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BLOG: Dissecting Mayor Prang’s Ego

Have Jeffrey Prang's long years in office warped his perspective of whom he is supposed to be serving?

First, you must read about Mayor Jeff Prang’s comments to the New York Times for their article, “At Least Fun in the Sun Isn’t Banned. For Now...”

This may be a bridge too far for many of the citizens of West Hollywood, even the staunchest defenders of Jeff Prang.

Let’s dissect Mayor Prang’s remarks to the NYT about the propensity of our City Council (him) to “ban” all manner of products, business practices and personal behaviors… shall we?

“Somebody has to take a stand,” said Prang told the New York Times.

“We don’t ban things on a whim. It’s about impacting public policy more broadly; other cities follow us, partly because it gives them cover.”

Prang went on to say that progressive groups looking to start grass-roots movements come to the state’s more liberal towns like West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Berkeley because they are more receptive to activist ordinances.

It is said that a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Well, you have to give Mayor Prang credit for telling the unvarnished truth.

Oops!

Where in his comments do you find his argument for doing these things because of the outcry from the West Hollywood citizens he represents?

I’ll answer that. You find that “no where” in his arguments. It’s like he’s talking about a grand estate that he owns where he’s free to enact whatever he pleases without the constraints of those other poor cities that can enact only what their citizens want.

He’s doing it to take a “stand.”

I would suggest it’s his OWN stand, not the stand of his constituents.

He’s doing it because “It’s about impacting public policy more broadly; other cities follow us, partly because it gives them cover.”

Well, isn’t that special? OUR City Council member considers his duty to be… influencing public policy for everyone everywhere by putting that policy in place in our tiny City where he can get away with it… giving cover to other cities. Seriously? It’s his job to give elected officials in other jurisdictions cover from their own constituents?

And, the best reason (translation: most offensive) he gives for doing it is: Prang went on to say that progressive groups looking to start grass-roots movements come to the state’s more liberal towns like West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Berkeley because they are more receptive to activist ordinances.

This is EXACTLY how West Hollywood residents’ voices are drowned out time and time again. The special interest groups bring in their money and their activists from everywhere BUT West Hollywood to tell OUR City Council members what laws they should enact upon the residents of West Hollywood. And who does Jeff Prang listen to? Well, he just told you who he listens to… and it’s NOT us!

In Service of City or Self?

So, after Jeff has said this all so plainly, who do you believe he is serving… the residents and businesses of West Hollywood or his own over-inflated, self-aggrandizing ego?

This is the attitude you get from someone who has served too long. He just gave you a better argument for “Term Limits” than I ever could. Without much fear of being dethroned by the ignorant, compliant masses, much less the desire to listen to them… he serves himself. Our City is merely his personal social experiment!

His ego has apparently gotten so huge, he never even considered that bragging to the NYT about what an important trend-setter he is, was, at the same time, thumbing his nose at every West Hollywood resident who ever voted for him thinking that he was doing their bidding… not the world’s.

Maybe he’s planning a run for mayor of New York – after all, that’s a much bigger platform for imposing his will. Or maybe he's thinking beyond that, and still pursuing his favorite title for himself (pretending it’s a joke)… King of the World!

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Manny September 04, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Your blog, as I suspected, is a vehicle to push your term limits proposal and petition. As Mayor, Jeff Prang was speaking on behalf of the entire 5 member city council who as an elected body put forward these current bans. It's unfair to single out Mayor Prang as the sole cause of these ordinances. But doing so, as you did, is a good way to trick the readers into your term limits cause. Local activists helped to but forward some of the worst and most ridiculous bans that we have, the fur ban and the cat declawing ban. Local residents and activists also encouraged the council to enact the most public health concious of all, the anti-smoking ban. The representaives of this city will be up on the dais tonight, like it or not, and that's who we voted for....not you.
Stephanie September 04, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Sheila, Could you reference the NYT article? Thanks.
Sheila Lightfoot September 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
It's linked in the 1st paragraph - just click on “At Least Fun in the Sun Isn’t Banned. For Now...” and it will take you straight to they NYT article.
scott ferguson September 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
This blog just reinforces the notion that is more evident all the time that much of the opposition to the council members stems from personality conflicts and other non-issue related reasons. I applaud the council for being a nationwide leader. Change has come from somewhere, and it is likely to come more from smaller cities, where business interests don't dominate so much, than from Los Angeles or other bigger cities. We can also serve as a laboratory for these ideas to see if they work - and if they do, then other cities can follow. Do I agree with every action? Not automatically. But I applaud the progressive attitude of our council. And, of course, if some of these ideas were defeated, others would be back here claiming the council is a wholly owned unit operating on the behest of their donors. As usual, no good deed goes unpunished. I normally respect what you write, Sheila, even if I disagree. This time I think you missed the mark by a wide margin.
Sheila Lightfoot September 04, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Manny, I mentioned term limits once and only to illustrate one of the potential pitfalls of long term service - arrogance. It’s hardly a blog about term limits. And, there was no trickery involved unless you think I tricked Mayor Prang into making those comments. As for the charge that I singled him out, he's the one who made the comments - I could hardly ascribe them to other Council members. As for local activists being the impetus and main support behind most of the bans, I'm afraid you have your facts wrong. Special Interest groups, both paid professionals and individuals converging on WeHo from outside the City overwhelmed resident input on these issues. While Ed Buck was the main resident face for the fur ban, PETA and other animal rights groups were the force behind it, beginning with major support for D’Amico’s campaign. They brought in members from everywhere to fill the council chambers with speakers. Here's an LA Weekly article about the main proponent: http://www.laweekly.com/2012-07-26/news/west-hollywood-fur-ban-boutique-designer-peta-shearling/. Regarding who is on the dais tonight... I don't particularly like it, but rest assured whether term limits pass or not, you will have the opportunity to try to keep them there for another 12 years - I think that would make Heilman's rein 40 years. As for voting for them and not me... I don't recall asking you to vote for me for anything and never plan to do so.
Riley September 04, 2012 at 09:59 PM
A government, even a small town like WeHo, picks interesting things to pass laws on. It is probably illegal to ban the sale of fur and the merchants will most likely have the right to sue the City. I am opposed to buying fur. So I don't buy it. Can you legislate morality? What's next? Ban the sale of meat? Ban leather? Leather that is no more than skin with the fur shorn off? And if plastic bags are banned, what about plastic bottles and jars and plastic handles on toothbrushes and umbrella handles which were both made of wood at one time and now show up in the millions in a swirl of plastic soup in the middle of the ocean? How do you spell hypocrisy?
Randy September 04, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I don't think the city leaders need to necessarily represent the will of the majority of their constituents. History shows that leaders sometimes need to take a stand, even if it is not the majority opinion. Without that, women might not be able to vote, slavery might still exist, etc. (or change might have taken much longer). I respect the city council of West Hollywood for their progressive attitude and courage, even if it is not necessarily the majority opinion. But speaking of majority opinion, who says they aren't going with the majority on some or all of these issues? The only instrument for polling here is looking at the minutes from "public comment" at council meetings. Council members talk to a lot of constituents outside of these meetings as well, and get e-mail submissions, letters to their offices, etc.. I would venture to guess that more than half of the residents of West Hollywood oppose the sale of fur.
Riley September 04, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I would venture to guess that more than half of the residents of Wests Hollywood oppose the WEARING of fur, but then how do we really know?
GoodGriefCharlieBrown September 04, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Prang is a poster boy for term limits. After 15 years (or whatever) on the city council, I don't think anyone paid much attention to him because he was no more than a lap dog for Heilman & Land. They threw, he readily fetched, for fear they would disallow him another term. Only recently have people been asking who this person is, what is his background & why hasn't he been able to hold down a job other than those that were created for him as political favors from dubious sources? These are all questions that I think remain unanswered by him or anyone else. I don't understand why Prang's input is even discussed as serious matter in the first place. My guess is that he has the IQ of a gnat, and a fat gnat at that. For me, Prang exemplifies how the disadvantages to the public of political incumbancy far outweigh the advantages; if one is to err, it is best to do so on the side of caution & enact term limits to protect public interests ahead of those of entrenched, useless, ego driven politicians with nowhere else to go but down.
Manny September 04, 2012 at 11:27 PM
any way you look at, your blog was a cheap shot.
scott ferguson September 05, 2012 at 12:37 AM
To put things in context, rather than what sounded like was the annoucement of a candidacy for council - this was a long article in which Prang had a few quotes. He was not the focus of the article. He was contacted because he is currently the mayor - the article didn't explain this is a rotating position. He clearly was speaking as an overall spokesman for the city, which is appropriate, but that made him sound different than he might have otherwise. He expressed what he understood was the intent of his colleagues, even though he might not be with all of these ideas. And the NYTimes reporter obviously picked only a handful of quotes from what was likely a much larger article. To headline the article "Dissecting Mayor Prang's Ego" did him a disservice, made it yet another go-out-of-the-way effort to make one of the council members look bad when he did nothing wrong. This was completely a partisan-agenda article. Which is fine, except that it makes people like me roll my eyes and take the person who wrote it less seriously than I had previously.
Robert Zabb September 05, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I agree with the preceding comment. The article was based on the reporter's agenda and touched on a very minor aspect of Weho government business. Analyzing or drawing conclusions about Jeffrey based on this article is extremely shallow.
Chloe Ross September 05, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Sheila - I liked the blog. You sure hit a ew exposed nerves. Brava. The job of politicians is to be politicians first, egotists second and public servants somewhere else, way down the list. Do I think the CC cares? Not a bit. They have shown they know how to keep their butts on the dais and even term limits is not going to do too much any time soon to change that. Running for any office takes money. War chest creation requires relationships that grow as time goes on. Special interests come wrapped in all manner of dress. Grass roots activists are not "specia linterest groups" in the current sense of the word. They arer generally unpaid. A major difference and they rarely hold luncheons honoring anyone (lacked of funds). And lthen there are outright lobbies For example - how people know that the sacrosanct term "Chamber of Commerce" is driven by revenue streams and is a lobby. Chamber makes it sound so official and good. Just like AARP. Just like anything that has "the Council of_________ or State Association of _________Growers.
Chloe Ross September 05, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Part 2. Good sense basically is a NOT hallmark of the government of WeHo. Bans are only effective if they are popular and ENFORCEABLE. That takes additional "staff" to cruise the city and cite people. A group like The WeHo Ban Enforcement Patrol". Who will volunteer for that? And on another subject entirely (because I am too tired and lazy to write a blog) - Is Aaron Brothers under the parking structure on SM empty? Moved? Gone out of biz? Coming back this morning a friend pointed it out but we couldn't figure it out. A victim of the Robo Ramp? I don't know because I didn't go back to check - but it looked not in biz. And this which I did notice further west of SM. The Abbey, thriving, next to the WeHo Park has a banner mentioning strippers and the "Dirtiest Show in Town". Why then is this den of iniquity (just a term; not an accusation ,home of the diritiest show in town cheek by jowl with a children's play area. Right next to it. Huh? I don't mean to insinuate that little kids will be scandalized by the Abbey's entertainment choices. I just find it an odd location. Maybe it's me.
GoodGriefCharlieBrown September 05, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Me thinks it is an odd location for a children's park more so than an odd place for adult entertainment, since this is one of the most adult areas of a very adult city. I don't know how many children are there from West Hollywood, considering the city's small number of children, but I could offer a few suggestions to the parents: (1.) It is your choice whether or not to take your children to West Hollywood Park, as not just West Hollywood parents do, but from all cities adjacent to West Hollywood. You decide. (2.) Don't read commercial signs to your children. (3) If your children ask or care what kind of neighborhood they are in (which they surely do not), explain to them they should not be distracted by nearby businesses, but to concentrate on their playground activity & enjoy themselves. (3) Familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods of various public parks, then decide which one (or more) is the most appropriate for your children. (4) Never try to change the lifestyle of an existing neighborhood to suit you and/or your family's needs when you move there. (See #3).
Chloe Ross September 05, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Allof which is good advice -but it's a large area and I just find the location of the play yard odd. No jusgment about Abbey or shows or anything - Just why not put the play yard in an area inside the park and not on a street front where they are more exposed. And I don't mean to Abbey or local people. A creep could drive Robertson from the Freeway near Culver City to Sm and make it a daily route. Locating a kid park in central WeHo is not the issue - the local residents are not straight white men who like little kids - don't know how to be diplomatic - but it is a safer area for kidthan some nice straight area where a creep might be your uncle or your neighbor. In a nutshell - by whom and how was this little section chosen?
joninla September 05, 2012 at 10:58 PM
@Manny - In this case IT IS FAIR TO SINGLE OUT MAYOR PRANG because Sheila is basing her Blog on the recent PATCH article in which Mayor Prang alone was singled out to make the self-aggrandizing version of an "I HAD A DREAM" quote over a yet to be fully settled set of issues over every aspect of the WeHo Fur Ban, including the most important issue of the Constitutionality of a small city to legislate a fur ban (or any other such ban). WELL DON'T SHEILA! That short article said quite a bit to me as well. Thank you for properly expanding (and coherently blogging) on what I too agree with you about from that article.
joninla September 05, 2012 at 11:08 PM
When there is a rotating Mayor among a small City Council, each member's turn as our "Mayor" requires the type of careful thought before giving opinions and quotes about the City, its decision making process, feelings and beliefs, especially if the temporary Mayor is actually talking to such a major National News Source such as the NY Times. There should be no 'personal morality judgements' mixed in with the General City Statement by the acting Mayor speaking for all 5 City Council Members. "Our Mayor" is only a 'powerless figurehead' when caught making improper comments, and second only to the word of god when making a declaration as fact, when it is not.
joninla September 05, 2012 at 11:15 PM
@ Chloe Bigger question - how has Aaron Brothers managed to be a thriving business selling picture frames for so many years. :) The Abby is one of (if not THE) most financially successful Bars/Nightclubs in the Country - The price they charge for their drinks alone take it out of the 'den of iniquity' classification altogether, but during the day, it's one of the prettiest inner city outside/courtyard lunch/bars around so no effect on kids playing during the day. Kids playing at night next to the Abby ..... have parents who should be investigated by Child Protective Services. lol (not sure why I responded. just amusing :))
joninla September 05, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I ponder things like this too .... But I think is is safer for the small children section of parks to be within view of as many people as possible in and passing by the park. I think hidden/secluded from street view is also hidden from passing Law Enforcement and concerned people in general. (just another passing thought) :)
Ali September 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Most likely by the same people who want to put the play area in Plummer Park on the roof of the pre-school or whatever it is.
jose September 05, 2012 at 11:30 PM
don't have any more "passing thoughts"...they're worse than you stopped thoughts.
Riley September 05, 2012 at 11:34 PM
...and at Plummer Park in the middle of a residential area they will be holding the Erotic Art and Porn Festival $ponsored by the City, which according to Mayor Prang (at the City Council Meeting), and Councilmember Duran, the City is sponsoring this in Plummer Park to show we are diverse and we like to see men walking around in leather although it is rumored that Heilman and Land want to have more upscale, less-gay events in WeHo Park. There is no accounting for taste and the lack of it being passed off as, "we are tolerant". Wonder how gay men with children feel about all of this? Anyone?
Chloe Ross September 05, 2012 at 11:56 PM
why Jose - you may have just totally ruined my Pulitizer Prize nomination. But it's okay - I 'm sure it was simply a passing comment.

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