Time flies when you're the Mayor! As you may know, on April 18th I was sworn in as Mayor by West Hollywood Cheerleader, Nick Fox. A tasty reception followed, with the theme, "A Taste of Our Neighborhoods." Thanks to all of the neighborhood restaurants and shops that participated and a big thanks to all of you who attended.
Recently I attended the US Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis, where I got to meet hundreds of Mayors from around the country. I sat in on some interesting task force meetings and seminars, and even got to hear from His Holiness the Dalai Lama (oh, and Lady Gaga).
Here's what I've been working on since my last blog post...
Community Engagement: In order to engage community members in West Hollywood in a conversation about public safety, I am hosting a few informal meetings with West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station Captain Holly M. Perez at various coffee places around the city. We held the first "Sunrise Discussion" on May 26 at Starbucks on SMB at Westmount, where community members talked about issues such as substance abuse, mailbox thefts and emergency preparedness. The next one will be held on the East side of the city. Stay tuned!
Public Safety: Proposal to develop a Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program was adopted by Council. The item directs staff to install and maintain automatic external defibrillators (AED) in City facilities and perform outreach to hotels and businesses to encourage their participation in the program.
Supporting Our Small Businesses: After a robust discussion, my Small Business Initiative was adopted by Council. This is an initiative directing staff to research policies and planning tools that will help attract independent, small businesses to West Hollywood and keep our existing small business community intact by making operating small business in our City more economically feasible. The first step will be to form a Small Business Task Force. Thank you, Councilmember D'Amico, for co-sponsoring.
LA Pride Follow-up Community Forums: This item instructs staff to host two community forums to evaluate the 2016 LA Pride events and gather input from the community regarding future LA Pride activities in West Hollywood. The focus of the first forum will be to see what went right and what didn't. The focus of the second forum will be to discuss what the community thinks LA Pride should look like in the future.
Westside Animal Care Facility: My Council colleagues unanimously agreed to support advocacy efforts to develop a Westside animal care and training facility at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Campus (located in West LA), where stray animals can be cared for, made adoption-ready, as well as be trained to provide support for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other emotional and/or physical injuries. Spike couldn't be more pleased!
Civic Engagement: Introduced an item to purchase and install American flags on Santa Monica Boulevard to commemorate the Fourth of the July holiday and host pop-up voter registration drives at the site of the flags. Passed unanimously!
Sustainability: The goal of this item was to require green roofs and/or solar panels on new commercial projects. Although not passed exactly as proposed, Council did direct staff to investigate the use of green roofs and solar panels as part of the Sustainable Design Initiative. Thanks to Councilmember Horvath for co-sponsoring.
Cell Phone Etiquette 101: The goal of this item was to prohibit the use of electronic communication devices by elected and appointed officials during official public meetings. While the item was not adopted as proposed, the Council did direct the City Attorney to come back with language for the Code of Conduct for Elected and Appointed Officials regarding use of communications devices while in session.
Resident Appreciation Program: With this item, I proposed that parking meter hours of enforcement start at 10 am rather than 8 am, to give residents a small break between December 25 and New Years Day. If approved, this would have taken very little staff time as meters would just not have been enforced for those hours during that time period. However, several of my colleagues rejected the idea, and after some debate, the item was thrown back to staff to come up with a more formal Resident Appreciation Program. If you have any thoughts as to to how we can show our appreciation, please email me at [email protected]!
WeHo Stands With Orlando: On the Monday morning following Sunday's tragic mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, I called on a few friends to help organize a vigil for our community members. Thanks to Micky's WeHo and Scott Schmidt for stepping up to the plate to make it happen. It was an amazing event to be a part of, sad but definitely healing. With over 700 people attending, it was obvious that our community wanted... needed... to come together in WeHo.
And, at our last meeting, Council adopted West Hollywood Responds: Community Resources in Wake of the Orlando Shooting. This item directs staff to identify and disseminate resources for the community to respond and donate to those impacted by the shooting in Orlando. I shared with Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando, and received this response, "Thank you for the kindness you directed to the people of Orlando. We have been overwhelmed with the enormity of the caring we have received from all over the world. It has helped us to heal and recover."
For City News and Top Stories, check out the City's website.
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! Happy July 4th!