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John Heilman Takes the Helm in West Hollywood

West Hollywood will get a not very new mayor on Monday -- longtime City Councilman John Heilman, who's been no stranger to controversy lately.


In a recent L.A. Weekly cover story, titled "West Follywood," critics of Heilman say he's been selling out the city's founding principles of renter protections and progressive policies in favor of sweetheart deals for real estate developers and anti-progressive decision-making.

In the article, for example, Heilman said he didn't believe allowing voters to take part in the democratic process and fill a vacant seat last year on the West Hollywood City Council by a special election was all that necessary.

"I don't think that's progressive," Heilman told the Weekly. "I don't see why it's needed to call a

special election, and spend a lot of money."

WeHo News, a scrappy online newspaper that's been keeping tabs on the various shenanigans happening inside West Hollywood City Hall, reports that a "special cake-cutting ceremony" will take place soon after Heilman is sworn in.

Heilman, who's sat on the City Council since West Hollywood first became incorporated in 1984, will serve his seventh term as mayor -- each year, a different City Council member takes a turn at the helm.

While it's somewhat of a ceremonial post, the mayor can drive the city's agenda to a certain extent. The mayor also runs all of the City Council meetings. And whenever a media outlet wants a quote from a West Hollywood official, it's usually the mayor who gets to speak on the city's behalf.

Heilman, who's widely considered to be the smartest member on the City Council, will no doubt make the most of his time as mayor. For some West Hollywood community activists, they don't think that's necessarily a good thing.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.