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The West Hollywood City Council has three positions open in the Nov. 8 election. Twelve candidates, including three former council members and Mayor Lauren Meister, are vying for the spots. In the weeks leading up to the election, we will highlight these prospective council members in the order in which they respond to our inquiry.
Sarah Adolphson is touting her long history working with social causes as the greatest strength in her candidacy for the West Hollywood City Council.
“Social causes have always been a major aspect of my life, both professional and private,” Adolphson said. “I started the first youth commission in my hometown, identifying resources to support teens in the community. I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. I ran a corporate foundation, forging successful public-private partnerships in communities like Compton, introducing employees to effective philanthropy, and serving the philanthropic visions of our clients. I earned a master’s degree in public administration from USC’s Price School of Public Policy while working full time. I was Senior Fellow at USC’s The Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab.”
Adolphson runs a firm that helps nonprofits, corporations and public figures leverage resources for maximum community impact.
“In this role, we tackle some of the most pressing issues that face our society, many of which directly affect the West Hollywood community. Most recently, we brought awareness to the 35th anniversary of the AIDS Quilt by bringing in celebrity voices and helping more BIPOC families honor their lost loved ones for the first time,” she said.
Adolphson said that her organization’s efforts has helped stir national attention.
“Our work has [targeted] racist and discriminatory laws that specifically target people living with HIV, and we brought the issue of HIV/AIDS to the MTV Video Music Awards, creating a national dialogue about the role of stigma as a major contributor to the ongoing AIDS crisis in the Southern United States. We have elevated the work of local WeHo artists through a campaign that connected mental health and trauma to the healing power of art. Finally, we brought the power of kindness as a public policy solution to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, resulting in a nationwide pledge of one billion acts of kindness,” she said.
Adolphson said that public safety was the most pressing issue in the city.
“Public safety is the topic on everybody’s mind. The vote to reduce the number of sheriff’s deputies was disconnected from the concerns of residents and our business community. We have had record high crime rates in 2022. Our sheriff’s deputies have worked hard to address those numbers, and reducing their budget is not going to help us sustain their progress. Because we are a destination for so many visitors from Los Angeles County and around the world, we cannot afford to take risks when it comes to public safety. If anything, we need more deputies, and I strongly believe that must include additional foot patrol. A safe community is one that works in concert with law enforcement, not against it,” she said.
Adolphson said her vision for West Hollywood is rooted in the city’s “vibrancy and spirit.”
“Not only is it an epicenter of great nightlife, design and fashion, but it is also a unique oasis within greater Los Angeles with a sense of community and small town appeal,” she said. “Some of that has been lost in recent years as political division and a misguided focus on national rhetoric are overshadowing the actual needs of the city and its residents. I want to restore that sense of community through events that bring people together, like the Halloween Carnaval or new events that encourage people to engage with one another. I like the idea of instituting a ‘Hi Neighbor’ initiative that helps people not only get to know those around them but has also been proven to prevent crime and potentially save lives during natural disasters as demonstrated in other cities like Anaheim.”
Adolphson is endorsed by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Greater Los Angeles Realtor Association.
“Effective leaders are the ones who listen, then convene the right teams to identify and efficiently implement solutions. I have a track record of doing just that and will bring that same leadership style to West Hollywood City Council,” she added.
For information, visit sarahadolphson.com.
Jordan Cockeram has been a resident of West Hollywood for nearly a decade, and said he is running for a council that is “made up of members who are there for the right reasons – to serve the people of the city, not to use it as a springboard for higher elected office.”
“West Hollywood used to be a place where people would come to feel [safe] and be safe from harm and persecution, and where businesses could thrive,” Cockeram said. “I want to serve on city council and work with my fellow council members to make West Hollywood a city where people feel safe again, where stores aren’t closing down left and right and where the priorities of the people who live here take precedence over the priorities and goals of individuals using our city as a stepping stone.”
Cockeram said that his own history of volunteer work within the election process makes him uniquely qualified to step into a council position in the city.
“I have been involved in civics my whole life, from volunteering on campaigns to running a polling precinct in the 2016 primary. I take the time to listen to everyone, and I don’t have an agenda or my own biases when it comes to what decisions we make in West Hollywood. I’m running because I want to represent the people who live here, make their lives better and make them happier. I’m not funded or supported by any special interests. My decisions are going to be what’s good for the city, not just good for the people or groups who gave lots of money to my campaign,” he said.
Cockeram said there is a web of interconnected issues plaguing the city.
“We have a growing homelessness problem and a crime problem in West Hollywood, and thanks to the decision to reallocate the sheriff’s budget, we’re going to have less deputies preventing crime and keeping us safe. People are afraid to leave their homes and walk on our streets at night for fear of getting robbed or worse. Our businesses are struggling to keep their doors open, or to even open in the first place. The city needs to repair the fractured relationship with our business community so we can start filling the empty storefronts. More business means more money collected from taxes, and more money collected from taxes will allow us to have a fully funded sheriff’s department, and to implement programs I want to bring to West Hollywood. Programs like Project Connect that have helped transition people suffering from homelessness into mental health facilities, drug and alcohol rehabs, and transitionary housing,” Cockeram said.
He also differentiated himself from other candidates, saying that he wasn’t relying on “buzz words” as much as action.
“I have real plans to accomplish our goals, and I’m so excited to share them. There’s so much grandstanding and Instagram activism these days. Of course what happens in Washington is important, and we need to keep a close watch on it and do everything we can to protect our residents. But a City Councilmember’s job is to listen to the issues that affect the day to day lives of the residents in the city they were elected to serve. That’s why I’ve spent so much of my campaign talking to residents and listening to their concerns. I’ve put my phone number and email on every op ed I’ve written, comment I’ve made and given it to every person whose door I’ve knocked on. I’m not pretending to be the expert with all of the answers. There are people who have worked on some of these issues for longer than I’ve been alive. What I’m promising is that I listen to everyone, including the experts who have worked on these issues, and will make the most educated, unbiased decisions when a vote comes to council.”
Cockeram encourages anyone with questions to reach out to him at email@example.com or (323)250-0992. For information, visit jordanforweho.com.
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