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West Hollywood Revolt 

Thursday, Feb 24 2011
Comments
Our cover story on the West Hollywood elections brought a heap of responses, nearly all of them from residents who say they want incumbents John Heilman, Abbe Land and Lindsey Horvath unseated on election day.

Challengers John D'Amico, Mark Gonzaga, Mito Aviles, Steve Martin, Scott Schmidt and Lucas John are trying to break the City Council's grip on elections that has prevailed since West Hollywood incorporated 27 years ago. Only once since then has a candidate won without the backing of the City Council.

Many readers offered historical context, including Jones Hagopian: "The problem with the current leaders is they committed to the corporate and developer interests rather than that of the common citizen of WeHo. I guess the money finally took hold of Heilman, because when this city was incorporated it was supposed to be the artistic city, a city that was to be creative and affordable to the artist. Now it's about bulldozing old buildings to build bigger buildings with corporate business.

"Local businesses close and property values rise, making it unaffordable for residents that have lived here for decades to continue living here.

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"Not to mention the fact that Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and Fountain Avenue are more congested than ever, and what does our current City Council plan to do about this? Deregulate current building code so that taller, bigger buildings can sprout up along Santa Monica Blvd.

"Is this progress? Maybe for the rich, corporate developer, but for the average artist living here it is not."

Reader Woodymcbreairty adds: "When we first began the movement to become a city, the issues were high rents, demolition of affordable housing, displacement of seniors and other longtime residents, traffic congestion, no parking, etc.

"Now 27 years or so later, the issues are still high rents, demolition of affordable housing, displacement of seniors and other longtime residents, traffic congestion, no parking, etc. The 'change' we got is more of the same, only worse.

"What's more, John Heilman and Abbe Land have decided they own West Hollywood and whoever does not do their bidding will be challenged and destroyed if possible.

Finally, reader Dave Atkins offers a different kind of fix: "I suggested over four years ago that the city be divided into districts, with a council member for each one. With each council member having to face unhappy residents, development would have to slow. My poor Eastside would stop bearing the brunt of huge projects. Sunset area residents could rely on someone to stand up for them. Inside, each area's upset gets diluted in the vast NIMBY pool.

"Campaigns would cost less. Local activists could actually meet their neighbors and bring new ideas. Developers' money would have no outlet and projects could get passed or not on their merits.

"Sadly, there is no traction for the idea. And we're faced with multi-thousand-dollar mailers from big money like labor or the Dems piling in to flood our mailbox with mailers. Sigh."

Martinez-Huizar Race

Readers again reacted strongly to a Weekly story about the Los Angeles City Council District 14 race between incumbent Jose Huizar and challenger Rudy Martinez.

The race, unquestionably the nastiest local contest this year, brings this from reader Delsback90065: "Generally, to oust an incumbent,  the voting population has to be dissatisfied with that officeholder's performance. If the Weekly understood the Eastside (at all), they'd also understand that the vast majority of voters here don't believe Jose Huizar is doing a bad job. In fact, they understand and have proof of just the opposite. Agitate from the West, or — in Rudy Martinez's case — from the North (from where he lived in Glendale until just a few months ago before carpetbagging into the district), but don't expect wholesale conversions, and don't be surprised when the incumbent is once again returned. It's because that's what the people who watch his performance most closely actually want."

Reader Robert says a pox on both their houses. "They're both clowns for embarrassing Latinos and behaving like schoolchildren. There's too many serious issue in CD14 they both should be focusing on and grow the hell up. CD14 deserves so much better from these two.

"Huizar shows he's running scared the way he's behaving. He hasn't accomplished a thing and is lying on his mailers. He's not responsible for the new police station and he didn't have anything to do with more cops on streets. In fact we have less cops on streets 'cause Huizar and the clowns on council cut LAPD budget $100 million. The people deserve so much better."

You Deserve Better

So write to us at: Comments, L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or you can reach us at laweekly.com. Full name and contact info preferred.

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