I miss Michael Ventura, Ginger Varney, Ella Taylor, and Marc Cooper. I miss LA Weekly's good, progressive voter guide. Remember that? Good times.
That's all gone now. Instead, we get weirdly misogynistic hit pieces based on hidden agendas and innuendo like this.
It was sketch enough when the tight-knit WeHo City Council skirted democracy to appoint the young, blonde Lindsey Horvath to its fifth seat in 2009, after old favorite Sal Guarriello died just short of term.
Now, the 27-year-old appointee is cowering at the prospect of having to actually win the hearts of WeHo voters.
So desperate is the fair incumbent, in fact, that she has resorted to illegally spamming her constituents on the council's Constant Contact listserv, using the official WeHo City Council template and logo to ask for votes and campaign funding.Horvath's crime? Including www.weho.org in the sig line of campaign emails, and using a stylized West Hollywood city logo on her campaign website.
Have a look. I'll wait.
Here's the deal. Horvath uses her own Constant Contact account, paid for out of her own pocket. Something that the LA Weekly, had they taken five minutes to do the research, could have figured out on their own. As for the West Hollywood logo and website address on her campaign website? Again, I did something the LA Weekly "reporter" evidently couldn't be bothered to do until two days after the original story was written, I contacted Horvath's campaign.
"Along with other City Council candidates, I received a letter regarding the use of the City's logo, and I removed it from the site accordingly." Horvath said in response to my question.
Sure enough, if you look at her website now, the logo is gone. And WeHo is just fine with it. Even the LA Weekly admits that.
WeHo City Clerk Tom West said he sent out an e-mail on Tuesday informing the candidates that printing the city logo on campaign fodder is illegal. However, the original Horvath e-mail up for display at WeHo News shows she was sending out the opt-ins as late as Wednesday. West denies he knew anything about this, and that his initial warning was only sent out after "it was brought to [his] attention that there was a [paper] poster with the city name on it." He said he's sure Horvath won't be punished.
"I think if you take it down, you take it down," West said. "And it's done."
Sandi Gibbons, the L.A. District Attorney's public-info officer, said she isn't aware of the case, but will keep her eyes out for a complaint to the Public Integrity Division. Update: "We have received no complaint involving that candidate. Sorry."
Right about this time, you might be thinking, "I need to water my plants." Don't run away quite yet, because it gets more interesting. Another WeHo City Council candidate, Mito Aviles, is guilty of "illegally" using the City logo on his campaign website too.
Have a look. I'll wait.
Aviles, unlike Horvath, has yet to comply with WeHo's request to remove the city logo from his campaign website. This has not gone unnoticed by the city. Tom West, when I spoke to him this afternoon for this story, told me an email was sent to Aviles today, this time citing the specific code Aviles continues to violate. This was West's second warning to Aviles (the original was sent snail mail - the LA Weekly incorrectly reported emails had originally been sent to candidates).
I'm sure the crack team at the LA Weekly are all over this. (Actually, not so much. Type in Aviles' names and you get, well, crickets. )
So what's this really about?
My experience of Horvath is that of a committed progressive and fierce advocate for women's rights, particularly women's reproductive rights. In fact, that's how we met - working together last year to help defeat the Stupak amendment.
I live in Venice, not West Hollywood, and I'm not going to pretend I understand the inner workings and machinations of WeHo politics. But I do know a hit job when I see it. Based on the LA Weekly story, and the WeHo News story on which their
I call bullshit. Frankly, I've seen more entertaining palace intrigue - and more ethical reporting - at my junior high class president election.
The boys behind this - and they're mostly boys - need to stop wasting voter's time and city resources with unsubstantiated innuendo and start engaging candidates on policy. Don't like Horvath's politics? Fine, don't vote for her.
As for the LA Weekly - trying getting off your ass and do some actual reporting next time. Snarky comments about a woman's hair and eye shadow does not a news story make.
LA Weekly was forced to correct their story once again in response to our story, and have now admitted their original "reporting" on the Constant Contact account was wrong. They've posted this rebuttal from Horvath campaign manager, Park Skelton.
"Councilmember Horvath, like virtually everyone these days, has a wide range of personal contacts from many different sources accumulated during her history as an activist and community leader. No public resources were used in the development or maintenance of her personal contact list. And, as with any e-mail communication, if a recipient does not wish to receive further e-mails they can easily unsubscribe. A political campaign, as you know, uses a variety of means of communicating with voters, including e-mail. It is an essential component of a functioning democracy."
Mito Aviles has removed the WeHo city logo from his campaign website.
Mr. Aviles said Thursday morning that his web master had been instructed Wednesday to take the logos down from the web site.
“This must have been an oversight” said Mr. Aviles, “he did take the logo off several pages, but must have missed that one.”
On the posters, he said his campaign would be taking them down from walls and window across town as soon as it was possible, replacing them with new art.
According to Mr. Aviles, neither Ms. Horvath nor he meant to deceive in using the logo.
Instead, its use, to him, was a symbolic expression of pride in the city and an effort to express a sense of place.
“Neither Lindsey or I were trying to deceive voters,” he said.