Marquita Thomas is running for one of three open seats in West Hollywood City Council in the upcoming City of West Hollywood Municipal General Election on November 8, 2022. We ran into the candidate at a meet and greet at The Collective Realty hosted by by Anthony Vulin, located at 8278, 1/2 Santa Monica Blvd, and asked her some questions.
How long have you lived in West Hollywood?
I’ve lived here for 27 years.
City council sounds like a miserable job full of hardships, six-hour long council meetings, and people criticizing your every move. Why on earth do you want the job?
That’s Ok. I’m good with hard work. Listen, I love this city. I plan on living the rest of my days in this city. I’m running for West Hollywood city council because I feel like in a lot of ways the city has lost its way in terms of public safety, housing affordability, our unhoused crisis and also our business advocacy.
So what kind of experience are you bringing to the table?
As a planning commissioner, as a former human services commissioner, as the executive director of the Los Angeles LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, I have the skills and experience to address all those issues. I’m also a renter, so improving our renter’s protections and improving our renter’s habitability is very important to me. We also need to have more compassionate and effective solutions for our unhoused crisis.
How will you improve public safety?
I want to make our public safety more collaborative. I don’t think it needs to be Block by Block versus our Sheriff’s Department. The businesses, the residents, the neighborhood watches, we all need to work together to make this a safer city. We also need to heal our relationships with the business community because our businesses are what make this city a creative, world class city. We need to make sure that they’re getting the resources that businesses need so that businesses and workers are thriving.
There seems to be a lot of divisiveness between the city and its businesses. How will you address these issues?
There is divisiveness, but we need to move forward and become a city that respects its businesses as well as its workers to make sure that everybody is thriving. We want to make sure that we’re not over-regulating our businesses. We also want to make sure that we’re protecting our workers. Let’s talk about the path forward and leave the ugliness in the past. I’ve been doing this for over a decade in my capacity through the Los Angeles LGBTQ Chamber. I’m used to bringing different stakeholders together to solve problems. I know the city can get back on track. I’m confident of it and I’m looking forward to being a part of the new council that does that work.
What has the campaign trail been like for you?
It’s been amazing connecting with residents and hearing from different people, some who have lived in the city for a very long time, some who have recently moved here, and the one thing that we have in common is that we absolutely love this city and we want to see it get back to where it’s been.
What’s your take on the city’s walkability?
We need to improve the walkability for sure. We need to make this an even more walkable city. We need to encourage micro mobility and get people to reduce their reliance on cars and hit the streets and patronize our businesses and meet our neighbors and get back to being the West Hollywood we all know and love.
This isn’t the first time on the campaign rodeo, right?
It’s my second time. Fun fact, when I ran in 2019, I became the first black person to ever run for West Hollywood City council. That’s just a fun fact. I’m looking to be the first black person to win. It’s been great connecting with the neighbors. It’s great hearing from different people about what’s important to them and hearing from people who are just starting families, to people who are aging in place, to people who are business owners, to people who want more resources for their pets. It’s been great and I’m looking forward to what the next couple of weeks bring.
What are the differences from this campaign to the last one?
It’s a much stronger campaign. I’ve raised more, have built a better team, I have more endorsements, I built more momentum. It was a strong campaign before, but it’s much stronger this time. I come with more experience for sure. I was in LGAB [Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board] then, and I moved on to human services, so I understand how city contracts work. Now, I’m not only vice chair of Planning Commission, but I’m also Chair of Long-Range Planning, so I have far more experience now, and of course, I still bring my skills as executive director of the Chamber.
What would it mean for you to be the first Black woman to be a council member in the city of West Hollywood?
It would mean the world. Representation matters. Diverse voices are important, whether it’s diversity in age, religion, racial identity, LGBTQ-ness–all of those brackets matter in decision-making. I’m going to win because of my experience and my skills, not the community that I represent, but I do think it would mean a lot for the communities of color to see more diversity in the West Hollywood city council. I’m a new voice. I’m ready to get started on Day One and address the issues this city is facing. Like I said before, I love this city and I just want to make it better.
To learn more about Marquita Thomas, visit: https://www.marquita4weho.com/.
I’m sorry, but Thomas doesn’t answer any of the questions head on with policy solutions, only non answers. No on my vote.
Representation is important. We have two impressive Black women running for council in 2022. I want to believe in Marquita, but she’s missing the “IT” factor that’s going to inspire people to take a chance on someone who seems to be in the middle with the issues something we need. We still have a month, and the tides could change in her favor. Great Q&A.
What’s important is to have leaders that actually listen to the people that put them in their seats. While it would be lovely to have representation of all people on the council, the color of someone’s skin is not the paramount concern. We currently have Shyne as “the first woman of color” on the council, and she has been nothing but disastrous for this city.
“How would you improve public safety?” And no mention of refunding the sheriff’s department. NO THANKS. VOTE Meister, Duran and Heilman!
MWHGA. That’s a negative for me. Meister yes. The people voted Duran and Heilman out and they will do it again. Things were not great when they left. Things are not great now.
That’s a joke.
What’s a joke? That people voted the Johns out? They thought it was a joke and where are they now?
Also, the city of weho did not defund the sheriffs. The funding is there. They just removed some deputies. There is a difference.
Keep believing the crap that comes out of city hall. When you cut the number of sheriffs deputies (well trained, armed, and the authority to arrest) and hire more “ambassadors” (nice guys on bikes with matching shirts, and a walkie-talkies) you’re doing exactly that and if you don’t see that then I can’t explain it to you any further.
You should watch the city council meetings. John Erickson asked the Sheriff Captain on public record if the sheriffs were defunded, and the answer was no. The sheriffs got the funds they asked for from the city of West Hollywood. This is a fact. You heard it from the captain of the West Hollywood sheriff’s station. They did remove two deputies and added a nightlife officer, so like the mayor stated the sheriffs were not defunded, deputies were reduced. But keep spewing your rightwing propaganda. It’s all people hear anyway. Nobody cares about the truth.