OpEd: the Queen of the Ball

The annual State of the City 2022 was held this past week at the London Hotel. This year’s theme was “Resourceful, Resilient, and Ready for the Future! Hosted by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, this was the first in-person State of the City event since the onset of Covid in 2019.

So much has changed since the last State of the City event. We had major changes to the City Council, a new City Manager, a new Captain of the Sheriff, a new City Attorney. A Mayor Meister who had never been championed by the Chamber and was the unlikely hero of the day.

It was standing room only and the tables wall to wall. The ballroom was filled and every seat occupied. At 8:30 am breakfast was served, but most were busy shaking hands. The Chair of the Chamber Nick Remedio took the stage and welcomed the ‘stakeholders’, West Hollywood was back, Resilient, Resourceful and Ready for the Future.

Nick introduced Genevieve Morrill, the President and CEO of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Genevieve and Nick seem to be the only ‘constants’, from pre-Covid to post-Covid. While the world changed around the Chamber and our Community, this State of the City was one for the survivors.

Rimedio spoke to how the Chamber interests and Community interests have never been so aligned. Public Safety, Homelessness and Protecting our small businesses as common goals. Then he introduced Genevieve.

Gen took the stage to raging applause. She was the guiding light, the link for so many during the rapidly changing environment on which so many skidded. She was wearing a floral dress, light on her feet, hosting and celebrating the City of West Hollywood.

While the Council members had changed and two were present along with the mayor, we were missing our rock star city manager and a new tone took the stage to give the presentation. Business associates who had not seen each other in years chatted of the changes and the losses, both personal and in our community. But, every single body in that room was still committed to the future of West Hollywood.

The Guest List was across the board, Government Officials, Candidates, Hotels, and Billboards and Developers and City Staff all the drivers that create revenue for a city were in place and committed to the future. The Social services budget is expected to increase from 5 million to 6 million dollars. There was something for everybody.

But through it all there was this woman. Genevieve Morrill, hosting her family, the family of stakeholders, the family of our City. She spoke so beautifully welcoming all. Under Gen’s leadership we were all one, it’s something I have not felt from the City Council or City leadership in a long long time.

As Gen thanked all the stakeholders and the shopkeepers, the city staff and the candidates old and new, the council and chamber staff, the sponsors and the people who all live and love West Hollywood it was clear West Hollywood was united on the road to recovery.

Morrill spoke. “These businesses we represent are HEROES. They are CHAMPIONS. And it is only fitting that their Chamber of Commerce Champions Them.

And she reiterated what Nick Remedio said in his introduction. ” I’m so happy that Nick mentioned our wonderful residents. It has been a dream of our chamber for many decades to have a connection and relationship with our community that aligns and that we agree on.”

Coach Morrill, – who held on to the reigns when many others let go. She never gave up fighting against the head winds, and she Championed us all. Residents, City Staff, Small Business Owners, All the candidates, All the business leaders and All the Stakeholders.

The State of our City is strong. It’s strong because of leaders like Genevieve Morrill.

But through the glamour of the ball, is the reality of today’s business climate. West Hollywood has the highest tax rate of any city in California, the highest minimum wage in the nation, and the costs of doing business leave little room for community serving businesses. This week a number of long term businesses announced they are closing due to the new minimum wage ordinance that is set to take hold on July 1st. Gone are Subway on Santa Monica Blvd, and Blue Mercury on Sunset. Chop Stop is also rumored to be closing. Holloway Cleaners has stated publicly that he is considering a move to Fairfax outside of West Hollywood.

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To be continued
To be continued
1 month ago

It’s been an interesting journey to say the least.

Wehoan
Wehoan
1 month ago

Thank you Genevieve for your hard work during very challenging times.

Joan
Joan
1 month ago

Wouldn’t it be great if the CEO of the Chamber of Weho actually lived in West Hollywood instead of living 15 miles away and not have to suffer the effects of her influence.

Sheila
Sheila
1 month ago

Thank you Larry for writing this. I enjoyed looking at the Chamber through a new set of eyes.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

good grief

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