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Candidates Showcase Stances at Forum

The nine men running for West Hollywood City Council discuss their positions on issues and municipal matters.

Candidates seeking a seat on the City Council met Wednesday at West Hollywood Park to present their views to voters.

A coalition of local resident associations co-hosted the event that was held in the park's auditorium. All nine candidates attended and spoke about issues such as public safety, traffic gridlock, parking and real estate development.

The forum, which was the only such event scheduled for the 2013 election season, was broadcast live on WehoTV and simultaneously streamed on the city's website. It will replay Sunday at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.

In response to a question that asked each candidate to list his top priority if elected, they answered in the following sequence:

Nick Garzilli: "My first priority ... would be to have a solar pride festival in West Hollywood Park. I've been proposing the city a PRT system, a solar person rapid transit network. We could put that up in the park and invite all these solar companies, and that would kickstart things."

Tristan Schukraft: "I would like to see more community involvement. My background is in technology, I think that people shouldn't have to come to city council meetings to become involved. I think that people should have an app on their phone where they can see the issues at hand, the bullet points, be able to vote, more importantly see how each city council member votes, so that there's real transparency and accountability. That would be my number-one and first priority—more community involvement."

Steve Martin: "I have a number of priorities. I think my first priority ... would be to re-establish civic engagement. We really need to bring this community together. We need to start creating consensus on the future of West Hollywood and figure out ways to preserve the wonderful culture we have here and the diversity we have here. We've got issues—we need more law enforcement, parking, but development's our biggest issue and I think we need to create new consensus on that."

Sam Borelli: "My first priority would be to bring back trust in our government, trust in the process and trust in our leaders. Citywide, there has been a lack of trust over many things like large development in our community, about a BB gun shooting in Plummer Park that nobody knew about, and it's time for our city to be more transparent and more open and sharing. I will work diligently to bring back trust to our community."

Mayor Jeffrey Prang: "I actually have a number of issues that I think are a high priority for the next four years. One is to continue to protect our neighborhoods—to protect historic preservation and to protect against overdevelopment. Secondly, we need to invest in public safety. We put a million dollars into public safety in the current budget. That's insufficient—we need additional patrols on the eastside and traffic enforcement. Thirdly, we need to expand our parkland. Laurel Park needs to be rehabilitated, and we need to invest in a new community-based plan for Plummer Park."

Christopher Landavazo: "My first priority would actually be in my community plan which is number one: civic engagement. Essentially what it really comes down to is listening to our community first and making decisions second. Through the implementation of a technology called 'Nixle' that would allow us to create what are called 'civic impact zones,' we'd be able to effectively go out there and ... (reach) people's phones, their emails, so that the public notice goes further than just posting something at the sheriff's station or over at City Hall and truly getting that dialog started with everybody in the community. I think that that right there is the key."

Councilman John Duran: "Eighty-five percent of our people live in either apartments or condominiums, and we have a real problem with housing infrastructure that is aging. We've designated over 80 properties as historically significant in the city, but the reality is so many more of our multifamily housing projects are now 50, 60, 70 years old and in dire need of infrastructure repair, whether it's electical, plumbing, roofing. And we have tenants primarily in rent-controlled units in each of these buildings that have to be protected at the same time. So I think the aging of our housing infrastructure would be the first priority."

Tom Demille: "I'm a proud resident of Palm Avenue. I've been there for 15 years and lived with AIDS for 15 years, and all the people that live in my building signed my nomination papers. So, I know the first thing that I have to do, and that is continue what Sal Gueriello did, and I would name Donna Sour as my deputy on day one. I would want to hit the ground running on senior issues and women's issues. We need things for pregnant mothers and children that are crossing our streets that are deadly—they were deadly two nights ago."

Rusty Wiggs: "One of my first priorties would be development. I think we need to look into and see if we have the appropriate infrastructure for all the new development that is happening. I think we need to look into including parks and community spaces into these new developments that are going to happen. And we need to promote ourselves on knowing what we're asking for with these new developments. I live in West Hollywood west, and we have a .5 overlay zone, which means you can only build so far on your property. I think these are good things to look at to include in a development that we're going to build."

Voters go to the polls March 5 to decide whether to re-elect Prang and Duran or select one or two of the challengers.

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Joe Taglieri February 08, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Someone at WehoTV said the candidate forum won't be archived on the city's website, but viewers/voters can request a DVD from the TV station: 323-848-6388, wehotv@weho.org
me February 08, 2013 at 04:48 AM
SORE LOSER John Duran, Interrups Speech and Storms Out of Meeting After Torie Osborn Wins AD50 Endorsement----------- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpKuf3nSXt4 CRAZY IS AS CRAZY DOES.....
me February 08, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Thanks Joe! CANDIDATE FORUM REPLAY SCHEDULE: The February 6th Candidate Forum will replay on WehoTV Channel 10 at the following times: Thursday, 2/7 @ 10:00am Sunday, 2/10 @ 10:00am Sunday, 2/10 @ 9:00pm Wednesday, 2/13 @ 9:00am Monday, 2/18 @ 7:00pm Friday, 3/1 @ 6pm For a DVD of the broadcast, please contact Kent Egenberger, CATV Supervisor at (323) 848-6593.
me February 08, 2013 at 06:28 AM
Candidate Forum Replay Schedule Posted Date: 2/7/2013 The February 6th Candidate Forum will replay on WehoTV Channel 10 at the following times: Thursday, 2/7 @ 10:00am Sunday, 2/10 @ 10:00am Sunday, 2/10 @ 9:00pm Wednesday, 2/13 @ 9:00am Monday, 2/18 @ 7:00pm Friday, 3/1 @ 6pm For a DVD of the broadcast, please contact Kent Egenberger, CATV Supervisor at (323) 848-6593.
George February 08, 2013 at 06:59 PM
So John Duran want to demolish the beautiful older duplexes around town and replace then with flimsy cheap apartments/condos with paper thin walls and shutty plumbing. The older might need some repairs but not torn down. The city likes ruining building places to rebuild ugly condos.
Mike Dolan February 28, 2013 at 10:00 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
George February 28, 2013 at 10:40 PM
DM - You may want to re-evaluate your facts. Miss Horvath was NOT re-elected despite a strong campaign. Heilman & Land undermined the voters and she didn't have to get elected as a council member. She got the job because she was friends with Land & Heilman. That was right when other more qualified residents would have like the opportunity to serve the community. I ONLY recently learned that our mayor, Jeff Prang had put the moves on an employee and the city of West Hollywood had to pay a settlement to this person. How he managed to keep his position is outrageous! He should have had to resign.
George February 28, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Also, those other two candidates who is is obviously suppose to support won't win. Tristan never goes to any of the meetings and being pretty is going to cut it. He could get the gay guys to vote fr him but there are way more people he would have to convive to vote for him. Just ask Heilman about that. I might vote for Sam and Steve Martin?

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