WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Monday, September 20, the city of West Hollywood swore-in Lauren Meister as Mayor and Sepi Shyne as Mayor Pro Tempore during the annual City Council Reorganization and Installation meeting. The meeting took place by Virtual Teleconference.
Mayor Meister’s Oath of Office was administered by former West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman and Mayor Pro Tempore Shyne’s Oath of Office was administered by Melahat Rafiei. The Oath of Office ceremony is available for viewing as part of the city council meeting by visiting www.weho.org/wehotv or by visiting the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.
Mayor Lauren Meister was, after almost two decades as a neighborhood advocate, elected to the West Hollywood City Council on March 3, 2015 and re-elected for her second term on March 5, 2019.
She worked on initiatives to: strengthen the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, develop more neighborhood-friendly planning and land use policies, provide social services for people who are homeless, create a Small Business Task Force, establish West Hollywood as a safe haven for LGBTQ asylum seekers, increase community engagement and transparency, implement a Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program, educate the public on safety issues related to children and pets, embrace and promote historic resources and, raise the bar on design standards, environmental programs, and sustainability.
During her first term as mayor from April 2016 to May 2017, she joined other mayors across the nation to show support for preserving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and protecting immigrant and refugee communities. She initiated an item to take steps to prohibit West Hollywood City Hall from doing business with entities that provide financial or other benefits to the President of the United States and develop socially conscious banking policies.
Among Mayor Meister’s priorities include:
- Initiating and supporting policies to save affordable housing stock and local neighborhood serving businesses;
- Prioritizing public safety, social services, and housing production to reflect the needs of the community;
- Preserving the City’s rich history and unique character;
- Protecting and enhancing parks and green space; and
- Advocating for safe mobility options and fair parking policies.
Before her election in 2015, Meister became involved in the city as a neighborhood watch captain, took the LASD Community Emergency Response Team “CERT” training, and attended the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Community Academy. She lead the largest neighborhood association in the City, representing residents on issues such as public safety, traffic circulation, parking, and development.
She served on various commissions and committees for West Hollywood, including the Planning Commission and Public Safety Commission. She worked to mitigate traffic and parking impacts of new and proposed projects in the City, supported creative parking solutions to help neighborhood businesses, initiated the City’s “Live, Work, Play, Be Safe” educational campaign, and supported new ideas to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety. She worked on campaign finance reform and has been an advocate for a stricter code of ethics.
At the request of former Congressmember Henry Waxman, Mayor Meister testified before Congress to support health insurance regulation and universal health care, and she worked with Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz to decrease helicopter noise in residential neighborhoods.
In 2013, she served as Chair of the successful “Yes on Measure C” Term Limits for West Hollywood committee, limiting all councilmembers elected on or after March 2013 to no more than three full or partial terms on the West Hollywood City Council. She is the sole proprietor of her own marketing research firm based in West Hollywood. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration.
A resident for more than 30 years, Meister has been both a renter and a homeowner in West Hollywood. Her parents, sister, and rescue dogs, Suki and Sammy, also call West Hollywood home.
Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne made history in November 2020, when she was elected to the West Hollywood City Council. She became the first out LGBTQ Iranian elected anywhere globally and locally became the first woman of color elected to the West Hollywood City Council. Her election also ushered in West Hollywood’s first female-majority City Council. Mayor Pro Tempore Shyne’s priorities include advocating for affordable housing, protecting renters and social service programs, social justice, small business revival, and bringing the people’s voices to West Hollywood City Hall.
Mayor Pro Tempore Shyne received her Bachelor of Science from San Jose State University with a double concentration in Accounting and Management Information Systems and a Minor in Drama with an emphasis in Directing. She received her Juris Doctorate with a specialization certificate in litigation from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco.
Before being elected to the West Hollywood City Council, Mayor Pro Tempore Shyne served on West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, on the West Hollywood’s Business License Commission, and on the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Advisory Council, on which she continues to serve. She led many boards and organizations, including the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles and as a Board of Governor and Steering Committee leader with the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles.
Mayor Pro Tempore Shyne is a Co-Organizer of WeHo Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a community group created during the pandemic to help get resources to seniors, people with disabilities, and people in immunosuppressed households via social media and volunteer check-in calls. She lives in the Mid-City area of West Hollywood.