I have been around for awhile, and many of you probably have an opinion about Scott Schmidt–and whether it’s good or bad, I hope you’ll give this site a chance.
Like our national politics, the local politics of West Hollywood have become too divisive lately, as factions dig in their heels on even the most inconsequential matters just because of who introduces an idea.
For democracies to thrive–at a larger or more local level–we can expose our differences at election time, but we must also accept the results and move on afterwards, finding ways to reconcile and work with each other.
Two years ago, neighborhood activist Lauren Meister won an improbable victory, ousting then-31-year incumbent John Heilman. Councilmember Meister brought me in as her interim deputy for several reasons, above all, I believe it was because she knew we could work together, as we did successfully in the Term Limits campaign in 2013, even if I didn’t always agree with her on the issues.
Councilmember Meister knew that there was a narrow window of opportunity to build relationships with her new colleagues and get a fast start on governing. The first task she gave me was to come up with a 90-day plan of things she could accomplish–from animal welfare to water conservation to parking reform. With a list of ideas, I reached out to my fellow deputies with a plan to introduce at least two co-sponsored initiatives with each of her colleagues on Council.
While the effort may not have garnered much public attention, it underscored that even though Councilmember Meister and some of her new colleagues had been on opposite sides during the election, the things they agreed on were greater than their differences.
And that statement is true of our City, I believe. We all WANT many of the same outcomes–helping the poorest and weakest among us, improving quality of life and public safety, supporting minorities like the LGBT community, promoting a healthy local business environment which allows our City to continue to manage itself in a way that is fiscally responsible.
Those are all worthy goals–but sometimes there will be conflicts in how people think we can accomplish them.
So I hope you’ll give me a chance, listen, share your feedback, and join the discussion as we explore how we can keep this City we love as such as wonderful place.
Love you, West Hollywood, mean it!