It's hard to believe that 2016 is coming to a close and I am now eight months into my mayoral term. It's been an exciting time!
In November, our very talented city staff and I worked together to host a fabulous 90th Anniversary Celebration of Route 66. There was live music, classic cars, a chili tasting provided by Barney's Beanery, soda pop and lots of fun memorabilia! We also recognized long-time resident James Litz for his role in the designation of historic Route 66 on Santa Monica Boulevard in WeHo. James worked with late City Councilmember Sal Guarriello and community member Richard Settle (yes, you've seen him taking pictures at Council meetings for many, many years!) to have the street officially designated and signs set up throughout the city. By the way, check out the cool Pride version of the Route 66 sign that Richard Settle designed back in the day...
For World AIDS Day (December 1), I worked with AIDS activist and ACT UP member David Reid to expand AIDSWatch 2016 viewing opportunities. You may have noticed that the broadcast -- the scrolling of names of people who lost their lives to AIDS -- was projected for 24 hours on the northerly (outside) wall of the West Hollywood Library in West Hollywood Park. It was incredibly moving, and I thank David and city staff for all their hard work to make it happen.
In December, I was also lucky enough to be invited by the Depart Foundation to meet Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, Jane Fonda, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Bruce Kapson as they gathered in West Hollywood to participate in a panel about the Dakota Access Pipeline. The moderated conversation took place against the backdrop of the Depart Foundation’s exhibition, "Rediscovering Genius: The Works of Edward S. Curtis," curated by Bruce Kapson. At the December 5th Council meeting, I had brought forward a resolution to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It was truly thrilling to be able to give the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman a copy of the resolution we passed. If you want to know what you can do to #StandWithStandingRock, here are some links with more information about how to take action:
There's never a shortage of stimulating events in the City of West Hollywood! This quarter, we celebrated the West Hollywood Library's "5th Birthday Bash" with the Friends of the Library. WeHo Arts launched "There's Something Happening Here: Sunset Strip 1966." And the Historic Preservation Commission held their annual event at the world-renowned Schindler House on King's Road.
Since my last update, I've worked on a number of initiatives -- these were adopted by Council:
Ethics and Campaign Reform: Directed the City Attorney to draft an ordinance prohibiting campaign consultants, including individuals or entities who participate in campaign management or in the development of campaign strategy, from serving as lobbyists.
WeHo Zoning and State Law: Directed the City Attorney to prioritize working with the Community Development Department to amend the City's Zoning Code to bring it into compliance with state affordable housing law effective January 1, 2017, and to review the City's density bonus concessions and make recommendations of possible alternatives.
WeHo Gives Back Campaign: Directed the Social Services Division to work with the Parking Services Division to ensure that 10% of the parking meter revenue collected during the week of December 26-31, 2016 is used to fund social services agencies serving the West Hollywood homeless community.
Helping Our Homeless: Brought forward a resolution with my colleague, Mayor Pro Tem Heilman, urging the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to approve a County sales tax measure to appear on the March 2017 ballot to fund homeless services.
Embracing and Promoting Our Historic Resources: Directed the Facilities & Field Services Division to evaluate the installation of the Route 66 logo at locations along Santa Monica Boulevard using a pavement stencil.
Several of the items I brought forward this year were planning-related. While my colleagues and I agree on issues such as equality, social justice and providing social services to those in need, we often do not see eye to eye on planning and development issues. For example, I voted "no" on the Specific Plan for the Center of Early Education because it meant losing a number of rent-stabilized housing units as well as several neighborhood-serving businesses. I voted "no" on granting the Rosewood easement for the 8899 Beverly Project because I believe that easement was originally "given" to the county as a public benefit to be enjoyed by the neighborhood. When the 1216 N. Flores appeal came before us, I voted to support the appeal -- because the project being proposed was not compatible with the neighborhood, which is a historic district. So, through my initiatives, I am trying to encourage planning and zoning policies that are more neighborhood-friendly and respectful of the City's history. I've also been focused on finding ways to protect our neighborhood-serving businesses. If you'd like to discuss these initiatives or talk about what else we can be doing to accomplish these goals, please feel free to contact me.
What's "news" in the City...
The Kicks of Route 66: In conjunction with the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Route 66, WeHo Arts, in partnership with the Department of Public Works, commissioned a unique art on construction fence mural from the artist team YoMeryl.
Winter Sounds 2016-17: The Winter Sounds series will include performances through March 2017.
City to Begin Work in January 2017 on Final Phase of Improvements at West Hollywood Park: The City of West Hollywood will begin construction work in January 2017 on a new recreation facility and park improvements to implement Phase II of the West Hollywood Park Master Plan. Groundbreaking is scheduled for January 3.
For Minutes on past City Council meetings, visit the City's web page, Document Central.
Don't forget to check the City Calendar for upcoming City meetings and events.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!
Spike and I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy new year!