JORDAN COCKERAM | Making West Hollywood a business friendly city again

Supporting our business community is imperative to the prosperity of our city. After all, our business’ success is our city’s success.

Historically, the relationship between the city and our business community has been strong. But recently, our city council has made some decisions that have fractured that relationship.

Repairing that relationship and getting West Hollywood back on track is of the utmost importance to me, for a multitude of reasons.

One, it’s just the right thing to do. Our city has become the beacon that it is thanks to the businesses who took a chance on what was once a scary, unincorporated part of LA County.

Two, I am not at all oblivious to the fact that West Hollywood gets to provide the amazing services that it does for our community thanks to the tax revenue that they collect from the businesses in the city.

That’s why I don’t understand why anyone, especially council members or candidates, who should know better, since they’re supposed to be very versed and informed on the city’s finances, are supporting ordinances that burden our business community.

It’s not fair to apply the same rules and regulations to companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars and have thousands of employees to mom-and-pop shops with a handful of employees who can barely afford to keep their doors open each month. The City of West Hollywood’s website says that’s 74.44% of businesses in West Hollywood have between 1-4 employees. 87.83% have less than ten1.

So this ordinance doesn’t just effect a large number of small businesses, it affects a HUGE number of small businesses. The ordinance that was passed by city council on November 15, 2021, is called the West Hollywood Minimum Wage Ordinance. This ordinance didn’t only raise the minimum wage, it also added other requirements that businesses had to implement, like vacation, sick leave, and paid time off for part-time employees. (as a side note – city council is supposed to represent the people who live in West Hollywood.

Right now, only 5% of employees in West Hollywood live in West Hollywood, and only 1% of those workers who also live in West Hollywood are part-time.2 This seems to be helping workers from outside of our community a lot more than it helps workers who live here). I understand the thought and good nature behind it, but we can’t apply the same blanket policies across every single business in the city. What works for a company with 500 employees doesn’t work for a company with five.

I’ve spoken with business owners around the city to hear their stories and their thoughts. One of the people I spoke with, whom I will call “Taylor” in this article, is a real estate agent. For anyone who knows me personally, you may have a guess as to why I chose the name Taylor for her pseudonym. For those of you that haven’t gotten to meet me yet, you’ll find out within two minutes of talking to me that I’m a borderline-obsessive Taylor Swift fan.

Taylor has a small office in West Hollywood with two part-time assistants. She actually got her assistants from the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Employment Program! For anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with the program, the LA LGBT Center has a program that helps LGBTQ+ youth who are struggling to find work, need work experience, or want to be connected with a mentor, do exactly that.

It’s a great program, and I will include the information on how you can get involved at the bottom of the article. Taylor didn’t even really need one assistant, but she’s a supporter of the program, and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she wanted to pay it forward and give an opportunity to someone who could benefit from it.

Originally she just had one assistant, but she decided to get a second because she became aware of another person in the program who needed the experience, and a source of income. Her assistants have flexible hours, which allows them the freedom and ability to pursue full-time opportunities in the career fields that they want to work in.

Now, with the passing of the West Hollywood Minimum Wage Ordinance, Taylor is required to pay them an increased hourly wage, and has to provide them with paid vacation, paid sick leave, and paid time off. Taylor doesn’t want to have to lay off either employee.

She hired them BECAUSE she wanted to give them an opportunity when they needed it most. But this puts a huge burden on her business. We see the ads on the carts at the grocery stores, the flyers in our mailboxes, and the posts on our instagram timelines — we know real estate is a competitive field in our city. Taylor was trying to do a good thing by helping her two assistants, and now she faces the difficult decision, and very real possibility, of either having to let one or both of her assistants go, shut down her business, or move it across the street to Los Angeles.

I want it to be very clear, in no uncertain terms, that I absolutely support increasing the minimum wage and making sure employees have benefits. What I don’t support is the city passing blanket ordinances that treat every West Hollywood business the same, when they are not at all.

If we make it harder to start a business in West Hollywood, we aren’t stopping large corporations from opening up shops here, we’re stopping small, black-owned, women-owned, AAPIowned, LGBTQ+ owned, Russian-owned, etc businesses from coming here, since the barriers to entry are so high. We’ll telling them that it’s too difficult to open a business here, and that they should do it across the street instead. We want those small business owners to come to West Hollywood.

There need to be exclusions for small businesses like Taylor’s in the ordinances we as a city pass. I want, and I expect, large businesses that have the means to provide higher wages and benefits to their employees to do just that. But I don’t want the neighborhood mom-and-pop shops, the local ethnic shops, the ones that make West Hollywood the incredible city that it is, the city that I fell in love with almost a decade ago when I moved here, to crumble and disappear in the name of council’s inter-fighting over politics and ideologies.

We have two choices as a city.

We can either push our neighboring cities to join us in raising the minimum wage and additional benefits so that the scales aren’t tipped against us, or we have to make amendments to the West Hollywood Minimum Wage Ordinance that are fair to our business owners, that provide our workers in West Hollywood the benefits they deserve, and continue to make West Hollywood the best place to own and operate a business.

As your city council member, I’m going to fight for both, and get our businesses and employees what they deserve As always, I want and I welcome your feedback on my thoughts and plans for West Hollywood.

I’m not pretending to be the savior with all of the answers and solutions to the issues our city faces. My ideas come from talking to wonderful people like you. I hope you reach out to me either by phone or email with your thoughts, concerns, and your own ideas!

My number is (323) 250-0992 and my email is JC@JordanForWeHo.com.

You can also find more information at my website, JordanForWeHo.com. If you like my plan and what I think the city should do moving forward to support our businesses, I would very much love and appreciate your vote on November 8th. I would also love and appreciate if you could tell 10 other people about my campaign and to support me in the upcoming election.

I have another idea for helping new businesses open up in West Hollywood (that I got from talking to two West Hollywood residents and business owners, and whom I give all the credit to!) that I’m so excited to share with you, that will come in another OpEd very soon.

If you can, please also consider checking out the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Employment Program if you’re looking for employees, or want to mentor some of our city’s incredible LGBTQ+ youth. The link for the program is lalgbtcenter.org/social-service-and-housing/youth/ employment Thank you so much for reading my article.

The reason I’m running for city council is because I want to represent passionate and caring people like you. You’re what makes West Hollywood great, and I love you all!

Sources

1. https://www.weho.org/business/business-resources/interactive-data-tools/community-profile#:~:text=Labor%20Force,an%20unemployment%20rate%20of%208.8%25.

2. https://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/CA/West-Hollywood-Demographics.html AND https://datausa.io/profile/geo/west-hollywood-ca/#economy

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About Jordan Cockeram
Jordan Cockeram is a candidate for West Hollywood City Council.

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Transparency is vital for WeHo
Transparency is vital for WeHo
1 month ago

What did Mr Jordan Cockeram go to court for back in March 2021? Was he charged?

trackback

[…] for sticking around for Part 2 of how I want West Hollywood to be a business friendly city again! I’ve talked about what I would like to do as a city council member to support existing […]

Meredith
Meredith
1 month ago

Can he say, write or post anything without the mention of LGBTQ, monkeypox or prep? Does he even live in the city or subscribe to any government assistance program?

Jordan Cockeram
1 month ago
Reply to  Meredith

Hi Meredith,

I certainly will coming up. I also hosted and posted about a pop-up Monkeypox and Covid Bivalent vaccine clinic last Saturday, October 1st, and I would love to host more! If you have any ideas or something specific you’d like to see happen, reach out to me please! I would love to chat with you!

Jordan
(323) 250-0992
JC@JordanForWeHo.com

Catherine emmers
Catherine emmers
1 month ago

What about education, the arts, public safety or veterans?????? Not everything revolves around your personal agenda.

Revive Weho's Main Street
Revive Weho's Main Street
1 month ago

In a healthy environment West Hollywood would have varying segments of Santa Monica Blvd. dedicated to businesses normally making up the Main Street of any city. It would also include respect for the original structures and possibly adaptive reuse of same. Faring indicated their interest in this direction several years ago before taking on Robertson Lane but the boulevard still appears neglected, hoarded by property owners with their eye on a large cash out and driving small businesses away with excessive rents. These are not candidates for a healthy municipal environment.

Outraged
Outraged
1 month ago

The City of West Hollywood has a PATHETIC record on supporting the very small, minority-owned business. I had a small business in the City for years, but when the office building I rented burned down, and I asked for some kind of help from the City as a disaster recovery assistance to find new space or to rebuild, I was ignored completely, without even the dignity of an answer. The fire was also widely believed to be an “inside job” of arson to collect insurance money for the derelict building owned by the late West Hollywood darling Roy Edelman, who… Read more »

Jordan Cockeram
1 month ago
Reply to  Outraged

Hi Outraged,

I’m sorry to hear that, that’s awful. I promise to do my part as city council member to make sure that our businesses are taken care of and protected. I hope I can count on your support, and that you tell others to do the same! If you need anything, have any questions, or want to share anything with me, please reach out!

Jordan
(323) 250-0992
JC@JordanForWeHo.com

Get real
Get real
1 month ago

You are suffering from narcissistic delusions of grandeur. Wake up and get a job.

Transparency in Government
Transparency in Government
1 month ago
Reply to  Get real

Get Real. Do you even know the definitions of narcissistic and grandeur? And, I assume you do because they seemed to “fly off you keyboard fingers” fairly well, I would like you to point out specific examples of Jordan Cockeram being a narcissist and specific examples of him having “delusions of grandeur.” Please provide. The voters in West Hollywood deserve to know whatever inside information you have so that they can be fully informed voters come election time.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago

Yes, and voters also deserve candidates who have shown that they engage with constituents, whether they agree on issues, or not. On the current council, only Lauren Meister makes herself accessible to all and engages with resident constituents. I’d like more like her.

Transparency in Government
Transparency in Government
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Hi, Alan. I’ve seen Jordan’s website and he has his number on there for anyone to contact him. He has also had at least 4 events where all were invited and he even arranged for a pharmacy to provide free monkeypox vaccination to anyone who wanted to be vaccinated. But, most importantly, I agree with you about engaging with constituents. Jordan is out every day meeting with people to find out what residents want, need, and what they envision for the future of WeHo. Specifically speaking of Lauren Meister, she invited Jordan to one of her events and gave recognition… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago

Perhaps you misread my comment. I was complimenting Jordan for engaging with people. We can’t let our municipal elections be conducted and decided by glossy mailers full of platitudes and conclusory statements.

Alexander
Alexander
1 month ago
Reply to  Get real

He googles what other cities are doing and sticks to what he know. It’s always how disfranchised white gay men are and where they can we get vaccinated. That’s about all he knows. WeHo needs officials who know policy and municipal government, NOT activists who want to push a specific agenda.

Not well
Not well
1 month ago

Besides an production assistant job back in 2017, what are his business credentials?

Jordan Cockeram
1 month ago
Reply to  Not well

Hi Not well,

I’m horrible at updating my LinkedIn and other websites…I majored in Finance in college, I was selected to be part of a team of 10 undergraduate students who managed a fund of $35m (that has now grown to $55m), and now I am currently the Finance Director for a temporary staffing agency. Thanks for asking! If you have any other questions, please reach out 🙂

Jordan
(323) 250-0992
JC@JordanForWeHo.com

Wally
Wally
1 month ago

Have you ever worked on anything at all in the in the city, officially? Like the business commission?

Jordan Cockeram
1 month ago
Reply to  Wally

I worked for an investment bank in college that helped governments raise funds by issuing bonds, and I’ve worked as a consultant for a company that helps governments manage their budgets, but I haven’t done anything with the City of West Hollywood specifically.

Widgets
Widgets
1 month ago

Finance Director for a temporary staffing agency? This hardly demonstrates strategic planning and longevity. It’s like putting the correct widgets in place. How does that give you experience with far reaching municipal issues?

Thomas Robec
Thomas Robec
1 month ago
Reply to  Widgets

Seems like a made a job to me. Not enough experience.

:dpb
:dpb
1 month ago

Thank you for tackling this very touchy subject; I haven’t been a supporter of yours, but I’m listening now. I believe the current city council with its negation of research and impact studies have voted with their bleeding hearts and political opportunism, not there brains and fiscal responsibility in order to be woke and current on the minimum wage. You make justifiable points and many that I have made myself. That you are pointing out employment candidates from the LGBT employment Center is well thought out and under utilized pool of workers. I’m listening now. I’m grateful for the substance… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by :dpb
Jordan Cockeram
1 month ago
Reply to  :dpb

Hi :dpb,

Thank you so much! I’d love to chat with you further about the other issues we’re facing. If you’d like, give me a call/text at (323) 250-0992, or send me an email at JC@JordanForWeHo.com!

Jordan

C.R.
C.R.
1 month ago

You will get selective sympathy from the conservatives here for your attack on the minimum wage, but if you can’t afford the pay rates, the business model you want to pursue is impractical for 2022 and beyond. If the demand is great enough for your business idea, then it will sustain proper pay for employees. The bigger issue here is not paying workers a living wage, it’s the sky high cost of having a location in West Hollywood and dealing with landlords asking huge prices. Do you have a desire to cut those costs down somehow too? I didn’t see… Read more »

Mike G
Mike G
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

Totally agree, It would be interesting to see an analysis to find out why so many businesses have closed their doors. I suspect it has more to do with the cost of rent than with the rise in the minimum wage. The only thing conservatives are adept at is blaming the victims.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike G

Will you elaborate on how conservatives blame victims?

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

What is a living wage? Please be specific.

Transparency in Government
Transparency in Government
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

Dear C.R.: Inflation is also up. So when you have a plan to have small business owners deal with all of their inflated expenses PLUS take care of their hard working employees–you should run for office. AND, for the record, raising minimum wage at the same time as inflation is at an all time high, does not make the new minimum wage a livable wage. An employee makes a couple more bucks an hour and pays $500.00 more in rent/housing, cost of food, fuel, etc. Most importantly what you didn’t read, or apparently skimmed over, in Jordan’s op-ed, is that… Read more »

C.R.
C.R.
1 month ago

If I had the magical solution that has the satisfactory answer for all, I WOULD be running for office, that’s the point here, I’m not yet seeing any candidate who actually does, they just want the position. And that’s why I pointed out that this particular proposal falls short in addressing what I see as the larger issue here and more deserving of targeting, which is the cost of doing business with landlords who are charging vast sums to line already wealthy pockets. And yes, I did read everything there, and I in fact support the blanket minimum wage raise… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by C.R.
voting
voting
1 month ago

Thanks for the facts on this. I know that I am paying more for food and basic necessities in West Hollywood since this rogue hike in the minimum wage and other entitlements.

The minimum wage in West Hollywood should match the rest of Los Angeles and California. There’s no justification for a higher rate.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

I’m glad you wrote this, and am impressed that you wrote it well. I don’t accept the premise of a required minimum wage, however. An employer should not have to pay more than a job is worth to him/her. Of course, competition with other employers who might pay more would incentivize that employer to offer a higher wage, but competition is what moves the market. Low paying jobs are for low skilled workers, which usually means young people. As that worker gains experience they can move on to higher paying jobs with more responsibility, and they can go on to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Gimmeabreak
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