CARLETON CRONIN | Job seeker’s guide to City Council

WANTED: Candidates for West Hollywood City Council
JOB DESCRIPTION: Serve the community’s and it residents’ interests and needs.
PAY: Small honorarium plus certain expenses for a 24/7 work week.
APPLY at West Hollywood City Hall

At last count 12 intrepid applicants had registered their intentions to mount a campaign for a seat on our City Council.

Historically, an average lot for the job. And so, the season of rhetoric and sometimes flamboyant ideas and promises is in full swing. Two major, well-known candidates, Lauren Meister and Steve Martin have already had their kickoff events.

Others are gearing up for their initial moves. Actually, I love this part of the run-up to election day. This is the colorful time, a time of high expectations and a singling out — not just of the candidates, but of the more prominent wants and needs of the community. Think about it: You may have been grousing about issues and Council members for the past two years. Now is the time in which you can do something about it.

An astute politician from my part of the country, Tip O’Neil, once remarked that “money is the mother’s milk of politics”. And, so it is – but likewise the citizens voices, the voters who must keep the chorus loud and clear: WE WANT OUR MONEY’S WORTH!

For the candidates: As we swing. into gear this month, I have a few suggestions for you garnered from years of expectations ..

Don’t jabber about your past accomplishments. We can read your resume.

Mention the present but talk more about the future.

Be yourself. Find your own “voice”. Don’t try to be “different”.

Get out onto the streets, into public spaces and other places where people gather – be seen and heard at your favorite pub or coffee shop

Cover all parts of the city – there are voters everywhere, however, though the job title is supposed to be “at large”, you may find a special fondness for one area of the city.

Help people to register to vote, get to the polls

Make you political affiliations known- whatever they may be. We need diverse voices on the Council.

If you have an associate who is a good writer, let that person put your ideas into words for you to recite. Stay on scrippt.

Thicken your skin to avoid irritation from opponents’ personal comments – unless, of course, they go beyond the boundaries of taste and he rules of the contest.

Develop a style of response to questions from resident or the press. Nothing worse than a hum and haw candidate.

KNOW the issues. Don’t be a Herschel Walker and invent “fact” .. If you are unfamiliar with an issue, say so and get back later with a good reply.

If you have a favorite theme or slogan or issue and it has caught on, stay with it, keep it fresh

If you’re having a bad day, hide out until things brighten up. Don’t risk it. Let someone else take the calls.

Learn to nibble and sip food and drink offerings at events. Keep sharp not full of goodies

Learn to catch naps whenever and wherever you·can.,

Last-what allowed me to have so much fun with the ladies in my youth was that I learned to stop talking.and began listening.

For the successful candidates – Congratulations, certainly, but now comes the hard part: Putting your plans and ideas into action.

Be sure to thank your backers, donors and friends. Leave no name un-thanked. You won them over and now they expect the rewards of seeing your plans take shape

As you got to know the residents, get to know well city employees, their jobs and, eventually, their comments, views of every day life at City Hall. You can never have too many friends there.

Don’t overlook city workers at satellite spaces.

Keep in touch with the people who put you there. Set up a regular email newsletter – let them know what you are doing – or trying to do. Residents may want to help.

Get out on the street once in a while at a coffee shop or a pub. This is not a cloistered job.

Be available.

Begin to work with your colleagues on the Council in such a manner that you keep channels open with all.

Work hard at negotiating : a political art form.

If you have political ambitions beyond this job and they cannot wait – resign and go after the brass ring elsewhere but do not neglect your sworn duties for West Hollywood while on the Council.

Keep it civil. Personal pissing contests at Council meetings serve no purpose.

Conversely, we residents want to see and hear actual debates of proposed measures.

Stay focused on local issues and don’t waste precious time on far away social issues we cannot alter – although a nod of concern is always a good gesture.

These are but a few pieces of advice from this old guy and this should let you know that politics is everything even as one ages.

Hoping for a great show of fervor, intriguing ideas and true intent for our special city from the candidates and a far better poll turnout than usual in November.

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About Carleton Cronin
Carleton Cronin and his wife, Toby Ann, have lived in West Hollywood since 1974. They have raised four sons here, and Cronin has long been an astute observer of civic life. Carleton publishes the blog

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1 year ago

Thank you, Carl……
keep writing , you’re the best….
i agree 100 %…

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
1 year ago

Great advice!

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 year ago

Mr. Cronin speaks for me once again. We could solve this cities woes by electing him to city council. Instead, we get his sage insights and thoughtful wisdom through his eloquence and insightful commentary. A true community treasure.

Linda Cauthen
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Back in the early days of WeHo, we had one City Council seat reserved for senior members of our community, like Helen Albert and Sal Guareillo but when the latter died he was replaced by the barely-legal Lindsay Horvath. Maybe it’s time we had one member who is old enough to remember the values our city was built on. Unfortunately, anyone who has actually lived here for 40 years is probably too wise to jump into a swamp full of alligators.

1 year ago

Thank you for such practical advice that can be used in all venues of life. Bravo.

Astute Comments
Astute Comments
1 year ago

Exactly my sentiment. Thank you Carl for having been an astute observer and participant in the real world.

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