WEST HOLLYWOOD—The city swore-in three newly elected members to the West Hollywood City Council: Lauren Meister, Chelsea Lee Byers, and John Heilman, on Monday, December 19. Each took an oath of office during the regular meeting of the City Council. The meeting is available for viewing at www.weho.org/wehotv and on the City’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.

During the meeting, the West Hollywood City Council voted upon selection of West Hollywood’s next Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore: Sepi Shyne will become the next Mayor and John M. Erickson will become the next Mayor Pro Tempore. They will take an oath of office at the City’s City Council Reorganization and Installation meeting and ceremony on Monday, January 9, 2023 at 6 p.m.

Lauren Meister was elected to the West Hollywood City Council on March 3, 2015; re-elected for her second term on March 5, 2019; and re-elected for her third term on November 8, 2022. She is West Hollywood’s current outgoing Mayor.

Since being elected, Meister 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 our historic resources and, raise the bar on design standards, environmental programs, and sustainability.

During her first term as Mayor (April 2016-May 2017), she joined with mayors from across the nation to show support for preserving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and protecting immigrant and refugee communities.

Among Meister’s priorities are:

-Initiating and supporting policies to save our affordable housing stock and local neighborhood serving businesses;

-Prioritizing public safety, social services, and housing production to reflect the needs of our community;

-Preserving our 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, she became involved with West Hollywood as a neighborhood watch captain, took the LASD Community Emergency Response Team “CERT” training, and attended the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Community Academy. She went on to 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 the city, 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 also worked on campaign finance reform and has been a strong advocate for a stricter code of ethics.

At the request of former Congress member Henry Waxman, Meister testified before Congress in support of 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 Council members elected on or after March 2013 to no more than three full or partial terms on the City Council.

Meister is the sole proprietor of her own marketing research firm based in West Hollywood. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration, and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Services Management. She has been a resident of the region for over 30 years.

Chelsea Lee Byers was elected to the West Hollywood City Council on November 8. Byers became connected to the city through the Women’s Leadership Conference. This connection led to many program partnerships with WeHo, including Women Manifest (2016), the Cannabis Education Forum (2015-2018), collaborative film screenings, panels, and more.

While working with United Way’s Everyone In campaign, Byers engaged with the City’s Social Services Division and Strategic Initiatives Division to bring educational programming to the community on homelessness and housing solutions. She currently works as Director of Programs and Partnership with Women’s Voices Now and is a core team member with Beautiful Trouble.

The immediate past Vice Chair of the City’s Human Services Commission, Byers’ priorities on the West Hollywood City Council include social service delivery, climate-change mitigation strategies, and emergency resiliency efforts, creating more affordable housing and resources for renters, enhancing the streetscape for improved pedestrian and cycling experiences while reducing vehicle-dependency, and community building and policy implementation to ensure West Hollywood is an inclusive community for all.

She serves on the Board of Directors for National Women’s Political Caucus as the Vice President of Education and Training for NWPC California. She is a board member of Abundant Housing Los Angeles and President Emeritus of the Westside Young Democrats.

Byers participated in a number of fellowships including the Housing Policy Leadership Institute, New Leaders Council, Art for LA Activate Program, National Council for Jewish Women’s Advocacy Program, and the James Lawson Institute.

She studied at Universidad Internacional Cuernavaca, Franklin University Switzerland and received her B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Northern Arizona University.

John Heilman was active in the incorporation of West Hollywood. He was elected to the West Hollywood’ first City Council in November 1984. He was chosen as the city’s second Mayor in 1985. He served as Mayor in 1990, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2006, and 2010. He was re-elected to the City Council in June 2015 and in November 2022 and is one of the longest-serving openly gay elected officials in the United States.

He was instrumental in the establishment of the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, a City-funded organization that develops affordable housing in West Hollywood and the surrounding region. He helped develop the City’s landmark Rent Stabilization Ordinance. He helped create the City’s inclusionary housing policy, which requires developers of new residential buildings to include housing for low and moderate-income residents.

He drafted the City’s landmark ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of HIV and AIDS. He received the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Award for his leadership on the issue of AIDS. He established the City’s Senior Advisory Board and helped develop the City’s Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park. He established the City’s Russian Advisory Board in an effort to integrate the City’s Russian-speaking residents into the City’s decision-making process, and founded the City’s Annual Women’s Leadership Conference.

Heilman was instrumental in building West Hollywood Library, which was opened in 2011. He worked closely with the West Hollywood business community. He was a founder of the West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors’ Bureau now known as the West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board/Visit West Hollywood. He established the Sunset Strip Business Improvement District as well as the business improvement district which serves the City’s Design District.

In his professional life, Heilman is a law school professor at Southwestern Law School and an adjunct professor at USC Law School.