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Meet The Candidates: Lindsey Horvath, West Hollywood City Council

West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath
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To prepare for the upcoming March 8, 2011 elections, LAist has contacted each candidate on the City of L.A.'s Official Candidate List to participate in a Q&A. All candidates received the same set of questions, with the exception of West Hollywood city council candidates, who received a WeHo-specific list of questions. LAist does not endorse political candidates, and responses are posted in the order they are received.

In this edition of "Meet the Candidates," we hear from West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath.

Other candidates in the March 8, 2011 West Hollywood race are Lucas John, Scott Schmidt, Mark Gonzaga, Mito Aviles, Steve Martin, John D'Amico, Abbe Land, and John Heilman. Three candidates will be elected.

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Tell us about your background and what you'll bring to the table. What makes you different from the other candidates, and what qualifies you to represent West Hollywood?

I represent a new generation of progressive leadership in West Hollywood. As a Political Science & Gender Studies graduate, a creative entertainment executive, and an accomplished grassroots organizer, my experience & leadership speak to my commitment to West Hollywood's core values. As a City Councilmember, I have demonstrated that I want to emphasize the "service" in "public service" by continuing to put people first in West Hollywood.

What are your top priorities for the city? How do you plan on tackling them?

First, I will ensure that we implement a model Climate Action Plan that reduces our City’s greenhouse gas emissions, shapes the creation of a sustainable City, and reinvests in our commitment to the environment, to work in conjunction with our new age-friendly General Plan.

Second, I will work on improving non-automobile transportation options through development of public transportation infrastructure and funding, as well as bike and pedestrian paths. As a Councilmember, I created, along with Councilmember Abbe Land, the Bicycle Task Force in West Hollywood to evaluate and envision how we can make cycling a viable, safe, and encouraged mode of transportation in and around the City. It is this type of innovative thinking that I wish to continue to bring to the City to create new solutions that protect our quality of life.

Third, I will ensure that the City maintains sound fiscal management to protect our much-needed social services & programs, especially in the wake of devastating statewide budget cuts. The City has been given a AAA bond rating by all agencies, which is an indicator of how our current leadership has worked well and wisely to manage our finances.

As WeHo continues to draw down its reserves to balance the budget for consecutive years, what are the plans to begin balancing the budget before the reserve runs dry?

The City isn't drawing down its reserves to fund general operations. While we have used some of our reserves to fund our capital improvement projects, Prop A monies, and loans to the State as a result of last year's takeaway, these expenditures were planned as part of the budget, and reserves were built up specifically for that purpose. We continue to maintain a healthy financial reserve, and have even been given a AAA bond rating for our sound fiscal policies. It is this type of responsible leadership that I want to see continue in West Hollywood.

Do you support the new expanded smoking ban and why or why not?

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I voted against the recent ordinance that banned smoking in select outdoor areas. While I do support public health initiatives and wish to create & identify smoke-free spaces for people to enjoy in West Hollywood, I do not think the language in the ordinance is very clear, and poses potential problems for those enforcing the law as well as for people who wish to follow the law. I wanted to see language that made it very easy to determine which businesses would be affected.

How would you balance the various desires of the residents between continued development by some and the desire to hold onto the unique, artsy, affordable city WeHo used to be?

West Hollywood continues to be unique and artsy - we are the Creative City. We can protect our artistic character by creating arts programming, supporting creative businesses & industries, and developing the infrastructure that attracts more creative talent to the City. Our greatest challenge is protecting and creating affordable housing to ensure that we protect our most vulnerable populations. As a renter, I know firsthand how important it is to protect the quality of rent-controlled housing available in the City. I will work to ensure that we also implement energy efficiency upgrades to our existing housing stock, as part of our Climate Action Plan, to significantly reduce West Hollywood's carbon footprint. When considering new development, we have to make sure that each project fosters a sustainable environment and is compatible with the neighboring area. We must also encourage development of affordable housing in the City.

How do you plan on working with your constituents in addressing their concerns?

During my time on Council, I have maintained an open-door policy for people who wish to meet with me on any issues facing West Hollywood. I have worked to be as accessible as possible. I created a newsletter that I send to people who have shared their email addresses with me so people could know what's going on in the City. I have also worked with PIO staff to explore new ways of communicating with people who live, work and play in the City. I meet with neighborhood groups to discuss issues ongoing in specific areas throughout the City. I welcome the opportunity to communicate with residents and will encourage communication that meets people where they're at.

Public transportation is an important issue for LAist readers. What role should public transportation have in West Hollywood?

Public transportation is a critical component to a well-functioning urban City. I am committed to working on a plan to see an extension of the MTA line reach West Hollywood, whether through subway or light rail. Along with my colleagues, I have worked to ensure funding for a study to examine the possible alternatives. In the short term, we need to find alternative solutions. In the wake of their devastating budget cuts, my colleagues in the City of Los Angeles needed to cut several DASH lines; I worked with them to protect one serving West Hollywood. As we examined the possibilities for West Hollywood, I met with representatives from the federal Department of Transportation to learn what funding is available for transit infrastructure. I will also encourage the creation of a zip-car program as well as a more pedestrian- & bicycle-friendly City. I worked with my colleague, Councilmember Abbe Land, to create the Bicycle Task Force, which will explore how we can create & encourage cycling in the City and region.

Partial List of Endorsements:

  • John Heilman, West Hollywood Mayor
  • Abbe Land, West Hollywood City Councilmember
  • Jeffrey Prang, West Hollywood City Councilmember
  • Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor
  • Judy Chu, United States Congress
  • Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles Council President
  • Los Angeles County Democratic Party
  • Stonewall Democratic Club & Stonewall Young Democrats
  • Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Cleve Jones
  • Eve Ensler

LAist does not endorse political candidates. All candidates from the City of L.A.'s Official Candidate List were contacted to participate and were given the same set of questions, with the exception of West Hollywood candidates, who were sent a WeHo-specific list of questions.