What sound-minded person would purchase a business, write a check, get the keys to the building, hand out grand opening flyers and then turn around and ask the seller, “exactly what kind of business did I buy… and is it profitable?”
In effect that is what the West Hollywood City Council did on Monday night at the 2nd first reading of the revised draft ordinance to ban sales of all fur apparel. The final vote: 3 in favor, 1 opposed, and one strong abstention. This allows council to move forward with the proposed ordinance with a contingency clause and a six month window before consideration of enactment – leaving the ordinance with virtually no meaning at this point.
In a gross display of blatant cronyism, and “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” politics, West Hollywood - the little 1.9 mile stepchild to Hollywood – sent a message LOUD and CLEAR to the world—West Hollywood is unfriendly to businesses! And in the process created such concern and confusion that any retailer even considering signing a lease in West Hollywood would be likely to hold off.
Due diligence is done before any transaction is conducted as to mitigate any unnecessary harm or danger—key word here is before, and this care was not afforded to businesses or residents of West Hollywood. City Council failed the very people they exist to represent.
Businesses Beware! … West Hollywood does not represent your interests or concerns.
Commercial property owners and real estate stakeholders BEWARE! … West Hollywood City Council has just made it impossible for you to sign any type of long term lease with fashion retailers—and good luck trying to keep the ones you already have! Long term repercussions and damages will surely ensue.
Citizens of West Hollywood BEWARE! … Your Mayor is vacant and void, right along with the nearly 500,000 square feet of empty real estate in your city.
I am not sure this is the type of symbolism West Hollywood had in mind. Why do you “pass” a ban if you can’t actually pass it?
There are so many jarring, sloppy and outright confusing holes that exist within the newly revised ordinance, confirmed by city council members themselves, and yet this ordinance was shoved through for “symbolic” purposes.
Highlighting the lack of confidence and understanding Mayor John D’Amico has in the ordinance as it stands, he himself ordered the city to conduct an economic impact study before enactment. So, in reality, nothing can move forward until the city completes this study. And if the city fails to complete the study, they must rescind their approval of the reading of the ordinance. As fellow Council Member Abby Land asked, “Why not wait until we get the information and data from that study back and then act?” That is the million dollar question. Undoubtedly, this study will produce even more glaring economic hardship for fashion businesses because now the parameters of the ban have been expanded to include all apparel including: coats, shoes, scarves, hats, gloves, belts, shawls, and explicitly covers shearling, sheepskin, calfskin and UGGS!
In a united show of support, representatives from the retail community pleaded with the West Hollywood City Council and voiced their ardent objection and opposition to the ban. Darren Gold, owner of men’s boutique Alpha and Chairman of the Board at The Avenues—Art, Fashion and Design District in West Hollywood—gave an impassioned speech about how hard it was to do business, and frankly, stay afloat and pay your bills in our current economic climate. He went on to point out that “it’s not as easy as one would think to replace lost revenue from an item of high demand in your store…the implications are lasting and the loss is catastrophic.”
David Klein, owner of a unique new concept in luxury fashion boutiques—Goldsmith & Klein, newly opened on Robertson Blvd in West Hollywood—pointed out that “it isn’t up to the City to tell me what I could sell in my store. Selling luxury items gives me a competitive advantage that I rely on to stay afloat, and my clients rely on to keep coming back.” He concluded by saying that “had I known that this ban was going to come about, I would not have chosen West Hollywood as my business address. Until City Council pays my rent on a monthly basis, they should stay out of my business.”
Even heavy-weights like Brad Burlingame, President and CEO of the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau, cited this ban as shortsighted, sending a message that is unfriendly to visitors, restrictive of businesses, and just plain wrong.
Where does it all end? Does West Hollywood have to become a ghost town? Will West Hollywood ban meat, leather and any other products special interest groups deem offensive to their morality—or unsafe for their pockets? Things That Make People Go Hmmm….
For more information on the West Hollywood fur ban, read The Fur Insider’s complete coverage:
Still want more? Try these articles:
- NBC Los Angeles.com | Angry Businesses Delay West Hollywood Fur Ban
- NYTimes.com | Ban Fur? Then Why Not Leather?
- LAWeekly.com | West Hollywood’s Fur Ban: Is it Unlawful?
- USAToday.com | West Hollywood votes to ban fur sales
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