It was a beautiful Saturday morning and newly minted Mayor John M. Erickson was eagerly anticipating a busy day of events to conclude his first full week as the chief spokesperson for the City of West Hollywood.
Erickson hit the ground running upon taking the gavel. The first City Council meeting under his leadership ran flawlessly, concluding in just over three hours. All public commenters were given their full allotment of time without any breaks, his enthusiasm marking a refreshing change from the previous mayor’s slower pace and neophyte tone.
We caught up with Mayor Erickson at the end of the day.
“I got up around 7:30, had some coffee, answered calls that came during the night, checked the city emails, and got ready to go to Sybil Zaden‘s memorial at 10 am,” Erickson said.
The late Sybil Zaden’s memorial, organized by Councilmember John Heilman, took place at King Roads Park.
“I always admired Sybil and had the chance to say a few words of respect for her,” Erickson said.
Erickson’s first “Coffee with Mayor” event began at 11 am at the Dialog Cafe. The Sheriff and several City Staff members joined the Mayor to meet with residents.
“It was really nice to talk to the people,” Erickson said. “It’s nice for people to see their Mayor and city staff, and I went out to the tables to meet the guests and introduce myself. When one asked about Karen Bass, I got a chance to explain that West Hollywood is its own city.”
John’s next stop was outside WeHo in Culver City.
“I was invited to the first school board ‘Pride in the Park’ for their LGBTQ students,” he said. “We discussed anything they may need in their school system. All of our issues are regional; when kids are being bullied in schools, it’s not much different from when we were kids. People look to West Hollywood to be a leader on this stuff.”
As one meeting ended, the next began. Now off to the One Institute for their youth ambassador at the Werle Building. The event honored the youth ambassadors for queer history and their projects.
“We presented six certificates/proclamations for all the kids’ projects from the city,” Erickson said. “It was great for the kids to connect with their government. Remember, this is what my Ph.D. is in (Erickson holds a Ph.D. in American Religious History with a specialty in LGBTQ History), so it was fascinating to watch this all come to life through these amazing projects.”
Erickson’s schedule was packed. His next stop was Beaches and the Stonewall Young Democrats Hero Awards.
“I welcomed the community, celebrating LGBTQ champions from across the state. Then it was about 4:00 pm, and I ran home to take Winnie out.”
Winnie is his 9-year-old pitbull-lab mix.
“I’m still a dog dad,” he chuckled. “Then I went to Pavilions and got a snack (chicken tenders) in between events and then on to the Council Chambers.”
Today was National Holocaust Day, and the Council Chambers featured the film ‘Shepard.’
“We presented a proclamation to the director, Lynn Roth, and welcomed the crowd,” Erickson said. “I couldn’t stay for the film but got a chance to meet the director and honor her, the film, and their amazing work.”
“I then went with my boyfriend (former WeHo Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace) to the Robert Burns poetry night. Burns, a Scottish poet, has an annual event, and we stayed till about 9 pm. We then went back to WeHo for the Blade awards. We (West Hollywood) won ‘the most LGBTQ-friendly city,’ ‘LGBTQ-friendly workplace,’ and accepted the award for regional WeHo pride, and presented an award to Vice Mayor Byers for most committed activist.”
“And then it was the end of the day, so I had to get home to see Winnie — who is soon to be the First Dog of WeHo in April when she gets her duties assigned. Winnie will also be the cat ally.”
“I fell asleep on the couch with all my clothes on and moved to bed a few hours later.”
“It fills me with great energy when people come up to me when they have an issue that we can work together on, or just say hi, or to meet their elected officials,” Erickson said. “I think the best part of the job is directly talking to people, meeting new people, giving them your card, and saying, ‘Call me. And I’ll call them back.'”
John Erickson was first elected to the West Hollywood City Council in 2020.
John M. Erickson was elected to West Hollywood City Council on November 3, 2020. He first joined the West Hollywood community in 2010 as an intern for the West Hollywood City Council. This experience led to his role as Council Deputy to former Mayor Abbe Land, followed by a position at West Hollywood City Hall, where he focused on LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, environmental issues, and civic engagement.
After his tenure at City Hall, Erickson worked as a Legislative Representative at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and currently holds the position of Vice President of Public Affairs, Communications, and Marketing at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. He is a former Vice Chair of the city’s Planning Commission.