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Candidate Q&A: Jeffrey Prang

The mayor says traffic and development issues top the list of Weho voters' concerns.

With the March 5 election fast approaching, candidates for West Hollywood City Council shared their thoughts with Patch on the election and issues affecting the community.

West Hollywood Patch: What personal characteristics and experiences set you apart from the other candidates?

Mayor Jeffrey Prang: I clearly have one of the strongest and diverse resumes in terms of providing a professional approach to governance. I have been an administrator for over 20 years in local, county and state government including three and a half years as a senior administrator in Pico Rivera. I have a unique and diverse yet professional resume that has well-prepared me to deal with the complex issues that we face in West Hollywood from Public Works, to budgeting, to legislative advocacy on behalf of the community. I have provided leadership in statewide municipal government, having served as the president of a statewide municipal organization, the California Contract Cities Association.

Personal characteristics that I offer the job—I'm patient, I listen. Every resident and every business in the city has something important to say, and the should feel that they've got a place to go to express their concerns as well as their hopes for the community. I believe that most people would agree that I'm accessible, I treat people fairly and with dignity, that I work hard to keep people informed and I put a lot of attention to making government work at the most detailed level for the people who live, work in and visit West Hollywood. I think I've got a well-earned reputation that when a lot of people call West Hollywood City Hall needing help from one of their elected officials, my office is the one that they call. 

Patch: How would those characteristics and experiences define your term on the city council?

Prang: I have a lot of ideas and goals of my own for the next four years, but probably one of the most important goals is to make certain that I am in sync with the needs and aspirations of the people who live in the city. I don't believe that I know everything and I don't believe that I have all the answers, but a key portion of my strategy is to make certain that I am keeping my thumb on the pulse of the community to ensure that their concerns and aspirations are part of my objectives.

The things that I hear from people every day is that they want a community with a high quality of life—they want low crime, walk-ability, neighborhood services, they want to enjoy the conveniences of urban living. But they're also concerned about pushing that envelope too far. Overdevelopment has changed the fundamental character of the city and the neighborhood, not only aesthetically but also in terms of parking and traffic and the neighborhood environment. I share those concerns, but I have some very specific objectives for the next four years. One of which is ensuring that we have adequate parking in the city to deal with our residential needs.

Parkland is also a very high priority for me. I have high hopes that Laurel, also known as Tara, is going be expanded into a neighborhood park resource like Kings Road Park. I want to see that through. Also, in the wake of the Plummer Park project now that the plan that was presented previously is now a moot issue, we need to go back to the drawing board and develop a plan that meets the city's needs as well as the community's needs and takes into consideration a lot of the issues that have been raised without the controversy. We need to come up with a dignified plan to rehabilitate that park in a manner that enjoys wide community support.

We're going to have to continue to invest in city infrastructure to make sure that our roads and facilities are well-maintained. We're going to have to start working toward the future working with the fire department about either improving the placing or enhancing Fire Station No. 8. We also have a lot of economic development opportunities and challenges. A couple of the hotels on Sunset will provide jobs and economic opportunity for the city, but they also present some challenges as well that will have to be mitigated.

Patch: In your interactions with West Hollywood voters during the campaign, what were the top three issues they were most interested in?

Prang: One thing that's very clear from going door to door—and I've been aggressively campaigning door to door since the first of the year—is people love West Hollywood. They like living there, they like the conveniences. They like the fact that there's restaurants and shopping, and it's a self-contained city where it's safe, where there's a sense of community. There's rich arts and cultural affairs opportunities, for senior citizens they are extremely grateful for all the services that help them lead a better quality of life for their elder years. People really like the city of West Hollywood, they like the services that they are provided and they're proud to be a part of the community.

The big issues that people are concerned about not only in West Hollywood but in Beverly Hills and all of the Westside of Los Angeles is traffic, traffic issues are still a concern. They are concerned about some of the developments that they believe will change the character of their neighborhoods and possibly bringing a number of impacts—all things that I have been talking about for many years and which have been reflected in the way I've voted on the city council.

Patch: When you look around West Hollywood, which project, development or ordinance approved by previous city councils would you like to see undone, reversed or changed in some way?

Prang: I would like to have seen the Desmond project on San Vicente, a project that voted upon early in my term of office, I think that project was not well-designed, and I think the opportunities that we gave up at that time on San Vicente were too many.

Patch: If you weren't running for city council, which one of the other candidates would be your first choice?

Prang: There's a lot of very fine, bright, capable people, they all love the city of West Hollywood and they each have something different and unique to contribute. I don't want to get into the game of deciding who would be best. Obviously if I were not running I would be looking at all the candidates very seriously to determine which ones reflect what's in the best interest of the city. I really think that every one of them cares about the city and wants to contribute to its growth and success.

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A different Paul March 02, 2013 at 07:29 PM
OK- perhaps it is a double standard- you are right- I am inclined to feel more sympathy for a woman in the same circumstances, and as a man I struggle to see how it got that far- but over the years there have been a number of men who have made passes at me and it is not that hard to say no- and there have been times when it has been someone I have worked for. To ask for 30,000 seems a bit much to me. I agree it was wrong on Mr Prang's part to create the circumstances. And it was right for the behavior to be publicly noted- which is the purpose of a payout. And it is right for you to point out my poor choice of calling him an opportunist- that has more to do with my stuff perhaps. I think it is possible to handle many situations without creating a lot of drama in the process. But, we all do a lot of stupid things in our younger years- and I am glad that I am not running for office. Hopefully we are all in a process of growth. In the big picture, I don't think any of the candidates are evil- all that I have met seem to have good intentions. It is not like the race we had a couple of years back where there was a clearer need to get a couple of folks out.
A different Paul March 02, 2013 at 07:47 PM
I guess it comes down to he is a pretty real person. He is not perfect or flashy. The Q & A above captures the person I have met really well. He is a good listener and understands the process of getting something done on a very practical level. He is interested in small things like potholes and will make sure that the appropriate person gets the info and he follows up to make sure it worked out. But sure there are a lot of other good choices out there as he points out above.
George March 02, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Everyone seems nice and responsible. Once upon a time John Edwards seemed like a nice guy to. It isn't until something leaks out about ones true character that you get a glimpse at who the real person is and not what he or she is pretending to be. Also, I had a boss make sexual advances towards me and I tried handling it politely because I liked the job but I finally had to put my foot down. I was fired shortly after. I didn't make a big deal about it but my point in mention it is that it isn't an easy thing to handle male or female. It happens to both.
me March 02, 2013 at 08:41 PM
I think you are beginning to see the light, but there are a few more points to be made...a man on man (or any unwanted advances) are a different story when they come from the workplace and are from a "higher-up"....there's a lot of fear, especially of retribution so i don't want to dismiss this fact....you said "to ask for 30,000" but we don't know the facts of the settlement at all....perhaps it was offered by the city as a gesture in hopes that it would all go away quietly, which it would have except weho resident and activist james fuhrman uncovered the payout when he acquired docs during a freedom of info request at city hall
me March 02, 2013 at 08:50 PM
WISH JAMES FUHRMAN WOULD BRING HIS "ONE MAN ETHICS COMMISSION" BACK TO WEHO: http://articles.latimes.com/2004/sep/21/local/me-ethics21
George March 02, 2013 at 08:57 PM
I'm sure had to case gone before a judge or jury West Hollywood wouldn't have liked that type of attention especially since one elected city official had already served time in prison a few years earlier. It was also I'm sure cheaper to pay this guy off rather then a costly legal battle. If it didn't happen and the guy lied then it should have be fought in court but apparently it was true since Prang admitted it.
Myra Friedman March 02, 2013 at 09:18 PM
this reminds me of an old joke...jesus was walking through town and enters a square where he sees a crowd of people stoning a woman. jesus asks what the woman had done to receive such brutal treatment. they townspeople replied that she was un pure, that she had committed sexual acts out of wedlock. jesus lifted his hand and said, "LET YE WHO ARE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE,". the crowd stops, but one old lady steps out of the crowd and hurls a large rock at the woman. jesus looks at her and says, "oh mom, sometimes you really piss me off!"
me March 02, 2013 at 09:44 PM
HAHAHA....LOVE IT...VERY FUNNY!!.....at the same time, i'm hoping your point isn't to minimize sexual harassment, is it?....surely not....ok....i answered myself....whew, that was a workout....
A different Paul March 02, 2013 at 09:58 PM
I have no doubt that something inappropriate happened. I have been in those situations- and it is possible to diffuse them with diplomacy and discretion. If I remember correctly there was alcohol involved. But I do believe that is not representative of who he is now. I don't know him well but I know him sufficiently to say that. I don't see another candidate that offers up his skill set or lack of ego. But all that said- I do appreciate hearing your thoughts whether I agree or not. My thoughts do evolve as I hear other points of view. I never want to be one who plugs my ears to anyone who thinks differently. These comment sections are always a fascinating place to see discussion. Kind of one of the wonderful things about the internet.
George March 02, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Myra, Was the woman running for elected city council? Just wondered.
David March 02, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Myra, This Jesus character you're talking about,is he the same guy I have often seen wearing sandals,a long robe and a beard walking around West Hollywood?
Myra Friedman March 02, 2013 at 11:32 PM
LOL! no, david. that guy's real name is brian. he's just a poseur ;^)
A different Paul March 03, 2013 at 12:45 AM
We need a "Sexy Jesus" contest here like they have in SF... might not be the same but it could still be fun.
George March 03, 2013 at 05:15 AM
So just to clarify, "A different Paul" understands wrong doing occurred while mayor Pang was in a drunken state when he made unwanted advances towards a city employee during a business trip together but still supports mayor Pang because you like him? What if it was your mother or your sister who was sexually harassed by mayor Pang? It displays lack of self control. What is also bothersome to me is that the city paid the victim money to make this go away. I ONLY recently heard about this. Her should have been fired back when this happened.
A different Paul March 03, 2013 at 05:48 AM
Well, he was not. And he has been re-elected many times since because he has helped a lot of people over the years who evidently keep the event in perspective. The behavior does not represent who he is now. He is good at what he does. I like him because he has been effective. You will believe what you like. Obviously you have never asked for his assistance. Those ordinary folks who he has helped over the years- and there have been quite a few- have chosen to keep him around because he does a good job.
A different Paul March 03, 2013 at 06:04 AM
With regard to your question about my mother and sister, if someone made "unwarranted advances" towards them, they'd say "no thank you" - even if it was their boss- and walk away. You are talking like he held a knife to someone and raped them. Kind of blown out of proportion- so no... though I might have a conversation with the person if it seemed useful, I would not brand them for the rest of their life.
me March 03, 2013 at 06:07 AM
i hear ya, but yur shit follows you for life i'm afraid
George March 03, 2013 at 08:07 AM
Having been a person in a situation like that before when I was younger, it wasn't possible to be nice about it and say you weren't interested. Some people don't stop. It's everyday despite say no over and over. I don't know this victim but I bet this happened over a period of time and came to a head on this business trip. Also, this happened a long time ago and was brushed under the radar with the pay off. I ONLY found out about it a few days ago. I wonder how many people who have previously supported our mayor are aware of how he treats people who work for him? I don't envy them that's for sure. It's no fun having a boss like that. It's very stressful! Shame on West Hollywood for not firing him back then. A little pat on the behind and paying off his wrong doing. That's not right.
George March 03, 2013 at 08:14 AM
As an example, there are plenty of good teachers in the world, priest etc...... and we know from the headlines what some of them are capable of doing. People have to be held accountable to bad behavior in positions of power.
A different Paul March 03, 2013 at 05:45 PM
I lived in the city at the time and it was pretty much a big scandal and everyone I knew was aware of it. It wasn't brushed under the rug. It was quite talked about in a small city like this. Perhaps you were not paying much attention to city politics at the time.
A different Paul March 03, 2013 at 06:02 PM
so, I've been scouring the internet for more info- and I just can't find any more details. I think you are blowing up whatever interaction occurred into something larger than it was. We live in a society where people's insurance pays out 30,000 for a fender bender. Whatever happened was inappropriate, and embarrassing to the city, but hardly on a par with "assault". He hit on an employee while drinking too much. It was juicy and embarrassing gossip at the time depending on the person gossiping. But hardly comparable to the rape references you keep suggesting.
me March 03, 2013 at 06:47 PM
that's really 1/2 true paul....they were aware of the sexual harassment (your word: "scandal"), but the payout to the victim WAS a huge secret, until activist james fuhrman uncovered it through freedom of info
me March 03, 2013 at 07:02 PM
perhaps not an assault per say, nor rape (which i can't find anywhere on this page)....but you still don't seem to get that it was unwanted sexual harassment and all of your emails keep trying to minimize what happened and brush it all off....first you tried to accuse the accuser, then you tried to say man on man harassment was essentially absurd, then you said the accuser "asked" for 30k....and now you're saying 30k is nothing....how much more are you willing to say to embarrass yourself publicly???....yes, it was a long time ago....has he learned his lesson?....lets hope so....but i'm still appalled at your ignorance and arrogance on this topic....i'm not sure anyone is trying to get you to change your vote here....btw, 30k back then is more like 42k today....here's a link to the LA Times article....the settlement was after this was printed: http://articles.latimes.com/1999/oct/05/local/me-18851
George March 03, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Ask anyone who has ever had that type of thing happen to then in that fashion, business trip etc..... It isn't a small thing. In the early 2000's, I was living in San Diego for a period of time and did not pay attention to local politic's outside of where I was living at that time. It wasn't like now with Patch covering these stories. I think it would be nice to hear our mayors side of the story. The LA times has him admitting and apologizing for his behavior. No mention of him getting therapy for his issues of self control. He should have had to pay that money to the victim himself NOT the city. Maybe he did? Now that it has been brought up the people like myself who live here would like an explanation straight from the horse's mouth about this. It is troublesome to support someone who abuses there power in such a way. What else is going on that we don't know about. I'm a firm believer in transparency.
George March 03, 2013 at 07:20 PM
I see after reviewing the coverage of this unfortunate incident that supposedly mayor Prang( as he insists on being referred to apparently?) has had counseling to curb his behavior. He still should have been relieved of his position.I can ONLY hope he had to pay back the city for that settlement to the victim.
A different Paul March 03, 2013 at 10:34 PM
The city payout was known about at the time. Mr Fuhrman was digging up and "discovering" old news. It was hardly hushed up. I am not embarrassed at anything I have written. Jeffery Prang is a good man and has been an effective council member for our city and has helped a lot of people over a long period of time. I am just going to leave it there- you can think what you like.
me March 03, 2013 at 10:51 PM
i just find it funny that suddenly you remember all of the details.....fuhrman blew the lid off of it with his find....and i'll leave it at that
George March 03, 2013 at 11:04 PM
A lot of sex offenders are good at there jobs to I'm sure. Does that mean they to should be able to hold positions of power over people? I don't believe so. People are so funny at things they over look when given factual information. Like Carl Mahoney the disgraced pastor of the catholic church. He still gets to help select the new pope despite covering up catholic priest who molested children.
me March 03, 2013 at 11:12 PM
i'm sure you didn't mean to equate sexual harassment with a sex offender, but i get your point about keeping their jobs....the rest of us would be kicked to the curb if we did this in the workplace....also, i think you mean cardinal roger mahony, yes?
George March 04, 2013 at 05:13 AM
Yes, I meant Rodger. M

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