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Election

Mark Gonzaga, West Hollywood Candidate: Renters' Rights Advocate Seeks to Pull Off Major Upset Victory

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Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge WeHo City Council candidate Mark Gonzaga
  • WeHo City Council candidate Mark Gonzaga
Read the latest L.A. Weekly news story about WeHo's hotly contested City Council race: "West Hollywood Incumbents Dig In."

As an apartment renter in West Hollywood, City Council candidate Mark Gonzaga knows what it's like to deal with difficult landlords and ever-increasing rents.

"The city is not protecting the renters," says Gonzaga, noting that higher and higher rents are forcing many people out of West Hollywood.

If elected on March 8, Gonzaga, a former actor, promises to be a strong advocate for renters' rights.

Born in Manhattan, Gonzaga moved to West Hollywood in 1984, when WeHo became a city. The openly gay candidate is one of six challengers trying to unseat longtime incumbents John Heilman and Abbe Land and appointed City Council member Lindsey Horvath.

"I don't want over-development in the city," says Gonzaga, who says Heilman and Land have strayed off course in maintaining West Hollywood as a comfortable, urban village.

Gonzaga not only promises to work for stronger renters' rights but to bring term limits to WeHo, in which local politicians can serve no more than 10 years.

Running a low-profile campaign, Gonzaga says he's not taking contributions as a matter of principle, even though the incumbents, who are running as a slate, have raised a total of over $260,000.

Somehow, the challenger hopes he'll pull off a major upset on Tuesday, March 8.

NOTE: During the reporting for the L.A. Weekly cover story "Dethroning West Hollywood's Martinets," we spent many hours with WeHo's City Council candidates -- except for incumbents Heilman, Land, and Horvath, who refused to be interviewed in person or over the phone.

This week, we have been using previously unpublished material for a series of posts on each of the six challengers the Weekly met and talked with.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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