Thank JEBUS Horvath is gone!
It's frustrating that slimy John Heilman hung onto his council seat by just a few hundred votes, but at least the puppy was sent packing.
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
Soon after Mito Aviles answers the last voter's question at a meet-and-greet in an apartment building next to his home, the underdog candidate for West Hollywood City Council faces an unexpected, if not quirky, political problem. Leya Miretsky, a Russian-speaking grandmother from the Ukraine who hosted the event for Aviles, wants the mannequin legs to come down.
"If you don't move them," she says in English, and only half-kidding, "I'm going to tell everyone not to vote for you."
Aviles, an affable 30-year-old with a black-stubble beard and a high, swept-back hairdo that can best be described as a pompadour, rents a green, single-story Craftsman next door with his longtime boyfriend, ChadMichael Morrisette. The couple use high-end mannequins in their successful CM Squared Designs window-display business. On their garage roof, which Miretsky can see from her window, a pair of white, fiberglass legs stand upside down in a block of cement. Aviles, who is facing three incumbents flush with campaign donations from West Hollywood political insiders and endorsements from the local Democratic Party establishment, needs a sizable chunk of the city's Russian-speaking vote to win on March 8. The legs, he assures Miretsky with an easy smile, will most certainly disappear.
In the big scheme of things, the mannequin legs, which Aviles lugged off his garage roof the next day, are the least of the candidate's problems. In a small but world-famous city where there are no term limits and only a few thousand voters re-elect incumbents year after year, Aviles and five other challengers are taking on a nearly impenetrable political system that's been set up over the years to quash its competition.
That's a dark secret that this so-called "progressive" city, with a roughly 40 percent gay population, tries to keep under wraps — and which the Los Angeles press corps rarely covers. But this year, the underdogs are speaking up and fighting back, with the possibility of pushing out an entrenched incumbent, John Heilman, who has never lost a race since he was first elected in 1984 — the year West Hollywood became a city, Ronald Reagan was re-elected president and Bruce Springsteen was singing "Born in the U.S.A." to screaming fans in packed football stadiums.
Aviles was thrown into the national spotlight for three wild days in the fall of 2008, when he and Morrisette hung a Sarah Palin mannequin in effigy off their rooftop, creating global headlines, making the nightly news and earning a visit from alarmed Secret Service agents. His take on West Hollywood: "There's a formula in place, and they keep running the same campaign, and the voters keep electing the same people."
In West Hollywood's 27-year history, only one candidate who ran without official backing from a sitting City Council member has ever won an election, and that happened 17 years ago, in 1994, when firebrand Steve Martin pulled off an upset victory. Martin also happens to be the only incumbent in the history of West Hollywood voted off of the City Council, when he lost his re-election bid in 2003. The facts make one thing very clear: Incumbents have a stranglehold on power, with very little fresh blood or new ideas coming into City Hall.
"It's like getting stuck with George Bush for over 40 years," says 28-year-old public relations consultant Lucas John, who also is running against the city's long-standing incumbency on March 8. He's referring to the combined years Heilman and his close political ally Councilwoman Abbe Land have clung to their elected seats. "The president has a term limit. Why not the West Hollywood City Council?"
West Hollywood political insiders — a cliquish group of City Council members and their handpicked staff, city commissioners and advisory board members, City Hall managers, plus a group of business owners and real estate developers and their high-priced consultants — routinely insist that "term limits" in WeHo come in the form of elections, when voters can throw incumbents out of office. "I believe that voters have the right to elect or unelect their leaders based upon their records," Land says via e-mail to the Weekly. "That is a representative democracy."
When Philip Blumel, president of the Virginia-based, nonpartisan group U.S. Term Limits, hears about the situation in West Hollywood, he lets out a loud, sustained laugh. "Truly?" he asks sarcastically. "Is that really democratic if you have one incumbent lose in 26 years and one incumbent ruling that entire time?"
Heilman and Land, a councilwoman for a total of 18 years — she took a break of a few years and then returned to office — strongly oppose term limits. They also campaigned against Proposition 20, which California voters in November approved by a landslide. Proposition 20 has ended gerrymandering, the closed-room deal-making and map-drawing in which incumbent politicians draw up their own districts — "choose their own voters," as analysts describe it.
Heilman and Land insist that under their decades-long leadership West Hollywood has blossomed into a progressive's paradise, where new voices and ideas are embraced, residents' concerns are accommodated and the political system is transparent and welcoming to anyone and everyone.
Aviles and the five other challengers running on March 8 — all of whom are gay men — say that's hardly the case. They charge that those core values of West Hollywood — a 1.9-square-mile urban village stuck between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills that's considered one of the world's gay meccas and a playground for the rich and famous — have nearly disappeared during Heilman and Land's long watch.
"Heilman and Land have made a complete mockery of our core values from 1984," says former council member and current candidate Steve Martin. "There's a complete disregard for public input, and there's an arrogance that they can do whatever they want."
Mark Gonzaga, an HIV-positive former public access TV host also challenging the incumbents, notes, "The city was formed for the renters," but today "the City Council is taking big money from developers who don't even live in West Hollywood."
Heilman refused to be interviewed for this article, although he's an elected official running for public office and is considered the most powerful member of the City Council. Land and fellow incumbent Lindsey Horvath refused to be interviewed on the phone or in person, demanding that e-mail questions be sent to them, allowing them to prepare responses and choose which questions they are willing to entertain.
West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran says of his colleagues' behavior: "It's silly."
Heilman, Land and Horvath are running together as a well-financed, politically connected slate and sharing campaign costs.
Former planning commissioner and March 8 candidate John D'Amico says Heilman's and Land's aloof policymaking has resulted in the "radical suburbanization" of West Hollywood.
Their controversial and confusing outdoor-smoking ban proposed for restaurants, bars and nightclubs created an uproar because it threatened the world-famous nightlife scene; their plan to make room for a child care center in a city-owned building targets an existing, renowned art gallery for gay artists and a substance abuse–recovery center used by thousands of gay men and women; and a stream of City Council–approved luxury hotel and condominium projects is pushing up rents and wiping out housing for middle-class renters and younger gay men and women.
The challengers have made the incumbents and insiders nervous, and the incumbents have been acting out in strange and questionable ways.
Two local Democratic Party groups held recent endorsement interviews with the West Hollywood City Council candidates at an office of the Atkins Research Group, which is owned by the mother of Dante Atkins, the campaign manager for Heilman, Land and Horvath and himself an employee of the Atkins marketing research firm. "That's a concern," says Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, a good-government outfit. "It's no longer a neutral space."
Candidate Scott Schmidt, a political consultant and one of the few openly gay registered Republican to run for a West Hollywood City Council seat, says many people outside of the city are watching to see what happens next.
"It's not just [real estate] developers who care about West Hollywood," says Schmidt, who recently took his campaign to San Francisco, San Diego, New York and Washington, D.C., to raise money. "People from around the nation care. They either lived here, or their gay friends live here, and it's a place they enjoy."
The battle of West Hollywood is on.
When Mito Aviles isn't attending voter meet-and-greets or canvassing neighborhoods, he's obsessed with the TV images coming out of Egypt, where young activists in their 20s and 30s took over Tahrir Square, carried signs with Barack Obama's slogan "Yes We Can" hand-painted on them and demanded the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1981. As Aviles watches, he sees unexpected parallels between the events unfolding in poverty-stricken, undemocratic Cairo and the political situation in well-to-do, democratic West Hollywood.
"There's a movement of young people who want change in West Hollywood," says Aviles, who's surrounded himself with refreshingly idealistic volunteers also in their 20s and 30s. "West Hollywood has also been under a 26-year-old dictatorship because we don't have term limits. That's happened in Egypt, and that's happening here."
Aviles is no political novice. He graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with a degree in political science and international affairs, and worked as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Hilda Solis, now the U.S. Secretary of Labor under Obama. "I had this notion I wanted to be an ambassador for something," Aviles says.
But a number of West Hollywood insiders, who insist on anonymity and seem to be threatened by Aviles' candidacy, regularly describe him as "adorable" but "not a credible candidate." It's the kind of patronizing put-down that Aviles has seen or heard in one form or another all too often on the campaign trail and, in his eyes, a grim example of how West Hollywood residents are regularly treated by Heilman, Land and their political allies.
"It solidifies why I'm running," says Aviles, who was born in Los Angeles and faced tremendous adversity after being kicked out of his San Gabriel Valley home at the age of 18, when he came out as a gay man to his Salvadoran parents. "It charges me up. Enough is enough already."
Aviles had read about some highly controversial political tactics practiced by West Hollywood City Council members Heilman and Land over the years. The most audacious of those was their pushing through in 2009 the appointment of Lindsey Horvath, then a 26-year-old advertising executive, to an open seat on the City Council to solidify a three-person voting bloc rather than allowing the democratic process — a special election — so WeHo residents could choose their own representative.
Despite a lot of grumbling throughout the city, Horvath filled the spot that opened only because Councilman Sal Guarriello had died in office at the age of 90. He held his seat for 19 years.
Horvath, a pixielike 20-something woman with short, blond hair, is oddly programmed and almost robotic in talk and style, her unnatural delivery and bland words sometimes coming across as if she's carefully rehearsed the Heilman-Land message in a bedroom mirror.
Now Aviles, Scott Schmidt, Lucas John and the other challengers are battling this political machine up close and personal. They've found it resembles something more like a gang operating an old Wild West frontier town than a sophisticated, urban metropolis.
"They don't want change," says Lauren Meister, a community activist who twice ran for City Council against incumbents and lost. "They're not progressive. They're good ol' boys. It's the same old, same old."
That reality — a far cry from the politically enlightened image that West Hollywood politicians aggressively promote — came into perfect focus not too long after New Year's Day. Aviles and the other City Council candidates were summoned to the office of the Atkins Research Group on Wilshire Boulevard to give interviews that they hoped would lead to endorsements of their candidacies by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party's 42nd Assembly District Delegation, a little-known but influential group of political insiders.
Aviles sat down at a long table with several of the local delegation members on either side and a one-way, mirrored window directly across from him. He didn't have any proof, but the challenger was certain someone was watching on the other side of the window as his fellow Democrats peppered him with questions.
"It was so bizarre," Aviles says, "but then again I hear these stories about political insiders who are willing to do anything for the incumbents."
Steve Martin sat in the same room for his interview and thought he was being observed, too. "You would have thought they could have found a more neutral place," he says.
Bob Stern, president of the Los Angeles–based Center for Governmental Studies, a nonpartisan, good-government organization, chuckles in disbelief when told about the endorsement interview. "It looks like the deck was stacked against the challengers," he says disapprovingly.
California Common Cause's Feng says that in her long career as a good-government watchdog, she's never heard of candidates being interviewed in a room with a one-way mirror. "It particularly raises concerns because if it's an observation room," Feng says, "you have to ask if someone was sitting behind that mirror and if campaign strategists were taking notes."
Feng says the office of the Atkins Research Group is obviously not a neutral site and not an acceptable place or way to interview candidates.
A few weeks later, though, the L.A. County Young Democrats mimicked the behavior of the 42nd District delegation, inviting the West Hollywood candidates back to the Atkins Research Group for their own round of questions.
Alton Reed, chairman of the 42nd Assembly District Delegation, shrugs off Feng's concerns, calling them a "red herring" and insisting there was "no conflict" in holding the meeting at the Atkins Research Group. Reed, who describes himself as "an active Democrat" since 1970, comes up with the muddled logic that "it was a neutral place because the room we were meeting in was totally neutral." Reed is actually something of a professional Democrat: The Sherman Oaks resident is also a member of the Los Angeles Stonewall Democratic Club — a gay political group — and the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Democratic Club.
"The clubs are so stacked," says Aviles, who lost the L.A. County Democratic Party and Stonewall Democratic Club endorsements to incumbents Heilman, Land and Horvath. "It's the same group of people who go from meeting to meeting and ask the same questions."
Los Angeles County Young Democrats president David Graham-Caso refused to speak with the Weekly.
Team Heilman's campaign manager, Atkins, a young turk in local and state Democratic party politics and 2003 UCLA graduate, doesn't care what good-government experts Stern and Feng think. He tells the Weekly there was "no conflict at all."
Atkins says any fears that the Heilman-Land-Horvath slate's consultants were sitting behind the mirror is "ridiculous," and shoots back, "Are you impugning the integrity of the interview process?" Asked if he's an employee at Atkins Research Group — the firm's website cites Atkins as an "accounts manager" — he quickly ends the interview. "I'm not going to answer any more questions," he says.
It's the kind of huffy behavior that's mirrored by his evasive boss: current West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman, who's considered the brains and brawn behind Team Heilman.
Today, nearly a year after L.A. Weekly published the April 1, 2010, cover story "West Follywood," Heilman, a law professor in his early 50s who until a few weeks ago wore a bleached-blond faux-hawk, is still fuming over the article. When asked if the voters should have the right to elect a council member rather than have politicians appoint one for them, the longtime incumbent was quoted in the "West Follywood" story as saying: "I don't think that's progressive. I don't see why it's needed to call a special election, and spend a lot of money."
The cover story, in which community activists and one-time political insiders challenged Heilman's policies and leadership, is routinely distributed and cited by the challenging candidates and other critics of City Hall.
Heilman, who has now served seven one-year terms as mayor of this city of more than 23,000 registered voters and some 36,000 residents, refuses to respond to e-mailed requests for interviews, and twice shoots down the Weekly's attempts to speak with him in person. During one tense, face-to-face encounter, Heilman appears to be shaking with anger or fear or both when he is approached inside the West Hollywood Park Auditorium after winning an endorsement from the Stonewall Democratic Club.
"I am not having a conversation with you!" he tells this reporter, then suddenly breaks into a run.
Accessible information about Heilman is hard to come by. In this age of new media, he doesn't have the obligatory campaign website for reporters and voters to see where he stands on issues or to tout what he considers to be his achievements from 1984 to 2010 — a period of time when Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all served as presidents of the United States, three of them for two terms. Parke Skelton, the political consultant for Team Heilman, says he doesn't know why his candidate doesn't have a website.
Heilman does have the cash to pay for one. Recent campaign contribution statements show he has raised $67,220, with his slate mates Land and Horvath raking in $90,107 and $74,928, respectively. Among the challengers, John D'Amico took in $51,488, Scott Schmidt has $10,017 in the bank, Mito Aviles has raised $3,694 and Steve Martin has collected $1,840. Lucas John refuses to take monetary contributions, instead asking people to donate time to his campaign. Aviles has strained his own fundraising by refusing to take money from real estate developers.
Heilman's campaign finance statement for the six-month fundraising period between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2010, is an intriguing snapshot of who gives him money. Of 86 total contributors, 44 live outside West Hollywood. The other 42 contributors largely make up a who's who of West Hollywood political insiders, from former or current city commissioners and business owners to major property owners, and not all of them live in West Hollywood. Heilman's contributors include the Sunset Marquis Hotel, BOA Steakhouse and real estate developer Jason Illoulian. No one forked over less than $100. Many of them gave the maximum: $500. Heilman got no small checks from ordinary residents for $25 or $50.
Fortified by its overflowing war chest, Team Heilman rolls on, but Land and Horvath have acted just as nervous as Heilman when actually confronted with serious questions on the campaign trail.
At the same Stonewall Democratic Club meeting at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, Abbe Land, a lanky, middle-aged woman with short, spiky hair, looks stunned and uncomfortable when the Weekly approaches her. An outspoken and sometimes combative feminist, Land declines to be interviewed in person or on the phone. Willing only to offer prepared statements, she insists all questions be sent to her via e-mail. Asked why she is running a campaign of prepared statements only, Land, who is co-CEO of the Saban Free Clinic, a major medical clinic in Los Angeles, doesn't make eye contact.
"I prefer the questions in writing," she says, and quickly walks away, saying she needs to thank Stonewall members for their endorsement.
A few moments later, Horvath, a one-time member of the College Republicans Club at the University of Notre Dame, who endorsed George W. Bush during his successful 2000 presidential campaign, acts as if this reporter is not standing in front of her, instead looking up and around. Land stands a few feet away with a worried look on her face, monitoring the situation.
Before Horvath can utter a word, campaign manager Dante Atkins steps in and offers to set up an interview, saying the councilwoman's duties on the trail give her little time to do phone interviews.
Ultimately, Horvath, who until very recently had a campaign website that gave only information about the endorsements she's received and nothing about her positions on various issues, provided a number of prepared answers via e-mail.
The Weekly asked her opinion about a recent bombshell op-ed published by the WeHo News website and written by her colleague, Councilman John Duran. He wrote: "I am beginning to sense a struggle at the core of West Hollywood between our past and our future. It is a cultural battle. It is a fight for the city's soul."
Horvath's prepared answer says nothing: "I agree that West Hollywood is unique, colorful and creative and we should strive to keep it that way. I am proud of our history and diversity and openness. I do not believe, though, that hyperbole benefits any of us."
She took part in her own brand of hyperbole two weeks earlier, at a West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Democratic Club meeting, condemning political division in West Hollywood by invoking the killing spree that left Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with a brain injury. "We cannot be divided!" she warned.
Land, who does have a campaign website and has served four one-year terms as mayor, also responded to e-mail questions. Asked why voters should support her, Land writes: "I have a long and successful history of involvement in West Hollywood as an activist and as a member of the City Council. I have played a leadership role in helping to transform West Hollywood from a neglected part of unincorporated Los Angeles County to a thriving and creative city with a strong sense of community involvement."
Unlike nearly all of the challengers, incumbents Heilman, Land and Horvath have refused to do voter meet-and-greets, events at which anyone can meet with candidates face to face at a restaurant or bar, no campaign contributions necessary, and can ask any questions they like. Team Heilman's campaign consultant Skelton says it was a "tactical decision" to not hold these voter-friendly meetings because it takes too much time and effort to get people to come to them. "It's not because they're afraid to talk with the public," Skelton quickly offers.
A source close to City Hall says Team Heilman is running scared. "I've never seen them this desperate," says the source, who insists on anonymity due to the threat of political payback in the tiny city. "They feel they're under attack and they're going to lose."
The source notes, "They feel they're entitled to their seats, and for John D'Amico to challenge them is unacceptable. They feel they're the only ones who can govern."
D'Amico, who's been endorsed by Councilman John Duran, is considered the front-running challenger by many West Hollywood insiders. A different anonymous source attached to the West Hollywood political establishment tells the Weekly the D'Amico candidacy has made it a "complicated election" for the in crowd.
A sense of entitlement among longtime incumbents is not uncommon, says Stern of the Center for Governmental Studies. In a democratic society where elected officials are supposed to serve the public and not the other way around, Stern says, "It shouldn't be your seat. It should be anybody's seat."
Stern and Common Cause's Feng are not supporters of term limits. But when told about the 26-year run of John Heilman and the 18 years Abbe Land has held power, they pause. "[Heilman's] a really good guy and a very qualified guy," Stern says, "but it would be good for him and West Hollywood to have a sabbatical of four years."
Stern adds, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to be a legislator, and there should be turnover. You really need fresh blood coming in. A lot of times incumbents just get re-elected and they legislate the same old stuff. New people come in with new ideas."
Stern thinks three four-year terms is enough time for any politician. Unlike the incumbents, every challenger supports a term-limits law, except for D'Amico, but he nevertheless promises to serve no more than two four-year terms. Says Stern, "In 12 years, you can make your mark. If not, you're not that effective."
Feng says, "When [term limits] are first implemented, it's all good and fresh. It does open up the process to people who haven't been able to be a part of the process." She also points out that West Hollywood's historic problems with low voter turnout — in 2009, 4,136 registered voters out of 23,131, or 18 percent of the electorate, showed up at the polls — could be attributed to the fact that elections are consistently dominated by incumbents.
"If you have the same old candidates all the time," Feng says, "then you're very likely to see low turnout."
That's something incumbents, even in "progressive" West Hollywood, rely upon to retain their power.
"Incumbents really like low turnout," Stern says. "It's their people who show up, and they can control those people."
Aviles, D'Amico and the other challengers are trying to lure, cajole and perhaps even shame a few thousand more people into voting, but it's difficult. Community activist Ed Buck, who ran for City Council in 2007, often tells the story of how some of his volunteers canvassed neighborhoods and called voters.
His own volunteers, however, failed to hit the polls themselves on Election Day. "Voter apathy is pretty prevalent," Buck says. "You have to get them out to vote."
"I would think West Hollywood would try to work to improve [low voter turnout] because of its history of working with residents," Feng says. "I guess that reputation doesn't always match up with what's really happening."
Inside West Hollywood Park Auditorium, a leather-clad crowd of muscled gay men with short-cropped hair waits to speak at a recent City Council meeting. Members of the "leather community," as they are known, are wounded and angry that the city's Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission voted unanimously not to endorse the city's annual Erotic Fair Weekend because they felt the artwork displayed wasn't family-friendly.
Gay men demand to know how West Hollywood — a beacon of tolerance and gay culture — could withdraw support for a long-running exhibit that features lustful, homoerotic drawings and paintings by noted artists such as the late Tom of Finland.
Leather-clad men line up to express their shock and disappointment. Then Sharp, a bearded man in a dark suit who's vice president of the Tom of Finland Foundation — which co-sponsors the event — steps up to the mic. He tells the council members he's not very political, and asks: "I see West Hollywood as singularly progressive. I just need to know what's changed? I guess I need more information."
Under pressure from the leather community, the West Hollywood City Council relents: The erotic art enjoyed by the leather crowd will be shown. Sharp looked up at West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman, sitting, as usual, high on a stage with bright TV lights shining on him. If anyone can answer why and when West Hollywood lost its progressive edge, it's the incumbent who has reigned for 26 years. Heilman presided over it all.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.
Thank JEBUS Horvath is gone!
It's frustrating that slimy John Heilman hung onto his council seat by just a few hundred votes, but at least the puppy was sent packing.
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How about the next time you want to criticize some women, you stick to your well-reasoned arguments and refrain from commenting on appearance or whether or not someone is a "combative" feminist, whatever that means (Did Abbie Land punch a misogynist? That might make me reconsider my vote - in her favor!) You appear to know that it is offensive when someone refers to Mito as "cute" as a way to be dismissive, why didn't you think that dismissing Lindsay as "pixie-like" would also be offensive?
Forthe record, this combative feminist is voting for Mito Aviles despite how annoyed your article made me.
You may have possibly read Karen Ocamb's piece on the West Hollywood race, in which she wrote about possible sexism during the campaign -- a charge that I don't believe is true.
But it was one of the main themes of Ocamb's article, and she used it to criticize any media outlet that wrote anything critical of incumbents Heilman, Land, and Horvath. She held up this article as one example, and those two specific things you mentioned. Interestingly, Ocamb did not seek my comment for her story.
For the record, my editor, Jill Stewart, is a woman. If I had written something that was sexist, she would have most certainly pointed that out to me. I have a long track record that shows I don't need that kind of buffer, but it's there.
In addition, the description of Abbe Land was in the context that she's outspoken about many things, but when it came to facing the press and taking questions about her record, she refused to talk in person or on the phone. In that context, her silence seemed very odd.
As for Horvath, describing someone as "pixie-like" is hardly offensive -- she has those physical features.
Take care,Patrick Range McDonald,LA Weekly
There's footage of incompetent incumbent Lindsay Horvath fleeing from a reporter's question as if she were on crack at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
I think this letter to the Weho News pretty much sums it up:
Re: Horvath flees from questions on fur plan
Clearly, this is a seasoned political operator. You can sense the poise, the quiet confidence, the level-headed management of controversy.
Now we see for ourselves why the rest of the council chose to appoint her: it's because she's so impressive.
Chris Bray, West Hollywood ( http://wehonews.com/z/wehonews... )
Steve martin is just another 'yes-man' for Heilman, Land, & Horvath(sounds like a law firm, or a really bad tribute to Crosby, Stills, & Nash), and should not be considered for re-election...since he has already served on city council, he, too, is an incumbant. And a shitty one at that.
not true--Prang and Heilman vs. Martin was a very famous rivalry a few years back--and they worked very hard to get Martin out of office. Prang accused Martin of "having a crush on him". Martin discussed Prang's alcoholism and the groping incident with the Weho Cheerleaders (the guys in drag!) on a tour bus--lol, it was amazingly "trainwrecky!". But I've read what Martin used to say then, how he wanted to vote, issues, and he was not part of a Heilman-Prang grouping.
@truthhurts: can you be more specific? If Martin is supposedly a "Yes Man" for Heilman, Land & Horvath...then why has he criticized them almost weekly in print for the past few years?
Is it some top secret strategy only you understand?
You know, a simpler possible reason theWeHo incumbents get re-elected (except Martin, showing that voters can be discerning) is that they are doing a good job and voters like them. Occam's razor and all.
Nahh, it's more that in a city of a couple million residents, something like 6 or 7 thousand vote, and the incums have the name recognition by miles. By MILES!!!! I didn't know anything about the second page of the ballot, so I couldn't vote on it, though I tried to look for clues on whom I would have liked. So I only voted for the 3 council seats and measure a (no, of course!)
I voted for a new person to replace the old. Anyone who has been in politics for some time is bought and paid for. I figure it was the lesser of two evils. It does not matter what party they belong too.
Horvath cannot answer questions in an off-the-cuff manner, because life-long Republicans like her cannot do so. She was, and likely still is, a Bush-supporter and promoter of all-things Republican. You can't change hats to suit your political appointment--the people of West Hollywood and California are way too savvy to fall for that shit. Soon, if they are re-installed into office, you'll see your freedoms vanish, and 50-story apartment buildings and office buildings popping up all over West Hollywood faster than the kickbacks can line their filthy, Republican pockets. Of course, their tax-payer funded trips around the globe will increase, as will their Republican-style 'fundraisers', where developers will continue to write fat checks so that they can continue to over-develop West Hollywood the way they have been for the last decade or so...so, go ahead,vote for the incumbants--and you can be the ones to hang your head in shame while the rest of West Hollywood can't sleep thanks to the skyscraper being built right around the corner with its all-night work crews, and the parking problems increase, along with crime and out-of-control rent, thanks to the slumlords of WeHo...go ahead, fuck up our awesome city!
So here is our deal. We do not want to vote for the incumbent 3. We need fresh blood in there. so i pose this to the crowd...what did martin do to lose in 2003 and be voted out? Did he do something to really make weho not like him. D'Amico sounds good and im pretty sold on him. Im for the smoking ban in weho and mito is not. So that is an issue. I honestly am asking for reason besides they are fresh and new to vote for other people. Why should we vote for you as opposed to just voting against the incumbents...
Ian - thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this race. Even though I may not be leaning the same way as you on each of the candidates, I very much appreciate the fact you are asking these sorts of questions. It's like a breath of fresh air......
In 2003, Steve Martin was up for re-election. Abbe Land, a former City Council woman, was out of office at that time, but decided to run. Land had the full backing of the West Hollywood political establishment, particularly from John Heilman. Martin, the outsider who clashed with Heilman, ended up losing his re-election race. Land won and re-joined the council. She's now been there for a combined total of 18 years.
Take care,Patrick Range McDonald,LA Weekly
What did Martin do on council? He was a martinet. He picked enemies and used his power to mess with them. Specifically, he became focused on another councilmember to an alarming degree, and did anything he could to block, degrade, and interfere with whatever that person suggested or supported. He treated city council as war by other means. His relations with other councilmembers and the community were based on intrigue and suspicion. The voters eventually got tired of it all and defeated him -- and have not reelected him since. He is the complete opposite of John D'Amico, who has a long track record of treating people fairly, and even kindly. He is respected and a problem-solver.
There's more to story about why Steve Martin lost. See my comment to Ian. In 2003, Abbe Land decided to rejoin the City Council, with the backing of John Heilman. She won. Martin, who clashed with Heilman, lost. Land has now been on the City Council for a combined total of 18 years and is Heilman's closest political ally.
Take care,Patrick Range McDonald,LA Weekly
What Steve Martin did on City Council was NOT side with grand poobah John Heilman, which caused him to bring old cahoot Abbe Land out of retirement (from a scandal involving taking money from the House of Blues in exchange for waiving their parking requirements) AND he criticized councilmember Jeff Prang who got involved in a sexual harrasment lawsuit out-of-town while representing the City.
So Prang and Heilman did everything they could to axe Mr. Martin and get Abbe Land back on the Council.
Read your history.
Damn it, that doesn't make sense!
I meant to type, "Heilman was so pissed Steve Martin WOULDN'T vote in lock-step with him that he..."
Oh yes...the other part of that era's story is Heilman was so pissed Steve Martin would vote in lock-step with him that he got people to throw money into an independent expenditure committee and trash him.
John Heilman is, in my book, a psychotic...and staying in office is not doing his mental health any favors.
PS: the City defended Jeffrey Prang's actions by settling out of court with the guy he sexually harrased.
Hey Ian:Just wanted to clarify your comment about the smoking ban. With that said, I am a non smoker. I do not appreciate smoke in outdoor patios where people eat. However, I am a "live and let live type of guy." Why I oppose the smoking ban is because the language in the ordinance is confusion and not transparent. Ultimately, one business being banned and another business not being banned boils down to which businesses have given the incumbents the most money for their campaigns. Its these political tactics I am opposed to. I want to bring back transparency and accountability to our city. If you would like to set up a coffee or a phone call to discuss this further, I would be more than happy to do that. Thank you for your comment.
This is the footage of Councilperson Horvath dodging a simple question at a park opening last week. (If anyone thinks it looks like she's being "harassed", notice she doesn't tell the reporter he's bothering her, nor does she simply stand still to answer the question from the press, and get it over with.) (It's also odd, in light of the fact that she had to be texted correct answers in the debates, that she keeps saying "I have to speak to my Deputy." Is she hoping they'll be able to give her an answer to use, here?)
THIS is leadership??
http://www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=gDF5-GDn3bs
If you want McCain & Palin running West Hollywood, go ahead and vote for Heilman & Horvath...Land can be their Donald Rumsfeld. Heilman thinks he's David Geffen, which happens when you operate from a place of narcissism and sociopathology. The same goes for Land and Horvath: NARCISSISM & SOCIOPATHOLOGY.
Heilman, Land and Horvath have strong records of support for progressive candidates and values. That's why they are endorsed by the Stonewall Democratic Club, West Hollywood-Beverly Hills Democratic Club, LA County Democratic Party, California Democratic Party, and LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. They are about as far from McCain and Palin as it is possible to be.
Groups like the Stonewall Deocratic Club are made up of small time, lower-echelon wannabes who want to curry favor with the City Council. I really wouldn't take any endorsement from them too seriously. Look at all the endorsements Lindsay Horvath packed in....on the basis of NOTHING other than being associated with Abbe Land and John Heilman.
You must not be very familiar with the Stonewall Democratic Club. It's one of the largest political clubs in the state; it was the founding club (1975) of the Stonewall club movement, which now includes approximately 90 chapters nationwide; and its endorsements are valued enough by Democratic candidates for local, statewide and even national office that they take the time to complete its questionnaires, interview, and seek its members' support.
You are too far out of the loop. Were you at the "endorsement" meeting? Did you see how the worm Jeffrey Prang manipulated the process to eliminate having anyone speak against Abbe & Lindsey? As an elected public servant, he should have enough class to defer to the wishes of the voting public instead of trying to serve his own useless interest. He wants to run for State Assembly but I think he is unelectable to higher office. Abbe & John are ursurpers of power and I think John is a dangerous sociopath. Just my opinion. He too is incapable of rising to a higher station in life, so being on this coucil suffices to serve his power mongering and manipulation. Pathetic. We so desperately need change..change is coming on March 8, 2011
“Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.”Sydney J. Harris
Vote out the Incumbents in West Hollywood March 8th. Heilman (Been on City Council 26 YEARS), Land (Been on City Council 18 YEARS), Horvath (Was APPOINTED not elected, after living in Weho for 18 MONTHS
Correction: Horvath moved into WeHo after her appointment---and has only lived in WeHo for 18 months TOTAL. As of February 2011.
but who should we support and why besides just to not vote for the old. i want to support new blood but the new ones have not done a great job of telling me why. i need to know who to support. No way for Lucas John, Mito i really am not sure about, D'Amico i like so far. Why was martin voted out in 2003? Gonzaga hasnt replied to my own email to him...
Guest is John Heilman no doubt. The sad reality is they probably will be re-elected. Voter turn out is traditionally low for the city of West Hollywood. Also voter fraud is alive and well in the city of West Hollywood. I preferred it when West Hollywood was a small community and a part of LA county. Less corruption. more fun!!!!
Truth: Horvath's campaign consultant was TEXTING HER ANSWERS to the questions at the WeHo debate last week...like she was Sarah Palin...
Really? Hearsay from one person who apparently maybe saw this going on makes it truth? HA!
And even if it is true, so what? Don't you remember what a campaign manager's job is? To manage the campaign.
Let's not forget, "Guest", that this info was reported in the WeHo news along with a video of Horvath running away and being 'shielded' when asked a very good question about her sad, pathetic attempt to win votes by jumping on the fur-free bandwagon. She's a typical Republican--try and take credit for something someone else started. What a pathetically sad Republican girl. And, whatever your motivations are for protecting these 'people', no one really cares, okay? So shut the fuck up--you're obviously schlepping for these 3 crooks.
You are a fucked-up conservative. If a candidate cannot stand on their own at a debate or answers on-the-spot questions from a journalist, then something is terribly wrong. People like you will defend the flies on cowshit because they are hungry.
NOT to feed them answers while on stage. Wake up and smell the roses, not WHILE in a debate/forum! This isn't a video game dear, thats breaking the rules!
Anyone who feels that Land, Horvath, & Heilman are good for West Hollywood is living in a fog of delusion and ignorance. These people have taken bribes from developers in West Hollywood to allow the type of buildings that are making this city UGLY !!!! Pretty soon, you will not recognize WeHo because of this, and all of the citizens will have moved to more affordable places, while WeHo itself is taken over by wealthy folks from Beverly Hills and surrounding areas who feel that it's 'fashionable' to live in West Hollywood, rather than any real connection to their souls. FUCK Heilman and FUCK Land...and, especially, with a rotted piece of mossy timber, FUCK HORVATH !!!
It's amazing that anyone is willing to serve in local office when this kind of anger and hatred is directed at them. John Heilman, Lindsey Horvath, and Abbe Land have my thanks and appreciation, and I hope they are reelected.
I am horrified at what I discovered in the recent LA weekly article that cam out on Thursday. Our city council member, Lindsey Horvath who was appointed into the job by John Heilman & Abby Land not only voted for G.W. Bush in the 2000 election but she worked for his campaign. It makes perfect sense why Heilman & Land appointed Miss Horvath rather then let due process happen with a special election. Horvath would have never been voted into the position as council member with her lack of experience coupled with having supported Bush and being a republican and all. This is a fact that has not come to light until now. We will have to see if enough voters discover what I did in this special in depth article about the election on March 8th. I was on the fence about supporting her but after this, I can not in good faith vote for her. I urge all voters to do the same. I'm supporting Steve Martin as he has the best interest of the residents as well as the over development going on here in West Hollywood. Out with the 3 boobs Heilman, Land & Horvath.
After all Schidmt is a republican, who I bet voted for Bush, AND is in support of the GOP cuts taking place right now! Ask him!!!!
I suggest you write a letter to the West Hollywood Online News (wehonews.com) expressing the same thing you did here. They publish all letters and it is important for voters to speak out against the secrecy of Lindsey's background and how unqualified she is to be in this city council seat. She also refuses to answer questions in person from the media (except by email so she can pre-prepare) and she runs away when a reporter tries to ask her a question about her background/lack of experience. It is beyond a joke what Abbe & John Heilman have done to this city, it is a travesty and a slap in the face to the people of We Ho. Please vote for John D'Amico as well.