Term limits gets boost from council member

February 18, 2013

Taking a contrary position to the four other city council members he joined on the dais two years ago, John D’Amico changed his thinking on term limits and came out over the weekend in favor of the idea.

He told WeHo News in an interview, “I really think this is good for the future of West Hollywood. I think this gives us a deadline for mentoring new people to get on board and be on the city council. All of us [serving now] will have our eyes on the direction we think the city needs to move and mentor people to be in a position to take over.”

Mr. D'Amico shown here signing the petition to place Measure C, the term limits initiative, on the ballot.

That is a change in his position from late July of last year, when he responded to Measure C proponents’ claims that incumbents’ ability to raise money from development interests and their desire to keep voter turn-out low to favor their voting blocs kept new blood off the dais.

At the time, he said, “I raised almost $80,000 and put in $30,000 of my own money, but the contributions came from a large coalition making small contributions that felt that someone new had to be elected.” For that reason, he says, “I am not in favor of term limits. If you can do the work to build a coalition of people to support and vote for you, you can get elected.”


Mr. D'Amico said eight moths ago that making it easier for people to run the government is counterintuitive. “It’s not supposed to be easy; turning over the reins of government is supposed to be hard and you have to prove that you have a coalition of people behind you.” Those ideas, he said, have evolved. He now sees that reasoning for mentoring new people and downplays the need to level the fundraising playing field by changing the process. His views on local politics have evolved similarly in the past.

Mayor Jeffrey Prang, seeking his fifth term in office, agrees with the newest council member's old stance and disagrees with Mr. D'Amico's new stance, telling WeHo News, "I dont think it's a good thing for the city; if peole want to see change, they need to elect the people who will bring that change."

Mr. D'Amico's endorsement of term limits carries even more weight than Barbie's.

Beginning in late January, 2010, when he took the podium at a city council meeting and declared his determination to unseat a pair of council members and continuing on through his election, he has shown that he can nimbly maneuver a political battlefield full of landmines. On January 25, 2010, he threw down the gantlet, saying, “Mayor Abbe Land and Mayor Pro Tem John Heilman are two entrenched elites who no longer belong in positions of leadership in West Hollywood. One or both of you needs to lose your seat in March 2011."

He said at the time that it was "disconcerting for people who want to be involved in the process when the rules change because the results aren't to John Heilman's and Abbe Land's liking." Mr. D'Amico told WeHo News in an interview then that he had no interest in being a candidate for office himself, but did want to affect the election's result. "I don't want to run; but I can help set the table for a real discussion of the issues," he said. Still, just months later, West Hollywood found itself with a credible candidate with adequate financing willing to take aim at the Heilman/Land machine in Mr. D’Amico’s candidacy for council.

That campaign followed a series of op-eds he wrote for WeHo News in which he introduced the idea of change tailored to fit the new future of the city, including this item called “Creating change in the space of appearances.” Asked if the change of heart indicated a renewed push to unseat Mr. Heilman and Ms. Land by means other than the ballot box, if necessary, he declined to comment.