The WeHo City Council Agenda

West Hollywood City Councilmembers (left to right) Lauren Meister Mayor Lindsey Horvath, John Heilman, John D'Amico and John Duran. (Photo by Jon Viscott)
West Hollywood City Councilmembers (left to right) Lauren Meister Mayor Lindsey Horvath, John Heilman, John D’Amico and John Duran. (Photo by Jon Viscott)

The West Hollywood City Council is expected to consider implementing a number of ethics reforms Monday whose primary focus is improving the transparency of campaign finance. The ethics reform proposals are among a number of major issues that the Council will consider.

The reforms that will come before the Council were developed by an Ethics Task Force that was formed a year ago. They include:

— Increasing the campaign contribution limit from the current $500 to $550, with an additional increase of $50 every ten years

— Requiring independent expenditure committees formed to support a particular candidate to identify their top three donors on all campaign material. Such committees have had a major impact in recent Council elections

— Requiring any Council member who solicits a gift for a charity of $1,000 or more (known as a “behest” donation) to identify the charity and donor. State law currently requires that politicians who solicit gifts of $5,000 or more file a statement documenting that. However, only former Councilmember Abbe Land has ever filed such statements in recent years

— Implementing an electronic filing system for reports of campaign donations. Such donations currently are filed on paper documents that are made available on the city’s website in a PDF form. That format makes the information about specific donations difficult to combine with other information for analysis.


— Scheduling public forums for candidates in the March 2017 Council election.

The proposal also would have city staffers work to move the city election date to the statewide general date, which is required under a recently passed law.

The proposals come from a task force that consisted of Bob Stern, past president of the Center for Governmental Studies; Elizabeth Ralston, the past president of the Los Angeles League of Women Voters and Joe Guardarrama, a lawyer whose practice is focused on government ethics, campaign finance and election law.

Other important items on the Council agenda include:

1) A proposal by Councilmember Lauren Meister that the city develop policies and programs to support small businesses. Meister’s proposal includes development of a registry for vacant and abandoned storefronts and commercial properties and a list of commercial spaces available for rent. Other elements include requiring that landlords put art or movie posters in the windows of vacant storefronts and that the city establish a special review process for new “formula retail” or chain store properties.

2)  An extension of the current moratorium on demolition or major changes in Craftsman-style houses in an area around Lexington Avenue. At the suggestion of Councilmember John Duran, the city has moved to survey the area to identify such houses that might be eligible for designation as historic or cultural resources. The moratorium is scheduled to expire the end of the month and would be extended until March 2017 under the proposal going before the Council.

3) A proposal by Meister that all new buildings include “green” or solar-panel roofs to reduce energy consumption. The green roofs would consist of planted roof top gardens that provide natural insulation and evaporative cooling.

4) A six-month trial of pick-up and drop-off zones for taxis, the Cityline shuttle, Zip Car drivers and the Pick Up Line, along with ride sharing vehicles such as Uber and Lyft. By requiring transportation vehicles to use the zones, the city hopes to reduce the congestion caused by drop-offs in random areas on busy city streets. The proposal drop off areas are 9039 Sunset Blvd., 9060 Sunset Blvd., 8578 Santa Monica Blvd., 8717 Santa Monica Blvd., 8943 Santa Monica Blvd., 9056-9060 Santa Monica Blvd., 8544-8546 Melrose Ave., 8626 Melrose Ave., 8914 Melrose Ave., 668 N. La Peer Drive and 631 N. Robertson Blvd.

5) A requirement proposed by Mayor Lindsey Horvath that tobacco product retailers obtain a city license and that electronic tobacco devices be included among those regulated. The city would ban any self-service tobacco vending machines from areas open to those under the age of 18, require retailers to sell cigars in packs of 20 or more to make them more expensive for under-age buyers and ban billboards and signs promoting tobacco products in areas other than Sunset Boulevard.

6) A proposal by Horvath that would suspend all official travel by West Hollywood officials to North Carolina and any other state that enacts similarly discriminatory legislation. A number of other cities and states including the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Washington State, Vermont, New York, Seattle and San Francisco already have banned official travel to North Carolina. The bans are the result of North Carolina enacting a law barring transgender people from using public restrooms that aren’t consistent with their birth gender and preventing city and county governments from from expanding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Also on the Council agenda are major presentations by city staffers of the city’s aging in place strategic plan and on its progress in the past year in implementing city plans that include providing more housing for low- and moderate-income people, strengthening tenant protections from illegal eviction, providing incentives to property owners to rehabilitate aging apartment buildings and working with non-profit organizations to provide more affordable housing.

The Council meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the City Council Chambers, which are in the building to the south of the West Hollywood Library at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Parking is available in the five-story parking structure behind the building on El Tovar Place. Parking is validated in the lobby of the Council Chambers.

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Larry Block
Larry Block
8 years ago

The proposals for small business presented by Meister would have put me out of business a year ago. She misses the main issue here that retailers who sell general merchandise are not required to have any parking spaces. To lower the threshold on parking will allow every storefront to convert to a food or restaurant, allow landlords to increase rents on those places due to a food or bar use and does nothing to help small business in this city. I wonder who she consulted with on that one because it is an ill-advised proposal.

luca d
luca d
8 years ago

not quite sure why we care about north carolina as a destination for city employees, but you might want to add iran and some other mid east locales. they’re tossing gay people off of rooftops !
if that starts happening in this country, it won’t matter what the signs on that bathroom doors say.
meaningless, feel good, nanny town BS.

a concerned party
a concerned party
8 years ago

I think it is time for our current mayor to try a new hair style or new stylist. I am sure she loves her abundant luxurious hair, but I think she would be shocked at just how much more beautiful and youthful she would look with a minimum of adjustment

J Chud
J Chud
8 years ago

Okay, did I miss something? I don’t see anything referring to ‘DEPUTYGATE’ and hiring behavior in the ethics recommendations. I am still a believer in making the City Council Positions and Mayoral position full time paid positions and giving each of them an admin person or Secretary(whichever HR wants to call the position). I also think that it’s high time to start electing a Mayor whose term is the same length as the council positions. That way, the mayor would not appear to be cramming as much of their wants for themselves and the city into a 1 year period.… Read more »

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