Read the latest L.A. Weekly news story about the West Hollywood City Council race: “West Hollywood Incumbents Dig In.”
After raising around $105,000 for his campaign, City Council candidate John D'Amico realizes he's not exactly the kind of scrappy, cash-poor challenger that West Hollywood voters have seen in the past.
“I'm not an anti-mainstream candidate,” he tells L.A. Weekly, and jokes, “I'm wearing a tie and khakis.”
But that doesn't mean he's looking to repeat the same policies of longtime incumbents John Heilman and Abbe Land and appointed council member Lindsey Horvath, all of whom are running to remain on the West Hollywood City Council.
“Politics can be used for good,” says D'Amico, who describes Heilman and Land's brand of urban planning for WeHo as “radical suburbanization.” “And if people aren't using it for good anymore, then there needs to be change.”
D'Amico, a former West Hollywood planning commissioner and the principal project manager for the UCLA Orthopedic Replacement Hospital, believes that change needs to happen on Election Day, March 8, when three West Hollywood City Council seats are up for grabs.
D'Amico and five other challengers are hoping to unseat Heilman, Land, and Horvath. The former planning commissioner says City Hall desperately needs new ideas.
“The city doesn't have a plan for welcoming young people,” says D'Amico. “They don't have a plan for the future.”
D'Amico, who's lived in WeHo for over 20 years and legally married his husband, Keith Rand, before Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage, says the City Council must drop a kind of patronizing attitude toward West Hollywood residents.
“It's really time for the city to listen to the adults and act accordingly,” says D'Amico, who promises to actively include citizens in the City Council's decision making process.
The candidate says the City Council must also be more transparent in the way it does business and make smarter choices in approving development project — things, in his opinion, incumbents Land, Heilman, and Horvath have not been doing.
D'Amico has been hitting the campaign trail every chance he gets, knocking on doors and introducing himself to voters. In a city where incumbents almost never lose, the challenger thinks this year will be different.
“I don't think there's any enthusiasm for the incumbents,” says D'Amico. “But there is a lot of interest in this election.”
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 John Heilman, Abbe Land, and Lindsey Horvath, who refused to be interviewed in person or over the phone.
This week, we are 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 email@example.com.