 months ago
Reply to  West

Heilman had strange Satanic influenced email addresses. For a city that created the Ed Buck phenomenon, I wouldn’t be surprised if the city officials covered up anything. These are politicians, remember, the lowest form of humanity ever created.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
3 months ago

strange Satanic influenced email addresses”

LOL what?! Not a fan of Heilman but this statement is insane.

Michael, please seek help.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
3 months ago
Reply to  West

Dunno your history with Heilman, but if they’re open secrets, why aren’t more people talking about them? Seems that information like that would have been under discussion publicly well before now. Your statement is the first I’ve heard of “alleged sex tourism”. Cite, please.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
3 months ago

Steve Martin is a lawyer, AND he has not only been in West Hollywood for decades, but he has been heavily involved in policy and leadership. He is a walking encyclopedia of our history and in governance.

WE NEED HIM!

Fact-Finder
Fact-Finder
3 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Be informed before selecting a candidate. I too have lived in West Hollywood since 1986. Here’s a link to an article that is very enlightening. Authored by CES and Larry Gross (one of the founders of West Hollywood. Be your own informed.

Steve Martin fraudulently misleading voters | Tenants Together

Or, you should be aware of Steve Martin’s brand of misinformation.

Evictions Over Smoking Specious (cesinaction.org)

I voted for Steve in 1994. Then he showed who he is (yes, a lawyer).
All I ask is to be informed to make an informed decision.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago
Reply to  Fact-Finder

Isn’t this the same Larry Gross that was silent when the City joined with Severn Askenazy to evict hundreds of tenants to convert Le Rive, Le Park, the Montrose and other former residential buildings into hotels?

Inform and decide
Inform and decide
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

CSE is for renter’s, renter’s rights and all of West Hollywood knows. Larry Gross is not running of West Hollywood City Council. You are (at most nausea).

Steve Martin is trying again (many failed attempts) to be on the Council. We know who you are. You can’t really expect we don’t know and I want those who don’t to be informed.

Steve Martin fraudulently misleading voters | Tenants Together

Evictions Over Smoking Specious (cesinaction.org)

No Lawyers
No Lawyers
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Last thing we need is another lawyer on the City Council. They serve themselves, that’s it. Pay for play. Developer’s best boys and streetwalkers.

Chloe Ross
3 months ago
Reply to  Fact-Finder

And your name is?

Keith
Keith
3 months ago
Reply to  Fact-Finder

I’m on the side of non-smokers! My neighbors below me smoke on the balcony and the smoke blows into my apartment. Evict them all!

Chloe Ross
3 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

I agree

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
3 months ago

Steve Martin and Larry Block, absolutely!

It’s time we get over our fascination with intersectionality and get some well-informed and experienced (Steve Martin) grown-ups to clean up and move us forward, not the full-of-themselves children who sit on the city council now (Shyne, Horvath, and Erickson). Meister is fine, so if we add Larry Block and Steve Martin we will make giant leaps towards adulthood as a city to be taken seriously, rather than the embarrassment we often are now.

WEHO Resident
WEHO Resident
3 months ago

Having watched a few City Council hearings recently, Meister sounds like the only member with any common sense. The rest are appalling. At this point, I would never vote for someone who hasn’t lived in West Hollywood for more than 5 years, and I would also never vote for someone who does not prioritize public safety. In fact, we need some candidates with actual public safety experience rather than know-nothings who pontificate about criminal justice reform and engage in anti-law enforcement rhetoric. Our day to day lives depend on safety. West Hollywood has become an epicenter for violent crime, and… Read more »

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
3 months ago
Reply to  WEHO Resident

Yep…..We need someone who functions outside the bubble of politics. A retired law enforcement officer would be a great choice. Anyone out there? Please come forward!

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
3 months ago
Reply to  WEHO Resident

yep

Chloe Ross
3 months ago
Reply to  WEHO Resident

I agree.

Master Class
Master Class
3 months ago
Reply to  WEHO Resident

Mayor Meister is the only council member up to the task and has been since she was a planning commissioner. She could give a master class on how to evaluate the merits of an issue. While I haven’t always been in agreement with her, I don’t believe she would be swayed by silliness, personal agenda or the issue du jour.

Will be sad to see her go when her term is up.

M M
3 months ago
Reply to  Master Class

I agree, it will be so sad when her term is up. We are so lucky to have Lauren Meister!!…….she actually cares. I can’t wait for Erickson, Shyne, Horvath and D’amico to be gone, especially obnoxious Erickson.

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
3 months ago

Incestuous how many mentioned have ties to Horvath! Absolutely not. She and all of her ilk need to go!

Chloe Ross
3 months ago

Oh!

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
3 months ago

My vote is based on proven leadership, integrity, and vision. John Heilman knows West Hollywood. His empathy and compassion have always driven his leadership. John, like all of West Hollywood constituents, wants West Hollywood to progress and is admired for what we all have fought for. Never lose sight of our core foundation and principles. I cast my vote for the Honorable John Heilman.

Tom
Tom
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

Jeez Hellman sounds like a breath of fresh air even though I did not agree with all his Pro development crap he’s got my vote

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Why?

JF1
JF1
3 months ago

Block & Heilman. Put the adults back in the room.

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