So long, 2019!

As we usher in a new year, I just want to thank you for your support in 2019. We got through an election as well as many important issues that impact our city and our neighborhoods.

What's been happening lately?

Dwelling Unit Defined: Council voted to define "dwelling unit" as a unit intended for long-term occupancy (at least one year) and to require that all initial leases for rental apartments be a minimum of one year in length.  I voted for this amendment to our code because I believe short-term and extended-stay rentals have had a negative impact on the availability and affordability of rental housing in West Hollywood.

Cannabis: Council majority voted to allow 'doggy bags' for consumption lounges. I voted no on this change because I think there needs to be more study and discussion about what is considered a "reasonable" amount of THC  for consumption onsite.

Santa Monica Boulevard Light Installation: the City of West Hollywood has installed permanent year-round decorative LED lanterns above Santa Monica Boulevard between N. Robertson Boulevard and Hancock Avenue. Inspired by Pride, the colorful globe lanterns provide a bright and festive atmosphere in the City’s LGBT 'Rainbow District'.

SMB LightsPhoto credit Jon Viscott @WehoCity

What else?

The City celebrated Transgender Awareness Month, Disabilities Awareness Month, Halloween Carnaval, Colibri Gala Concert & Awards Ceremony, and the City of West Hollywood's 35th birthday! We also held our annual Don't Drink & Drive press conference with the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station and distributed coasters with transit info to Weho restaurants, bars and clubs.

49102392172_807086ca11_c.jpgPhoto credit Jonathan Moore @WehoCity

Colibri Gala Concert & Awards CeremonyColibri Gala Concert & Awards Ceremony
Photo credit Oleg Volovik @WehoCity


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Summer into Fall update

Goodbye summer - hello fall! Time sure does fly by in busy Weho! 

What's been happening? Some highlights...

  • Meet Me at the Formosa – 2019 West Hollywood Historic Preservation Celebration
  • Lights for Liberty Rally
  • National Night Out
  • Ciclivia: Meet the Hollywoods
  • Pizza and Preparedness (Public Safety)
  • NextGen Strategy Meeting
  • Annual Congress of Commissions and Advisory Boards
  • 1st Census 'Complete Count' Committee meeting
  • 2nd Annual WeHo BiPride Community Festival
  • Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) 30th Anniversary Celebration

48481555726_b9309b30d6_w.jpgWest Basin Dir. Scott Houston, Councilmembers Heilman and Meister at NNO
Photo Credit Jon Viscott, Courtesy of City of West Hollywood 

What else?

In this third quarter, we adopted new green building requirements, amended parkway standards, approved the new location for the Historic Rocky & Bullwinkle sculpture, and adopted recommendations for Social Services contracts and supplemental funding for the provision of enhanced services related to intensification of social service needs, poverty reduction initiatives and related costs. We also discussed smoke-free, multi-family dwelling programs (stay tuned) and improvements to the West Hollywood Park north alley.

I also worked on a number of initiatives that were adopted by Council such as...

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Spring Into Summer

Here we are at the half year mark of 2019! We had a busy three months, and I'm ready to spring into summer!

What's been happening? Some highlights...Pride_Parade

  • One City, One Pride
  • LA Pride Festival, Dyke March and Pride Parade
  • Rainbow Key Awards
  • Russian Arts & Culture Festival
  • Women's Leadership Conference
  • City Council Reorg & Installation
  • Public Safety Awards
  • Senior Month and Senior Health Fair
  • West Hollywood Kids Fair
  • Annual Arbor Day Celebration
  • World Dog Day

What else?

In this second quarter, we extended temporary adult recreational retail licenses for the four existing cannabis shops, we made it illegal to ride any class of electric bicycle on sidewalks, and we approved a Budget for 2019/20. I also worked on a number of initiatives that were adopted by Council such as...

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Spring 2019 - First Quarter Down!

I can't believe it's springtime already -- 2019 is already flying by. I'm sure that's because when you're busy, time flies - and with City elections (thanks again for your support!), I was pretty busy! But with elections now behind us, it's back to business as usual.

Like what?

  • 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count
  • Ring Video Doorbell Rebate Program for Eastside Neighborhood Watch Areas (A WeHo Smart City Pilot)
  • Senior Valentine's Day Dance
  • Community Study Gallery Walk
  • Pizza With Public Safety
  • Metro Rail Crenshaw Northern Extension Community Meeting
  • 24th Annual Women In Leadership Awards & Reception
  • Play Ball
  • She Angels Premier

There's more!

In this first quarter, I worked on a number of initiatives that were adopted by Council such as...

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Thank You, Weho -- We Did It!

We did it!

On March 5th, we won our re-election -- and our voice -- on City Council. And when I say "we" that includes all of you, because it took all of us to achieve this victory. I am so grateful for your support. Whether you walked with us, made phone calls, dropped door hangers, placed lawn signs, encouraged a neighbor to vote, or donated (or all of the above!), you helped make this a winning campaign.  

We received over 3,600 votes with a campaign that spent under $50,000... that is outstanding -- and is a true testament to the power of community! 

This is what the numbers look like:

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2018 - it's a wrap!

You know what they say - time flies when you're busy! The last quarter of 2018 certainly was busy, and productive!

What's been happening?

Seismic Retrofit: Council voted "no" to establishing a pass-thru program (where tenants would have to share in the retrofit costs), and instead, asked staff to look at ways that the City could make the permitting process easier/less expensive for property owners as they move forward on seismic retrofits.

Cannabis: The independent committee members who reviewed hundreds of applications for 36 new adult cannabis business licenses have finished their tallies, and the top eight scoring applicants in each license category are eligible to move forward in the process of securing a business license from the City. Here's a link to the applications of the top scoring applicants.

March 2019 ElectionsOn Tuesday, March 5, 2019, the City of West Hollywood will hold its General Municipal Election whereby its citizens will elect three members to the City Council and vote on two Ballot Measures. Measure B is a referendum of Resolution 18-5104 - The Arts Club, and Measure Y is an ordinance establishing a gross receipts tax on adult-use cannabis products.

What else?

The City celebrated Transgender Awareness Month, Disabilities Awareness Month, and Halloween Carnaval. We also held our annual Don't Drink & Drive press conference with the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station and distributed coasters with transit info to Weho restaurants, bars and clubs.

TG_Awareness_Month.jpg Halloween_Carnaval.jpg Disabilities_awards_w-Louise_Smith.jpg
         (Photo credit Weho/Jon Viscott)                       (Photo credit Weho/Jon Viscott)                     (Photo credit Weho/Jonathan Moore)

On World AIDS Day, we held a candlelight vigil, which started at Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights and ended at Council Chambers, to show our solidarity with people living with HIV and to remember all those who died from AIDS-related illness. At the city's annual Paul Andrew Starke Warrior Awards, we recognized a number of talented and caring individuals from organizations that provide healthcare services and support to people living with HIV/AIDS.

World_AIDS_Day.jpg Paul_Andrew_Starke_Warrior_Awards.jpg 
             (Photo credit Weho/Jonathan Moore)                             (Photo credit Weho/Jonathan Moore)

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Public Safety Tips - Cars & Coyotes

As you may be aware, there has been an uptick of vehicle burglaries in our city, and a noticeable increase of coyote sightings in our neighborhoods. I thought I would share these (hopefully) helpful tips.

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Fall already?

Summer is behind us, but a number of the issues we discussed may not be!

Like what?

8500 Sunset aka AKA. Council majority voted to uphold the Planning Commission decision, which upheld a Director's decision to not allow AKA to operate like an "extended stay" hotel. The City contends (and I would strongly agree) that the approval for the 8500 Sunset building was for that of a residential building providing permanent housing; i.e., primary place of residence. The project received residential bonuses at the time it was entitled and the units counted towards the City's RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) numbers and Housing Element. Unfortunately, this may be taken to the next level -- stay tuned.

Electric scooters. Council majority voted to prohibit shared, electric scooter services (think Bird, Lime, etc.) in Weho for the time being. Why? Public safety, lack of infrastructure, illegal use of the public right-of-way... While electric scooters might offer some benefits when it comes to "first and last mile" transportation options, as a walkable city, it's important for Weho to consider, first and foremost, the safety of our pedestrians. FYI, it is still legal to ride an electric scooter in the city (if following local and state laws); it's just not legal for the shared services to operate here.

Water. About a third of our city purchases water from Beverly Hills Water. For years, the City of Beverly Hills has been charging a 25% surcharge to customers outside their city (meaning Weho!). The surcharge amounts to about $400,000 total per year. The City of West Hollywood doesn't think Beverly Hills Water can justify the charge - and in the world of government, that's a no no. I've been attending Beverly Hills Public Works meetings with Weho Deputy City Manager, Oscar Delgado, to advocate for a fair and equitable rate for West Hollywood residents and businesses, and "the City" itself -- note, Weho Park is within the Beverly Hills Water customer area. 

What else?

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Stormy Weather

West Hollywood certainly manages to stay newsworthy! For better or worse...

Why, what happened?

LA Pride was a hot ticket -- but so hot, they needed to turn folks away. While being popular is a good problem to have, WeHo doesn't like to disappoint. So, you can bet there will be some conversations over the next few months with the public and with Council about next year's Pride festival.

Oh, and Stormy Daniels blew into town. Yes, she did -- and she left with a key to the City. My thoughts... a proclamation would have been more than sufficient, but it's done, so time to move on. We've got bigger issues to focus on.

Such as? 

Keeping Families Together. On Saturday, June 30, join nationwide protests against the Trump family separation policy. Meet at "high noon" at the corner of San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevard for the Rally for Humane (and Sane) PoliciesLet's send a clear message to DC that discrimination and inhumane policies are not acceptable and must stop now.

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Acceleration of Metro Northern Extension at What Cost to Weho's Residents?

Last Monday night, Council majority voted to adopt a resolution in support of accelerating the Northern Extension of the Metro Crenshaw/LAX line. The resolution sounds innocuous enough – but the devil is in the details.

Here are the details:

  1. This vote will cost us $70-$550 million in addition to the 3% match required by Metro, which is $42-$66 million. The amounts depend on the final alignment (route) of the Northern Extension -- e.g., La Brea, Fairfax, La Cienega or San Vicente – as well as the project delivery scope and schedule.
  2. Regardless of the route of the Northern Extension, the City is committing to expedited environmental review and permitting. This could mean less time for public review and community input.

While I’m 100% in favor of public transportation and fully know the benefits (as I learned growing up in Brooklyn New York!), I think it’s irresponsible to commit City efforts, staff, and your money to a project where we don’t know the route of the extension.

Shouldn’t a $616 million commitment have a discussion and not just a consent vote on a meeting agenda?

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