Candidate Q&A: Sam Borelli

The public safety commissioner says he's 'the most uniquely qualified' first-time council aspirant.

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?

Sam Borelli: Both personally and professionally I would be described as open, thoughtful, considerate and determined. I have nearly 10 years of service to West Hollywood as a member of the Public Safety Commission, where I led the creation of the inaugural public safety education campaign Live, Work, Play: Be Safe. This important outreach and education tool covers everything from pedestrian safety, earthquake preparedness, identity theft, domestic violence, Internet safety and vehicle burglary prevention, which is on the rise in West Hollywood.   

I also have over 20 years of experience volunteering for numerous nonprofit organizations in various capacities including serving as board vice chair of The Trevor Project during its critical early years. Further, I ran a small business in West Hollywood, a home health care agency that provides caregivers to seniors and those in need. Currently, I am an independent consultant operating out of a home office, or my booth at Kitchen 24. Finally, I have worked with numerous departments and staff at West Hollywood City Hall and other local businesses as a member of the Avenues of Art, Fashion & Design Streetscape Working Group and as an independent consultant working with an organization that produces West Hollywood’s most economically advantageous event, LA Pride. All of this combined makes me the most uniquely qualified, nonincumbent, first-time candidate. 

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

Borelli: My responsibility as a West Hollywood City Councilmember is to be accessible to residents so that we can bring a focus on the real problems impacting our community then working collaboratively to find productive solutions. Far too many people feel that our city has become inaccessible and secretive with behind-closed-door deals and a lack of information flow to residents. And I agree. Universally, community members feel that they are treated like they are the problem and not part of the solution. Friends and colleagues know that I am a solutions-based thinker with a passion to make things better.   

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

Borelli: Among the issues of concern that I hear most from residents is over-development in areas that will negatively impact their quality of life and drastically alter the character of their neighborhoods. Coupled with that is a lack of trust by residents of current councilmembers, who are primarily funded by developers, will vote fairly on projects. Additionally, as mentioned above, critical information from city hall is not reaching residents. I hear this at almost every neighborhood watch meeting I have been to over the past 10 years, at many commission and advisory board meetings, at council meetings and recently at a few of the community study gatherings and as I have been out meeting residents during this election cycle.

This community wants to engage in the process and not be dictated to what is best for us. I believe that “required legal notice” may be acceptable for large cities but is unacceptable to a community that prides itself on being progressive. There are so many examples of projects or issues getting far along in the process before the community knows what is going on that ultimately backfires on the city and causes more time, staff resources and, often, legal action that has too many times cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a city, we can do better!

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?

Borelli: Thanks to the active residents that surround Plummer Park, and to the many users of the park, that faulty redevelopment effort was stopped in the nick of time. As I have said before, Plummer Park does need some TLC and enhancements but not the drastic makeover that completely would have changed its unique character, including the removal of many longstanding trees. 

The city recently went through a long, sometimes grueling, process to update the General Plan, so there has been community input on the type of uses we want and where they should be located. Therefore, I will work collaboratively with all stakeholders to implement the General Plan and oppose development agreements because they far exceed the zoning and only serve the interests of developers. 

Finally, I will drive the effort to utilize new technology to further engage residents with the city and update the city’s website, so it is much more user-friendly, push for advancement of a more proactive social media plan to better share information and, finally, televise and stream advisory board and commission meetings on an advanced online streaming system. We need to reach people where they are; home, work, smart phone, application, etc. 

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

Borelli: My first choice is not running in this election. In fact, I don’t know who my first choice will be in the next election but I am going to work to make sure that there is at least one, if not more, female candidates on the ballot next go around.

Over 28 years ago a united community came together to form West Hollywood—all genders, cultures, ages, sexual identities, ethnicities, abilities, nationalities and religions. We have some of the most fantastic, dynamic, creative, progressive women in our community and many serve on commissions, advisory boards, local nonprofits and in other various capacities that qualify them to be on the city council. The time has come for more balanced representation on our city council that more accurately reflects our diverse community. 

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me February 26, 2013 at 09:13 AM
WHAT A WUSSY PRANG IS!!!!....COULD ONLY HANDLE {{{{{{ONE DEBATE}}}}} Nir, I truly regret that Mayor Prang will be unable to attend your forum on Sunday evening. We have a major volunteer meeting that evening and the Mayor is committed to spend that time with is volunteers. He asked me to convey his sincere regrets to you. Steven Afriat steve@afriat.com
JJ February 27, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I wish I could vote for Sam. I was going to..until he endorsed term limits. We have term limits...they're called elections. If you don't like what someone has done..vote them out (like they did Martin back when). The reason most of the coucilmembers have stayed in office is because they have done a great job of moving the City forward. The small but vocal group pushing term limits are the ones that are doing everything they can to get in office but fail to get elected. Since Martin was booted out he has nothing positive to say. Every editorial piece he has ever done since getting sacked is negative and bad mouthed everyone he can (can we say "bitter loser" ...still after all these years). Kudos to Prang for doing a fine job all these years...and obviously the majority of the citizens of WEHO agree. Best of luck on election day Mayor Prang. (and @ me: even if you don't agree with someone...you can be respectful..Calling our Mayor names makes you sound like a third grader...grow up)
JJ February 27, 2013 at 05:59 PM
please note: Martin is not in office but is a private citizen acting in matter as I described. When someone is holding office and representing the people..they deserve respect even when you don't agree or like their policies. Period.
JJ February 27, 2013 at 06:00 PM
I respect Duran but do not agree he should stay in office. But I do not call him names. I respect the position he holds in our City.
me February 27, 2013 at 06:09 PM
that "small but vocal group" you mentioned are about 4,000 registered west hollywood voters who got term limits on the ballot to begin with, so it's funny that you try to belittle such a force with your silly comments...just over 6,000 total people voted in the last election so do the math...AND, if prang and duran were doing SUCH a good job as you state, why do you wish you could vote for Sam in the first place????....the biggest reason they stay in office is {{{{{{MONEY}}}}} from their developer cronies.....nobody has a chance with that kind of backing, hence TERM LIMITS!!!....but don't trust me folks, do your own homework and see who owns west hollywood (all campaign donations listed on the city website): DURAN: http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1120 PRANG: http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1065 NO ON C CAMPAIGN: http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1210
me February 27, 2013 at 06:11 PM
so go back up to your last comment, delete it, and re-write it
Mike Dolan February 28, 2013 at 09:56 PM
MUST READ!!! http://www.wehonews.com/z/wehonews/archive/page.php?articleID=7730 LOOK AT THIS TOO!!! http://wehonews.com/z/wehonews/archive/page.php?articleID=7731
A different Paul March 02, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Prang is the only candidate I am completely sure on- over the years he has consistently been there every time I have needed help from city hall. He is the one that you call if you want to get something done- get a pothole fixed or if a street light is out. He has stepped up and followed through on landlord issues. There have been times where I haven't agreed with him, but when I asked him he gave his reasoning and I better understood his perspective- lots of votes are complicated by more than is visible on the surface. He is a good guy who really does listen and act on it. Not yet sure who will get the other vote. Considering Martin... though he can be polarizing... I think Duran has done much that is good- I don't think he is a bad choice, but HATE the negative campaigning and I am inclined to get some new blood on the council. I am leaning more towards Christopher L at the moment. Having someone with a law enforcement background could be a useful perspective- he is a little slick in his delivery... still not seeing the human there... so still considering. not sure yet on the second vote. Still doing lots of reading. But definitely am supporting term limits. Incumbents have too great of an advantage, and it is good to get new blood in there upon occasion to at minimum bring in the next generation of leaders.
Rudolf Martin March 04, 2013 at 10:40 PM
@ A different Paul, I agree with most of that. pretty good assessment! we could do worse than Prang. I sometimes disagree with him but he is very accessible and listens to all residents. I think Prang will sail through anyways so he doesn't need my vote. And yes we NEED new blood. Christopher L is promising but needs to be a voice in the community for a while. Right now I'll go with Yes on Term Limits, Steve Martin and Sam Borelli. Contrary to what D'Amico says they both have been active in the community and are ready to go from Day 1!
Rudolf Martin March 04, 2013 at 10:46 PM
and from what I hear, Steve Martin and Sam Borelli are the only ones with a serious chance of winning.
Rudolf Martin March 04, 2013 at 10:47 PM
PPS: and I do respect Duran but not his negative campaign!
A different Paul March 04, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Yeah... the negative campaigning is turning me off too. Not yet sure which new blood yet gets my second vote.
Mike Dolan March 06, 2013 at 06:51 AM
What was that you heard Rudolf??? Rhetorical.
me March 06, 2013 at 07:33 AM
the council are already criminals, but the citizens of WEHO have decided that they don't want them to be CAREER criminals by voting yes on C....thanks for doing the right thing WEHO!!!


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