Dot com entrepreneur and former international model Tristan Schukraft publicly announced his candidacy for West Hollywood City Council last week.
The political newcomer pledged to channel his business acumen into effective governance as he embarks on his first run for public office.
"As a member of the West Hollywood City Council I'm ready to take my business experience and my passion for West Hollywood to make our city even better," Schukraft said at the Dec. 17 council meeting.
At age 21 Schukraft founded ID90.com, a website that offers travel bargains and discounts for airline employees. A $10,000 loan from his parents and another $16,000 from selling scooters at Southern California flea markets provided the website's start-up capital, and the business grew to employ more than 100 people on four continents with nearly 30 hospitality-industry clients around the world.
"It’s time for change, new ideas and transparency," Schukraft said in a statement. "I’m not part of West Hollywood’s political establishment, but I think this will work in my favor, for I feel the residents of West Hollywood are looking for change."
Schukraft seeks to increase the level of community involvement in city politics, and using technology to reach people is key, he said.
"We are the creative city, yet we are not leveraging the ideas of our residents, and many in our community are simply not encouraged to be involved," Schukraft said. "I want to utilize technology to bring people and their ideas together, while improving access to our city services. West Hollywood needs to be a leader, not a follower when it comes to technology and community involvement."
Schukraft also said the West Hollywood community should "embrace and support its local businesses, while respecting the needs of its residents and enhancing the quality of life for all."
Schukraft, 33, is a Los Angeles native who lives in West Hollywood with his boyfriend and two dogs. He has lived in Milan, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Cordoba, Argentina.
His campaign website has launched, but the single Internet page that reads "Vote for Tristan city council 2013" indicates it's still a work in progress.
The election is March 5 and features two incumbents—Mayor Jeffrey Prang and Councilman John Duran—fending off challenges from Schukraft and six other candidates.