West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, Appointed By Friends On Council, Illegally Used City Stamp, Listserv To Beg 2011 Campaign Support
New: Horvath's campaign manager explains that the listserv was a private (albeit gigantic) one.
Updated after the jump with Horvath's public Facebook profile pic and more juicy links from the over-zealous editor of WeHo News.
Update, Nov. 29, 3:08 p.m.: a passive-aggressive response from one of Horvath's opponents and a diva copyright claim from her photographer. Originally posted on Nov. 29 at 12:12 p.m.
It was sketch enough when the tight-knit WeHo City Council skirted democracy to appoint the young, blonde Lindsey Horvath to its fifth seat in 2009, after old favorite Sal Guarriello died just short of term.
(As WeHo News reported at the time, 18-month resident Horvath was chosen over seasoned neighborhood politicians like planning commissioner Joe Guardarrama.)
Now, the 27-year-old appointee is cowering at the prospect of having to actually win the hearts of WeHo voters.
So desperate is the fair incumbent, in fact, that she has resorted to illegally spamming her constituents on
the council's a Constant Contact listserv, using the official WeHo City Council template and logo to ask for votes and campaign funding.
[Update: In the retaliatory words of campaign manager Parke Skelton:
"Councilmember Horvath, like virtually everyone these days, has a wide range of personal contacts from many different sources accumulated during her history as an activist and community leader. No public resources were used in the development or maintenance of her personal contact list. And, as with any e-mail communication, if a recipient does not wish to receive further e-mails they can easily unsubscribe. A political campaign, as you know, uses a variety of means of communicating with voters, including e-mail. It is an essential component of a functioning democracy."
However, it is worth noting that various WeHo News and Weekly commenters (see bottom of page) have no idea how they managed to be "accumulated."]
In the e-mails -- opt-in requests for Horvath's campaign materials, which were blasted to all those unlucky enough to be on
the city her listserv early last week -- her website is listed as www.weho.org. (That is, the official rainbow-chic website of West Hollywood City Hall.) Anyone who did indeed opt in -- whoever you are, we feel sorry for you -- received a pop-up thank you not from Horvath, but from the "West Hollywood City Council."
Since when was a governing body allowed to endorse its own incumbents?
Well, since never. California Election Code 18304 states that deceiving voters with an official city seal can get a girl a misdemeanor. That wouldn't go so well with your Winter Frost eyeshadow on the campaign posters, now, would it Linds?
Liberal watchdogs at the WeHo News slammed the candidate for her illegal activities on Saturday; by Monday, the West Hollywood City Council logo had been removed from www.lindseyhorvath.com.
Either she just didn't know before, which would make sense, considering her meager political background -- and council buddies Abbe Land and John Heilman, running on the same slate, didn't bother to inform her -- or Horvath just didn't think it was that big of a deal. (One non-incumbent 2011 candidate thinks Land and Heilman are out to sabotage the wide-eyed twentysomething. See second cartoon down.)
As for legit punishment, no one has stepped in so far. WeHo City Clerk Tom West said he sent out an e-mail on Tuesday informing the candidates that printing the city logo on campaign fodder is illegal. However, the original Horvath e-mail up for display at WeHo News shows she was sending out the opt-ins as late as Wednesday. West denies he knew anything about this, and that his initial warning was only sent out after "it was brought to [his] attention that there was a [paper] poster with the city name on it." He said he's sure Horvath won't be punished.
"I think if you take it down, you take it down," West said. "And it's done."
Sandi Gibbons, the L.A. District Attorney's public-info officer, said she isn't aware of the case, but will keep her eyes out for a complaint to the Public Integrity Division. Update: "We have received no complaint involving that candidate. Sorry."
Three WeHo City Council seats are currently up for the nabbing in 2011. Good luck with that, though, John D'Amico and Mito Aviles -- the council is one of the most insular and self-congratulatory governing bodies in the county. For the full scoop on West Follywood corruption, check out this Weekly article from April.
Amusingly, Horvath's list of endorsers also includes attorney to the stars Gloria Allred. Wonder if Allred would be willing to put her sexual-harassment skills toward the shady election ethics of a certain WeHo countess in distress?
Poor Horvath -- she never asked to be appointed! The newby detailed her powerlessness in the selection process and current inferiority complex to the Los Angeles Independent in a June interview:
Well it wasn't my decision how I got on council, so I cant speak on that, so I would encourage you to talk to the other councilmembers who decided to have an appointment, but ... My appointment to city council was to make the council make good decisions to help fill that seat. I will never be able to fill the shoes of Councilmember Sal Guarriello[.] I do think that I spent the last year listening and there are some legitimate concerns out there and I'm very energized, excited to meeting those concerns.
The vote's on you, fabulous peoples of West Hollywood. How do you think Horvath's done so far?
Update, Nov. 29, 3:08 p.m.: Should Horvath be punished? A courtly D'Amico responds: "If Ms. Horvath broke the law by using City resources to further her campaign, the voters should be made aware of her misconduct and allowed to draw their own conclusions."
Also, WeHo News is all over this chick's dirty campaign trail. Editor Ryan Gierach posted a story this morning about her scrambly change in website design. There's another one about the photographer who took Horvath's lovely campaign photo: She's apparently pissed that Gierach ran the photo without permission.
Guess she hasn't seen ours yet. The same one that was formerly embedded in this story. Heh.
Update, Nov. 30, 2:30 p.m.: Horvath's Facebook profile is public, and the same photo Ford is so panty-twisted about is her client's main user pic. Horvath didn't even bother with a DIY copyright in the caption. (Even funnier: Ford "likes" it, then comments, "pretty lady!") We're checking with our lawyers, but uh... pretty sure this makes the photo fair game, if it wasn't already.
Even better: WeHo News editor Gierach finally got an interview with Horvath, and he's thrilled with her cold, evasive replies. Read/listen to the full interview here. A highlight:
Her answers to the question of precisely when she read California's election law included, "I feel that I've answered the questions that I feel I will be willing to answer," and finally, "I will not answer that question."
Lastly, a helpful tip from commenter Woody McBreairty (Scroll down for more insight from the WeHo community):
Anyone willing to join the call for an investigation into Lindsey's alleged illegal behavior can do so by emailing the DA's office at: email@example.com Attn David Demerjian, or mail correspondence/requests/complaints to DA's office at 320 W Temple #766, L.A. 90012 Attn: David Demerjian. The phone is 213 974-6501.
I received an email from the DA's office stating that all complaints should be forwarded to
Public Information Officer
210 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles 90012