Mayor Lindsey Horvath nailed it in her response to a proposal by fellow Council members John D’Amico and Lauren Meister that will bar the town from spending cash or different sources to co-sponsor occasions with organizations that endorse candidates for election to the West Hollywood Metropolis Council.
“Now we have partnered with Hollywood NOW, EQCA (Equality California), Victory Fund, CES (Coalition for Financial Survival), Sierra Membership, and different organizations through the years which have supplied providers to our group and hosted occasions – even supposing they endorsed Council candidates together with every of the sitting Council members,” Horvath stated.
She was providing these up as examples of why she opposed the D’Amico/Meister proposal. However they really are examples of why the Metropolis Council ought to go the “Limitations on Metropolis Co-Sponsorships with Organizations That Endorse Candidates in Metropolis Council Elections” that’s on the Council’s Monday assembly agenda.
The difficulty is an moral one, and an optical one (and in addition a bit smelly.) Ethics and optics are one thing this Metropolis Council must work on if it needs individuals to name West Hollywood a “progressive” metropolis.
The organizations providing the endorsements and getting assist in cash and providers from the town, aren’t targeted on any native points. As WEHOville has famous earlier than, this metropolis, and a few of its elected officers, focus far an excessive amount of on points that, whereas essential, are exterior the purview of our native authorities.
Why, you would possibly ask, are a few of our Council members spending their official time (and the town’s cash) on these points and the establishments linked with them? One principle is that doing so gives a way of self-gratification (which, as people, all of us want and wish). However specializing in state and nationwide points is also a technique to burnish one’s repute if one has greater political aspirations. Pondering native would possibly get you on the Metropolis Council. However considering nationwide (and worldwide) would possibly someday get you within the California Meeting or the U.S. Congress.
That’s to not say that the Metropolis Council shouldn’t proceed to go these frequent resolutions condemning unhealthy conduct in different states and nations (if solely it additionally had the heart to go comparable resolutions on Los Angeles County points that have an effect on our metropolis, just like the behaviour of Sheriff Alex Villanueva!) And it’s nice to reside in a metropolis that declares its assist for LGBT rights and girls’s rights, that are threatened in lots of different locations.
However placing the town’s cash and/or metropolis employees time into specific non-profit organizations that endorse specific Metropolis Council candidates is so clearly flawed. The optics are simply as unhealthy as when a Metropolis Council member casts the deciding vote for a controversial growth mission after having racked in quite a lot of money from the developer (and, in fact, his household, associates, attorneys and lobbyists) for that Council member’s election.
One of many organizations that Horvath talked about, the Coalition for Financial Survival, truly might do issues which are straight helpful to the residents of West Hollywood. That’s why there may be an item on the Council agenda to grant that group $60,000 to assist these fighting housing points. (Nonetheless, it’s price noting that the town additionally has contracts with different non-profits already doing such issues.) However CES’s choice to endorse candidates within the Nov. three election (incumbent Councilmember John Heilman and challenger John Erickson), makes funding it look very very similar to a “pay for play” scheme. John Heilman successfully acknowledged that by pulling his title as a sponsor of the merchandise when different Council members questioned it. Given the beforehand reported propensity of a few of our Council members to rake in contributions to their favourite charities from metropolis distributors that assist fund their campaigns, we don’t want extra pay to play.
The opposite organizations that Horvath mentions — the LGBT activist teams Equality California and the Victory Fund, and the Sierra Membership environmental group — present no providers to West Hollywood. (Relating to LGBT rights, West Hollywood has obtained that coated.) And neither does Hollywood NOW, which just lately endorsed John Erickson (who simply stepped down as its president) for a seat on the Metropolis Council.
For the reason that election to Metropolis Council of Lindsey Horvath, a founding father of Hollywood NOW, the town has underwritten the prices of quite a few occasions by that group. It price the town $7,651 in providers and waived charges to host the studying final 12 months of the Mueller Report within the Metropolis Council Chambers, a Hollywood NOW occasion that includes John Erickson that attracted solely a bit of greater than a dozen individuals at any level. After which there’s the associated fee to the town, which WEHOville doesn’t but know, of the annual manufacturing of the Vagina Monologues, whose income of $14 a ticket goes on to Hollywood NOW.
If our Metropolis Council members and candidates for Metropolis Council (and Hollywood NOW) actually wish to act to assist the rights of girls, they may extra productively spend their time and the town’s cash to assist the ladies stated to be trapped in 10 Asian therapeutic massage parlors in West Hollywood. These are locations, some nonetheless in operation throughout this pandemic, the place undocumented ladies are pressured to promote themselves to outlive. Relating to monologues, their vaginas most likely have very unhappy tales to inform.
So, West Hollywood residents who haven’t but forged their votes within the Nov. three election ought to watch how Metropolis Council members vote on objects 5A and 5B on Monday’s agenda. The assembly begins at 5:30 p.m. and usually drags on and on. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to watch it from dwelling on the town’s WeHOTV platform at www.weho.org/wehotv/. Broadcasts of the assembly can discovered on Spectrum Cable Tv’s Channel 10 inside West Hollywood’s borders. Digital streaming platform viewers can simply discover programming by looking for “WeHoTV” inside the search capabilities of the next providers. Android TV, Apple TV, Fireplace TV, Roku and YouTube.