Council approves mayor’s trip to Paris in 4-1 vote

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Le maire va à Paris.

In a 4-1 vote on Monday night, City Council approved funding for the Mayor John M. Erickson to travel overseas to accept the handoff of the torch for Pride House, which the city is trying to host during the upcoming Olympic Games.

Controversy arose around the item because Erickson and his colleagues had approved a proposal only one week earlier that specifically excluded members of the Council from attending the event.

“There seems to be a lot of hubbub about this item,” Erickson said. “I was invited, and there is a process that we all have agreed on, and I sent it to our city manager right away, saying I was invited to do this. This is the process for which we’ve all agreed to, and so that’s why we’re doing it in public and transparent, and nothing to hide here.”

Councilmember Lauren Meister was not supportive of the item.

“I think that we approved an item at the last meeting that specifically said having people go to Paris was not for councilmembers but for being able to observe what Pride House does, and be able to duplicate it in some way here,” Meister said. “My feeling is, if we’re doing this for marketing purposes to market the city of West Hollywood, then the people who should be going are our visitor and marketing bureau. That’s who should be going, and they pay for their own trips, so it wouldn’t be on our dime, it would be on their dime. ”

Councilmember Sepi Shyne disagreed.

“We are the LGBTQ city, and we are an international city, and we actually approved a very similar trip because of a partnership to Italy with the mayor, and so I actually don’t see how this is any different than that,” Shyne said.

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Public commenters Nicholas Roybal and Alan Strasburg noted the optics of the situation.

“The chronology of the so-called invitation are clearly a manipulation that was concocted after this council placed a prohibition on councilmember participation in the pride house delegation,” said Strasburg, translated from the French he delivered it in.  “This represents an abuse of the public trust that residents place in the servants elected to represent their interests in sound municipal governance.”

“We’re having conversations about the mechanics of government and the transparency of government,” Roybal said. “We talk about how funds are allocated between councilmembers, how each gets $10,000, $50,000, how rhetoric can easily be created and spread, and misinformation and disinformation gets created in the world. So how do we fix that? That’s a question I think to the city manager’s office and our comms team in terms of communication transparency.”

Roybal suggested the mayor check in via daily vlogs during the trip.

“Just bring the community in with you, and I think that will help, could help diminish certain spaces of tension,” he said.

Erickson lauded the process before motioning to approve the item. 

“We put it on an agenda, and we said, ‘Come talk about it,’ and we’re seeing that discourse right now,” said Erickson, who noted that he was first out LGBTQ athlete at his college and the first out athlete to be a national champion in men’s volleyball. “I think that’s actually the most beautiful part about this is that we actually invite this type of dialogue and feedback. So, frankly, I think other apps and other actions around it are just trying to be taken out of context.”

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The Only Sane One Left
The Only Sane One Left
14 days ago

Sorry if I’m confused but I thought the Olympics were about athletic performance on the field and not about how the athletes conduct their private lives. I can understand if the City was to financially assist a local resident who is competing in the Olympics but why are tax dollars being diverted from essential city services to promote personal sexual activities in France? Local businesses are closing, crime is rising, potholes need filling, schools need fixing, people are living in tents on the sidewalks… and we are paying for a visit to Pride House in Paris????? Will our entourage’s per… Read more »

john
john
14 days ago

I made an inquiry into the letter that was addressed to Mayor Erickson and City Council. The letter head was under Fier-Play. They are not the chosen organization Pride House International partnered for all US Pride Houses. The organization is Out Athlete Fund. They stated they have already partnered with West Hollywood to hold the signature event at West Hollywood Park in 2028. They also stated that Pride House France knows of all this and that it cooers the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. They also stated their first major event is an official handover… Read more »

Carleton cro9nin
20 days ago

Just the other night I was wakened by the appearance of the spirit of James Michel Curley, the one-time mayor of Boston, The spirit said it was concerned that so many people with very little life experience were taking control of my wee municipality. “They have no finesse, are so ham-handed, said the spirit. “They have yet to learn that if you want to take, you must also be able to give as well. It’s called misdirection – and it works with a gullible public. They should start to learn by reading The Rascal King.” Curley brought Boston to the… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
20 days ago

I have to agree. The biggest problem with our current Council majority is that they don’t know what they don’t know. They all lack any neighborhood insight due to their lack of history in neighborhood issues. Erickson’s experience as a City Hall intern is a two edge sword as he has an insider attitude from the old Heilman-Land era where the belief was that staff was always right. That is a real disadvantage in a time when staff lacks leadership and direction. They seem quite impressed with their own “credentials” and have not learned that the art of leadership begins… Read more »

voter
voter
21 days ago

This grifter is too cheap to pay for his own vacations and very skilled at wasting other people’s money. The city has gone to hell since he was elected.

Morty
Morty
21 days ago

When people need to be dishonest about the true cost of something then you know it’s probably a bad idea. There is no way this trip will cost $5-6k for a week to Paris during the Olympics. I will be surprised if this trip doesn’t cost WEHO tax payers at least $30,000 or more. It’s fine to propose the expenditure and vote on it but he should have used real numbers for the cost not fake numbers. At the end of the day it just makes him look dishonest if the true costs are 5 or 6 X what he… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
20 days ago
Reply to  Morty

As I recall, it is not just the mayor but rather a City “delegation” so your estimate may be conservative. The City is going to have to serve a lot of carrots at City events to offset the carbon foot print of this trip.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
21 days ago

I knew that Sepi and Chelsea were going to guarantee Erickson’s freeloading stunt.
Tit for tat… You should pardon the expression
I was surprised, however, at Heilman’s comments. But whatever…
I hope that Erickson goes to Paris, sees how beautiful their streets and sidewalks are, and how easy to traverse without worrying about tripping over or being run down by scooters. Then I hope he comes back here and his eyes are opened to how trashy he, Sepi, and Chelsea have made ours!

Last edited 21 days ago by Mikie Friedman
WokeIsBS
WokeIsBS
21 days ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

The pathetic clown Ericson will prancing all over the place to get reelected BUT the one thing we can do is totally vote Shine out and never have to look at her face again.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
21 days ago

How can anyone supposedly with a job and also a Councilperson, have so much free time, to take off what will surely be a full week or more for utter nonsense. If the City has so much spare money laying around for this, I hope they have enough extra money stashed away somewhere to commission a study of exactly and precisely how much money was generated and came back to the City because someone saw John Erickson performing a circus-like stunt for about five seconds. My prediction is about zero dollars.

:dpb
:dpb
21 days ago

This should have been a hard NO. This man is a damn freeloading grifter. Have fun in Paris, you will not be in office after the election cycle and this will all have been for NOT.

WaspInWeho
WaspInWeho
21 days ago

Finally, let’s come together and Sue this collection of political hacks for breach of public trust. Especially the dreadful Shine, the ridiculous Ericsson, and horrible Byers.

Long Time Resident
Long Time Resident
21 days ago
Reply to  WaspInWeho

How many times have we heard this? Yet nobody does anything. If you want to sue them, get it started and stop saying this!

Robert Switzer
Robert Switzer
20 days ago
Reply to  WaspInWeho

There is no private legal action for breach of the public trust. You could start a recall petition.

Sam
Sam
21 days ago

Very disappointed with this city council.

JF1
JF1
21 days ago

Anywhere else in the world he would like to visit on our dime?

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
21 days ago

This whole discussion, including some of the public comments, reminds me of a high school French class. I’m sure we can expect that everyone will be dragging out their best French phrases in honor of the Olympics…cringe! An election year is bad enough. If you aren’t French, or at least raised in a Francophone country, clam it!

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