Santa Monica Lookout Opinion

Why is Lindsey Horvath Coming to Town?

By Charlyce Bozzello

October 11, 2023 -- This week, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce will host a conference dedicated to the topics of “safety, homelessness, and recovery.” But their keynote speaker, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, has a better reputation for causing some of the region's biggest problems rather than fixing them.

As a member of the West Hollywood City Council, Horvath had a reliably anti-business record. In 2020, she was “the lone no vote” against emergency COVID assistance for small businesses.

In September 2021, she called for “a real conversation about” potentially ending WeHo’s long-standing reliance on the local chamber for conducting business outreach.

She was also a proponent of a controversial WeHo ordinance that limits the number of rooms or square footage hotel housekeepers can clean per day. Horvath pushed hard for the ordinance, even though the City conducted no “outreach to the hotels” and passed the ordinance “without the benefit of a study session.”

Horvath’s support for the controversial law, despite opposition from the business community, came as no surprise. Her allies at Unite Here Local 11 peddled a similar ordinance all around Southern California, including in Santa Monica, and relied upon its pals in City Hall to push the law through.

Horvath’s campaign for LA County Supervisor received thousands of dollars from various union locals, including Local 11. The union’s endorsement of her campaign confidently proclaimed: “Our members can count on her no matter what.”

It’s not the first time she put her alliance with the union ahead of residents. It’s recently come to light that Horvath rushed to push through WeHo’s minimum wage ordinance with help from the Council’s other union-backed members, then-Mayor Pro Tem Erickson and current Mayor Sepi Shyne.

It appears advocating for yet another harmful union-backed policy was a political play for Horvath, who wanted to secure Local 11’s support in her race for LA County Supervisor.

Now, WeHo is struggling under unsustainable wage mandates that threaten to shutter even the city’s most beloved institutions. Small businesses are calling for a study session so that the Council can address the impact rising wages are having on business viability.

With this type of track record behind her, it’s no wonder Horvath has been accused by local press and residents in West Hollywood for “erasing” her West Hollywood ties when they no longer served her political purpose, and perpetuating a system that promotes “favoritism, cronyism and nepotism.”

If the city truly wants to tackle issues plaguing Santa Monica, the Chamber should know better: Heeding Horvath’s advice is not the way.

Charlyce Bozzello is the communications director at the Center for Union Facts.

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