I have known Scott Schmidt now for nearly six years. He launched his BoifromTroy blog shortly before Bruce launched this one. And while Bruce and I tend to see ourselves as conservatives who happen to be gay, Scott has been more active in gay causes than have either of us. Indeed, he spearheaded Republicans Against 8 in 2008. Had the “No on 8” leadership designed a campaign along the lines of the one Scott waged on a shoestring budget, the results that fall might have been quite different.
Indeed, Scott’s energetic opposition to Prop 8 earned him the endorsement of Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who said that the former blogger “did more to fight Prop 8 than [incumbent City Councilors] John Heilman, Abbe Land or Lindsey Horvath combined.” Scott worked with Black on a video project for his “Republicans against 8,” web-site. The site later won a “Pollie Award from the American Association of Political Consultants for the best use of a web video in a state ballot measure campaign.”
But, Scott is not just basing his campaign on his opposition to that ballot measure. He’s also basing it on his years as a civic activist and businessman in West Hollywood. He is now serving in his second term on the West Hollywood Transportation Commission, having been elected chairman after just two years on the commission. On that commission, he led “the effort to improve signage at Taxi Zones,” making it easier for motorists to avoid parking illegally. As a result, fewer parking tickets were issued.
Indeed, Scott wants to steer the city away from its reliance on parking tickets as a means of revenue enhancement, a welcome priority for those concerned by the city’s overzealous enforcement of its byzantine parking regulations, often issuing tickets to motorists who have parked their cars in spots where no visible sign indicated they were subject to penalty — or where the signs gave conflicting information.
Unlike some of the more “progressive” challengers, Scott doesn’t believe “believe development is a four-letter word.” He contends that the city can live up to its “moniker as the ‘creative city,'” while continuing “to renew and reinvent ourselves–and part of that process means building new buildings.”
Scott has drawn attention to the spendthrift ways at City Hall, noting, in a forum last week at the West Hollywood Heights Neighborhood Association that “that the lowest paid employee in City Hall makes $56,000 a year, higher than the $40,000 average among all West Hollywood residents“:
[He also] pointed out that the city uses two inflation rates—one for determining how much a landlord can raise rents in rent-controlled apartments and a second, higher one for determining cost of living raises for City Hall employees. He believes there should be only one rate.
I agree. That commitment to one rate is part of his plan to hold the line on city hall salaries and pension benefits. This dedication to cutting costs is one of the many reasons I am endorsing this Scott Schmidt for West Hollywood City Council.
Scott has also reminded voters that when the City of West Hollywood was incorporated in 1984, it employed fewer than 20 people, not more than 20 of the city’s employees earn over $125,000, with the cost their fringe benefits growing by 1769%.
Scott Schmidt has studied the issues, worked hard to get to know his community and developed solutions which will improve life not just for those of us who live in West Hollywood, but those who pass through, as commuters, shoppers and revelers. If you don’t live in the city, you can support his campaign here.
And if you do live here, join me in voting for Scott Schmidt (and Mito Aviles) this coming Tuesday, March 8.