As we say goodbye and good riddance to 2020 and I am hopeful that 2021 will be a better year. At least starting on January 20th!
What's been happening lately?
Since my last update, we had an election and two new council members were elected to West Hollywood City Council: Sepi Shyne and John Erickson. In addition, I was elected by my colleagues to the Mayor Pro Tempore position. My councilmember comments can be found here.
Is there more?
There's more! This last quarter I worked on a number of initiatives that were adopted by Council. Here are some highlights:
- Small Business Initiative Follow-up: directs the Long Range Planning Division, the Urban Design and Architecture Studio, and Economic Development staff to work with the Chamber on policies, programs, and partnerships that can be implemented more rapidly to specifically help attract small business to the City of West Hollywood.
- Creation of a Drag Laureate Program: directs staff to develop a Drag Laureate program to serve as an ambassador toWest Hollywood businesses, especially the businesses in the City’s historic LGBTdistrict, and promote arts and culture in West Hollywood. Thanks to former Councilmember John Duran for co-sponsoring.
- Business Assistance and Recovery Measures: directs staff to develop a COVID-19 relief program to administer up to $250,000 in small grants or emergency funds to brick-and-mortar small businesses with 50 full-time employees or less who have been forced to close or limit business operations asa result of Los Angeles County or State of California health orders and who have not received relief funds through other county, state, or federal sources. Also directs staff to sponsor a roundtable discussion with members of the business community to discuss the economic impacts from COVID-19 on brick-and-mortar small businesses and provide immediate policy recommendations to assist those businesses, and, authorizes the creation of a Business Recovery Task Force whose purpose is to develop an Economic Blueprint for West Hollywood, including bringing various stakeholders to the table to provide recommendations to the City Council on issues related to small business success, business recovery given the impacts from COVID-19, business diversification, and policy recommendations to support the business community. Thank you Councilmember Sepi Shyne for asking me to co-sponsor.
- Resolution in support of the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States, and urging Congress to move forward with passing a coronavirus relief bill to assist individuals and families in need, provide financial assistance to small businesses and organizations, and assist local governments. Thanks to Mayor Horvath for co-sponsoring.
Ethics and Campaign Reform:
- Limitations on City Co-sponsorships: directs staff to draft a sponsorship policy that prohibits the City from co-sponsoring events – including providing monetary funding and/or in-kind support – with organizations if the organization has formally or publicly endorsed or opposed a City Council candidate. Thank you Councilmember John D'Amico for co-sponsoring.
City Communications and Transparency:
- Crisis Communications Management Planning: directs the City Manager’s Department to draft a plan regarding crisis communications and management. Although the City has this Crisis Communications Plan in place, the community has called for more timely communication from the City in times of crisis, especially with regard to public safety incidents. Because some incidents are out of the City’s control – if they fall under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or other county, state, or federal department for example – the City has not taken the lead on communicating on these topics to the public. In these situations, the community still expects the City to have a response and provide information, even if the City is not the lead agency handling an incident. This item directs the City Manager’s Department to develop a plan regarding crisis communications and management that enhances the City’s strategy of providing accurate, prompt, and ongoing communication.
Enhancement of Public Facilities:
- Request to Rename the West Hollywood Library: submits a request to the City Clerk to rename the West Hollywood Library the “Ruth Bader Ginsburg West Hollywood Library” in honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and directs staff to follow the procedure as outlined in the City’s Naming Policy Guideline and determine if Los Angeles County has additional naming policy requirements.
- Impact of COVID-19 on Animal Companions: directs staff to complete the Better Cities for Pets™ free assessment and certification program. Thanks to Mayor Horvath for asking me to co-sponsor.
Last but not least...
As you all know, COVID-19 is still with us, and state and county "Stay Home" orders are still in place. We need to continue to follow LA County Public Health guidelines. According to public health officials, the best protection against COVID-19 continues to be:
- Wash your hands frequently,
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands,
- Self-isolate if you are sick,
- Practice physical distancing, and
- Wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household.
For more information and county updates, visit LA County's Public Health website: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
To access information on resources for residents, tenants and businesses in the City of West Hollywood, visit the City's website here.
Happy new year. Stay safe, stay healthy.