My name is George Nickle and I am running for West Hollywood City Council. Our city is many things. It is a place of unique neighborhoods and creative small businesses. It is a destination for people from all over the world who are drawn here by our embrace of diversity and our big bold celebrations of it. It is our home. But primarily, West Hollywood is important.
The City was founded to protect renters’ rights, to provide a safe haven for the LGBT community, and to have control over its own destiny. The focus was on the city, not individual political aspirations or personal agendas. I am running because I think the city is going in a direction that does not align with our core values and benefits neither our residents nor our businesses.
In recent years, Council majority has addressed issues with “black or white” thinking under the guise of being “progressive.” In actuality, it is divisive because it pits workers against businesses, housing advocates against climate advocates, and outside special interests against long-time residents. And it gives enemies of true Progressive policies ammunition to use against us, while solving nothing.
It is just not how life works and it has left many residents feeling that they are not being heard. The city needs to get back on track. That is why I’m running. I am running because I love this city and it is worth fighting for.
I am not a politician. I do not plan to use a seat on City Council as a steppingstone for higher political office. I just want what you want – a safe place to live where residents and businesses can thrive. To do that we must make West Hollywood more Affordable, we must get Back to the Basics, and we must redirect our focus on Community Livability and Safety.
Affordability issues have impacted both residents and businesses. Housing is unaffordable. We must work to protect existing affordable units and advocate for a one-to-one replacement of all rent stabilized units, which are being demolished, to be affordable. Yes, we need more housing –but we need housing that is affordable, not more luxury units. I will push for lobbying efforts to make small cities like West Hollywood, that have met their RHNA goals, to be exempt from State control over housing and development in our city. We must regain control over our own destiny.
In the last few years, we have seen a Hotel Ordinance passed without allowing the hotels to come to the table, and we have seen a wage ordinance (especially PTO) implemented that is forcing small businesses to raise prices and cut personnel and/or hours. While respecting gains in the minimum wage, and with the input of small business owners and workers, we must reform the parts of the ordinance, like the Paid Time Off provisions, which harm local businesses and raise costs for residents.
Back to Basics
Our city needs to get back to basics, and that starts with commonsense governance. Back to Basics doesn’t mean going backwards or losing the progress we’ve made. It means recapturing why our city was founded.
In a time when our institutions at all levels of government are under attack by extremists it is imperative that West Hollywood lead by ensuring Transparency in government, which requires the trust of the people to function. Residents have become skeptical of the hiring practices at City Hall, and the influence developers have over staff and councilmembers. I will fight for Ethical Reforms aimed at regaining the trust of residents and ensuring that the very best and most qualified people run our city.
Let’s get back to doing the real business of the city: providing public safety, protecting rent stabilized units, delivering outstanding services to our residents and businesses, and being fiscally responsible.
Community Livability and Safety
The most sacred duty of any elected official is to ensure the safety of the people they serve. They cannot guarantee that safety, but it is their responsibility to make it their top priority. When Council majority voted to cut 5 Sheriff’s deputies, they put the public’s safety at risk. When Council majority decided that “ambassadors” (non-sworn personnel) could fill the gap, they, again, put our public safety at risk by privatizing public safety.
Just as I predicted, it is not working.
Yes, those who voted to cut deputies “to save money,” or “to get more guns off the street,” or “to defund the police” recently reversed their votes. But they have only done so because it is politically expedient in an election year.
I am currently serving on the City’s Public Safety Commission, appointed by Councilmember Lauren Meister. Like Councilmember Meister, I believe for a city to be livable, people need to feel safe. I am proud to have been endorsed by ALADS, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, which currently represents more than 8,000 sworn law enforcement officers.
Livability is also on the ballot and that covers a lot! We all want to live, work, and play in a city that is safe, affordable, walkable, clean, and green.
With overdevelopment, homelessness, loss of green space, dangerous e-scooters on our streets and sidewalks, the annoyance of delivery robots, vacant storefronts and approved projects sitting idle for years, West Hollywood has become noticeably less “livable.” With inappropriately large developments applied for under the Builder’s Remedy threatening to destroy our neighborhoods and attempts to remove parking spaces and car lanes on Fountain Avenue, it will get even worse.
A “take no prisoners” approach by Council majority has backfired. It has prevented solutions that everyone can live with. It has prevented real progress. Decisions must be driven by data and based on facts.
My husband and I have lived in West Hollywood for 19 years, renting a duplex on the Eastside. It is the longest I have ever lived anywhere in my life. This is our home and I care for its future. While I do not have all the answers, I do have an in-depth understanding of the problems. I am
looking forward to talking with all of you – to listening to your ideas and to working together to come up with commonsense solutions for our city. Because it is your home too and public servants are your employees. Unlike many of them, I promise not to forget that.
I want to earn your support and, come November 2024, your vote.