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?
Tom Demille: I think my ability to be approachable, I think my ability to be fair-minded and even-handed.
Patch: How would those characteristics and experiences define your term on the city council?
Demille: I think that my success on the city council would be determined by the amount of people that I would be able to bring into the process. And those are the people that have been pushed away for years, and been told to shut up for years, and have been sent home for years and haven't allowed them to be able to speak for years, and they've been ridiculed for years. All the people that have been pushed away, I'd like to bring back.
Patch: In your interactions with West Hollywood voters during the campaign, what were the top three issues they were most interested in?
Demille: Public safety, the oversizing of buildings—they don't want to have the canyonization of Santa Monica Boulevard, they don't want to have their light depreciated by putting up tall buildings and losing the light—and pedestrian safety, that's always at the top of the list. If you really want to talk about what's happening here, you have to mention about the quality of life that our seniors are living right now. What city council members are checking in on them? I live in a building where 40 people live with AIDS, and I know that we've lost 26 people in my building in the last 15 years. Twenty-six people have died in my building, and not one city council member has ever been to my house—not once not ever. And I'm proud to represent the 40 people that live here living with AIDS. I can't lose, I've got noting to lose and I'm not going away.
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?
Demille: The first would absolutely be the Desmond on San Vicente. That Desmond project was a Jeffrey Prang project, and it was terrible. It wiped out all those Craftsman historical houses. It was a beautiful street, and then they put the Desmond there and it's just terrible, high-density, imappropriate, kick-backs, who knows?
Patch: If you weren't running for city council, which one of the other candidates would be your first choice?
Demille: Sam Borelli because I think he posses what I have, and that is that he's been through the city for the last 20 years. He's participated in the Public Safety Commission for 15 years. He's been at all of the things that I've been at, which is all of the neighborhood watch parties over the years. I think that because of those qualities and the fact that he's been out in public and he's met the people, I think he's the perfect candidate.