“Fresh air and light…”

West Hollywood City Council 2014. John D'Amico (f), John Heilman, John Duran, Jeff Prang and Abbe Land. Photo by Richard Settle.
April 22, 2014

Op-ed by Carleton Cronin, West Hollywood, California

These occasions usually light-hearted and knee deep in fraternal praise and thanks as the gavel is passed to the new mayor.

Carleton Cronin writes about the perils and pleasures of living in the urban wilderness.

Carleton Cronin writes about the perils and pleasures of living in the urban wilderness.

Monday’s special civic event at our wonderful Plummer Park was one of the airiest and happiest such since the whole business of cityhood began thirty years ago.

Our new mayor, John D’Amico was greeted with cheers and applause from anon the lush surface of  assembly of about 500 under  and surrounding two large tents on the  lush surface of the Great Lawn.

The important and venerable city legacy, the Great Hall, a backdrop to the dais and the stage.

The other Council members were warm and solicitous of the man newly appointed to the  the middle seat and an air of happening and promise as well as change arose from the crowd, furthered by the chosen’s optimistic and charming acceptance speech.

The first new mayor in eight years and an indication that something fresh was certainly in the air.

Our new Mayor John D’Amico is especially well grounded in the local political scene as well as the functioning of the city after many years as a member of several city commissions. There can be no doubt about his commitment to  both established values of our community and  the exercise of  citizen engagement.

His education and background as an urban planner and an architect are perfect enhancements to the job as our city faces many challenges in accommodating growth and density.

John D'Amico message encapsulated the widespread feeling that the city needed a new wave of activism but no one stood at the head of the ranks to lead.

John D’Amico message encapsulated the widespread feeling that the city needed a new wave of activism but no one stood at the head of the ranks to lead.

The future is here and our new mayor is ready.

The choice of Plummer Park for the Council reorganization was a statement, and a wise one.  Our East side has seemed to have forever been in the shadows of the more visible West side.

That is actually an accident, not a design.  Plummer Park is an attractive oasis and much used by nearby residents, far more than people from west of La Cienega.

It is a far friendlier venue than West Hollywood Park with its very busy atmosphere.  Let’s have more occasion to be there – as we once did, using the Great hall as well as the exterior spaces.

Never had I expected to stay in one place for very long.

Mayor D'Amico is not so formal a figure as the usual West Hollywood politician (which isn't formal at all, from the political establishment's POV). Photo by Richard Settle.

Mayor D’Amico is not so formal a figure as the usual West Hollywood politician (which isn’t formal at all, from the political establishment’s POV). Photo by Richard Settle.

Much of my existence has been peripatetic, even during my wonderful, long marriage.  I have wandered far and wide propelled by curiosity more than anything else, but understanding the virtues of nurturing an existence in a “home”.

West Hollywood is my home.  I found immediate acceptance her despite my often brash, intemperate ways.  How could that not be in a city which rose from the desires of men and women to found a city, a community of acceptance in the midst of a world of denial and scorn.

The audience at the event on Monday exhibited the exuberant  faith in the future of our town which I shall always associate with the residents of West Hollywood.

Good wishes from this quarter, Mayor D’Amico – and, yes, I have your cell phone number.

West Hollywood City Council 2014. John D'Amico (f), John Heilman, John Duran, Jeff Prang and Abbe Land. Photo by Richard Settle.

West Hollywood City Council 2014. John D’Amico (f), John Heilman, John Duran, Jeff Prang and Abbe Land. Photo by Richard Settle.