November 20, 2018 at 11:56 am PST | by Christopher Kane
West Hollywood City Council race under way

Marquita Thomas (red jacket) is pictured at her campaign launch party, held at West Hollywood’s The Abbey on Thursday Nov. 30. If elected, she would be the first African-American to serve on the West Hollywood City council.

(UPDATED Nov 30) Three City Council seats are on the line in the West Hollywood General Municipal Election to be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. Those elected help direct and determine the fate of the creative city and its iconic progressive values.

The period to pull nominating papers for the election ends on Dec. 7 at 5:00 PM. Anyone interested in running must make an appointment with the City Clerk’s office to collect nomination papers and review requirements. Potential candidates must be aged 18 or older and a WeHo resident registered to vote in the city. The candidate must also collect 20 and 30 signatures from other registered WeHo voters endorsing the nomination.

Several well-known figures in the community have announced their plans to run for election or re-election. Incumbent councilmembers John D’Amico, Lauren Meister and Lindsey Horvath are seeking to retain their seats, with fellow councilmembers John Duran and John Heilman lining up with Horvath, as D’Amico and Meister hold a joint fundraiser.  

The incumbents are being challenged by: James Duke Mason, son of Belinda Carlisle, who serves on the City’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board; Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and former LA Pride Board member Marquita Thomas, a member of WeHo’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board.

Thomas announced her plans to run on Nov. 17. She held her kick off party at The Abbey on November 30, telling her supporters “Our City needs a strong and independent voice on the Council, now more than ever. As your City Councilmember, my priority will be to harness West Hollywood’s caring, compassion, creativity and innovation to address the City’s most pressing issues—homelessness, housing affordability and mental health, for example—and lead us into the next chapter of our shared history. These are my core values and I hope you share them too. If you do, I am asking for your vote on March 5th.”

Political newcomer Timothy Williams, a writer and podcast producer for Haus of Liontruth.

Timothy Williams

If either Thomas or Williams wins, WeHo City Council would have its first African American council member since its founding in 1984.

Also announcing their intention to run are: actor Shawn Davis Mooney, another political novice; Eric John Schmidt, who apparently volunteers for local non-profits and, according to WeHoVille, is a proud aficionado of public nudity and sexual exhibitionism; Jack Cline, a drag queen; and Tom Demille, who has previously run for a council seat.

Councilmembers serve three-year, eight-month terms and are eligible for consideration by the body for the position of Mayor—beginning each April following the City Council’s reorganization.

Among the City Council’s responsibilities is coordination with the Legislative Affairs team and the City’s Sacramento lobbyist to advance West Hollywood’s interests at the national and state levels.

West Hollywood has a record of outspokenness and advocacy in areas concerning social justice and civil rights. The City was first formed as a haven for renters, LGBT people, and seniors—communities whose representation in municipal government is still of central importance.

But WeHo is also known for its expressive, contentious fights over politics. This election season, which has already started in earnest now, should prove interesting with the possibility of old wounds and old alignments re-emerging among the incumbents and newcomers seek to get attention and wedge themselves into front-runner status.

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s City Clerk’s Office at (323) 848-6409. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496. For up-to-date news and events, follow the City of West Hollywood on social media @WeHoCity and sign up for News Updates at www.weho.org/email. – Troy Masters contributed to this story.

James Duke Mason. (Photo courtesy Mason)

Eric Schmidt. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

Tom Demille. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

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