A long-anticipated debate will take place in West Hollywood tonight between all of the candidates running for City Council, including several hard-charging challengers and incumbents John Heilman, Abbe Land, and Lindsey Horvath.

The challengers will no doubt point out that West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman has been serving on the City Council since 1984 — when Ronald Reagan was re-elected president and the Apple MacIntosh was first introduced — and argue that it's time for a change.

The forum will take place between 7 and 8:30 p.m. at West Hollywood Park Auditorium at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, where people can attend the event — it's right across the street from the Pacific Design Center.

West Hollywood residents can also watch the fireworks on the local public access television channel, which is going through its own difficulties as L.A. Weekly's Simone Wilson recently reported.

Challengers John D'Amico, Mito Aviles, Steve Martin, Scott Schmidit, Lucas John, and Mark Gonzaga are expected to show up and come out swinging at the debate, which is sponsored by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and WEHO PAC.

The challengers have their work cut out for them this campaign season — as challengers always do in this city.

Heilman, Land, and Horvath are running as a slate, have raised much more money from deep-pocketed West Hollywood political insiders, and are sharing campaign costs.

But a swell of anti-incumbent sentiment can be felt in West Hollywood due to the direction the city appears to be taking over the years — a direction, the challengers say, that's turning the “urban village” into an over-developed, politically cliquish town with a City Council that doesn't listen to its residents.

Voters will have their say on Election Day, March 8. The challengers just hope they will actually go the polls — West Hollywood has a long history of low voter turn-out.

L.A. Weekly will publish a feature about the West Hollywood City Council race next week on Thursday, February 17. In the meantime, voters can read up on past political shenanigans in the 2010 L.A. Weekly cover “West Follywood.”

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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