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Venice Beach Pride’s grassroots appeal

Yes, LGBT people have a place on the Westside

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Venice Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

Venice Beach Pride organizers are hard at work planning this year’s event. Photo by Grant Turck

LA Pride’s #ResistMarch planning kicked into high gear after the City of West Hollywood announced on April 3 it would provide $1,000,000 to cover anticipated security costs of the nearly four-mile long march. Though there is no size comparison, nor is it competition (#ResistMarch organizers expect to attract 500,000 people), Venice Pride, the upstart Pride on the beach, is giving WeHo a run for its money. And at one-tenth the price.

The new Pride on the beach for Westsiders is looking like a promising alternative to West Hollywood’s LA Pride.

“Building upon last year’s success, our 13-member board has been hard at work planning an incredible line-up of inclusive events for all ages to enjoy this June 2-3,” said Grant Turck, board president of Venice Pride.

Among the many activities is a beach dedication to Bill Rosendahl, the first openly gay person elected to LA City Council. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and many other politicos will be in attendance.

“From the dedication of the Bill Rosendahl Memorial Beach to the annual Venice Pride Sign Lighting & Block Party and festival at the world-famous Muscle Beach, a good time is sure to be had by everyone,” Turck said, promising there would also be more “surprises” along the way.  DJ Victor Rodriguez, known for his popular Bears In Space event will once again spin tunes for the Block Party.

Venice Pride, in part, emerged as a grassroots response to the shuttering of the last gay bar west of the 405, noted Turck.

“Venice has a huge gay history. It is a symbol of diversity, acceptance, and creativity for so much of the world. There was The Friendship on Channel Road (now a straight bar), Blackies’ (now Chinois) and Van Go’s Ear on Main Street, Westwinds (now a T-shirt shop) and Match Box on Ocean Front Walk, Big Brothers (now Salt Air) on Abbot Kinney Blvd. and Free People on West Pico Blvd (now Coal & Ice). Over the last several years, we’ve lost one Westside gay institution after the next.”

News of Roosterfish’s rumored closure last February left some feeling like gay culture in the area had been erased.

“I was at First Friday, a monthly event held on Abbott Kinney Boulevard last year with a friend. People turn out for it in droves. It was usually an especially grand night at Roosterfish, as the Westside really came together for it. When we realized that the bar would be closing, it felt like we needed to create something that would reinvigorate the recognition that there is a gay community here. Continuing Venice Pride reminds LGBT people that they have a place here on the Westside.”

Turck campaigned to secure Historic-Cultural Monument designation for the bar from the City of LA, but was unsuccessful.

Several high-profile corporations have expressed interest in sponsoring the event, including last year’s sponsors like SnapChat, Google and others.

West Hollywood Pride has had some controversy, due to its admission price, said Turck.

“In recent years, West Hollywood’s LA Pride has forgotten its roots by putting most of its energy into a music festival with a bloated budget that demands expensive tickets. LGBT Pride should be accessible to all with the fewest barriers to inclusion necessary, because the reality is whether young, old, gay, trans, non-binary, masc, fem, average or buff—we are all in this fight together. And our strength comes through the celebration of these differences.”

While the Trump administration has caused much worry among LGBT people, Turck remains hopeful.

“The American people have protested before and we’re doing it again now. Grassroots movements like the Women’s March in D.C. and the upcoming #ResistMarches all across the country are only the beginning. These movements remind us of what is possible when we rise together as one voice united. The present administration forgets their victory was by a minority, and their failure to capture the hearts and minds of the majority will be its undoing,” Turck emphasized.

Members of the Venice Pride board will also march in the free #ResistMarch happening on Sunday, June 11.

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California

California expands broadband infrastructure & internet access across state

The initial project locations based on unserved/underserved areas that don’t reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second

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California Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of California)

SACRAMENTO – Advancing California’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has identified 18 projects to begin work on an open-access middle-mile network that will provide missing infrastructure paths to bring broadband to all communities.

As part of the historic $6 billion broadband investment advanced in partnership with legislative leaders earlier this year, the initial project locations are based on known unserved and underserved areas across the state. The projects will connect to the core of the global internet and interconnect to last-mile infrastructure, which is the final leg that provides internet service to a customer.

“California is committed to taking on the challenges laid bare by the pandemic, including the digital divide holding back too many communities across the state,” said Newsom. “These projects are the first step to delivering on our historic investment that will ensure all Californians have access to high-quality broadband internet, while also creating new jobs to support our nation-leading economic recovery.”

The initial 18 projects represent a range of geographic locations and technical approaches. Projects are being initiated in the following tribal communities, counties and cities: Alpine County; Amador County; Calaveras County; Central Coast; Coachella Valley; Colusa Area; Inyo County; Kern County; Kern/San Luis Obispo Area; Lake County Area; Los Angeles and South Los Angeles; Oakland; Orange County; Plumas Area; Riverside/San Diego Area; San Bernardino County; Siskiyou Area; and West Fresno.

Evaluation of project areas included consideration of public comments, prioritization of unserved or underserved areas of the state, and inclusion of tribal communities, cities and counties. An unserved or underserved area has households that do not reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload of at least 3 Mbps.

“Core to our success will be the deep partnerships we’ve built with a diverse set of community organizations and last mile providers. Through many years of engagement with metropolitan planning organizations, CPUC-supported broadband consortia, Tribal organizations, community-based broadband advocacy groups, and organizations like the Rural County Representatives of California, the NAACP, and the California Emerging Technology Fund, we are now ready to take this historic step towards broadband equity for California,” said Louis Fox, Founder and Chair of GoldenStateNet, the state’s third-party administrator.

State partners implementing the middle-mile initiative include the California Department of Technology, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Caltrans. GoldenStateNet was selected as the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to manage the development, acquisition, construction, maintenance and operation of the statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network. As the TPA, GoldenStateNet will partner with key stakeholder groups across the state to investigate the best technical, financial and operational models to meet the needs of the project sites.  

A map and additional information on the initial projects can be found here.

“A reliable broadband connection makes the difference between having access to full-service health care, education and employment or sometimes going without,” said State Chief Information Officer Amy Tong. “Through a historic partnership between our Governor, the Legislature, state agencies and a third-party administrator, we are taking immediate action to improve connectivity for Californians in the northern, central and southern parts of the state.”

“These initial routes have been identified to accelerate projects in areas of the state that are unserved because of the lack of open middle mile infrastructure to serve them. We are accelerating the selection of a diverse set of routes — those that are ready to build and those that are not ready to build.  This allows the state to partner with locals on these diverse projects and learn by doing, as we concurrently work to finalize all the needed routes in the State. There are many more communities like those in Phase I that will be included in the final map,” said Martha Guzman Aceves, Commissioner at the CPUC.

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Santa Monica

Sen. Alex Padilla & Santa Monica College- Thanksgiving grocery giveaway

“As we approach Thanksgiving, it is important to support each other and our communities, and give back when we can” 

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Santa Monica College volunteers & Senator Alex Padilla (Photo courtesy of Senator Alex Padilla)

SANTA MONICA — Ahead of Thanksgiving, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) on Tuesday volunteered with Santa Monica College (SMC) for their 2nd Annual GIVING THANKS(giving) Holiday Grocery Drive-Thru Giveaway.

Padilla joined dedicated SMC volunteers, along with state and local officials to provide fresh holiday groceries to 1,500 food insecure students.

“As we approach Thanksgiving, it is important to support each other and our communities, and give back when we can,” said Senator Padilla. “I was proud to join Santa Monica College and regional partners for their annual holiday food drive to make sure students have access to fresh food and groceries this holiday season. But this is also a stark reminder that there is more work to be done to address student food insecurity, an issue that existed since before the pandemic. I’ve introduced the BASIC Act to give students the resources they need to stay focused on their education. No student should have to worry about meeting their basic needs while pursuing their education.”

“Having Senator Padilla attend today’s event is so powerful because it raises the importance of giving back to our community,” said Lizzy Moore, president of the Santa Monica College Foundation and Santa Monica College’s dean of institutional advancement. “The Santa Monica College community is grateful for his leadership in the Senate to push for the BASIC Act and other legislative proposals to address the dramatic rates of food insecurity that exists on all college campuses including Santa Monica College.”

Even before the pandemic, 50 percent of California Community College students were food insecure.

Senator Padilla has been a strong advocate for addressing food insecurity and ensuring students can meet their basic needs while pursuing a higher education. This year, Padilla introduced the Basic Assistance for Students in College (BASIC) Act, bicameral legislation to ensure college students are able to meet their basic needs while pursuing their education. Specifically, the legislation provides $1 billion for grants to ensure institutions of higher learning have the resources they need to support their students’ most fundamental needs, and directs the federal government to streamline data sharing across agencies to help students qualify for aid – particularly Pell Grant recipients and attendees of community colleges and minority-serving institutions.

Senator Padilla also joined his colleagues in introducing the Student Food Security Act of 2021. This bicameral legislation helps address food insecurity on college campuses by enabling more low-income college students to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), improve data collection and sharing, and create a new grant program to help colleges and universities support their students.

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Arts & Entertainment

2022 Best of LGBTQ LA Readers’ Choice Award Nominations

Nominate your favorites in our 2022 Best of LGBTQ LA categories through December 5th.

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It is Decision 2022! Nominate your favorites in our 2022 Best of LGBTQ LA categories through December 5th. The top 5 nominees from each category will become a finalist with voting starting December 15th. Our 2022 Best of LGBTQ LA will be announced at the Best of LGBTQ LA Awards Party and special issue on January 28th, 2022.

Nominate below or click HERE.

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