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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 Elections: On 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.
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.
(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.
(Photo credit Weho/Jonathan Moore) (Photo credit Weho/Jonathan Moore)
Is there more?
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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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Summer is behind us, but a number of the issues we discussed may not be!
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.