Ten candidates will chase three West Hollywood City Council seats in the 12 weeks between now and Election Day in March 2007, according to records obtained by WeHoNews from the City Clerk’s Office.
The three incumbents, current Mayor John Heilman, a law professor (22 years service), Mayor Pro Tem Sal Guarriello, retired businessman (16 years service) and Council member Abbe Land executive director of LA Free Clinic (15 years non-consecutive service) will stand for re-election to their seats.
Former City Council member Steve Martin (eight years service), attorney heads a West Hollywood Neighborhood Alliance (WEHONA) slate including artist/historic preservationist Heavenly Wilson and community ethics activist and retired businessman Ed Buck.
Four other West Hollywood residents without apparent ties to community groups also qualified for the March 6, 2007 ballot.
Contractor Jim Sorkin, a 13-year resident, actor Steve Koller (18 months) and Medical Administrator Shawn Hoffman (one year) all fulfilled the requirements necessary to gain a spot on the ballot.
The candidacy of internationally known lesbian author/publisher and free speech advocate, Patricia Nell Warren makes for the most intriguing turn of events. Ms. Warren authored “The Front Runner,” an iconic piece of LGBT fiction. She moved from Los Angeles to West Hollywood recently.
The campaign begins in earnest immediately after the holidays with public forums and debates being planned for February. West Hollywood Democratic Club and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce both customarily hold candidates’ forums, but neither organization has yet set a date; stay tuned to WeHoNews for their announcements.
WeHoNews solicited campaign statements from the candidates, and they appear here in the same order in which the names will appear on the March ballot.
Patricia Nell Warren
West Hollywood was founded out of a struggle against county bureaucracy and indifference towards the needs and concerns of our community. Today, we confront a new struggle against visionless planning, indiscriminate development, and increasing abandonment of the vision that we are a unique urban village.
West Hollywood faces huge challenges on the population, quality-of-life and affordable housing fronts, as well as the core needs of youth and elderly, small businesses, and our multi-cultural community. Certainly, such basic issues as parking and new development require serious examination and solid solutions.
As a former Los Angeles educational commissioner, businesswoman, volunteer teacher, human rights activist, investigative journalist, and internationally known author, I have the practical experience and creative insight to collaborate with other city council members to recapture the original vision for this city.
It is time we discard stubborn attitudes and unworkable policies in favor of fresh, creative outlooks and sensible solutions. It is time we focus on the real priorities, from population to parking. And it is time for West Hollywood to live up to our motto by being “the creative city” we set out to become in 1984.
Heavenly (Koh Kiok Tian) Wilson believes West Hollywood could be one of the world’s great cities – and she should know.
She lived and worked all around the world, before she settled here more than 25 years ago.
She became a founding member of the West Hollywood Neighborhood Alliance, WEHONA, to stop the rampant demolition of historic buildings and mass evictions of the City’s renters.
She is running to replace the pro-over-development members of city council, and is dedicated to bringing back a sense of “Village” to the community.
Mayor Pro Tem Sal Guarriello
As Mayor Pro-Tempore and a member of the West Hollywood City Council, I have always insisted that City Government be responsive to the community. I am not a career politician. I spent a career in business and have lived in West Hollywood over 40 years.
I bring experience and knowledge of our community to City Hall. I will continue to bring my plainspoken, straightforward, common-sense approach to the City Council.
Having served in World War II and being the only senior citizen on the Council, I know how to bring a tough, no -nonsense approach to government. I will always put the rights of all people and quality services for all as my primary responsibility.
Whether it is the need for more public parking, protecting tenants’ rights or protecting our neighborhoods from over-development, crime, and late night activities, you can count on me to be your advocate.
As the only full-time Council member, you can call on me any time at City Hall.
Mayor John Heilman and Council members John Duran, Abbe Land and Jeffrey Prang, as well as numerous commissioners, board members, community leaders and your many West Hollywood neighbors support my candidacy.
Please vote for me, Sal Guarriello, on March 6th.
Council member Abbe Land
As a West Hollywood City Council member, I want to continue my work that has made West Hollywood a model for progressive, innovative and effective municipal policy.
I am proud of my role in helping to make West Hollywood a leader in protecting our environment. I will continue working to provide affordable housing to seniors, families, the disabled and persons living with AIDS/HIV.
I will continue working with our Sheriff’s Department to reduce crime by increasing the effectiveness of our Neighborhood Watch programs and promoting bike and foot patrols.
I will fight to protect our residential neighborhoods by expanding park and recreation programs, managing traffic and parking and providing high quality social services.
My name is Jim Sorkin. You might know me as Jimmy the Painter or The Ceiling Master. I have lived in West Hollywood for 23 years and raised my family here.
West Hollywood is a growing city with arts and culture as its backbone. It is a place where we all should be able to prosper with a way of life unlike most others.
I am the People’s choice. I want rent stabilization. I want to establish more parking that is essential for all. I am for creative growth and want people to feel safe, and welcome. I want to create a city where everyone can say “I live in West Hollywood a place of unity and caring.”
We all want the opportunity to express ourselves and to keep our city clean, protected and secure. We want a place where children can learn the “good life” and enjoy recreational activities like Little League baseball. Where the elderly don’t have to wake up everyday and worry about their future. An environment that proclaims: “West Hollywood has open arms for everyone and wants them to know that they are wanted and cared for.”
Sorkin, “The People’s Choice.” Thank you.
I am running for West Hollywood city council so that I may support the community I have grown to admire and cherish over these past few years.
I really believe our community is a jewel that needs to be well cared for, and on display for others to enjoy. I believe my past endeavors and my will to serve others will enable me to meet the challenges that the position faces.
I trust in progress with respect for the historical significance of those who have come before us. I know that we, as a community, can learn from each other, and work with each other to make West Hollywood the best place to call home.
Former Council member Steve Martin
As part of the West Hollywood Neighborhood Alliance slate, we are working to save our urban village. We want to derail the City Council’s plans for oversized development along Santa Monica Blvd., stop the demolition of rent controlled units in our neighborhoods and make City Hall more inclusionary and receptive to new ideas.
We need to end the insider culture at City Hall were major decisions about the future of the City are made over dinner on the Strip between Council members and developers.
We want to great more green space and support the creation of “human scale” development that enhances rather than detracts from our quality of life.
Many of you have told me over these last few years that you felt that this city has lost its way. I agree with you. Development is out of control, parking and traffic are impossible and your quality of life is vanishing while your neighbors are being evicted.
And what has City Hall done? They have promoted the policies that have led to these problems. As one of you said, “They do to us, not for us.” Together we can stop them.
It is time for a new direction. I stopped the illegal impounding of towed vehicles by the city in 2004. I helped form WEHONA to give neighbors a voice in West Hollywood. I pledge to restore ethics to City Hall.
I will scale back development to look more like Sunset Plaza, not Sunset Millennium. I will stop the mass eviction of renters. I will promote the lifestyle you came here for by preserving our ‘small town in a big city’. And I’ll never sell you out for a campaign contribution.
Shawn M. Hoffman
He feels strongly about focusing on your concerns. As a show of intent, Mr. Hoffman will not be accepting huge sums of money from campaign donations.
His campaign has had several offers already. Mr. Hoffman will need a grass roots support from WeHo citizen organizations in order to get elected.
As a renter in this city for the past year, he is also fully equipped to deal with parking concerns and development issues with a fresh perspective at the table.
He will implement the best solutions by coordinating the most qualified individuals. (He will not make deals to enlarge his own pockets.)
It’s time to show West Hollywood that the average citizens voices count also. Mr. Hoffman is not a lawyer nor does he have any personal investment in any development projects. Fresh perspective on the council for the city’s issues is needed.
Mr. Hoffman is that perspective. If residents place him into one of the three open seats, they can be confident that someone will be facilitating solutions to their own concerns.
We hope that candidates will not try to discourage voters with suggestions that a non-lawyer or non-career politician is not capable of representing the city on the council. This idea is terribly wrong and a poor attempt at manipulating voters from placing a motivated and fully capable representative of the people onto the council.
Vote Hoffman for city council member in March. Vote Hoffman For You, the residents of the city.
Mayor John Heilman supplied no campaign statement.
Editor’s note: We would like to congratulate all of the candidates on their decisions to run for elective office and honor their decisions to serve our community.
WeHoNews reminds our readers that this is a true community-driven news, information and opinion source, and that we print every article and/or Letter To The Editor we receive from the public.
We invite, no, we implore you to involve yourselves in the electoral process by supporting your candidate(s) and their ideas by composing an op-ed or a Letter To The Editor on their behalf.
Two of the candidates now running for council seats have written regularly for WeHoNews, Patricia Nell Warren and Steve Martin, although Ms. Warren has not delved into city politics. Both the candidates have agreed to a hiatus for the duration of the campaign.
Anyone else committing to a twice-monthly column will be placed on the masthead as a contributing writer.
This being a new and easy to access “public square” in a town gone too long without one, WeHoNews has become a place to where those with something to say have gravitated.
We applaud your sense of civic participation and take great pride in the avidity with which you are using this vehicle. We look forward to seeing a vigorous debate on West Hollywood’s direction play out on these pages, and to hearing from each and every one of you.