- Advertisement -
More
    - Advertisement -
    - Advertisement -
    HomeNewsQ&A - Mayor Elect John Erickson Shares His Vision on Being Mayor...

    Q&A – Mayor Elect John Erickson Shares His Vision on Being Mayor of West Hollywood

    - Advertisement -

    Mayor Elect John Erickson will be sworn in as Mayor of West Hollywood and council member Chelsea Byers will be sworn in as Vice Mayor during the city of West Hollywood’s annual city council reorganization and installation meeting and oath of office ceremony on Tuesday, January 16, 2023. at 6 p.m., at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

    Mayor-Elect Erickson granted WEHO TIMES an interview as he prepares to assume the gavel. In the interview, he discusses his love for West Hollywood, the challenges he anticipates as mayor, what we can expect at his upcoming swearing-in ceremony, and details about the city’s upcoming 40th-anniversary celebration.

    ===

    Your journey began as a WeHo City intern in 2010. Did you think you’d one day be planning your swearing-in ceremony as the new Mayor of West Hollywood?

    I’ve been having a wonderful journey on self-reflection on my time in the city. I still will never forget sitting in, then former council member and Abbe Land’s office, where it was my little de facto place, and working on my first staff report. I remember attending my first event which was the grand opening of the City of West Hollywood library. I knew then what I fully realize now which is that I love this city. So much. It has presented, not just a home for me, you know, as a gay boy from Ripon, Wisconsin, but for so many other people. We call it home and it’s a special place that I love dearly. I want to make sure that I’m working every day tirelessly on behalf of the people that live here so they have a great life.

    What does the title of Mayor of West Hollywood mean to you?

    Well, it’s a great honor and privilege. I know the title is ceremonial. But the work that we have ahead of us in 2024, with not only a humongous election for our country, but I think a turning point for our nation in the way, and maybe even our local city. I’m looking forward to helping navigate and being a calming voice in that sense. Being Mayor to me means the simple nuts and bolts, responding to constituents, ensuring our businesses are getting all that they need and deserve, and ensuring that we continue our progressive stance for issues that are being attacked throughout the country. But also running efficient meetings, and making sure people have their time to say what they need to say and feel heard, and just making sure that my colleagues know that I’m there to back them up and support them and that we’re really getting to the issues that are impacting our community and we’re having great discourse.

    Do you anticipate more scrutiny when you become mayor?

    I always anticipate scrutiny because we live in a democracy, right? Not everyone is supposed to be happy, and if they are all happy, well, then maybe we’re doing our jobs perfectly, but that’s never the case. Then there are just people that are out there that don’t agree with some policies or maybe just the progression that we’re trying to get, and so scrutiny is always welcome. I am not perfect, but scrutiny for the purpose of hurting and just trying to attack should never be welcomed, because we should have discourse in this city, which we do, and when we work through all the noise, we actually get to a beautiful, beautiful place.

    Do feel your experience as Mayor Pro Tem has been good practice for you as you step into being mayor?

    Serving as the last Mayor Pro Tem of the City of West Hollywood–I say that jokingly—you are Mayor in waiting. You step in when the current mayor might not be able to be present. It helped as a nice warm up and I’m so thankful to my colleague Mayor Shyne for her guidance and compassion. I also had a little bit of a warm up by seeing people like now Supervisor Lindsey Horvath as mayor, Councilmember Lauren Meister as mayor, John Heilman as mayor, when I was his intern, Abby land, John D’Amico, Jeff Prang… I stand on the shoulders of these giants in our community and if I can do them any justice, and represent their legacy, and the tenure of our community in any way that they have, and make them proud, then I hope I’m doing a good job.

    What challenges do you anticipate in leading the council meetings?

    Running an efficient meeting is always the most important thing, so I intend to hopefully keep that going as our current Mayor Sepi Shyne did. We were always out by 11:30pm which was wonderful. We are there for six hours and we only meet twice a month. There are a lot of pressing issues, so we have to make sure we’re doing the nuts and bolts of the community. I intend to continue to aim to ensure that every one that comes to speak is heard. People are calling us when something’s happening with their landlord, the street is unpaved, the water main broke, a tree fell, and it’s our job to respond to them. When I was sworn in, the thing I said most in my speeches was that I was going to work every single day to ensure that when you email me, you know you have a voice at city hall, and I believe I’ve fulfilled that promise. I intend to work even harder as mayor, because my job as mayor and as a council member in the city is to ensure that the city knows that they have someone working tirelessly for them.

    How do you plan to handle individuals who disrupt the people’s work at council meetings?

    There is a process that is set before us that we legally have to follow. I know our constituents have always reached out to me to let me know about some problematic issues. And what we have to do is make sure people are equally treated but that does not mean they get to disrupt the public business. I intend to ensure that when warnings are given, they are followed through and sadly if that means expelling an individual or people from a meeting because we cannot get the business of the city done. Sometimes that has to happen as you saw me do earlier last year. But I think the most important thing that we always have to do is, how do we balance it make sure people’s free speech is still being heard? We can’t police speech. That’s not what we’re here to do. Sadly, people might not like that people use colorful language, but how they intend to address the council is critical. They are to address the mayor and the council and we have to make sure that those rules are followed. I intend to make sure that I’m running a welcoming ship, but a strict ship. I am, after all, a Wisconsinite, but it’s also about respect.

    Have you ever been concerned for your safety during council meetings?

    I will say I have received several death threats since being elected. I think that the level of how accessible we are is very different. The night of Transgender Remembrance Day two years ago, when there was the horrible shooting at Q Bar in Colorado Springs, I received messages saying, ‘we see you at Hi Tops. We’re gonna shoot you. You better watch your back.’ I had to take it very seriously, but I still got up and stood on that platform at Rocco’s and said, here I am. I’m here to fight for my community. I think luckily, they are separate actors, but they’re encouraged by people that want to propagate hate, and sadly those people exist in our community. We have to do our best to balance that but I will meet with anyone. Maybe that’s good or bad. But if you don’t like me, I will still sit down and have a cup of coffee with you and figure out what’s wrong. We might not always agree, because I have my viewpoints, and you have yours. And I truly do believe because it is my Wisconsin nature that we can talk through anything and I think I’ve helped to be able to demonstrate that and for a while here while being elected.

    What are some of the big-ticket items that you and your colleagues plan to tackle in 2024?

    Well, it’s nuts and bolts. We are to make sure our trees are trimmed, our sidewalks are paved, our streets are not full of potholes, but it’s also bigger issues. It’s public safety and community safety. How do we continue to ensure West Hollywood is an open and accepting place for everyone, especially in light of recent attacks on our drag community, on our transgender nonbinary siblings, on LGBTQ rights across the globe? How do we remain a safe haven for abortion access and ensuring that individuals who can get pregnant know that West Hollywood does have the capability to support and defend you? And then how do we also ensure that our business community is thriving, and all the other issues that are important to me, the arts, the sober community–that’s why every year I’ve sponsored the sober New Year’s party, because we need to do that. I’ve gone to Washington to advocate for our community and brought back funding for the log cabin. We’re going to be able to have an amazing community-based center that continues to provide life-saving treatment. The city is growing. Councilmember John D’Amico said something that always sticks with me: ‘Cities are never finished.’ Some businesses are going to close, more are going to open, streets are going to change, people are going to leave, and people are going to move in, and how do we make sure West Hollywood is still that shining city on a hill? And that’s something I intend to always have moving forward.

    What does your family think about you being Mayor of WeHo.

    My family as has always been one of my biggest supporters. I left Wisconsin after graduating and went to grad school right away out here in California and my whole family lived back there. I consider that my home, but ultimately, West Hollywood became that home, that safe space, that special place that so many of us just know and love. It’s interesting seeing my nieces and nephews grow up and asking my niece to swear me in over Christmas. She says like, wow, my uncle is gonna be the mayor. I think if I can do anything right from afar, it’s to show the younger generation and my nieces and nephews that you may grow up in a small town, but that doesn’t mean one day you can’t be the mayor of a city that you love more than anything and the sky’s the limit.

    Let’s move on to your swearing-in ceremony. What can we anticipate on your big night?

    I want to keep the ceremony efficient. It’s going to have a very big community feel. I love this community so much and I intend to have my priest at St. Victor’s do a benediction. I’ve invited the Rabbi from Kol Ami to be there. Our amazing drag queen, Pickle, is going to be there as well. My niece Emma is going to swear me. She’s my oldest one. She’ll be flanked by my other nieces and nephews, so I’ll be sworn in by my family who I don’t get to see as much because they’re back in Wisconsin. I think anyone that follows me on social media knows I’m a very adamant uncle, and brother, and son, and I love my home state of Wisconsin. We’ll have speeches from dignitaries, public comment, and then let’s go upstairs to the second floor of our beautiful West Hollywood library and let’s just all gather and community and have an amazing time.

    Do you plan to run for re-election?

    I intend to run for re-election.

    Are you seeking higher office in the near future?

    I’m running for re-election because I want to continue to serve the City of West Hollywood, a place that’s welcomed me here for so long. I love this city and it’s my number one focus.

    You’ll be mayor during the city’s 40-year-anniversary. Are you already thinking about what that celebration will look like?

    I will be 39. I’m one year younger than the city’s formation. It will be about remembering our history and challenging ourselves for the future. West Hollywood does it better than any city in Southern California. I stand behind that, because I think we truly do try to balance every end of this spectrum that we call life. I’m really looking forward to seeing what our amazing city staff have in store for us ahead of the 40th anniversary. This is going be hopefully an amazing time for all of us to come together and just be the ones be there together in community.

    3.4 5 votes
    Article Rating
    - Advertisement -
    Paulo Murillo
    Paulo Murillohttps://wehotimes.com
    Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

    13 COMMENTS

    Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest
    13 Comments: We Want to Hear from You!
    newest
    oldest most voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Kiss it
    Kiss it
    Offline
    6 months ago

    Is this a man or woman?

    The best you can do
    The best you can do
    Offline
    Reply to  Kiss it
    6 months ago

    as burns go- this isn’t even luke warm. do better

    David Goldsmith
    David Goldsmith
    Offline
    6 months ago

    I’m so sorry that the residents of West Hollywood will have to endure other grifter mayor for a year and then have Chelsea Byers dumped on us. We need an adult in the office who can promote the interests of all West Hollywood residents, not just force their uneducated biases and prejudices on the weary taxpayers of West Hollywood.

    Natasha
    Natasha
    Offline
    Reply to  David Goldsmith
    6 months ago

    Do any of these people have any business experience? They seem to be owned by the Unite union because none of them have been overly successful in their own right. In my opinion John has a lot of worthless degrees. Maybe he can appoint Pickles to something. I predict a lot of people in WEHO are going to wake up and toss many of these people off the city council. They are making too many poor decisions.

    Weho artist
    Weho artist
    Offline
    Reply to  Natasha
    6 months ago

    Post your linkedin so we can see what your degrees are in, Natasha.

    Natasha
    Natasha
    Offline
    Reply to  Weho artist
    6 months ago

    We’re still waiting for your LinkedIn. We’re also still waiting to hear how many jobs you have created in WEHO. You seem to be quite the job creator. Are you & pickles going together to the swearing in ceremony?

    Last edited 6 months ago by Natasha
    Weho artist
    Weho artist
    Offline
    Reply to  Natasha
    6 months ago

    Waiting on my linkedin? I never said I was posting my linkedin.

    I asked you to post yours to prove everything you said. I never made a claim about providing jobs in Weho- YOU DID. So post proof or we all know you’re a liar, nasty “Natasha”.

    Last edited 6 months ago by Weho artist
    Natasha
    Natasha
    Offline
    Reply to  Weho artist
    6 months ago

    Stop being a flake and just post your Linkedin like you promised.

    Weho artist
    Weho artist
    Offline
    Reply to  Natasha
    6 months ago

    When did I ever promise that? You claimed to employ people with amazing benefits and far above the minimum wage. Let’s see proof.

    Prove it, Nasty Natasha

    Natasha
    Natasha
    Offline
    Reply to  Weho artist
    6 months ago

    You must be a MAGA Trump supporter with your nicknames for people. It’s right out of the Trump playbook. Just like Trump, you make all kinds of promises and then never deliver.

    Weho artist
    Weho artist
    Offline
    Reply to  Natasha
    6 months ago

    I never made any promise though 

    You are absolutely deranged. Why should anyone believe that you supposedly employ people in this city? What proof have you provided?

    I never claimed I would post my linkedin or anything relating to that.

    Psychotic stalker Natasha(who wants poor people to suffer) is more like it!

    Natasha
    Natasha
    Offline
    Reply to  Weho artist
    6 months ago

    People can read your posts and judge for themselves. You make a lot of promises and post a lot of accusations and then never follow through. You claim to be some hero for working people yet you have never employed a single person. Whatever.

    Kiss it
    Kiss it
    Offline
    Reply to  Natasha
    6 months ago

    Natasha these people have no business experience or any kind of experience whatsoever.. they just popped in out of nowhere!!!

    RELATED ARTICLES
    - Advertisment -

    Recent Comments On WEHO TIMES

    Latest Articles

    13
    0
    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x