At a regular West Hollywood city council meeting on December 5, 2022, the City bid a fond farewell to council member John D’Amico who has chosen to pivot away from participating in the city government and become a simple resident of West Hollywood. D’Amico was first elected to the West Hollywood city council in 2011 and served as mayor for two terms.
During the Presentations portion of the meeting, West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister presented D’Amico with a City Proclamation. He was recognized for prioritizing sustainability, addressing the impact of climate change, affordable housing, community safety, arts and culture, social services, HIV/AIDS Awareness and LGBTQ+ rights.
Highlights included his work that was influential in the City’s expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure; he encourage significant updates to the city’s climate action plan and initiated the development of West Hollywood’s Netzero Climate Neutrality Policy; he worked in preserving affordable housing, he was a champion for arts and culture and encouraged the establishment of a transgender arts initiative and the launch of the WAP lecture series with the California Institute of the arts; and he is a long time worker as an HIV/AIDS activist, initiating the HIV Zero Initiative and his efforts to create the AIDS Monument.
In addition to the Proclamation, The City gifted him a personalized poem by West Hollywood Poet Laureate, Brian Sonia-Wallace. The Poet Laureate program was initiated by City Staff and supported by Councilmember D’Amico in celebration of National Poetry Month in 2014. “I want to offer my personal gratitude to the Council member for creating the space for me — and so many others — to be part of building the
kind of community we want to live in, in West Hollywood,” Sonia-Wallace told WEHO TIMES.
The poem “A Parting Gift to Councilmember John D’Amico” was read on behalf of City Staff by the Poet Laureate at the meeting:
A Parting Gift to Councilmember John D’Amico
The message always has to be:
Love yourself; love your neighbors.
John D’Amico, WeHo Pride 2014
You build for a living.
Cities are never finished
Though they pass between hands,
Well-worn, well-loved, a refuge
You have championed since
Forever. The place you call home.
All the dogs here
A city is a team sport. A ballet.
Endless array of meetings.
In March 2011, you joined the council
A new John among veterans.
Nearly 12 years on,
Through recession and pandemic,
The experiment of West Hollywood thrives
Thanks to your tireless work
Behind the curtain:
Come, electric vehicle charging.
Come, new, sustainable developments.
Come, climate action, net zero,
Rehabilitation for rent-stabilized homes.
Come, affordable housing trust fund.
Come, WHAP! Come poetry! Come
Funding for trans artists, come recognition
For dancers, come vision for HIV Zero,
AIDS Lifecycle, Pride. Come Sunset Strip,
Come cruelty-free apparel, come shuttle,
drop us off
in West Hollywood.
Where the residents are activists.
Where change is championed, not feared,
Where our differences unite us to invent
A culture, the world we want to live in
At last, shimmering; possible; right
Thank you for your light.
You have been adamant about the value
Of new voices. You have lit the way for them.
Now sing, West Hollywood. Sing.
D’Amico was presented with a video montage that he shared with former council member, now Los Angeles County Supervisor, Lindsey Horvath, who also received a fond farewell and tribute for her service to the community. The video captured several intimate moments of D’Amico with his colleagues, residents, and community members at several West Hollywood events.
D’Amico took the opportunity to thank his appointed City board members, task force members, and commissioners by presenting them each with a certificate of recognition for their services to the city of West Hollywood. Each appointee wore a white t-shirt that read, “I Make West Hollywood a Better City.” They all took turns to thank the council member and say goodbye.
D’Amico spoke of the incorporation of West Hollywood 38 years ago, saying it was conceived in optimism and devoted to the idea that it was possible to dream big and hold values that render a people visible and equal. “I really genuinely believe we shifted the West Hollywood narrative from the early days of ‘please like us,’ to the 21st Century idea of ‘we got this,'” he said during his comments. “In the past two years the five of us have more recently begun to reinvest in our communities in ways never imagined under the old ideas hanging on since the 20th century. It is correct to say that West Hollywood now has both feet in the 21st Century. The future looks brighter and more connected than ever.”
He added that after 25 years of engaging with the City of West Hollywood as a Disabilities Advisory Board member, Human Services Commissioner, Planning Commissioner and City Council member, he would not participate in city government but he would be a huge supporter of the West Hollywood yet to come.
In his speech he welcomed newcomer Chelsea Byers into the City Council and said he believed Mayor Pro-Tem Sepi Shyne and Council member would steer the city into the future. He urged Mayor Lauren Meister not to hold on to the brittled past, and he did not mention returning council member John Heilman who is taking his seat in City council.
D’Amico thanked his husband Keith Rand who has been his partner for 30 years and he closed his comments by thanking his colleagues in the city council, “Thank you, the four of you for the best two years of my time on this city council,” he said. “You are extraordinarily wonderful people. May you make it your mission to find every opportunity to make West Hollywood a better city. Take it. Run with it. Keep the spirit of equality, visibility and creativity alive.”