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LA protests against Trump’s Religious Freedoms Executive Order cancelled

The White House says the Executive Order language is “in flux”

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In February, dozens of people marched along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood to protest Trump’s Religious Freedom Executive Order. (Photo by Troy Masters)

“Organizers are calling off tonight’s rally — today’s executive order was not the broadside on LGBT rights we feared. However, it is a frontal attack on women’s reproductive rights and opens the door to potential anti-LGBT discrimination in the future,” according to Equality California.  The group instead called for the community to stand up for other intersecting concerns, like women’s rights and health advocacy.

“Please participate in the many smaller, targeted events that are being planned today by Planned Parenthood Action, advocates of the separation of church and state and others. And although today’s order was not the expected attack, that broader anti-LGBT order could still come at any time. Please keep monitoring our page and those of other LGBT organizations for future actions. We are not letting down our guard. Stand with us,” Equality California wrote on Facebook.

In Los Angeles, Equality California and other civil rights and activist groups are had been set to protest in anticipation Donald Trump’s long awaited Religious Freedoms executive order.  

While the executive order Trump signed did not include provisions that would let federal contractors discriminate against LGBT people, as an earlier draft of the religious liberty order did, some say it dismantles provisions of the Johnson Amendment that prevent Churches and other non-profits from participating in politics.  It’s real impact, however, is to underscore the Hobby Lobby decision, a Supreme Court ruling that shields employers from certain requirements they object to .  It also allows churches to participate in political campaigns and make endorsements.

Equality California had written on Facebook that “contrary to the president’s statements that he’s ‘respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights,’ he has already publicly pledged to sign the anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act. An executive order could create broad exemptions to federal civil rights protections that allow anyone to deny basic services to LGBT people if they feel that doing so violates their religion.”

“America has a rich tradition of social change beginning in our pews and our pulpits,” Trump said before signing the bill. “We must never infringe on the noble tradition of change from the church and progress from the pew.”
“Under my administration, free speech does not end at the steps of a cathedral or a synagogue or any other house of worship. We are giving our churches their voices back and we are giving them back in the highest form.”
The order made no mention of LGBT rights.

His order, however, netted little change.   Campaign Legal Center general counsel, Lawrence Noble, told CNN  “President Trump’s executive order did not ease the current restrictions on political activity by religious organizations, The executive order allows the IRS to restrict the activity it currently considers political, but prohibits the IRS from expanding the restrictions to cover activity not covered before the executive order.”

CNN noted that the order does not offer exceptions for groups to deny services to anyone based on religious grounds.
The order, entitled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” does instruct Attorney General Jeff Sessions to interpret the order: “In order to guide all agencies in complying with relevant Federal law, the Attorney General shall, as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law,” it reads.
That has some LGBT advocates concerned.
National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling issued a statement that sums up the concerns and relief of the day.
“Thanks to the overwhelming pushback from so many communities, President Trump stopped short today of explicitly endorsing anti-LGBT discrimination. But this vaguely worded order is clearly aimed at providing a license to discriminate against LGBT people, women, religious minorities, and others—while also eroding the separation of church and state. President Trump has simply asked others in his administration to do much of his dirty work, like today’s Congressional vote to take away health care from millions of Americans, any effort to divide this nation is dangerous, un-American, and will ensure that those who fight for equality will do so until such efforts are dead for good. We call on transgender people and their loved ones to keep making their voices heard by their elected officials. This is our country too.”
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Los Angeles

Historic LA gay bathhouse for sale- looks to be end of an era

Midtowne Spa owned three properties in Southern California- The Los Angeles location is the last Midtowne Spa standing

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Midtowne Spa Los Angeles (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo for the WeHo Times)

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – The Midtowne Spa Los Angeles property, home to the historic sex bathhouse catering to gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM) went up for sale earlier this month.

Insiders say this is the end of the last Midtowne Spa standing in Southern California and across the nation. Located at 615 Kohler Street in Los Angeles, the bathhouse was founded in 1972, marking a good 50 years of providing a safe space for men to meet men.

According to sources, Midtowne Spa Los Angeles could be closing as early as some time in October. Vendors who provide towel and linen services allege they have been told their services will not be needed past October. The cleaning crew was told the same according to rumors.

An employee who wishes to remain nameless, said that they are very aware of the sale of the property and that workers sense the end is near although management isn’t saying much about what the sale means to their employment. Workers are being told that the owners hope to save the mens spa and transfer the business to a party that is interested in continuing the business name and hopefully save their jobs, but the listing suggests the property will most likely be redeveloped and they may soon be out of a job.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES

Attempts to reach management have been unsuccessful.

Midtowne Spa owned three properties in Southern California, The Melrose Spa, at 7269 Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, which closed in May 2017, and the 1350 Club at 510 W Anaheim St, in Wilmington, which closed some time in May, 2022 shortly after being shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Los Angeles location is the last Midtowne Spa standing. The Austin, Texas Location closed in July, 2016. Dallas closed the following year. Midtowne Denver also closed earlier this year. Most of these locations closed with little to no fanfare, upsetting some of their most loyal customers.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles currently offers private rooms as well a lockers. The facility has an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, Sauna, Steam room, Sundeck and a TV Lounge. They have adult movie channels, two gay and one Straight/Bisexual and  24 hour secured parking garage right next door to the club. We offer free HIV & STD testing, please check our website for days and times.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES
Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES

A recent guest tells WEHO TIMES that the spa was busy this past Saturday. “The rooms were completely sold out by 7pm, but I went early in the afternoon,” he said. “They have raised prices significantly, but they do sell out of rooms, and and they still have plenty of customers.”

The customer also credits Midtowne for promoting a clean (as possible) environment and also providing std testing and free counseling, “It’s not just about STD/AIDS, but the counselors also will talk to people, like gay people just coming out, which is so important for some people who may be reluctant to go to other places,” he said. “This is a safe place for queer expression that will be a loss to the community and also has historic value. The original owner, Marty, really wanted Midtowne to stay open long after his demise as an outlet for the queer community.”

The property is listed as a prime Downtown Los Angeles Development site by Major Properties. Built in 1914, the land area is listed at 30,160 sq ft with a property size of 22,419 sq ft. The asking price is a reduced $6,500,000. The portfolio would be delivered empty, which is another sign of Midtowne Spa will not survive the sale of the property.

Midtowne Spa Los Angeles – WEHO TIMES

Major Properties describes the development site as:

• Major price reduction!
• Prime DTLA purchase opportunity
• Mixed-use/residential development site
• 13,380± SF 3-story building is occupied by Midtown Spa; 9,039± SF 1-story building is used for interior parking; additional 3 parcels are parking lots (one is noncontiguous).
• Located at the southwest corner of East 6th St and Kohler St
• Situated 2 blocks west of the DTLA Arts District, and adjacent to the Flower and Fashion Districts
• There is a potential alley vacation that would add 2,340± SF of land to the portfolio. If Seller obtains the alley, the sale price would be increased by $571,000.
• TOC: Tier 3
• Located in State Enterprise Zone; Greater Downtown Housing Incentive Area; and Los Angeles Redevelopment Project Area • Located in Designated Qualified Opportunity Zone (tax benefits)
• Proposed DTLA 2040 Community Plan: Markets
906-910-920 E 6th St, 615 Kohler St and the noncontiguous parking lot will benefit from the proposed DTLA 2040 Community Plan, which will will allow for long-term upside due to a significant emphasis on community growth and development. The proposed DTLA 2040 Plan will increase jobs, housing, transportation, open space, and amenities, adding 125,000 new residents, 70,000 new housing units, and 55,000 new jobs.
• Portfolio will be delivered vacant.

midtowne spa la

To read the full listing visit: https://www.majorproperties.com/property/prime-dtla-development-site/.

*********************

The preceding article was previously published by the WeHo Times and is republished by permission.

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Los Angeles

LAT: Arrests made in gun theft burglary at Karen Bass’s home

The case has yet to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the filing of charges

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Karen Bass speaking at an event in San Pedro, Calif. Sept. 2022 (Photo Credit: Bass mayoral campaign/Facebook)

LOS ANGELES – Two men have been arrested in the burglary and theft of guns from the home of U.S. Rep. Karen Bass according to the Los Angeles Times. Bass told the Times that she met with the Los Angeles Police Department Wednesday and officials confirmed the arrests.

Bass, a mayoral candidate running against local businessman and real estate developer Rick Caruso, returned home last Friday after an event to find that her home in LA’s Baldwin Vista neighborhood had been burglarized.

“Last night, I came home and discovered that my house had been broken into and burglarized. LAPD was called, and I appreciate their assistance. At this time, it appears that only two firearms, despite being safely and securely stored, were stolen. Cash, electronics and other valuables were not. It’s unnerving and, unfortunately, it’s something that far too many Angelenos have faced,” the Congresswoman wrote in a statement issued Saturday morning.

Later Wednesday, in a release whose details align with the burglary at Bass’s home, the LAPD said the two men were arrested Tuesday evening after officers matched their vehicle to one that was at the scene of the theft Friday the Times reported.

Police identified the burglars as 42-year-old Patricio Munoz, who is being held in lieu of $600,000 bail, and 24-year-old Juan Espinoza, who is being held without bail. Both face a residential burglary charge.

The Times also reported that Munoz provided police an alias of Matias Milito, and Espinoza identified himself as Baltazar Rodriguez, police said.

They were booked into jail under those names, and they are being held at the LAPD’s Valley Jail in Van Nuys.

No information was released as to whether the guns were returned to Bass or if they remain outstanding.

The case has yet to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the filing of charges.

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Los Angeles

Home of mayoral candidate Karen Bass burglarized; firearms stolen

“It appears that only two firearms were stolen. It’s unnerving and, unfortunately, it’s something that far too many Angelenos have faced”

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Rep. Karen Bass speaking to LGBTQ+ supporters during a campaign event earlier this year (Photo Credit: Bass mayoral campaign)

LOS ANGELES – U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif. a candidate running in the race to become the next mayor of Los Angeles released a statement Saturday indicating that her home had been burglarized and that two firearms were taken.

“Last night, I came home and discovered that my house had been broken into and burglarized. LAPD was called, and I appreciate their assistance. At this time, it appears that only two firearms, despite being safely and securely stored, were stolen. Cash, electronics and other valuables were not. It’s unnerving and, unfortunately, it’s something that far too many Angelenos have faced,” the Congresswoman wrote.

Bass said she has been in contact with the Los Angeles Police Department. A LAPD spokesperson said that the police were unable to release any specific details about the investigation.

Bass, a Democratic congresswoman who represents an area west and southwest of downtown Los Angeles, is facing developer Rick Caruso in the upcoming November General Election for the city’s mayoral seat.

UPDATED Sunday Sept. 11, 2022:

The LAPD released this photo of the suspect in a Sept. 9, 2022, burglary of two guns in Baldwin Vista.

Police described the suspect as a man who is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighs about 200 pounds, and was wearing dark clothing, a surgical mask, a blue baseball cap with a white logo, and black Asics sneakers.

Anyone with information about the LAPD press release is asked to call Detective Colleen Stout-Ryder at 213-485-7522.

During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247).

To report information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or go directly to lacrimestoppers.org

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