Breach of faith on candidate debate questions forces committee members to sign new confidentiality agreements

The West Hollywood City Council Candidate forum is scheduled for Tuesday, August 23rd.

WeHo for the People, the candidate forum organized by the Chamber of Commerce and 11 Neighborhood Watch Groups, appears to have a snitch on the team.

The questions for the debate had been a topic of discussion at this past City Council meeting. Council members Lindsey Horvath and Council member John D’Amico commented that they had discussed reviewing the question prior to the debate.

Sponsored in partnership between the League of Women’s Voters and the Chamber of Commerce, and hosted by Robert Kovacik of NBC News, the debate has a long tradition of being televised on WeHo TV. WeHo TV is hosted on Spectrum channel 10 and would normally replay the debate throughout the election season. This year the City Council voted to not let the debate air on WeHo TV.

This year’s WeHo for the People debate committee enlisted all 11 Neighborhood Watch Groups and other West Hollywood residents to partner in the forum. Questions were bandied around in a chain email between the committee members.

One of the committee members, Alan Strasburg, interviewed a number of the candidates. One of those candidates, Jordan Cockeram, accepted a dinner invite at Strasburg’s home. Shortly after Strasburg relayed the feedback on his three interviews to the chain email, candidate Cockeram received a text message from Council member John Erickson.

Erickson asked Cockeram ‘if he enjoyed dinner, wink wink.’

Council member Erickson was quick to let Cockeram know that he ‘knew what was going on’, and wink wink, insinuated a tryst between the two.

Erickson’s meddling showed that the committee confidentiality had been breached. A quick review of the committee members zeroed in on Tod Hallman. Hallman is the direct appointee of Council member John Erickson to the Public Safety Commission and serves on the WeHo for the People committee as part of the Eastside Neighborhood Watch.

After the breach of confidentiality and Council member John Erickson’s intimidation of candidate Cockeram, and insinuation of inappropriate behavior on the part of Strasburg, Strasburg submitted his resignation letter to the committee. Kaplan has not accepted Strassburg’s resignation and asked Alan to think it over.

Thursday morning, new confidentiality letters were circulated to all members of the committee. I personally spoke with 5 members of the committee who were livid at the leak and the breach of public trust.

I reached out to Tod Hallman on Wednesday night-.

Larry to Tod: “Did u leak the questions to the debate along with the other information about Alan’s dinner with Jordan?”

Tod, the next morning at 10:27: “Larry, why are you texting me at 11:30 pm. I don’t even know who Jordan is and I’m way to busy producing an event and don’t know why your asking me this?”

Larry to Tod: “He is a candidate for city council. The one you’re reviewing the questions on- (confidentiality letters were sent approximately one hour prior) “

Todd: “I’m heads deep into my event and have put zero energy into the forum and please don’t send me emails like this again I’m way too busy.”

Larry: “But you’re not too busy to tell John Erickson that Jordan had dinner at Alan’s house – from his message to the committee – that you don’t even know about ? then why are you serving on the question committee?”

Tod: “I don’t know what your referring to but I haven’t talked to John in weeks. Again I’m way too busy and when Gen asked if our watch group would participate I said yes and that we would do an email blast but that’s the extent of my involvement, haven’t even looked at those emails, thats it, I’m done with this chat.”

Hallman’s response was disingenuous. Just a few days earlier he was with Council member Erickson at the ribbon cutting of West Hollywood Park. In addition, one committee member described the chain of emails as a very long chain that was exhausting. The emails had all the questions being considered for the debate and Hallman was included in the back and forth.

Giving Tod the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he ‘didn’t open any of emails,’ and had not spoken to Erickson in weeks, does not negate that confidentiality was breached by one of its members. Candidates’ questions may be in some candidates’ hands and not others. In this case the Erickson and Hallman camps are behind Oliver and Byers.

The focus by the City Council and some of its members on obtaining the questions prior to the debate is unprecedented. In order to ensure a fair and level process, all questions being considered prior to the breach of faith and confidentiality agreement should be released to the public.

The League of Women’s Voters, Chamber of Commerce, Neighborhood Groups, and host Robert Kovacik still have the final say about which questions will be asked.

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Robert
Robert
2 months ago

I would not vote for Cockeram. It’s apparent what his agenda is. He has no business running for public office

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
3 months ago

Confidentiality agreement???? REALLY? would that stand the rigor of a court case? I think NOT! No One Is above the law. Every political person and or employee of the City of West Hollywood must be above reproach! What are they hiding?

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
3 months ago

This should have been presented as a cartoon. Such drama!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

It could be entitled “WeHo Middle School”

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Perfect title! Exactly what I’m thinking when some of these people are speaking/reading from their cell phones.

A Higher Bar
A Higher Bar
3 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

West Hollywood needs to inspire availability of better quality candidates. There are for instance, a number of individuals fully competent to serve on Planning Commission decline to do do due to the juvenile behavior that is acceptable to the city and community. A focus on raising the bar is essential and eliminating many “fresh faced grass roots amateurs” from gaining a foothold.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
3 months ago
Reply to  A Higher Bar

Did you try to serve on the Planning Commission and get turned down or something?

A Higher Bar
A Higher Bar
3 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

It regards highly qualified, nationally recognized professionals in their respective fields of endeavor.

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
3 months ago
Reply to  A Higher Bar

High-Quality people do not want to be in the melee of silliness and pettiness.

A Higher Bar
A Higher Bar
3 months ago
Reply to  JR Birdsong

Exactly. That also applies to the silly comment of WeHo Mary.

Wesley Staples
2 months ago
Reply to  A Higher Bar

I’m thinking that my student, a person who has spent 30 years in the public eye, interned at the US Senate, graduated in political science with honors from Stanford University, loves and has lived in Weho for nearly 20 years, is open-minded and open-hearted…not to mention financially independently (hence not relying on big supporters), would have a running start in Weho. This person is running. He is a UNITER, brilliant, honest. His name rhymes with………. Ben Savage. What a breath of fresh air!

Last edited 2 months ago by Wesley Staples
:dpb
:dpb
3 months ago

Everyone involved should be disqualified to run for the council and should be reason to be removed from current office. These entitled children are gross and demeaning to the process of election. This kind of tit for tat and gossip and meddling is so stereotypical that its an embarrasses to know end.

A Higher Bar
A Higher Bar
3 months ago
Reply to  :dpb

This is true. Having people of this ilk involved puts everyone at risk and causes an exponential lack of trust. Currently members of the public must resort to watching nearly every commission in the evenings to see how and when issues go wildly off track then we need to rely on study sessions and wide public discourse to produce solutions to myriad problems produced under the low level of competence. In addition constantly reviewing the Demand Register to find where funds come and go. This is an untenable situation.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
3 months ago

As horrible a human being as John Erickson is, (on a scale of 1 to 10, i would rate him about a MINUS 10), he is like an elder distinguished statesman compared to Lindsey Horvath and John D’amico. Requiring to know debate questions in advance, as a condition of participating, is awfully close to Fascism to me. It’s a red line that should have the decent people of weho ready with (virtual) pitchforks.

Not Productive for Weho
Not Productive for Weho
3 months ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

Outside of West Hollywood and beyond the scope of Planned Parenthood & advocacy for women, it would likely be hard to envision John Erickson in any responsible position. He has artfully employed the mechanics of city procedure as deputy to Abbe Land to further his pet idiosyncratic POV. Beyond that he conducts himself as a maladjusted teenager.

Not productive for this community.

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
3 months ago

If you need the questions before the debate, you are not a qualified candidate. Plain and dimple. If you have no voting record in local elections, or have not been a Weho resident for 5 years, you, again, in my opinion are not a qualified candidate. If you have not served on a board or commission for at least 2 years…..again….NOT QUALIFIED. I also feel that if you are currently serving on a board or commission, you need to resign if you are running for council. Clean this mess up!

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
3 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

Agreed, Jimmy. It’s time for significant municipal reform. I only disagree on the issue of having served on a board or a commission as a prerequisite for serving on council. We need more voices like yours to stay engaged and hold the system accountable. Happy to share my thoughts over coffee sometime.

P S
P S
3 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

I agree that if you are currently serving on a City board or commission & running for an elected position–you should step down.

Our boards & commissions have been co-opted by outsiders & carpetbaggers, by people who have never even voted in West Hollywood before. These governing bodies are becoming a springboard for others’ political aspirations and are not adequately serving or representing the constituants they are suppose to serve. Yes, it is time to clean our current house.

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
3 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

Simple……not dimple……I was multi tasking. 🙂

Eastside Straight Girl
Eastside Straight Girl
3 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

I agree with Jimmy because we have people on this council that DID have commission experience yet they have been successful at tearing down our city in a very short time with their extreme woke ideology. I would like to see people actually have 5 years plus residency here in WeHo with input & recognition in the city.The part of the SHE are concerned that they will lose their power so there’s an incentive to get the questions in advance. BTW, trusting Horvath & D’Amico to screen the questions is so insane….I just can’t put it in words….talk about a… Read more »

Tom
Tom
3 months ago

It is appalling if unsurprising that some WeHo Council members would try to negotiate the questions of a candidate forum as if the were J-Lo selling a wedding interview to Vogue. Also unsurprising that Erickson would regard a dinner through his own “wink wink” moral beer goggles.

Gay Maga
Gay Maga
3 months ago

John Erickson is possibly one of the most dreadful people ever to be elected to any office. Watching him perform borders on something out of a freak show. What a disgusting human being. If Rlanned Parenthood wants to be taken seriously, I have no idea why they ever would have employed someone like John Erickson as a representative and spokesperson.

Irresponsible
Irresponsible
3 months ago

Much of the community continues to be compromised by the actions of Mr. Erickson and Mr. Hallman. Observing their behavior is a glimpse into how the intellectually smart mr. Erickson is compromised by his conflicted and immature sense of self, claiming to “rescue all of the unfortunates” within his scope. Why would a balanced person achieve a degree in Gender Studies then presume to be the “savior to women” by working for Planned Parenthood. As for Mr. Hallman, a quick study of his supercilious Me, Myself and I behavior does not hold high value in his world of alleged expertise.… Read more »

Susie Q
Susie Q
3 months ago

If candidates need to get the answers ahead of time, then they don’t deserve to be in public office. If committee members or city officials feel it’s necessary to feed answers to the candidates they are backing, then they shouldn’t be backing them, nor should they be holding the post that they currently have either!
This has become a mess! We constituents want and need the person that will help our little city the most…not the person who has cheated their way onto the City Council!
Maybe it’s a good thing that this charade isn’t being televised…

Irresponsible
Irresponsible
3 months ago
Reply to  Susie Q

Requiring questions ahead of the debate is tantamount to cheating on an exam.

Susie Q
Susie Q
3 months ago
Reply to  Irresponsible

Yes, absolutely!
I realized after I submitted my comment, that I used the phrase “getting the answers”
I meant “ getting the questions.“ However that really is the same thing. Having the questions ahead of time, gives that candidate an unfair advantage when answering.
So it definitely is like cheating on an exam.

JF1
JF1
3 months ago

Tod Hallman, if the allegations are true and you are the rat, you should be ashamed of yourself. I’d say Erickson should be ashamed of himself too but he has no shame. He’s one of the worst things that have happened to the city in its history. (along with Horvath and Shyne)

Last edited 3 months ago by JF1
West
West
3 months ago

Why won’t the City Attorney step up and reprimand Erickson for his repeated, willing violations of the Code of Conduct for City Officials? Complaints have been filed.. who do they answer to, exactly?

Last edited 3 months ago by West
Irresponsible
Irresponsible
3 months ago
Reply to  West

The City Attorney has often displayed less than admirable counseling.

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