County Dems Oppose Weho Term Limits

The party chairman calls Measure C "divisive" and Republican-led. The term limits chief says the party is worried about the initiative's chances of success.

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose term limits for West Hollywood City Council members.

At the party's monthly meeting in mid-Wilshire more than 200 county Democrats gave a thumbs down to Measure C, which seeks to put a 12-year cap on Weho council service.

"West Hollywood is a city with a strong economy, sound budgetary practices and responsive city services because of the strong and stable leadership at City Hall," party Chairman Eric Bauman said in a statement. "Measure C is a divisive measure funded and led by Republicans and failed candidates for city council in an attempt to limit voters’ ability to vote for candidates of their choice and to bar experienced leaders from serving the city."

Lauren Meister, chairwoman of the Yes on Measure C Committee, said the county Dems and local organizations such as the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Democratic Club and rent control advocacy group Coalition for Economic Survival are "desperately afraid" that term limits have a good chance of passing in March.

"If we follow their logic, they would never have any new faces on council because the city might fall apart—in fact, maybe they'd like to do away with elections, period," Meister said. "City employees make sure the city runs. City services are not dependent upon any one individual council member."

Larry Levine of West Hollywood Voters for Choice, a group organized to oppose Measure C, echoed Bauman's claim that elections should center on voter sentiment rather than term restrictions.

"If voters want to remove a council member they have that option every time that official runs for re-election," Levine said. "If they think a particular individual is doing a good and responsible job, they should have the ability to re-elect that person no matter how long he or she has been in office."

Bauman told Patch the Measure C campaign is the work of Republicans such as John Fleischman, a former state Republican Party official, and political consultant Scott Schmidt, a former council candidate who led the petition drive to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

"One might call this not 'term limits,' but 'sour grapes limits," Bauman quipped in reference to Measure C supporters who are current and former council candidates. "The fact that a group of people couldn't get elected is not a reason to try to impose term limits."

Meister, a former West Hollywood Planning Commission member who has run unsuccessfully for city council, defended her group's membership and consultants. She claimed the term limits initiative is nonpartisan and that most of the 3,500 Weho voters who signed the petition to get Measure C on the ballot were Democrats.

"Ah, yes, our campaign consultant Scott Schmidt is a Republican—he is also a West Hollywood resident, he supports marriage equality and he won an award for his work against Prop. 8," Meister said. "The reality is, campaign contributions from special interest groups make for less competitive elections and dissuade well-qualified people from seeking office. Our current five council members are not the only experienced leaders in the community. And if they really think that they are the only people who are qualified to be on city council, then we better buy some crowns."

The March 5 election features two incumbents—Mayor Jeffrey Prang and Councilman John Duran, who have each served for more than a decade—against seven other candidates. If voters enact Measure C, the first of maximum three four-year terms would begin for members elected in 2013 and beyond.

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Michael Mooney January 14, 2013 at 08:15 PM
LA County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman serves his Costa Nostra in the WEHO City Council when he falsely claims that it's the Republicans who are behind a term limit bill that is mostly supported by Democrats. What a shame that the Democrat Party Chairman is a liar. He shames the Democratic Party. In West Hollywood there are probably five times as many Democrats supporting term limits as Republicans, just because there aren't that many Republicans living here. Term limits are meant to break the hold that incumbents automatically have, because statistics show that they have an advantage in getting re-elected. Don't let Bauman fool you. He's abusing his position as Dem Chairman trying to mislead Democrats to take "sides," which makes him a bit of a rat. Seeing corrupt, deceptive Democrats like Bauman in action is why I'm an Independent that supports term limits in West Hollywood.
Chloe Ross January 14, 2013 at 10:15 PM
I would like to have Scott Ferguson explain why he singled me out by name for (misspelled) hypocrisy? How is it that I am a hypocrite and why use my name? I stand by my claim that in the state and federal governments we have term limits that start with the White House. Are they vote stealing as well. My suggestion: if the idea of term limits does not appeal to a voter then he or she should not vote for it.
me January 14, 2013 at 11:04 PM
AMEN SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:07 PM
David, I own a nice townehouse and I love my section 8 neighbors. Can you please correct your second sentence so we know what you're saying?
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Charlie, term limits will severely restrict your ability to elect superior candidates, and it will force you to accept inferior ones. Either way, even if C passes -- which it won't -- no one is out for another 12 years (someone correct me if I've read things wrong here)
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:15 PM
A.) If you applaud everyone who tries to run, you wouldn't support C. B,) 3000-4000 needed to get this on the ballot is not a majority. Your third paragraph implies a majority -- which you do not have. Only the vote will tell you that. Let's stay accurate and keep actual facts at the forefront of this, please. The majority has voted for a current Council as is.
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Gentlemen AND ladies. :) Agreed they need to stay off our lawns!
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Agreed outsiders need to stay outta this. Word.
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:18 PM
3500 is nowhere near a majority in this city. Its about 12% of the voting populace yeah?
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Again, the downside is that voters are FORCED to choose potentially inferior candidates. West Hollywood is a unique gem with first-in-the-nation liberties and civil rights like the first Transgender Advisory Board. We're in the black. We're one of the most desirable neighborhoods IN THE WORLD. Our current council has done a great job getting us here and I want my right to re-elect them upheld.
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Uhm, sorry Charlie, but how many Section 8 people do you know? I've been here since they start PROTECTING Section 8. You're wrong here, dude.
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Well said Craig. Riley -- trace the history of the C movement and you'll discover what he means.
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:28 PM
The informed, intelligent, and passionate long-term residents of West Hollywood have a chance ever two years. The majority love our Council. Terms limits will only bind our hands.
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Well Paul, we have at least three people like Steve on the Council now. I agree with you we should keep them.
Patric Z January 14, 2013 at 11:32 PM
And Elyse, I'm glad there's a strong Jewish populace here. My neighbors invited me to share Shabbat with them. How awesome is that? May you live a wonderful long life.
Riley January 15, 2013 at 12:19 AM
@Patric Z - One does not need a "majority" to put something on the ballot. I think you need 10% of the registered voters. Vote Yes on Measure C - Term Limits needed around 2,300 as there are 23,000 registered voters. There are only 35,000 people in the City and you do not base it on total population.
Riley January 15, 2013 at 12:33 AM
@Patric Z. - In your mind, who are the three people on council who are "like" Steve Martin?
George January 15, 2013 at 09:57 PM
After the Plummer Park fiasco, the elderly people who utilize that park along with everyone else who supported the current council member had there eyes opened to how little concern they have for us. They are more concerned with making West Hollywood a mecca for tourism and development. They don't care about residents needs.
George January 15, 2013 at 10:16 PM
These council member are good at spending $$$ and building unnecessary structures but as far as addressing the people needs they don't care. They listen and it goes in one ear and out the other. They feel they know whats best. When you do speak up loudly like with the Plummer Park fiasco you get spoken to harshly in a mean manor. ie John Duran.
Riley January 17, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Hey! I have an idea! The current City Council members aka the incumbents, John Duran and Jeff Prang, are always saying "We have term limits, they are called elections. If you don't like the council people vote them out." GREAT IDEA! let's folllow their advice! VOTE THE INCUMBENTS OUT on their own suggestion! Yeah! VOTE THEM OUT, that's the ticket! Vote for STEVE MARTIN AND SAM BORELLI FOR WEST HOLLYWOOD CITY COUNCIL ! Reply
GoodGriefCharlieBrown January 18, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Riley, I think you nailed it but tis my belief that only one of the incumbants will go this time around. I think Steve Martin & Duran will win this one. In my opinion, Prang's rants sound like a broken record and he is just as useless. I honestly can see absolutely no reason why anyone would vote for Jeffrey Prang other than his name might be familiar on the ballot.
George January 18, 2013 at 06:02 AM
Really? I would think the way John Duran lashed out at the folks who protested the Plummer Park renovations that alone would be the nails that seal his fake as continuing making poor decisions regarding the city of West Hollywood. I agree one will go(hopefully) but the reality is they all stink! The way the one who was suppose to a breath of fresh air turned on us early on after he fired long time resident Lauren Meister who was working under him for no apparent reason. He lost my confidence after that. Sadly, he's around 2 more years but next time hopefully all of Lauren's supporters will remember his cold heart. (I did not say snake)
Seriously?? January 25, 2013 at 09:14 PM
I wish we could vote regarding City Manager. Arevalo needs to go & should be replaced by a competent Manger and enforcer. The new breed of Apartment Owners are getting away with murder, using their well experienced Attorneys' to engage in by passing mediation and going straight to court, because 9 times out of 10...it is just about the $. West Hollywood employees and council are shamefully silent, even though they are well aware it is a big problem. They just figure most people are to humiliated and traumatized to speak out. As far as our "bond rating", I wonder what an outside audit for both financial and management compliance would reveal? How is it the lowest full time position (receptionist) in the city starts at $50k per year?
Rudolf Martin January 28, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Reasonable people can disagree on term limits but in the case of our city I would support them. However, I find Mr. Bauman's polemic statement outrageous, obviously he is unfamiliar with the facts. A positive side effect of having term limits on the ballot is that they already seem to ruffle some feathers and will increase voter participation. If eight years is enough for the President of the United States then surely a small town council member can step aside after twelve years of service. Three of them won't even respond to letters and phone calls from residents anymore.
Riley January 28, 2013 at 10:18 PM
@Rudolf you state "Reasonable people can disagree on term limits..." and you are so right, but then "reasonable people" speak to each other as well and work things out. WeHo has a long-term Council Member who will not speak to the newest Council Member. Can this be good public service? Here's the article: http://www.wehoville.com/2013/01/23/watch-heilman-wont-shake-damicos-hand-at-council-meeting/
Rudolf Martin January 28, 2013 at 11:19 PM
@Riley: yes, hopefully reasonable voters will relieve this unreasonable council member from his own misery and give him the boot next time he asks for yet another term. one more thought about the asinine comments by Eric Bauman: does anyone in their right mind really think that Steve Martin is pining away for the 2025 election? he's running now in 2013! and with Duran's unpopularity at an all time high, he will probably get elected. the term limits he supports are not helping him whatsoever.
Stephanie January 29, 2013 at 12:42 AM
@Rudolf and @ Riley...Speaking of reason I just read a quote from Thomas Paine: "To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture." In dealing with our small town administration I have more than once felt as if I was being held in contempt. Try bringing up term limits with these people and you basically get shot down. I urge everyone to vote, get your neighbors to vote and vote YES on C on March 5th. You can actually pledge to VOTE YES on C by going to: http://www.wehotermlimits.com/pledge_to_vote But go to the polls on in March and...V-O-T-E
George January 29, 2013 at 06:39 PM
It is my understanding that if the term limit measure does indeed past and become law that it goes into effect then but it does not effect John Heilman 25 years he has already served as a council member. That means he can serve 12 more years after the measure passes, if it passes? Not sure why Heilman wants to remain on council as he seems so miserable?
Rudolf Martin January 30, 2013 at 06:10 AM
why do we need changes at city hall when we have "the highest standards of ethics in local government" as demonstrated in this priceless new story: http://www.wehoville.com/2013/01/29/council-members-reimbursed-city-for-credit-card-expenses-in-october/#comment-1021


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