West Hollywood’s two longest-serving City Council members stepped down Monday night following an election that reshaped the political face of the city that just turned 30.
Councilwoman Abbe Land had been in office 23 years; Mayor Pro Tem John Heilman had served on the council since the city was incorporated in 1984.
Lindsey Horvath, an advertising executive who served two years on the council after being appointed following a member’s death, and Lauren Meister, a longtime resident and market research professional, were sworn in as new council members.
The election represented a makeover for a five-person council made up of longtime incumbents. A seat vacated by Jeffrey Prang last year when he was elected county assessor will be filled in a special election in June. Heilman has announced he will run for that seat.
In the fall, with Prang still on the council, all but one of the members, John D’Amico, had been in office for more than a decade. D’Amico, who has been on the council since 2011, was re-elected this month.
The council members serve rotating one-year terms as mayor, a largely symbolic role. Heilman was slated to become the next mayor, but with his election day defeat, the next in line was Councilman John Duran.
Duran, however, has been embroiled in controversy since acknowledging a brief sexual relationship with a man he later hired as his council deputy, a full-time city job.
On Monday, Duran avoided fueling the controversy by nominating Horvath to become mayor and Meister to become the mayor pro tempore. It will mark the first time since 1989 that there will be both a female mayor and mayor pro tempore, city officials said.
Duran did not hesitate to nominate Horvath and Meister, and he told them that in taking Heilman and Land’s positions, they had some “mighty big shoes to walk into.”
“They are handing you a hundred million dollars in reserves, a triple-A bond rating and a city that works,” he said.