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LAPD investigating apparent murder of LA transwoman Viccky Gutierrez 

LAPD says case is a “high priority”

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Viccky Gutierrez.

Late Wednesday, TransLatin@ Coalition founder Bamby Salcedo announced the death of the group’s friend and client, Viccky Gutierrez. The Los Angeles Police Department has not yet officially identified the burned body found in Gutierrez’s apartment as the young trans Latina, but Salcedo and Gutierrez’s friends are certain it is her.

LAPD spokesperson Officer Drake Madison told the Los Angeles Blade that the LAPD’s West Bureau Division and the LA Fire Department responded at 3:15 amWednesday morning to a fire in a multi-family house in the 1700 block of South New Hampshire Boulevard in the Pico Union district. The flames were contained to the attic and a single unit on the second floor of the two-story, 116-year-old building.

“One person was found dead inside,” KTLA reported, “and officials believe the death may be suspicious.” However, “no further details on why the death was suspicious were given.” KTLA also reports that arson investigators are talking to witnesses and looking into the source of the fire. The other families escaped without injury.

“This is a high priority case for us,” LAPD Det. Sharon Kim told the Los Angeles Blade. She expects the autopsy results to be released either Thursday or Friday to be able to issue a positive identification.

Bamby Salcedo has sounded the alarm about the death of Viccky Gutierrez. (Screengrab from Facebook)

Kim also clarified that a news report indicating that federal agencies are involved in the investigation is incorrect. The LAPD has a long standing policy  —confirmed by then-LAPD Chief Bill Bratton directly to Bamby Salcedo—that the LAPD does not cooperate with ICE regarding any undocumented individuals in order to gain community support in finding murder suspects, perpetrators of hate crimes and to allow victims and witnesses of crimes to come forward.

But Salcedo and the LA trans community already know the burned body is Viccky Gutierrez. And Salcedo’s not only hurt but angry. “It’s not just that she is gone—it is the way that she was murdered. She was brutally murdered. We believe that it was intentional. We believe it was premeditated,” Salcedo says in an emotional video in Spanish and English posted on her Facebook page.  Salcedo wants to “seek justice for Viccky.”

Gutierrez was a young trans Latina woman from Honduras who used to come to TransLatin@ Coalition group meetings and “just to have lunch,” Salcedo tells The LA Blade.

Ask why Salcedo suspects murder, she says: “her body was burned so we think she was murdered before they got there. It’s not confirmed—police are still investigating. But one of her closest friends, Cristy—who comes from the same small town in Honduras—had dinner with her that night and said she was okay.  So there is a lot of speculation—we know the danger we experience everyday. We think it’s possible she was killed before they burned her apartment. She was completely unrecognizable. People kept calling her cell phone and she didn’t answer. It was late at night and her neighbors were sleeping and no one heard her screaming. So my assumption is that she was dead or unconscious before she was burned. That’s why I’m 99% sure she was brutally murdered and burned to death.”

Salcedo adds that “one of the girls told Cristy that they told her the apartment smelled like gasoline, like it was sprayed on the apartment and lit on fire.”

Amongst themselves, the mourning trans community also wonders if Gutierrez, who engaged in survival sex work, may have been killed by somebody who may have come to visit her. “There’s a strong possibility it came from work. It’s what we have to do. But we just don’t know. We asked the LAPD to check her cell phone but everything was burned,” Salcedo says.

“She was such a sweet girl. She was our sister,” Salcedo adds.

Salcedo has asked the Honduran Consult to attend the vigil for Gutierrez on Friday and pressure the LAPD to do a quick investigation so they can release her body to her family. In Latin America, she explains, families bury their dead the next day.

Viccky’s Vigil of Resistance is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 12 from 7:00p-10:00pm at 1660 Venice Blvd, LA 90006. See the Facebook page for more information.

Salcedo has also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to fly Gutierrez’s body back to Honduras and help the family with funeral services.

LAPD Det. Sharon Kim asks that anyone with information or tips call: 213-382-9470.

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West Hollywood

Vinson is leading riders in 2024 WeHo Pride & Dyke march

This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade

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Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

By Catherine Eng | WEST HOLLYWOOD – In anticipation of Weho Pride 2024, WeHo resident Katrina Vinson sat with WEHO TIMES for an interview to discuss being the lead Biker and organizer of Pride Riders in this year’s WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024 and the Dyke March on Saturday, June 1, 2024.  

Over the years, the Dyke March took place on Fridays. After much lobbying, the L Project (Producers of Women’s Freedom Festival) were able to get the event moved to Saturday-  greatly increasing participation. This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade. We spoke to Katrina about this year’s event, how she came to lead the contingency and the outreach to riders.

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson


Q:  Hello Katrina! Let’s hear about your journey to the City of Weho;  where are you from, what brought you to the city and how long have you resided in Weho? 

I grew up in San Jose, CA.  About 15 years ago, while I was still living in San Jose, I had a long distance relationship with a woman living in Santa Monica. I would visit for about a week or more at a time and we would always go out to WeHo. I slowly started falling in love with the City. Years later, after we broke, I was offered a job in LA, and I moved to Palms, a short drive from WeHo. I quickly made friends and we enjoyed the WeHo nightlife weekly. After about 4 years in Palms, the opportunity opened up for me to move to WeHo and I never looked back. Once I moved here I began to learn and appreciate so much more about this City. I never loved a City that I’ve lived in as much as I love WeHo. I’ve been here for 8 years now.

Q:  What started your activism in our city?

I would have to say my former partner. I mostly supported her and attended events she was leading or participating in. She was unstoppable and the events and network grew immensely. Over time, she became heavily involved in the City, inspiring me and others along the way. Slowly over-time I got more involved. We all have different strengths in this life. Mine are far different from hers and I never considered myself an organizer or activist. I helped how I could with whatever strengths and resources I had. Over time, our whole network of friends became primarily activists and I showed up in whatever capacity I could. I must have picked up a few things along the way since more and more people are calling me an activist. I’ve always been diplomatic, and stuck up for what’s right, and cannot stand to see any injustice, racism, sexism, inequality, or bigotry. 

Q:    You formerly served on the City’s Planning Commission but you resigned after 1 year. Can you talk about this experience?

I had come to know Sepi Shyne quite well as well as volunteered in both her campaigns for City Council. She knew quite a bit about my education and experience in construction. I believe she trusted my moral compass and desire to do good. Once she was elected to City Council she asked me if I would serve on the Planning Commission as her appointee. I believe she thought I could bring something to the position given my construction experience. Unfortunately, I had some major life changes arise where my bandwidth changed and I knew I couldn’t give the Planning Commission the dedicated time that it deserved and needed. I do hope to serve again someday. 

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

Q:   In your professional capacity – you hold some unique positions; both as a Commercial Construction Superintendent and as a Carpentry instructor @ LA Trade Tech College. Tell us about these roles, how you feel you’ve been able to trailblaze in these positions and what obstacles you’ve felt as a lesbian female in this field.

Oh boy, how much time do you have? Becoming a Commercial Construction Superintendent wasn’t easy. I worked my butt off going to Carpentry school full time while also working full time. I was doing 13 hour days but I absolutely LOVED it. LA Trade Tech College lit me up. I couldn’t get enough, I couldn’t absorb enough.That passion that was ignited in me along with my mechanical aptitude, and my skills at building put me at the top of my class. I won several carpentry competition awards and ended up graduating first in my class with honors and scholarships.

Given my love for the school and especially the Carpentry program, I made it known to the instructors, as well as the head of the department, that I hoped to come back and teach someday. After graduating, I was very saddened to no longer be involved with the program but I would have to work at least two years in the construction industry to even be eligible to be an instructor, not to mention that positions rarely ever opened up.

After being heavily recruited, I ultimately decided to take a job with a General Contractor as an Assistant Superintendent. I was only able to enter the construction workforce at such a high level due to my many years experience as an operations manager coupled with excelling so quickly in the Carpentry and Construction technologies. I was promoted from Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent in just one year and I’ve never looked back. Recently I completed a 10 million, 30,000 sq ft project with high end finishes. 

Luckily, after just over two years in the industry, I got a request from Trade Tech College to apply for an adjunct teaching position that was opening up. I wasn’t sure I could handle the load on top of my insanely demanding Superintendent Position but I knew I could not let the opportunity pass. Those positions almost never open up. I ended up getting the position and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to make it work. There are plenty of female carpentry instructors at LATTC but I am the only queer carpentry instructor. I’ve had quite a few LGBTQ+ students in my class over the semesters and I think it’s important for them to see that representation.

I haven’t met many obstacles as a lesbian but more obstacles as a female in general in construction. The number of women in construction is growing but more in the office roles. Women make up about 10-14% of the workforce in construction but only 4% working onsite in the field and even less in a position as high as mine. There are very few female Superintendents in all of Southern CA. It’s hard to know how many for sure but my educated guess is that it’s less than 5. For the first 4 years, I was the only woman on my jobsite each and every day.  I’m constantly running into architects, clients, designers, and construction managers that say to me, “I’ve never met a female Superintendent before!” Mostly in an excited tone. That gets me excited and lights me up. I usually think, “and wait until you see what I can do”. It’s important to me to put my best foot forward, produce the highest quality of work that I can, and try everyday to blow people away knowing that I am representing women in the field. I have two goals/hopes. 1) To prove to the industry that women are valuable assets to the industry and bring different sets of skills, creativity, and points of view. 2) To show and inspire other woman to join the construction industry. 

Q:  You are the new lead of Pride Riders, the Motorcycle group which leads the Weho pride parade and the Dyke March. How exciting to see a new generation of riders!  How long have you been riding?  How did you come to lead this group for Pride?

I’ve been riding for 24 years now. I got my motorcycle license as well as my first bike when I was just 18. Organizing the motorcycle group for the March and for WeHo Pride was unexpected. The leader of the motorcycles in previous years has been a mentor of mine. I have spent years at her side helping her lead pride parades and the Dyke March. In 2022, she came down with covid the day before the parade and needed someone to step in to lead and pace the parade. She called me and I gladly accepted. I was honored. The following year in 2023, due to unforeseen circumstances the opportunity to lead a new contingent of bikers for the Dyke March presented itself when the leader of the motorcycle contingent withdrew  from the event.

Riders, who still wanted to ride, participate, and be seen; were left confused and didn’t know what to do or how to enter. They had less than a week’s notice and some riders had family flying to see them ride in the parade but were left stranded. I was torn. I needed to step up for the riders that were left stranded without an organizer. I worked with Jackie Steele to come up with the name Pride Riders so I could register us in the parade and I worked with The  L-Project to help organize riders for the Dyke March. If it wasn’t for The L-Project the Dyke March wouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have been moved to a Saturday. Jackie helped organize the riders while I registered as the leader of Pride Riders. 

We had a pretty decent turnout of riders given the extreme short notice. The L-Project helped us in procuring parking for all the riders so they could stay for the day and enjoy the Women’s Freedom Fest prior to riding in the Dyke March. They also organized an amazing entrance for the riders to ride in as the Festival was ending and rev up the crowd to transition into marching behind us in the Dyke March. It was quite awesome. Riders were happy, spectators were happy, and the Dyke March got more exposure.

Q:   Do you remember your first Pride?  Where/when was it and how do you think that experience has shaped your development of Pride Riders/what you’re trying to create?

Barely. I was a gaybe back then. My first Pride was in San Francisco since I lived in San Jose. I remember the Dyke March especially. There’s nothing like Dolores Park and the Dyke March in San Francisco. I was in awe. It was a sea of queer women as far as I could see in every direction. We marched for what felt like forever but I didn’t want it to end. The community cheering for us was overwhelming. It was incredible. Then the next day I saw the Dykes on Bikes lead the parade and I knew I wanted to be one of them one year (I already had a motorcycle). It just wasn’t a thing I knew about or how to get into. All those years I lived in San Jose and went to countless SF Pride Parades and Dyke Marches and I never ended up riding my motorcycle in a parade or march until I moved to LA. I would LOVE to see that type of turnout here in WeHo and a big obstacle to the turnout was not having it on the weekend. Now that the Dyke March is moved to Saturday we hope the participation can finally grow and we can bring the Dyke March the visibility it should have. 

Dyke March 2023 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Q:  What are the goals for Pride Riders and the Dyke March?  What would you like to see from the city and the community,  as we prepare for this year’s Pride?  What are you most looking forward to?

Last year was such a success, we saw more diversity and so many folks joining for the march. The city shared that this was the most heavily attended Dyke March in years. Our goals are an even greater turnout, greater visibility, and greater diversity. It’s so important to be seen and heard and to celebrate with our community and share our herstory. All are welcome to join in and ride. 

I am most looking forward to this year’s Women’s Freedom Fest. Last year’s event was such a good program and line-up and just an overall good time! L-Project has an even better program in store for Pride this year. I’m really looking forward to that event as well as working with the L-Project to breathe new life into the Dyke March and bring it the exposure it deserves. 

Q: What outreach are you doing for more participation, greater awareness?
How can riders, or supporters, get involved? What actions from the community would enhance the Dyke March?

We promote on social media and the City promotes the events under the Overall Pride weekend advertising. We’d love for everyone to help get the word out. I attend motorcycle events to spread the word and I’m hoping this article will also help. Motorcyclists tend to have many friends who also ride so I’m hoping it will spread by word of mouth as well. L-Project is also a huge help in marketing and spreading awareness. It’s been great working with the L-project to link Women’s Freedom Fest with the Dyke March. It just makes sense to link the two and bring with it more participation.
(Note:  more info can be found here:  https://www.instagram.com/pride_riders_la/

Riders can register here: [email protected]

Q:  And finally – what hopes do you have for the future of West Hollywood? How do you see this city evolving?

My hopes for the City are for there to be greater diversity and equity here. I like to see less people priced out from living here and more gender equality and diversity across our residents,  businesses, patrons, boards, commissions, and city council. 

Thank you for engaging with us, congratulations on all your accomplishments and have a safe, successful Pride Ride.

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

Catherine Eng

Catherine Eng is a long time resident of the City of West Hollywood. She currently serves as a West Hollywood Business License Commissioner, was a journalism major, and is a supporter of Weho Times @thedamecat

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

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood to Host Symposium: ‘Water Wise | Water Works’

WEST HOLLYWOOD – During Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood is working to focus attention on environmental efforts and initiatives and educational opportunities for the community. The City aims to elevate awareness about its programs and policies related to West Hollywood’s natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability.

As part of this effort, the City of West Hollywood will host a free in-person symposium: Water Wise | Water Works. The event will focus on water as a natural resource, concentrating on its indispensable role in supporting urbanized environments. It will look ahead at issues, opportunities, and challenges in West Hollywood and the Greater Los Angeles region in the future.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will take place on Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public, RSVP is requested via Eventbrite. Limited validated parking is available in the adjacent five-story parking structure.

All life begins and ends with water. A precious resource, water is vital for a healthy and vibrant planet. Clean fresh water is not only essential for drinking and sanitation and providing for our crops, livestock, and industry, it is also the basis for creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all humanity depends. Spending time in proximity to nature and water has been shown to have a direct effect on emotional well-being, reducing stress, anxiety, and heart rates as well as extending human life spans.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings and will look at some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead concerning future sustainability, construction mitigation, climate change, ecological systems, and resilience goals.

Presentations scheduled for the symposium include an overview of current City programs and talks on the following topics:

  • Water Policy Happenings at the Regional & Local Scale with Kim Clark, Planning Supervisor, Resource Conservation & Resilient   

Communities, Southern California Association of Governments;

  • Resource Management and Underground Water: Technical Challenges and Opportunities Ahead with Laney Nelson, Water Engineer, ARUP, experts dedicated to sustainable development;
  • History of Water and Ecological Resilience in a Rapidly Changing Context with Dr. Edith Guzman, UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation;
  • Power of Water-Centric Design with Water with Mariam Mojdehi, Architect, Founding Partner, MAAM Architecture & Design Studio; and
  • Water Wise Landscapes/Regenerating Nature with Hadley Arnold, Executive Director, Arid Lands Institute/Woodbury University.

Following the presentations, there will be a moderated panel discussion and a period for questions and answers.

The City of West Hollywood is dedicated to sustainability and preserving the environment, including its:

  • Participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge to mark the City’s commitment to saving the monarch butterfly and other pollinators through public awareness and expansion of pollinator gardens throughout West Hollywood; 
  • Designation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Community by meeting 65% of its 100% renewable energy use through voluntary green power that goes above-and-beyond the State of California’s standards. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that helps increase Green Power use among U.S. organizations to advance the American market for renewable energy and development of those sources as a way to reduce air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with electricity use. Learn more about how the West Hollywood community gets its Green Power;
  • Green Building Program, the first-in-the-state green building code, that builds upon state requirements and integrates locally specific requirements for new buildings and remodels to strive towards energy efficiency, improve the health of the environment and community, and help the City shape a sustainable future. The Green Building Program was updated in 2023 to include more aggressive standards for electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • Implementation of an organics collection program in compliance with SB 1383, a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants by reducing organic waste disposal.

The City of West Hollywood continues its work to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, WeHo Climate Action, which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the community. The City launched a public dashboard that monitors progress under the Plan toward achieving carbon neutrality. To learn more about the City’s ongoing sustainability programs and initiatives as well as information and resources, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

For more information about the symposium, please contact Michael Barker, Project Architect in the City of West Hollywood’s Urban Design and Architecture Studio Division, as (323) 848-6483 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

West Hollywood Celebrates Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week

The City of West Hollywood recognizes April 22, 2024 through April 28, 2024 as Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week. The City will display the Lesbian Pride flag in medians along Santa Monica Boulevard and West Hollywood City Hall and the lanterns over Santa Monica Boulevard will be lit in pink, orange, white, and red to reflect the shades of the Lesbian Pride flag.

Events during the week will feature a variety of gatherings produced with the assistance of the L-Project and Fan Girl Cafe including:

  • NextGen Coffee and Convo, featuring a panel on queer activism, challenges faced by LGBTQ women in business, and advocating for non-binary and gender-nonconforming identities with panelists Marquita Thomas, Chanel Lumiere, and Melanie Vesey. This free event will be held at Fan Girl Cafe, located at 8157 Santa Monica Boulevard, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will also feature an opportunity for community members to network and meet one another. 
  • Lesbian Speakers Series Film screening of the award-winning documentary Ahead of the Curve and Q&A with Franco Stevens and filmmakers Jen Rainin (Franco’s wife) and Rivkah Beth Medow. Ahead of the Curve captures the story of Franco Stevens, founder of the most successful lesbian magazine in the world and her fight to keep Curve magazine alive. This free event takes place on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This event will begin with a reception with light snacks and refreshments at 5:30 p.m. The screening will begin at 6 p.m. The Q&A will follow the film. 
  • The City invites community members to spend an afternoon at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, for a Queer Art in the Park gathering on Sunday, April 28, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature lawn games, music, and queer arts and crafts vendors. Entry is free. Feel free to bring a blanket, yoga mat, lawn chair, sunscreen, and picnic accoutrements and meet new and old friends in the park. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/lgbtq

Since incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly LGBTQ. The City has advocated for more than three decades for measures to support LGBTQ individuals and has been in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week, please visit www.weho.org/lgbtq or contact Moya Márquez, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6574.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

WeHo Pride 2024 Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors

The City of West Hollywood will close the Parade Participant, Street Fair Exhibitor, and Food Vendor application portals for its WeHo Pride 2024 celebrations on April 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Application portals can be accessed via the ‘Get Involved’ page on the WeHo Pride website: www.wehopride.com

 WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, May 31, 2024; Saturday, June 1, 2024; and Sunday, June 2, 2024 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The weekend will include a free Street Fair, the Women’s Freedom Festival, the Dyke March, the WeHo Pride Parade, and the ticketed OUTLOUD Music Festival @ WeHo Pride, as well as WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD.

The WeHo Pride Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024 and Sunday, June 2, 2024. It will celebrate Pride with the diverse participation of LGBTQ community groups and allied organizations as part of visibility and expression. The Street Fair is free and will feature a vibrant variety of exhibitors along Santa Monica Boulevard. There will be live entertainment and performances on two stages along the boulevard, highlighting the LGBTQ community. The Street Fair is open to everyone. It is a great occasion to take part in WeHo Pride’s LGBTQ community experience. WeHo Pride Street Fair applications are also currently open for vendors, artists, performers, and more. The Street Fair promises to be bigger and better than ever before. With a wide range of activities and options, there is sure to be something for everyone. Organizations interested in applying to participate as an Exhibitor at the WeHo Pride Street Fair can apply here. Food vendors interested in participating in the event can fill out the Google form here.

Get festive as we roll down Santa Monica Boulevard for the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024! The WeHo Pride Parade is an imaginative and colorful annual tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ people and our contributions to community and culture. The Parade is a lively, energetic experience with good cheer and great vibes, and a whole lot of rainbows! Whether you participate in the Parade or join in the fun as a spectator, there’s something for everyone at the WeHo Pride Parade! Organizations and individuals interested in submitting an application to participate as an entrant in the annual WeHo Pride Parade can apply here. Get creative and think outside of the box! The WeHo Pride Parade welcomes floats, bands, drill teams, dance teams, entertainment entries, marchers, and more. 

There are a variety of ways for brands to sponsor this brand-new era of Pride in West Hollywood as well. From traditional activation spaces (street fair visibility and parade entries) to inclusion at one of the most diverse music events nationally, as well as creative customized opportunities, there are multiple outlets for brand visibility! Organizations interested in becoming a WeHo Pride sponsor can reach out to [email protected] 

Additional details about WeHo Pride 2024 will be posted as they become available at www.wehopride.com. Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook.

About WeHo Pride and the City of West Hollywood Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, West Hollywood consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and four of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly LGBTQ.

Pride is deeply rooted part of West Hollywood’s history and culture. In fact, Pride events have taken place in West Hollywood for more than 40 years (since 1979, five years before the City of West Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality). The City’s embrace of Pride is part of its advocacy for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals, and the City is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (now LGBTQ+ Commission) and a Transgender Advisory Board, which each address matters of advocacy. As part of its support of the transgender community, the City has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website.

In 2022, the City of West Hollywood inaugurated WeHo Pride with programming that represents a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. West Hollywood is a community of choice for LGBTQ people from throughout the world and WeHo Pride embraces a source of deep connection for its LGBTQ history and culture.

For more information about WeHo Pride and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, please visit www.wehopride.com.

For more information about Outloud @ WeHo Pride, please visit www.weareoutloud.com.

For inquires to the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division, please email [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

‘Spring Fest’ at West Hollywood Park

The City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division invites the community to splash into Spring Fest in the park and at the pool on Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Bring your family and friends for a fun day of outdoor activities. Limited parking is available in the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure.

Activities will begin at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center and Great Lawn. There will be carnival games, music, performances, giveaways, egg hunts, face painters, and much more! You won’t want to miss this!

Three of the featured activities for the event are:

  • Youth Basketball Shoot Out (Ages 10 to 15) – register here ($7) – In the Shoot Out, the player shoots from five spots around the key: right corner, right wing, top of key, left wing, and left corner. At each spot: take one dribble in for a mid-range shot, dribble for a lay-up, and then end the game with a 1 & 1 free throw.
  • Duck Relays and Cardboard Boat Races – register here (free) – Duck Relays are a swim event using inflatable ducks to race relay-style across the pool in a team of four and Cardboard Boat Race are one- to three-person teams of all ages that will test their ingenuity in racing homemade boats made of cardboard and duct tape across the pool.
  • Themed Recreation Swim and Rubber Duckie Hunt – registration has reached capacity, waiting list is open here (free) – Themed Recreation Swim is full of adorable rafts of rubber ducks, water toys, floaties, and mighty merfolk of the sea and swimmers will be able to participate in a rubber duckie hunt.

Learn more about Spring Fest and recreation programming by visiting www.weho.org/recreation and selecting Rec Reader.

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division at (323) 848-6534 or email [email protected] or [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Open Call for Arts Grant Program Applications

The City of West Hollywood has opened application opportunities for its 2025 Arts Grant Program. The City will host a virtual Arts Grant Program information workshop for those who are interested in applying to learn more about the City’s grant-eligibility requirements and application process, as well as to ask questions.

The Arts Grant Program information workshop will be held online via the Zoom platform on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 1 p.m. First-time grant applicants and returning organizations with new development personnel are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop to become familiar with the application process. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/arts

The City of West Hollywood, through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, has managed the Arts Grant Program for 26 years. West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program provides grant funding to individual artists, artist collectives, and nonprofit arts organizations for the production, performance, or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood as well as those that serve the West Hollywood community.

The City of West Hollywood invites and encourages artists and organizations representing diverse populations and diverse artistic disciplines to apply for these grants. As defined in the Cultural Equity Statement, diversity includes all ways in which people differ, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, education, age, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, geography, citizenship status, religion, language, physical appearance, and the intersection of these various identities. The City commits to ensuring cultural equity in all arts policies and practices.

The Arts Grant Program categories with open application processes for 2025 are as follows:

Arts Project Grant — Supports the production, performance, or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood and that serve the West Hollywood community. The proposed projects should take place in the City of West Hollywood in 2025 and 2026. Proposed presentations may include, but are not limited to: comedy show, dance performance, drag performance, film screening, visual art exhibit, music presentation, poetry reading, and theatre presentation. The Arts Project Grant category is awarded in a two-year cycle [with one application, grantee can be awarded for 2 years]. The maximum grant award is $20,000 per grantee ($10,000 per year). The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Community Arts Grant — Supports non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations can include an art centered presentation or performance, and/or an educational and participatory program (workshop) which engages BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. The maximum grant award for both artists and non-profits arts organizations for this category is $6,000. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024. 

Transgender, Gender Diverse, Intersex, + (TGI+) Arts Grant — Supports and enhances the presentation of artworks in West Hollywood by transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender nonconforming artists and non-profit organizations with a history of supporting artists in these communities. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations should include art presentations which engage transgender, gender diverse, and/or intersex artists and audiences. The maximum grant award is $6,500 for both artists and non-profit arts organizations. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

WeHo Artist Grant — Supports the long-term development of an artist’s ideas by providing funds that increase the capacity for artists to realize work, advance the conditions of creation, and navigate the complexities of both making art and making a career. Eligible artists must reside in the City of West Hollywood. The grant award is $6,000 per year for five artists. The deadline for applications is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Artists and organizations interested in applying may visit www.weho.org/arts for more information.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program, please visit www.weho.org/arts or contact City of West Hollywood Grants Coordinator Eva Angeloff at (323) 848-6354 or [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

West Hollywood Promotes Local Actions that Address Climate Change as it Celebrates Earth Month in April with ‘WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024’

In honor of Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood will celebrate WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024 to rally community members to collectively embrace sustainable practices and contribute to the City’s 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Community members are encouraged to share social media posts about taking sustainability action steps using the hashtag #WeHoClimateAction.

Starting in April, residents, businesses, and local organizations are encouraged to take various actions that support the City’s ambitious environmental goals. Through its @wehocity social media pages, the City will promote various steps relating to energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience that community members can take. The City will also share the latest information on its climate action initiatives to raise community awareness about City programs and policies related to its natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability efforts.

The City of West Hollywood has a strong record of developing and instituting progressive and forward-thinking environmental policies and, as a city committed to reducing its carbon footprint, West Hollywood recognizes the importance of individual actions in making a substantial impact on the health of the planet.

 “One of the City of West Hollywood’s most critical core values is Responsibility for the Environment,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “West Hollywood has steadily led the way in developing and applying policies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and promote sustainability. As we take next steps in realizing the goals of our Climate Action Plan, Earth Month in April is a wonderful opportunity for all us of to do what we can to make individual steps that add up to big community impacts and help our city to reducing our carbon footprint, which will better prepare us for the future effects of climate change.”

In the spirit of proactive initiatives, the City of West Hollywood is gearing up for Earth Month with a variety of community events and programs in April:

  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024, the City will host a free in-person symposium, Water Wise | Water Works, which will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings. It will examine some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with respect to future sustainability, climate change, ecology, and resilience goals that are pursued at the local and state levels. The symposium will take place at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information is available on the City website calendar
  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024 the City will host an annual Tree Planting at 9 a.m. in the public parkway at 1146/1148 Formosa Avenue. Four paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) trees, which are widely planted throughout Southern California and are native to Australia, will be planted. The paperbark is a rounded, evergreen tree with a maximum height of 40 feet. It has a low water use rating and features exfoliating bark and oblong leaves with seasonal flower displays in the summer and fall that will attract pollinators and birds. Sun exposure ranges from partial shade to full sun. West Hollywood community members are invited and encouraged to participate in this year’s annual tree planting event. Drop in; no RSVP is needed. Supervision, instruction, tools, and gloves will be provided. The event will start with a short ‘how-to’ planting session, followed by a discussion on the benefits trees provide to the urban environment.

To showcase the City of West Hollywood climate actions in energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience programs, the City will highlight its sustainability programs and share information about how community members can get involved via social media and more, including the following:  

  • The City’s newly launched Green Business Certification program is a recognizes and encourages efficient, profitable, and sustainable business operations. To support businesses, West Hollywood’s Green Business Program and its services are being offered at no cost. Visit go.weho.org/greenbusiness for more information.
  • Electrify WeHo is the City’s new web resource on electrification with resources to help community members transition into an all-electric home which can improve indoor air quality, lower your energy costs, modernize your home, and help WeHo reach its 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Learn about the benefits and incentives to help make the switch at Electrify WeHo.
  • Go Solar West Hollywood is a City-sponsored program encouraging property owners to go solar. The City has partnered with online marketplace EnergySage to help property owners receive and compare quotes. 
  • The City’s new Resilience Efforts webpage provides the public with information on resilience and centralizes the City’s resiliency efforts to serve as a resource for community members. 
  • The City of West Hollywood encourages community members to leave their automobiles at home and take alternate forms of transportation when possible while traversing the City, including by using scooters, bicycles, walking (the City is only 1.9 square miles!), or via the City’s free transit options. Please visit www.wehopickup.com or www.weho.org/cityline for more information.
  • Responding to a statewide effort to reduce emissions associated with organic waste disposal by diverting waste from landfills, the City has worked with Athens Services to establish an organic recycling service throughout West Hollywood. Community members are encouraged to visit the City’s organic recycling webpage to learn how to sort waste and recycle.
  • In January 2024, the West Hollywood City Council adopted the new Tree Canopy ordinance regulating the preservation, removal, relocation, and replacement of existing mature canopy trees. 
  • The City’s Heritage Tree program promotes identifying specimen trees, promotes tree awareness, advocates for the protection of mature tree benefits, and educates community members about the City’s heritage trees and proper maintenance practices. All great trees start small! Visit the City’s webpage about young tree care best practices. The WeHo community is encouraged to check out resource videos and take the tree steward pledge!

Finally, the City will continue to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (WeHo Climate Action), which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the West Hollywood community. The City s biannually updates its WeHo Climate Action public dashboard that monitors progress toward achieving carbon neutrality and its 60 programs and projects. To learn more about the City’s active sustainability initiatives and public dashboard, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

The City of West Hollywood will, additionally partner with The Center for Early Education to provide a day of service for school children. This private event will take place at Kings Road Park and programming will feature monarch butterfly conservation education and activities, planting nectar and other foliage, and park cleanup. Visit the City’s educational Monarch Butterfly Conservation webpage to learn more about monarch butterfly conservation and City efforts.

For more information about West Hollywood’s Earth Month 2024, please contact Andi Lovano, City of West Hollywood Community & Legislative Affairs Manager, at (323) 848-6333 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at www.weho.org/email, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at www.weho.org/calendar. West Hollywood City Hall is open for walk-in services at public counters or by appointment by visiting www.weho.org/appointments. City Hall services are accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via website at www.weho.org. Receive text updates by texting “WeHo” to (323) 848-5000.

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West Hollywood

David Cooley makes emotional exit as owner of The Abbey WeHo

Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo

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Actress & singer Jennifer Lopez with David Cooley, the founder and now former owner of The Abbey WeHo in January of 2024 at an event honoring Cooley. (Photo Credit: The Abbey WeHo/Facebook)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – David Cooley, the founder and former owner of The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey, made a tearful exit on his last day as owner of two of West Hollywood’s most iconic nightclub on Thursday night. He officially turned over the reins over to new owner Tristan Schukraft.

The final hurrah was a low-key affair. According to a witness, at one point all the bartenders lined up to bid their former boss a final farewell, but Cooley took too long to come out from the back, so they eventually went back to work.

David Cooley’s Final Day at the Abbey – Photo courtesy of Edgar Alvarez

Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo. The crowd clapped and cheered, and people can be heard thanking him as he made his final exit.

@wehotimes David Cooley, the founder and former owner of The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey, made a tearful exit on his last day as owner of two of West Hollywood’s most iconic nightclub on Thursday night. He officially turned over the reigns to new owner Tristan Schukraft. The final hurrah was a low-key affair. According to a witness, at one point all the bartenders lined up to bid their former boss a final farewell, but Cooley took too long to come out from the back, so they eventually went back to work. Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo. The crowd clapped and cheered, and people can be heard thanking him as he made his final exit. As a joke, and perhaps a final nod to Cooley’s longstanding relationship with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, a sheriff’s deputy vehicle waited for him out front and then whisked him away in a dramatic exit while people on the sidewalk waved goodbye. #wehotimes #wehonews #wehocity #weho #westhollywood #wehonightlife #westhollywoodnightlife @The Abbey ♬ original sound – WEHO TIMES

As a joke, and perhaps a final nod to Cooley’s longstanding relationship with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, a sheriff’s deputy vehicle waited for him out front and then whisked him away in a dramatic exit while people on the sidewalk waved goodbye.

The Abbey Food & Bar and The Chapel at The Abbey were sold to entrepreneur Tristan Schukraft—a technology entrepreneur turned hotelier, nightlife aficionado, and well-known member of the West Hollywood LGBTQ+ community.

The Abbey and The Chapel add to Schukraft’s portfolio of businesses that enrich the LGBTQ+ community across the United States, which includes MISTR, the largest telemedicine provider of free online PrEP and long-term HIV care serving all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. More recently, Schukraft acquired and is in the process of reimagining Tryst and Circo, LGBTQ+ hotel and nightlife venues in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“I’m excited to build on the legacy that David Cooley created over the last 33 years at The Abbey. David built a small coffee shop on an unknown side street into one of the most famous gay bars in the country, if not the world. This is both an honor and a significant responsibility,” explains Tristan Schukraft. “I plan to respect and honor The Abbey’s history while bringing new ideas that reflect our evolving LGBTQ+ community and my personal approach to hospitality. We’re not just maintaining a legacy business and an international landmark; we’re adding to the future of LGBTQ+ nightlife.”

David Cooley’s last day at The Abbey WeHo truly marks the end of an era.

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

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

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Los Angeles

24-year-old trans Latina Angeleno & makeup artist shot to death

“This incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence”

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Meraxes Medina/Instagram

LOS ANGELES – In a tragic incident that has shaken the community and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, Meraxes Medina, a 24-year-old transgender Latina and makeup artist, was fatally shot in Los Angeles on March 21.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Medina was found dead on the road in South Los Angeles. The LAPD said she was shot in the head and that there was evidence she was also struck by a vehicle. Friends and family have confirmed Medina’s identity, celebrating her life and mourning her untimely death, which marks another violent act against transgender individuals.

Medina, known for her work at Universal Studios and her vibrant presence on social media, had begun hormone therapy and was navigating life as an undocumented person who had faced homelessness. Despite these challenges, those close to her remembered her for her potential and the positive impact she had on those around her. Friends have expressed their grief and shock, emphasizing Medina’s kindness, talent, and the bright future they believed she deserved.

The circumstances surrounding Medina’s death reflect a larger pattern of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color. Advocacy groups have highlighted the disproportionate impact of gun violence on transgender individuals, noting that a significant percentage of homicides within this community involve firearms.

The incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence.

California chapters of groups with Everytown for Gun Safety released a statement underscoring Medina was at least the third transgender person killed by gun violence in the U.S.

“We cannot ignore the disproportionate impact of gun violence on our transgender and gender-expansive neighbors, especially its impact on Black trans women and trans Latinas. We must honor Meraxes’ legacy by continuing to fight to protect our transgender and gender-expansive communities not only in California, but across the country,” said Ashley Castillo, a student leader with Students Demand Action and National Organizing Board Member.

As the investigation continues, Medina’s death serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for a societal shift to ensure the safety and dignity of all individuals, regardless of gender identity. “The loss of Meraxes Medina is not only a tragedy for those who knew her but also a call to action to combat hate and violence against the transgender community,” said one activist.

“Meraxes was a young woman who deserved to live out a long and fulfilling life. At just 24-years-old, she had so much more to give. Yet again, we find ourselves honoring the life and mourning the loss of someone from our transgender community killed by gun violence, and that alarming reality should emphasize our collective need to fight against lax gun laws. We need to come together and remind everyone, especially lawmakers and politicians, that our lives are worth saving and worth living,” said Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.

Bamby Salcedo, President/CEO of The TransLatin@ Coalition, issed the following statement:  “It’s unfortunate that our sister Meraxes Medina had to perish to the ignorance and violence that we continue to experience as a community, and these are just another examples of what our lives are, and we want to ensure that we hold elected officials accountable for bettering our lives and our future.”

KABC 7 reported between 2017 and 2023, there were 263 reported homicides of transgender people in the U.S., according to the organization. A gun was used in 193 of them.

In California, there were 14 homicides of transgender people reported between 2018 and 2024 so far, and 37% were in Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles County

City of Malibu backing two bills aimed at making PCH safer

Between March 11 & 17, the Malibu CPH Task Force issued 109 citations (88 for speeding & two for distracted driving)

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CHP patrol cruiser on Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) near Malibu during a traffic stop. (Photo Credit: California Highway Patrol Media Affairs)

MALIBU, Calif. – The City of Malibu is supporting efforts by officials in Sacramento to increase and ensure efforts aimed at making the Pacific Coast Highway safer for drivers and pedestrians.

In a statement a spokesperson said that as part of the City’s commitment to addressing PCH safety and ensuring public safety in the community, the City sent a delegation of officials to Sacramento to support two State traffic safety bills, SB 1297 and SB 1509. Both bills were approved by the key State Senate Transportation Committee April 9 and will continue through the legislative process.

SB 1297, introduced by Senator Allen (co-authored by Assemblymember Irwin and Senators Stern and Friedman), would expand the State’s automated speed safety pilot program to allow the City of Malibu to participate. The City has advocated for the installation of the speed camera systems on PCH that can automatically issue citations to speeding motorists as one of the steps to help improve safety on PCH.

AB 1509, the NOT in California Act, was introduced by Senator Stern (co-authored by Senators Allen, Niello, Seyarto and Umberg), and would amend the CA Vehicle Code to make convictions of driving 26 MPH or greater over the posted speed limit, a two-point violation against a person’s driver’s license.

Malibu Mayor Pro Tem Doug Stewart, City Manager Steve McClary, Deputy City Manager Alexis Brown gave testimony and advocated for the Bills.

They were joined by Barry Stewart, whose daughter Peyton was one of the four Pepperdine students who were tragically killed by a speeding motorist while walking on PCH in October 2023, and Michel Shane, whose 13-year-old daughter Emily was tragically killed by a motorist while walking on PCH in 2010. Shane produced the powerful, moving film “21 Miles” about the dangers of PCH in Malibu. Both gave impassioned testimony about the dangers of PCH and the urgent need to improve safety conditions on the highway.

According to the California Highway Patrol, between March 11 and 17, the Malibu CPH Task Force issued 109 citations (88 for speeding; two for distracted driving; one for a seatbelt violation; and 18 for equipment violations). Four verbal warning were issued. One driver was stopped for speeding, and was arrested for DUI. Year-to-date, the CHP Malibu Taskforce has issued 721 citations. 

The City Council on March 25 approved sending a letter urging Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senator Ben Allen, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna, California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin, and Caltrans Director Tony Tavares to work collaboratively to make changes to the State Vehicle Code to help address PCH safety. The changes include: 

  • Anybody who exceeds 100 MPH shall lose their driver’s license for three months, and anybody who exceeds 100 MPH more than once in a 12-month period shall lose their driver’s license for six months.
  • Anybody who exceeds twice the posted speed limit shall lose their driver’s license for one month, and anybody who exceeds twice the posted speed limit more than once in a 12-month period shall lose their driver’s license for two months. 
  • The loss of license in these instances shall be mandatory not discretionary.

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Southern California

Triple A: Gas prices continue upward by double digits

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.41, which is 21 cents higher than a week ago

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Triple A Auto Club/Los Angeles Blade

LOS ANGELES – Southern California gas prices increased by about two cents a day in the last week, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.41, which is 21 cents higher than a week ago. The average national price is $3.63, which is six cents higher than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $5.36 per gallon, which is 13 cents more than last week, 42 cents higher than last month, and 42 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.34, which is 13 cents higher than last week, 42 cents higher than last month, and 41 cents higher than this time last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.31, which is 12 cents higher than last week, 40 cents higher than last month, and 42 cents higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.27, which is 14 cents higher than last week, 46 cents higher than last month and 44 cents higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.24 average price is 17 cents more than last week, 43 cents more than last month, and 37 cents higher than a year ago today.

“Some additional refinery outages have further reduced fuel production and increased pump prices, and Oil Price Information Service reports that imported gasoline has been ordered and should arrive later this month or in early May,” said Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe.

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on April 11, averages are:

socal blue gas chart 4-10-24
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Los Angeles

LAPD monitoring threats against TransLatin@ Coalition

“These acts of violence underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us”

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Los Angeles Police Department vehicles responding to a call for service. (Los Angeles Blade/LAPD file photo)

LOS ANGELES – In a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout the country, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed that a bomb threat was called in to the department on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition (TLC), a vanguard organization for Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) Latinx communities.

The threat, specifying April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

This recent threat comes at a time when the TLC, alongside other organizations within the LGBTQIA+ community, faces increasing hostility, underscored by a series of bomb threats and hate mail aimed at destabilizing the work and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals.

In response to the threat, Bamby Salcedo, the President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition has amplified security measures at TLC and reinforced the importance of emergency preparedness among the staff, emphasizing the coalition’s dedication to fostering a secure and supportive environment despite the daunting challenges posed by such threats.

The bomb threats have been accompanied by hate mail, filled with vitriolic anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and attacks on the Democratic Party, aimed at undermining the coalition’s mission and intimidating its leadership, including Salcedo and Vice President/COO Maria Roman Taylorson.

Despite these attempts to sow fear, the TransLatin@ Coalition stands firm in its mission. “We refuse to be silenced or intimidated,” Salcedo said.

The organization continues to call for unity and action, urging the public to stand in solidarity with TGI communities, report threats or violence, and advocate for greater acceptance and understanding of TGI identities.

The coalition’s commitment to the rights, empowerment, and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals in the United States remains unwavering. Through advocacy, education, and community organizing, the TLC addresses the unique challenges and systemic injustices faced by this community, emphasizing the intersectionality of race and economic status.

As the TLC navigates through these trying times, they have also taken to social media to call for support and positivity, highlighting the unexpected financial strain of heightened security measures. 

This recent threat against the TLC occurs amidst a broader climate of heightened animosity towards the LGBTQIA+ community, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The HRC’s documentation of fatal violence against transgender and gender-expansive individuals in 2024 alone paints a grim picture of the dangers faced by the community.

“These acts of violence and discrimination underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us,” HRC noted.

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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

Culinary classes, big screen movies, games and other delights for the entire family await those ready to venture out after the sun goes down for the beloved “Parks after Dark” Spring season at participating County parks.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

In Case You Missed It

Second Chance Month Expungement Events

Every person deserves the chance to rewrite their story. As we celebrate “Second Chance Month” in LA County, the Public Defender’s Office will be hosting a series of expungement clinics across the county. 

Join the Public Defender’s Homeless Mobile Unit for Community Outreach Court at the Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot on Thursday, April 18th from 9am-12pm. This collaborative effort aims to assist individuals experiencing homelessness in resolving various legal matters, including record expungement, that can remove obstacles hindering access to housing, employment and social services.

For more information about the Community Outreach Court, visit pubdef.lacounty.gov/COC. For a full list of upcoming expungement events, click here.

At Your Service

Resilience is Taking Root in LA County

The Chief Sustainability Office has just released the discussion draft of Room to Grow, the first-ever Community Forest Management Plan in LA County. The Community Forest Management Plan is an actionable, long-term strategy to manage trees in our communities for today and for future generations to come.

To learn more about the plan and provide your input, visit lacountycfmp.org.

Out and About

Kids Beach Cleanup

In celebration of Earth Day, LA County Beaches and Harbors is partnering with Heal the Bay to host Kids Beach Cleanup event at Dockweiler Beach on Saturday, April 13, 9 AM – 12 PM.

Click here to learn more and/or register for the event.

Photo Finish

LA Dodgers mural in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
(Photo: Los Angeles County/Mayra Beltran Vasquez)

Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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Orange County

Hate crime trial in murder of gay student starts in Orange County

Samuel Lincoln Woodward of Newport Beach is charged with murder, with enhancements for use of a deadly weapon and for hate crime

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Samuel Lincoln Woodward of Newport Beach, charged in the stabbing death of a gay & Jewish university student, 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, is shown here in a March, 2024 hearing wearing a white shirt & shackled. (Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7)

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Nearly seven years after 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein was found stabbed to death at Borrego Park in Lake Forest, California, a former schoolmate charged with his murder was to stand trial today in Orange County Superior Court after years of delays.

Samuel Lincoln Woodward of Newport Beach is charged with murder, with enhancements for use of a deadly weapon and for hate crime, which could put him in prison for life without parole.

Bernstein, who was home on the Christmas holiday break, had disappeared on Jan. 2. In court filings, Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker said that he went out without his parents knowing and after he did not respond to text messages or calls regarding a missed dental appointment they returned home discovering that Bernstein’s wallet, glasses, credit cards and cash were in his bedroom with his car still in the driveway.

University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein with his parents Jeanne Pepper and Gideon Bernstein in this undated family photo.

A massive search was launched to find him and after developing information from social media accounts that led investigators to Woodward who had admitted meeting up with Bernstein and later allegedly “dropping” the young man off at Borrego Park, Bernstein’s body with 19 stab wounds was found on Jan. 9, 2018, in a shallow grave during a search of that park.

When Orange County investigators first went to meet with him, Woodward was apparently cooperative, telling them and Blaze’s parents “that he and Blaze went to Borrego Park to hang out. According to Woodward, after awhile Blaze walked down a path alone and disappeared into the brush.” 

According to a search warrant affidavit, which the Orange County Register obtained before it was sealed, Woodward claimed that Bernstein tried to kiss him on the lips and he pushed Bernstein away. Detectives noted that Woodward clenched his jaw and fists when recounting the incident, telling them he wanted to call Bernstein a “faggot” and tell him to get off him.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas subsequently added a hate crime charge to the one count of felony murder with sentencing enhancement for “personal use of a knife.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that on Woodward’s phone, investigators found “a trove of anti-gay, anti-Jewish material linked to the Atomwaffen Division, a white supremacist hate group.” In addition to the physical evidence — investigators say Bernstein’s blood was found in Woodward’s car and on a knife at Woodward’s Newport Beach home — the alleged motivation elevates a murder to a possible hate crime, the Times also noted.

Sam Woodward was … absolutely, definitely … a member of Atomwaffen Division,” British journalist and CBS News consultant Jake Hanrahan told “48 Hours.” “They made T-shirts using Sam Woodward’s mug shot.”

Woodward’s Atomwaffen friends “call him the gay, the one-man gay, Jew wrecking ball. You know, like kind of reveling in this idea that he’s killed this gay, Jewish kid,” Hanrahan said.

Media outlets covering the trial reported Tuesday that Woodward’s trial is expected to take a few months. Jury selection took weeks and had to re-start after a disturbance in the courtroom involving Woodward and the judge last month. The attorneys had 1,100 people fill out juror questionnaires as they worked to narrow down the large pool of prospective panelists.

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Los Angeles

Suspects break into home of Real Friends of WeHo’s Joey Zauzig

Reports indicate that a resident in the area contacted the LAPD while the burglary was in progress at a residence on Marmont Lane

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Joey-Zauzig (Screenshot/YouTube Instagram)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – An attempted robbery unfolded in the Hollywood Hills early Monday morning at the residence of television personality and influencer Joey Zauzig, known for his role in “The Real Friends of WeHo.”

“Last night at around 12am, 3 men, armed with face masks broke into our house while we were sleeping,” Zauzig posted in an Instagram story. “I woke up to it and triggered the alarm as they shattered one of the glass doors. We are ok and the dogs are safe… thank god they were at training camp.”

Zauzig added that it was truly one of the scariest things that has ever happened to him. “Seeing the footage on our cameras and waking up to it,” he said. “I’m still very much in shock. Please be careful always set your alarms”

He later posted video footage of the three suspects creeping into their home and a screen grab of the vehicle believed to be the getaway car.

Joey Zauzig Instagram screen grab

“I thank you guys so much for all the messages and the love,” he posted in an update. “I’m just wondering when I’m gonna feel back to normal because I definitely don’t and a lot of messages are unfortunately from people that have gone through the same thing.”

He said that he’s getting a lot of recommendations for therapy, but all he hopes to do is to get back to normal. “Last night got zero sleep,” he said. “I had the worst nightmares…this is so f*cked up, but now I’m like at a point where I’m just like angrJoey Zauzigy and now I really want to share this to like, catch these people and it’s the worst feeling ever.”

Earlier posts on Instagram show Zauzig enjoying the sun in a Cabo trip, and indication that he was out of town.

Reports indicate that a resident in the area contacted the police while the burglary was in progress at a residence on Marmont Lane in Hollywood Hills just after midnight on April 8, 2024.

The Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson informed KTLA 5 that the burglary occurred shortly after midnight on Marmont Lane. The suspects, described as three individuals—one wearing a black shirt, one in a blue hoodie, and the third in all black—had fled the scene before law enforcement arrived, LAPD stated.

The Real Friends of WeHo reality series premiered on MTV, on January 20, 2023. The show follows the lives of six LGBTQ+ celebrities, personalities, and entrepreneurs living in West Hollywood, feature Brad Goreski, a celebrity stylist; Todrick Hall, a choreographer and singer; Curtis Hamilton, an actor; Dorión Renaud, CEO of Buttah Skincare; Jaymes Vaughan, a TV host and business owner; and Joey Zauzig, who was described at the time as a digital entrepreneur. The show was not picked up for a second season.

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

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

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