See ya, 2021!

Well, as we close out another year with staying at home, vaccinations, variants, and boosters, I'm hopeful that 2022 will start to look a little more like life before shutdowns. And although we may not be out of the woods quite yet, we certainly have learned to adapt.  More people are working from home, spending time outdoors, driving less, and connecting with others via platforms like Zoom. In fact, for the last two years, I didn't get my usual winter cold -- probably due to masks indoors and a few less get-togethers. So there is an upside! City Council will continue to meet via teleconference as long as the infection rate is 1.5% or above. While it is nice to meet in-person in Council Chambers, wearing a mask for 6 hours straight is not so pleasant. Please be patient with us as we continue to work through this. One practice I put forward since becoming Mayor is to allow the public to turn on their cameras during public comment so we can see who is talking to us, not just hear them.  It is so important for us to maintain that personal connection, whether in Chambers or conducting meetings via Zoom.

This last quarter the City hosted our first State of the Community, celebrated the 23rd Annual Disability Service Awards, the Paul Andrew Starke Warrior Awards, and the 2nd Annual Green City Awards. We  also commemorated Veterans Day and Transgender Day of Awareness.

Is there more?

Read more
1 reaction Share

Coming Back - 3rd quarter 2021

Hello from West Hollywood's new Mayor!

This quarter was particularly exciting for me as I was sworn in by my former Council colleague, John Heilman, on September 20th as Mayor of the City of West Hollywood.  This is my second mayoral term since I was elected in 2015. Congratulations to my colleague Sepi Shyne, who was sworn in as Mayor Pro Tem ("MPT"). I look forward to working with MPT Shyne and all my Council colleagues these next 16 months.

When I was installed as Mayor back in April 2016, I spoke about renewing the community spirit that helped form this great city nearly 37 years ago, which John Heilman and others were a big part of. As a community, we gathered as one after 9/11, we mourned the tragedy of the Pulse Nightclub mass murder, we celebrated marriage equality, and we marched, stood up to, and survived a challenging national political climate. I have lived in this city over 30 years, and over the years, I have witnessed many stages in our city’s maturity – I have seen issues divide our city. I have seen the east side pitted against the west side, businesses pitted against residents, tenants pitted against landlords. But I have to say, that after being elected to council, the drama that seemed to plague every council meeting with a controversial topic… the theatre – and a lot of it was theatre – seemed to dissipate. 

Recently, however, we’re seeing a divisiveness that I haven’t seen in a while, and it’s disturbing.  It’s disturbing because we are still one small city and one community – a community comprised of people from all walks of life, a community with young people and older people; a community with businesses and workers.  All must be valued; none should be discounted. A rainbow flag is not just six colors or 10 colors – if it truly represents our community, then it is an infinite number of colors. Putting people into categories, labeling them, disparaging them, does not serve this community.

I’d like to say that my goal as mayor is to solve our three biggest issues: homelessness, housing affordability, and making our city safer. As mayor, I’d like to strengthen our neighborhoods, encourage economic diversity, and further initiatives to protect our renters and our small businesses. I’d like to make West Hollywood a premier green city by increasing our urban forest and embracing biodiversity. I’d like to find a companion care center close to home for our lost, found, and abandoned animals. And, importantly, I’d like for West Hollywood to be the most prepared and resilient city in the country – for whatever emergency or disaster strikes – whether it be earthquake, drought, pandemic, or recession.

But none of this can happen if we don’t work together and focus on the city’s recovery from this pandemic. None of this can happen, if we don’t focus on keeping people healthy and getting people vaccinated.  And none of this can happen if we, as a council, don’t make recovery our number one priority. So, I am bringing forward a proposal requesting that the City Manager arrange several team-building workshops for council, designed to help foster communications among council members, to clarify council’s role, and to identify priorities and common goals. The objective of the workshops will be to transform our new council and our new city manager into an effective, problem-solving team.

You may be wondering why I asked my former colleague, John Heilman, to swear me in as Mayor.  As many of you know, John and I did not agree on every issue, and in fact, before I was on council, I was probably one of council’s most vocal critics. But, once we were colleagues, we learned to work together, respect each other, and most importantly, acknowledge that we both cared about the best interests of the city, even when we didn’t agree. So, I appreciate that John was a part of my swearing in because, to me, it symbolized hope… hope that people with different perspectives can work together effectively for the city they love. And, as your mayor, I’m confident this is something that we – council, residents, businesses, staff, and other community members – can achieve in the months to come.

What else is new?

Read more
1 reaction Share

There is a Season

Weho is going through some changes...

Weho's long-time City Manager, Paul Arevalo, is set to retire in early July and Assistant City Manager, David Wilson, will be taking over the helm (congrats, David!). If you'd like to find out more about Weho's new City Manager, David Wilson, click here. We wish Paul much happiness (and fun) in his post-Weho life!

What else is new?

The City of West Hollywood will host a community conversation about equity and public safety featuring Constance “Connie” Rice, who is a lawyer, author, and public intellectual renowned for fighting systemic injustice and advancing multiracial democracy. The free virtual event will take place on Monday, July 12, 2021 at 6 pm on Zoom Webinar. For more information, click here.

Governor Newsom has signed AB 832, which extends statewide protections and rent relief programs enacted by SB 91 in January 2021. Most significantly, the Act extends the state’s residential eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 related reasons to September 30, 2021 and expands the State Rent Relief Program. In addition to protection from eviction due to COVID-19-related financial hardship, after June 30, West Hollywood residential tenants will be covered by the County of Los Angeles eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021. For more information, click here.

On June 21, West Hollywood City Council approved Urgency Ordinance No. 21-1156U, which extends the City’s temporary moratorium on commercial evictions through September 30, 2021. For more information, click here.

The City of West Hollywood launched its “Dockless Mobility” pilot program on Thursday, July 1, 2021 with e-scooters and e-bikes from Bird, Lime, and Wheels. For more information, click here. Please note, complaints and concerns may be registered through the City of West Hollywood Official App, by emailing [email protected], or by calling the ABM bike program mobile number at 213-247-7720. We encourage all concerns be sent through these methods, so that our partners can respond quickly and we can keep abreast of persistent issues and/or any problem areas that may arise.

New Initiatives:

This last quarter I worked with my colleagues on a number of initiatives that were adopted by Council. Here are some highlights...

Read more
1 reaction Share