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LA District Attorney reviewing overdose death of Gemmel Moore

Final conclusion still pending

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Gemmel Moore died July 27. (Photo from Facebook memorial page)

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is reviewing the overdose death of Gemmel Moore, a year after the 26-year-old male escort was found dead in the West Hollywood apartment of Democratic Party donor Ed Buck. Sheriff’s homicide detectives presented their findings to prosecutors on July 10 after a lengthy investigation but neither the detectives nor the DA’s office would elaborate on the case.

“It remains under review,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s spokesperson Greg Risling noted in an email to the Los Angeles Times,  without elaborating on whether investigators had recommended criminal charges. Risling reiterated his statement to the Los Angeles Blade.

Moore’s July 2017 death was initially ruled an accidental overdose by LA County Sheriff’s investigators and Dr. Jonathan Lucas, LA County’s Medical Examiner-Coroner. Neither agency found evidence to suggest the death suspicious, they told media outlets, including the Los Angeles Blade.

But in August 2017, after activists and Moore’s mother expressed grave concerns whether the fatal shot of drugs was self-administered, LA Sheriff Jim McDonnell ordered homicide investigators to launch a new investigation.

“When we became aware of the concern by the family, we had Homicide [Bureau] take at look at it,” McDonnell said in an exclusive Sept 2017 interview with the Los Angeles Blade. “We felt it was our obligation to look into those issues.”

Included in the investigation were notes that Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment was littered with drug paraphernalia, and entries in a journal found with Moore at the time of his death detailed Moore’s drug usage, referenced in the coroner’s report.

“Ed Buck is the one to thank,” Moore appears to have written. “He gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth,” The Times reported after reviewing pages of that journal, in which Moore purportedly wrote about using crystal methamphetamine.

Another dynamic at play, according to activists and Moore’s mother, is the disparity of privilege. Moore was a Black, homeless, sex worker. Buck, 63, is a white, longtime political donor and one-time West Hollywood City Council candidate known in LA/West Hollywood’s LGBTQ political circles.

The Times reported that Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon of Texas, had questioned whether Buck’s ties to elected officials and differences in race and class influenced the initial investigation. Moore had flown from Houston to Los Angeles the day he died, according to coroner’s investigators. His mother has told The Times that Buck bought his airplane ticket.

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, told The Times that the coroner’s office determined that Moore’s death was an accident.

“This was a tragedy, but it’s no excuse to accuse an innocent man of acts he did not do,” Amster said. If authorities had a case, he added, “I think an arrest warrant probably would’ve gone out a long time ago.”

It’s up to DA Lacey now.

Reporting by The Los Angeles Times and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade

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West Hollywood

Cyndi Lauper is Lifetime Ally Icon for WeHo Pride Parade 2024

WeHo Pride 2024 will kick off on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 with the José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day

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WeHo Times/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD | The City of West Hollywood and WeHo Pride producer JJLA today announced that Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning artist Cyndi Lauper will be the WeHo Pride Parade’s Lifetime Ally Icon.

Renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to music, activism, and LGBTQ advocacy, Cyndi Lauper epitomizes the ethos of pride, inclusivity, and resilience. WeHo Pride will honor Lauper for her work in bringing the LGBTQ community and social justice issues to the forefront, as well as expanding queer representation in mainstream pop culture.

“Cyndi Lauper embodies the spirit of inclusivity, unity, and vibrancy that has defined West Hollywood throughout its history,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “Her unwavering dedication to advocacy throughout the years, coupled with her unparalleled musical legacy, makes her a perfect fit for this moment in time as Lifetime Ally Icon as we celebrate WeHo Pride 2024.”

A tireless advocate for LGBTQ rights, women’s issues, and social justice, she co-founded True Colors United in 2008, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating homelessness among LGBTQ youth. In response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Lauper launched the Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights Fund, housed at the Tides Foundation, to support women’s rights and health. With a career spanning decades, Lauper has left an indelible mark, especially within the LGBTQ community. From her iconic hits like True Colors and Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Lauper’s repertoire resonates as a poignant soundtrack of the LGBTQ equality movement and beyond.

The WeHo Pride Parade will step off at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, 2024, beginning at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard, and will travel westbound along Santa Monica Boulevard into the heart of City’s Rainbow District to N. Robertson Boulevard.

Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the WeHo Pride Parade is free and open to the public, embracing LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress. The parade celebrates diversity, love, and resilience in the heart of West Hollywood. Each year, Parade Icons are selected for their significant contributions to the LGBTQ community, visibility, community involvement, and advocacy.

Pride Starts Here. For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.

WeHo Pride Weekend will take place from Friday, May 31, 2024 to Sunday, June 2, 2024 and, in addition to the WeHo Pride Parade, will include the free WeHo Pride Street Fair; WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD; the OUTLOUD Music Festival; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the Dyke March; and more.

WeHo Pride will kick off on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 with the José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place from Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024. WeHo Pride celebrations will include a diverse array of LGBTQ community group programming from May 22 to June 30 as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.

Additional information about WeHo Pride 2024 is posted at www.wehopride.com. OUTLOUD Music Festival information is posted at www.weareoutloud.com. Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook. Sign up for WeHo Pride text updates by texting ‘Pride’ to (323) 848-5000.

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. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City 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 gay. The City has advocated for nearly 40 years for measures that support LGBTQ individuals and the City is in the vanguard of efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. #WeHoPride @WeHoCity

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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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West Hollywood

Neon dog gets forever home on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood

WeHo CLASSIC is BACK! The Neon Dog is fully restored & installed at its new forever home at William S. Hart Park & off Leash Dog Park

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Neon Dog West Hollywood (Photo by Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A City of West Hollywood CLASSIC is BACK! The Neon Dog is fully restored and installed at its new forever home on The Sunset Strip by the entrance of William S. Hart Park & off Leash Dog Park.

On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission unanimously approved the proposed Neon Dog project for installation at William S. Hart Park, a property leased by the City of West Hollywood, but owned by the City of Los Angeles. There were three reviews that went before the city of Los Angeles to obtain the full permission to install the project.

Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

The neon dog was connected to Collar & Leash. On January 21, 2020, the City Council accepted a gift of the neon dog sign from Joseph Chan and Charles Chan Massey. The neon sign was restored and conserved very much like the Rocky & Bullwinkle sculpture that is also on display on Sunset Boulevard.

@wehotimes A City of West Hollywood CLASSIC is BACK!!! The Neon Dog is fully restored and installed at its new home on The Sunset Strip. On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission unanimously approved the proposed Neon Dog project for installation at William S. Hart Park & Off Leash Dog Park, a property leased by the City of West Hollywood, but owned by the City of Los Angeles. The neon dog was connected to Collar & Leash. On January 21, 2020, the City Council accepted a gift of the neon dog sign from Joseph Chan and Charles Chan Massey. The neon sign was restored and conserved very much like the Rocky & Bullwinkle sculpture that is also on display on Sunset Boulevard. #wehotimes #wehonews #wehocity #weho #westhollywood #neon #neonart #wehoarts #art #streetart #thesunsetstrip @weholove @Paulo Murillo @City of West Hollywood @CityofLosAngeles ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

The Neon Dog is a reconditioned, electrically rotating neon sign in the shape of a dog (10’6” high, 10’9” at its widest), and part of the City of West Hollywood’s Urban Art collection. The proposed project includes the installation of the Neon Dog atop a 12’-tall vertical support pole (with corresponding structural foundation and electrical connections) at the Park’s Sunset Boulevard entrance located between North Kings Road and North Sweetzer Avenue. The proposed art installation would located at a nook to the right of the park entrance. The sign will stand on long pole above arms reach, sitting at about 12 feet above ground. A trashcan and bench would be removed from the area.

Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

The famous Collar & Leash neon dog sign was originally located at 8555, Santa Monica Boulevard. A crane removed it from the Collar & Leash parking lot on Tuesday, June 24, 2020. It was uninstalled and carefully placed in the back of a truck and was taken to Ontario California for much needed repairs in preparation to become a permanent art installation in West Hollywood.

William S. Hart Park & Off Leash Dog Park is a fenced-in park between Sunset Boulevard and De Longpre that allows dogs to play off-leash in a tree-lined space with mulch on the ground, located at 8341 De Longpre Ave, West Hollywood.

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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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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

National Poetry Month in April, Green Business Certification Program, Applications for Youth Scholarship Program plus more

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

OUTLOUD Music Festival at WeHo Pride

WEST HOLLYWOODOUTLOUD Music Festival returns to the City of West Hollywood anchoring the entertainment of WeHo Pride’s weekend of programming. The electrifying three-day outdoor music festival will take place Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 2, 2024, at West Hollywood Park. This year’s Saturday and Sunday headliners include Kylie Minogue, Janelle Monáe, and Diplo.

To purchase OUTLOUD Weekend or VIP Passes, visit www.weareoutloud.com. Passes will go on sale Friday, March 15, 2024, at 10 a.m. PDT, starting at $139 + fees for weekend General Admission and $249 + fees for weekend VIP. Individual day schedules and daily tickets will be released in the coming weeks. To find out additional information about WeHo Pride, visit www.wehopride.com

Produced by award-winning events and entertainment agency JJLA, this year’s OUTLOUD Music Festival features a stellar lineup of queer entertainers and artists. The weekend’s full lineup of talent includes Doechii, Ashnikko, Noah Cyrus, Trixie Mattel (DJ Set), Keke Palmer, Channel Tres, Yaeji, Big Freedia, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and VINCINT, with exciting sets from emerging artists Snow Wife, Destiny Rogers, Black Polish, Salina EsTitties, Doug Locke, Jimi The Kween, and Zee Machine. OUTLOUD is hosted by personalities Ryan Mitchell, Hannah Rad, Arisce Wanzer, Neverending Nina, and Billy Francesca. The OUTLOUD Music Festival features a second dance music stage in partnership with SUMMERTRAMP, with more performances to be announced.

Previous artists OUTLOUD has welcomed to its main stage include Grace Jones, Adam Lambert, Carly Rae Jepsen, Years & Years, Jessie J, Lil’ Kim, Idina Menzel, Jessie Ware, Hayley Kiyoko, and more.

“West Hollywood is the epicenter of queer culture and entertainment, and we are a proud and vibrant hub where acceptance is embraced and diversity thrives,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “The City of West Hollywood takes immense pride in fostering LGBTQ+ community and joy, and we’re excited to bring people together to celebrate at OUTLOUD and WeHo Pride. Not only will we showcase incredible queer talent, we will also embody the spirit of inclusivity and unity, which is the core of what defines our city.”

WeHo Pride Weekend will take place from Friday, May 31, 2024 to Sunday, June 2, 2024 and will include the free WeHo Pride Street Fair; WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD; the OUTLOUD Music Festival; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the Dyke March; and the WeHo Pride Parade.

Details about performers at WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD will be announced in the coming weeks.

WeHo Pride will kick off on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 with its José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place from Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024.

WeHo Pride celebrations will include a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community group programming from May 22 to June 30 as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.

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. The City has, for nearly four decades, been on the vanguard of efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. With more than 40% of community members identifying as LGBTQ and four of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council identifying as LGBTQ, Pride is a deeply rooted part of West Hollywood’s history and culture.

In 2022, the City of West Hollywood inaugurated WeHo Pride. West Hollywood is a community of LGBTQ people from throughout the world who identify with the community’s deep connection to groundbreaking LGBTQ history and culture and hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world make West Hollywood their destination during Pride.

Details about WeHo Pride 2024 are posted as they become available at www.wehopride.com. OUTLOUD Music Festival information is posted at www.weareoutloud.com. Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook. Sign up for WeHo Pride text updates by texting ‘Pride’ to (323) 848-5000.

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

For more information about the OUTLOUD Music Festival, please visit www.weareoutloud.com/get-involved.

For inquiries 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.

City of West Hollywood Begins Accepting Applications for Youth Scholarship Program

 The City of West Hollywood has opened applications for the 2024 Youth Scholarship Program. The program awards $2,000 to graduating high school students who are West Hollywood residents and who are pursuing a post-secondary education at an accredited college, university, or trade/vocational school. Students must have completed 150 verified hours of community service to be considered. The Youth Scholarship Program application period is open through Friday, May 10, 2024. The scholarship money can be used for any expense incurred in pursuing post-secondary education at an accredited college, university, or trade/vocational school.

To qualify for a youth scholarship, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Residency – Applicant is a West Hollywood resident at the time the scholarship application is submitted and awarded. Please visit www.weho.org/city-government/contact-us/map-of-weho for a map of West Hollywood.
  • Secondary Education – Applicant is a high school senior ready to graduate or an individual receiving a GED. 
  • Post-Secondary Education – Applicant is planning to attend a college, university or trade/vocational school and has proof of acceptance to a post-secondary institution.
  • Community Service – Applicant has performed and provided verification of 150 hours of community service.

More information, application instructions, and the application link are available by visiting www.weho.org/youthscholarship.    

The Youth Scholarship Program is organized by the City of West Hollywood, but scholarship funds come entirely from individual and community donations. The City has awarded more than 40 youth scholarships since the program began in 2007. To support the program, the City encourages donations from community members, organizations, and area businesses. Community members wishing to donate to the Youth Scholarship Program may do so at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/youthsco.

The City of West Hollywood’s Youth Scholarship Program is one of the first municipal government sponsored programs of its kind in the country. The Youth Scholarship Program recognizes the importance of education to our community and encourages and supports local students interested in pursuing their education beyond high school. 

For more information please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Human Services Division at [email protected] or by calling (323) 848-6510.

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

Next Steps in Log Cabin Renovation

The City of West Hollywood is moving forward with the next steps in the renovation of the historic Log Cabin building, which houses the West Hollywood Recovery Center (WHRC) on N. Robertson Boulevard. At its regular meeting on Monday, March 18, 2024, the City Council of the City of West Hollywood received a design update for the Log Cabin renovation project, which included direction to move forward with the design concept. High-resolution design renderings and current photos are available on the City’s official Flickr site. More information about the project, including a preliminary project schedule and FAQ, can be found on the City’s website: https://go.weho.org/logcabin

The Log Cabin renovation plan provides a long-term facility for the West Hollywood recovery community, improves onsite health and safety, and meets accessibility and historic preservation standards. More than $7.5 million in funding has been provided to date to support renovations of this historic space, which is vital to safeguarding recovery services in the West Hollywood community.

The design upgrades will include:

  • Expanded meeting rooms, food preparation areas, and storage capacity to support local recovery services;
  • New mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, which help to contribute to an enhanced onsite experience;
  • ADA-compliant bathrooms;
  • Improved streetscape and landscaping; and
  • New electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and solar panels.

The West Hollywood Recovery Center (WHRC) hosts more than 90 separate addiction recovery meetings a week, more than 4,500 meetings a year. For additional information about the WHRC, please visit https://thewhrc.org/home.

The Log Cabin building, itself, has a long and interesting history spanning nearly a century. The building was built on property purchased in 1928 by the City of Beverly Hills. The north portion of the property was leased to the Lions Club in 1936, which constructed the Log Cabin in its style as a Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) clubhouse.

In the early 1970s, the Lions Club subleased the building to the West Hollywood Recovery Center for use for addiction recovery group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. In 2019, the City of Beverly Hills indicated its wish to sell the property and the City of West Hollywood entered into a lease with the City of Beverly Hills with the option to purchase the property. In 2022, the City of West Hollywood exercised its option to purchase the property and the City began a feasibility analysis with the West Hollywood Recovery Center to determine a renovation plan.

With the design concept approved, the City will take the next steps to move toward construction, which is anticipated to begin in October 2024. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2025.

For detailed information, please visit https://go.weho.org/logcabin.

For more information, please contact Alicen Bartle, City of West Hollywood Project Development Administrator, at (323) 848-6323 or at [email protected].

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

West Hollywood Launches Green Business Certification Program As part of its WeHo Climate Action Plan

The City of West Hollywood announces the launch of its free Green Business Certification Program, which is one of the commitments in the City’s 2021 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, WeHo Climate Action. The Plan 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 Green Business Certification Program will operate under guidelines established by the California Green Business Network (CAGBN), which connects approximately 50 California cities and counties to a statewide standard of criteria for businesses to achieve a Green Business Certification. In the state, more than 4,700 businesses have achieved CAGBN Green Business Certifications reducing 49.9 million kWh of electricity, 93.6 million gallons of water, 17.3 million pounds of materials from landfills, and 64.6 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Offering this program free of charge to West Hollywood businesses is one of a wide range of steps the City is taking toward attaining climate action goals. Each West Hollywood business that registers for the program can qualify to receive up to a $1,500 rebate to offset extra costs associated with implementing green measures. The City is working with local nonprofit organization Sustainable Works, which has administered green business programs for several Southern California cities since 2001. Sustainable Works will develop and administer the program. It has previously worked with the West Hollywood business community providing water efficiency and urban runoff prevention devices.

The Green Business Certification Program is designed to help businesses operate sustainably and receive public recognition for their efforts. Becoming a Certified Green Business requires implementing practices that reduce energy and water consumption, prevent pollution, divert waste from landfills, and assist businesses in creating a cleaner and healthier environment for their employees.

The City of West Hollywood’s Green Business Certification Program offers two certification tiers. Entry Level is an introductory certification for small businesses and Certification Level is for small or larger businesses, depending on capacity to make procurement changes and perform minor retrofits if needed. To achieve either level, businesses must implement a minimum number of measures in the areas of water and energy conservation, clean energy, waste reduction, pollution prevention, and sustainable transportation.

Green Business Certification is provided free of charge to West Hollywood businesses. Program coordinators provide step-by-step guidance to achieve criteria and connect businesses with resources and incentive programs available to help them go green.

For more information about the Green Business Certification Program and to register to participate, please visit go.weho.org/greenbusiness.     

With a core value of Responsibility for the Environment, the City of West Hollywood has long been dedicated to sustainability and preserving our environment. For additional information about WeHo Climate Action, please visit www.weho.org/climateaction. To learn more about resources to Go Green, please visit www.weho.org/gogreen.

For more information about the Green Business Certification Program, please contact Christine Shen, City of West Hollywood Senior Planner, at (323) 848-6803 or at [email protected].

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

West Hollywood Celebrates National Poetry Month in April

The City of West Hollywood will celebrate National Poetry Month in April with innovative events, including a poetry spa day and public exhibitions honoring poets and the art of poetry. National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world. 

Throughout the month of April, the City of West Hollywood will honor living poets by featuring selections of their poetry on street pole banners along Santa Monica Boulevard. Currently, there are 49 poets honored, and each year the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate selects two additional poets to honor. This year’s honorees are Shonda Buchanan and Mariano Zaro:

  • Shonda Buchanan is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Oxfam Ambassador, USC Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities Fellow, and City of Los Angeles (COLA) Department of Cultural Affairs Master Artist Fellow. She is the author of five books, including the award-winning memoir, Black Indian, which won the 2020 Indie New Generation Book Award and was chosen by PBS NewsHour as a “Top 20 Books to Read” to learn about institutional racism. About to enter a 3rd printing, Black Indian begins the saga of her family’s migration stories of Free People of Color communities exploring identity, ethnicity, landscape, and loss. Buchanan is also a faculty member in Alma College’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. Buchanan is the recipient of the Brody Arts Fellowship from the California Community Foundation, a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, several Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grants, the Denise L. Scott and Frank Sullivan Awards, and an Eloise Klein-Healy Scholarship. Consulting Curator Poet for The Broad Art Museum, Buchanan is also a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow, and a Jentel Artist Residency fellow. 
  • Mariano Zaro is the author of six books of poetry: Decoding Sparrows, Padre Tierra, Tres letras/Three Letters, The House of Mae Rim/La casa de Mae Rim, Poems of Erosion/Poemas de la erosion, and Where From/Desde Donde. His poems have been included in the anthologies Monster Verse, Wide Awake, The Coiled Serpent, and in several magazines in Spain, Mexico, and the United States. Zaro’s short stories have appeared in Portland Review, Pinyon, Baltimore Review, Louisville Review and Magnapoets. He is the winner of the 2004 Roanoke Review Short Fiction Prize and the 2018 Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Short Fiction Prize. Since 2010, he has been hosting a series of video-interviews with prominent American poets as part of the literary project Poetry.LA. He is a professor of Spanish at Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier.

On Monday, April 1, 2024 at 6 p.m., the City Council of the City of West Hollywood will issue a commemorative National Poetry Month proclamation, which will be received by West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng. The presentation will be viewable as part of the City Council meeting broadcast on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel. The City Poet Laureate Jen Chang will also debut a new poem that celebrates the City of West Hollywood, titled Recipe for Creativity, Blessed by Ghosts of the Greats (below, at end of news release). 

With the support of an arts grant from the City of West Hollywood, Women Who Submit (WWS) presents Transformation – A Book Release Party on Saturday, April 13, 2024, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Great Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Transformation is WWS’ third anthology and features poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama from 42 women and nonbinary contributors across the world. The event will feature readings from Erika Ayón, Lisa Cheby, Liz González, Monona Wali, Aruni Wijesinghe, and Sandy Yang, music by DJ Langosta, and an expo of literary organizations and booksellers. For more information, please visit the City of West Hollywood’s website calendar

The WeHo Reads: Poetry Spa event will take place on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Respite Deck of the West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC), located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the public is invited to explore poetry at “spa stations” including Feng Shui Poetry, Poemaroma (essential oils), Lotus Poetry (origami), and other poetic experiences. At 7:30 p.m., attendees will gather at the Grand Staircase at sunset to hear all the poets share their words. Poetry Spa is a concept created by Brian Sonia-Wallace during his term as 2020-23 West Hollywood City Poet Laureate and is curated by current West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng.

WeHo Reads is a literary series produced by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division and BookSwell. Additional support is provided by UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and Poets & Writers, with media partnerships from Book Soup and Los Angeles Review of Books. Books will be available for sale by historic West Hollywood retailer Book Soup. This event is free to attend and RSVPs are requested. For more information and to RSVP please visit: www.weho.org/wehoreads.  

Poets participating at the WeHo Reads: Poetry Spa event include:

  • Terry Wolverton, author of eleven books, including her latest, Season of Eclipse, hosts the Poemaroma spa station.
  • K. Toney is a griot, writer, musician, and educator who hosts the Listening Libations spa station where attendees get to mix poetry with soothing sounds.
  • Brian Sonia-Wallace, author of Poetry of Strangers hosts the Poetry Bath spa station.
  • Pride Poets members Timothy Nang will host the Lotus Poetry spa station and Jose Rios will host the Poetry Bingo spa station.
  • West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng hosts the Feng Shui Poetry spa station which guides attendees through the Five Elements.

Attendees will receive raffle tickets for a drawing to win a grand prize tote bag containing work from the poets which include Jen Cheng’s Braided Spaces, Timothy Nang’s Lotus Children, Brian Sonia-Wallace’s Maze Mouth, Terry Wolverton’s Ruin Porn, and A. K. Toney’s album Neo Griot & The Afrocentric Prince.

The community is also invited to visit Poetry Walk, a public art installation, located on the traffic median of Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny and Almont Drives. This temporary public art installation, which was installed in April 2023, displays poetry next to pre-existing empty concrete plinths where sculptures are usually displayed. The poetry excerpts reflect on absence, longing, and that which is unseen or uncelebrated. Contributing poets are former West Hollywood City Poet Laureates Brian Sonia-Wallace, Steven Reigns, Kim Dower and Charles Flowers; and Tonya Ingram, a young poet who passed away in December 2022. The Poetry Walk can be experienced as written word or by listening to audio recordings. Members of the public were invited to submit their own short poems reflecting on absence, longing and the unseen, and select poems are posted on the City website

During the month of April, with the support of an arts grant from the City of West Hollywood, Greenway Arts Alliance will present the 8th Annual LA Get Down Festival at the Greenway Court Theatre, located at 544 N. Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. Past years’ programming has included open-mics, workshops, poetry slams, performances, and more. As part of this festival, West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng welcomes the community to join her at the Greenway Court Theatre for a free writing workshop, Feng Shui Poetry, on Saturday April 20, 2024 at 12 p.m. More information and links to purchase tickets for the LA Get Down Festival can be found at https://greenwaycourttheatre.org/la-get-down

The City of West Hollywood began formally celebrating National Poetry Month in 2015 after launching its City Poet Laureate program in 2014. The West Hollywood City Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador of West Hollywood’s vibrant literary culture and leads the promotion of poetry in the City, including assisting with its annual celebration of National Poetry Month. 

For more information about the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate program or National Poetry Month activities, please contact Mike Che, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6377.

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

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West Hollywood

Gay man brutally assaulted in West Hollywood

“He’s bashing my head and and has his knee on top of my chest, trying to smash my head into the street–‘Die faggot, die,’ he kept saying”

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Image courtesy of David Velasquez.

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A man was physically assaulted in West Hollywood Sunday night. The attack occurred in front of the Tender Greens cafe on Santa Monica Blvd at the Hancock Drive intersection. The same suspect is believed to have assaulted others at random.

David Velasquez says he was already having a bad day while others celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in West Hollywood’s LGBTQ Rainbow District. He landed in Cedars Sinai earlier that day due to bad cold symptoms and had stopped by Pavilions in WeHo to get medication. He was riding his personal scooter on the sidewalk because he had almost been hit by a car earlier that day and was afraid a lot of people driving drunk.

“I was right there in front of the Tender Greens–the one on Santa Monica and Hancock–and then, like, I was passing by this random guy, and he just like out of nowhere slapped me with his left hand and smacked my helmet off smacked me in the face.”

According to Velasquez he confronted the guy and asked him what was his problem. There was a back and forth argument. “then the next thing I know, he’s hitting me and wrestling me, trying to throw my phone into the street,” he said. “He’s bashing my head and and has his knee on top of my chest, trying to smash my head into the street–‘Die faggot, die,’ he kept saying.”

He says his attacker stopped when a man who jumped out of a Chevy Suburban intervened. Velasquez managed to run away up Hancock Avenue. “A girl came up to me afterwards and said she wanted to press charges. He assaulted her also. Just slapped her for no reason. She was a black girl with two Latino friends. So that’s when I called the police. They came and got me an ambulance. I’m over here at Cedars Sinai again.”

According to Velasquez, he has a cut lip and some head trauma.

The assailant is described at a 6ft tall caucasian male in his 30s with a muscular build and a beard. He was described as nicely dressed seemed to be very inebriated.

A report was filed with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s substation regarding the assault however it is not yet known if there is any information leading to the suspects’ arrest.

If you see something, say something. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. If you see something, say something. Anyone with information can also drop a tip at https://www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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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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Kylie Minogue to headline WeHo Pride Outloud Music Festival

WeHo Pride celebrations during WeHo Pride Weekend and during May and June 2024 will include a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups 

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Kylie Minogue Performing at White Party Palm Springs - Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – JJLA has announced Australian pop singing sensation Kylie Minogue will be headlining this year’s WeHo Pride Outloud music festival, scheduled to take place on the weekend of June 1-2, 2024 with a Friday Night free ticketed event on May 31. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, March 15th at 10:00 a.m. PDT.

Minogue is the highest-selling female Australian artist of all time, having sold over 80 million records worldwide. She has been recognised for reinventing herself in music as well as fashion, and is referred to by the European press as the “Princess of Pop” and a style icon. Her accolades include two Grammy Awards, four Brit Awards and eighteen ARIA Music Awards.

In addition to Kylie, JJLA also announced that Janelle Monáe, Diplo + Friends, Doechii,  Ashnikko, Noah Cyrys, Trixie Mattel, Keke Palmer, Channel, tres, Yaeji, Big Freedia, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, VINCINT, and many more will be taking the stage for WeHo Pride weekend to kickoff pride month.

The City of West Hollywood announced dates for WeHo Pride 2024 in May and June.

“Pride starts in West Hollywood! WeHo Pride 2024 will be nothing short of fabulous. There will be something for everyone under the rainbow,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “From May 22 to June 30, West Hollywood will be brimming with celebrations and LGBTQ+ community activism, representation, and joy. I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone!”

WeHo Pride 2024 programming dates will be as follows:

·       Harvey Milk Day will serve as the kick-off of WeHo Pride on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 and will feature the 2nd annual José Julio Sarria Drag Pageant. Details will be published on www.wehopride.com in the coming weeks.

·       WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, May 31, 2024Saturday, 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 Friday Night at OUTLOUD, the WeHo Pride Street Fair, the Women’s Freedom Festival, the Dyke March, the WeHo Pride Parade, and the ticketed OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride music festival.

  • WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD, with free tickets for the community concert on Friday, May 31 in West Hollywood Park. Attendance will require an RSVP to secure complimentary tickets, as event capacity is limited. More information and a link to RSVP will be available at www.wehopride.com in the coming months.
  • OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride,produced by JJLA, is the flagship music festivaland concert experience of WeHo Pridefeaturing a star-studded lineup of musical acts! It will take place on Friday, May 31, 2024Saturday, June 1, 2024; and Sunday, June 2, 2024 at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard with a star-studded, high-energy line-up celebrating and advocating for queer voices in music. Information on the performers will be released in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit www.weareoutloud.com.
  • The WeHo Pride Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024 and Sunday, June 2, 2024 and will celebrate Pride with 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 a community stage, highlighting the LGBTQ+ community. The Street Fair is a family-friendly event and is open to everyone. It is a great occasion to take part in WeHo Pride’s LGBTQ+ community experience. Applications to participate in the Street Fair as an exhibitor will be published on www.wehopride.com in the coming weeks.
  • The Women’s Freedom Festival presented by the L-Project Los Angeles is planned to take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024. The 2024 event will feature emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women and non-binary musicians, comedians, poets, and activists. More information will be available in the coming weeks at www.wehopride.com.
  • The Dyke March is planned to take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024. For people who are interested in marching, stay informed at www.wehopride.com for route and timing information!
  • 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! Information on how to participate as an entrant in the parade will be published on www.wehopride.com in the coming weeks.

·       WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024 at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood. First launched in 2008, and formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, this year’s Arts Festival will feature a stellar range of LGBTQ+ dance, visual art, performance, literary arts, and more. More information will be available in the coming weeks at www.wehopride.com.

·       WeHo Pride celebrations during WeHo Pride Weekend and during May and June 2024 will include a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. The City of West Hollywood invites community groups to take part in WeHo Pride 2024. Through an application and review process, community groups may apply to request City funding for an independent Pride event, produced entirely by the group or organization. The application and more information related to the program will be published on www.wehopride.com in the coming weeks.

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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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39th annual Los Angeles Marathon to make its way through WeHo

Celebrating its 39th running, the Los Angeles Marathon course will begin at Dodger Stadium and it will conclude at Century Park

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LA Marathon - Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The 39th Annual Los Angeles Marathon, Presented by ASICS, is returning to West Hollywood. Runners will be making their way through the City of West Hollywood on Sunday, March 17, 2024 as part of a 26.2-mile Stadium to the Stars course.

Celebrating its 39th running, the Los Angeles Marathon course will begin at Dodger Stadium and it will conclude at Century Park in Century City. The portion of the route that runs through the City of West Hollywood remains unchanged.

The Los Angeles Marathon route for 2024 will guide runners westbound into the City of West Hollywood along Sunset Boulevard at Marmont Lane, just west of N. Crescent Heights Boulevard. From the Sunset Strip, runners will turn left (south) onto N. San Vicente Boulevard; then right (west) onto Santa Monica Boulevard; then left (south) onto N. Doheny Drive, where they will enter the City of Beverly Hills. The Marathon will run through West Hollywood between miles 14 and 15 of the course.

To ensure the safety of the large numbers of Los Angeles Marathon runners, there will be several street closures in the City of West Hollywood on Sunday, March 17, 2024 from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.; crews will work to reopen roads to vehicle traffic as quickly as possible as the Marathon moves through the City of West Hollywood:

  • Sunset Boulevard between Marmont Lane and Clark Street/N. San Vicente Boulevard (the route enters the City of West Hollywood from the City of Los Angeles west along Sunset Boulevard from Marmont Lane, just west of N. Crescent Heights Boulevard);
  • N. San Vicente Boulevard between Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue;
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega Boulevard and N. Doheny Drive;
  • N. Doheny Drive between Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Boulevard (the route exits the City of West Hollywood to the City of Beverly Hills south along N. Doheny Drive).

Parking will be strictly prohibited along the Los Angeles Marathon route. “No Parking” signs will be posted prior to the event. Vehicles in violation will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.

Los Angeles Marathon spectators and community members who are searching for alternative parking solutions in West Hollywood during the Los Angeles Marathon are encouraged to visit the City of West Hollywood’s website, where a directory of parking structures and municipal lots with hours of operation and rates is available online. Members of the public are encouraged to carpool and to use public transportation, taxis, or ridesharing options.

For additional information regarding the 2024 Los Angeles Marathon Presented by ASICS, including details about road closures and alternate access routes, community members may email, call (213) 542-3000, or visit the Los Angeles Marathon website. Members of the media interested seeking media credentials for the event should apply directly with McCourt Foundation.

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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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Settlement in lawsuit between WeHo trans activist & LASD

According to court docs “the parties advise the Court that a full and complete settlement of the case was reached on February 26, 2024”

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Annie Jump Vicente booing during the swearing in of West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson. (Photo by Paulo Murillo)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A joint settlement has been reached in a legal case involving plaintiff Annie Jump Vicente, a trans activist and resident of West Hollywood, and defendants the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the County of Los Angeles, and ten individual sheriff deputies identified as ‘Does.’

According to court documents obtained by WEHO TIMES, “the parties hereby jointly advise the Court that a full and complete settlement of the case was reached on February 26, 2024.”

Furthermore, “The parties anticipate that they will be able to finalize the settlement documents, provide the settlement draft to Plaintiff, and file a final stipulated dismissal of the entire case with prejudice within sixty (60) days.”

Jump, also known as Annie Vicente Jump, a transgender woman, filed the civil rights lawsuit against LASD, ten individual West Hollywood Station LASD deputies (referred to as Doe LASD Deputies), and the County of Los Angeles. The lawsuit stemmed from an incident on December 7, 2022, when Jump was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly obstructing Sheriff deputies from entering her apartment building while responding to a domestic violence call.

Jump faced charges under Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC, which criminalizes willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing peace officers or EMTs in the performance of their official duties. However, a Los Angeles County District Attorney Charge Evaluation Sheet dated December 21, 2022, concluded that “the defendant’s total conduct cannot be characterized other than a refusal to consent to a request to enter her apartment. Such conduct cannot constitute grounds for a lawful arrest or subsequent search and seizure… Refusal to stand aside and permit a requested entry, even when officers… had a right to force an entry… cannot constitute a violation of section 148.”

The civil case, number 2:23-cv8584, was filed on October 11, 2023, by the Law Offices of Christian Contreras. The list of complaints for damages included allegations of negligence, false arrest/imprisonment, assault and battery, violations of the Bane Act (Civil Code § 52.1) and the Ralph Act (Civil Code § 51.7), violations of the First Amendment for retaliation for protected speech (42 USC § 1983), violations of the Fourth Amendment for excessive force (42 USC § 1983), municipal liability for unconstitutional policy, custom, or practice, and municipal liability for failure to train.

The defendants retained the services of Collison, Daehnke, Inlow & Greco, a civil litigation defense firm specializing in various civil litigation matters.

Attorney Laura E. Inlow, with nearly 30 years of practice, leads the firm’s Governmental Entity Liability Practice Group, focusing on police misconduct and civil rights cases under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as professional liability, premises, and general liability matters. Attorney Lenore C. Kelly brings extensive experience in the aggressive defense of public entities, particularly in cases involving law enforcement use of force, civil rights violations, employment disputes, complex tort, and general casualty.

Jump alleged that she was attacked and arrested by unidentified LASD deputies on December 7, 2022, while officers were responding to a domestic violence call. The Complaint stated that upon returning home with groceries, Jump found LASD deputies demanding entry into the building to investigate a domestic violence incident involving her neighbors, who were out of town and requesting a search warrant. Jump was forcibly pulled out of her doorway, causing injuries. Two days earlier, Jump had criticized LASD’s negligence at a West Hollywood city council meeting.

Jump says the incident caused severe mental and emotional distress, including feelings of shame, disillusionment with the justice system, fear of law enforcement, and PTSD.

Related

In a recent development this month, West Hollywood Sheriff deputies arrested Ms. Vicente on Thursday, February 15, 2024, for a separate incident and is currently facing a felony assault with a deadly weapon (245 PC) for allegedly striking a Block by Block Ambassador on the head with a flashlight. Captain Moulder of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station stated that a second suspect is outstanding. Detectives are continuing to actively investigate this case.

During a recent West Hollywood City Council meeting, Ms. Vicente alleged that she had been sexually assaulted and battered by the Block by Block ambassador and asked the City to end its contract with Block by Block security. “He beat the shit out of me,” she said during public comment. “And then he had me arrested and charged with a felony.”

However, a video released by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station shows a violent attack against the Block by Block ambassador. Two individuals assaulted him while he was on his lunch break according to Captain Moulder. One of the attackers was identified as Ms. Vicente and arrested. The other suspect is still at large as of the posting of this piece. LASD detectives released a Special Bulletin asking for the public’s help in identifying the second person.

Details on the recent settlement have not yet been disclosed, and there is no word yet on whether Ms. Jump will be filing another lawsuit for her most recent arrest.

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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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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Women’s History Month; Getting Out the Vote; Strategic Plan Open House; Temp Closure of Sections of WeHo Park; plus more

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood Celebrates Women’s History Month in March

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood will celebrate National Women’s History Month in March with a series of events to recognize and honor women and women’s history.

The City’s National Women’s History Month events will officially kick-off with the unveiling of two new women’s history month street pole banners honoring two notable women: transgender pioneer Marsha P. Johnson, one of the most prominent figures of the gay rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and whose legacy continues to this day; and country music legend and actor Dolly Parton. The street pole banners presentation will take place at the regular meeting of the West Hollywood City Council on Monday, March 4, 2024 at 6 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. Attendance is free; no RSVP is required. Limited validated parking will be available at the adjacent five-story structure. The City Council meeting broadcast will be available for viewing on the City’s website by visiting www.weho.org/wehotv or on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.  

From Tuesday, March 5, 2024 through Friday, March 22, 2024, the globe lanterns above Santa Monica Boulevard will glow purple and gold. Throughout the month, a series of street pole banners that commemorate famous American women, civil rights leaders, and women’s rights activists will be on display along Santa Monica Boulevard. The City’s featured banners include: Gail Abarbanel; Maya Angelou; Ivy Bottini; Hillary Rodham Clinton; Midge Costanza; Marion Wright Edelman; Alicia Garza; Barbara Gittings; Dolores Huerta; Coretta Scott King; Wilma Mankiller; Michaela Mendelsohn; Patsy Mink; Zoe Nicholson; Connie Norman; Michelle Obama; Rosa Parks; Mary Pickford; Sonia Sotomayor; Nadia Sutton; Gloria Steinem; Elizabeth Taylor; Ruth Williams; Oprah Winfrey; among others. This year’s additions to the Women’s History Month banners are Marsha P. Johnson and Dolly Parton.

The City of West Hollywood and its Russian-Speaking Advisory Board will host a free program celebrating International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 3, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center, rooms 5 & 6, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The celebration will feature music, food, dancing, and a fashion show. For additional information call (323) 848-6826 or email [email protected].

Supported by the City of West Hollywood, the first annual Sexual Healing/Sexual Health Ladies’ Brunch is a sex-positive and age-positive experience to learn more about women’s reproductive and mental health, menopause, and sexual pleasure. The brunch will be held on Sunday, March 3, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Pleasure Chest and Hind Lounge located at 7733 Santa Monica Boulevard. This event is presented in partnership with The Pleasure Chest and Hind Bar and supported by the City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $45 and available for purchase both online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sexual-healingsexual-healthtickets-823196401597 and at the door. For additional information email [email protected]

Also on Sunday, March 3, 2024 the City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board will co-sponsor Guaranteed Abundance: Guaranteed Income Advocacy Training presented by LA Voice and the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles to be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free. To register visit bit.ly/GBIAdvocacy. For additional information email [email protected].

There will be a viewing party with artist Shaghayegh Cyrous to watch the moving image artwork, Xvarnah, on the digital billboard (Streamlined Arbor) at 9157 Sunset Boulevard on Sunday, March 3, 2024 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Artwork airs every 20 minutes beginning at the top of the hour.  Admission is free. This project is presented as part of the West Hollywood Moving Image Media Art Program (MIMA), an exhibition series administered by the City’s Arts Division, as part of its Art on the Outside program, and is presented with the City’s Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. Xvarnah will be on display through Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Women and Books is a book club that meets on the first Tuesday of each month to discuss books written by women authors. On Tuesday, March 5, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. the group will discuss The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher. Women and Books is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood through its Women’s Advisory Board and by West Hollywood Library. Admission is free. This is a hybrid event and will be hosted in-person at the West Hollywood Library’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, as well as virtually on Zoom. To register, visit: https://lacountylibrary.webex.com/lacountylibrary/j.php?MTID=maa8a00d769f8b023cc81d2d603b7184c

MashUp Contemporary Dance Company’s annual International Women’s Day Dance Festival will kick-off in West Hollywood on Friday, March 8, 2024 with the LA Women in Dance Summit in WeHo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Great Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The event will feature guest speakers, master classes and an Industry Expo. Tickets prices range from $20 to $65. To register and find out more about the entire  festival, visit: https://www.mashupdance.com/tickets/international-womens-day-dance-festival. This project is supported in part by a grant from the City of West Hollywood. 

The City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board will co-sponsor the Annual Herstory Awards & Reception, which is presented by the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Hollywood NOW) to honor a woman who has made exceptional contributions to the community and embodies the spirit of feminism. This year’s honoree is Abbe Land, former West Hollywood Mayor and City Councilmember. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 7 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free. To RSVP, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/849689954527?aff=oddtdtcreator.

The City and its Women’s Advisory Board will host the Women’s History Month Party to honor the contributions of women and the more than 30 years of service of the City’s Women’s Advisory Board on Friday, March 15, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room and Auto Court, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free, RSVP is requested by visiting www.weho.org/whm

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the 27th Annual West Hollywood Women in Leadership Awards and Reception will take place at the Andaz West Hollywood, located at 8401 Sunset Boulevard. The event is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board along with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Admission is $25 and proceeds will benefit the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. To RSVP visit www.weho.org/whm.

A full schedule of City of West Hollywood events and meetings is available at www.weho.org/calendar.For more information about Women’s History Month in the City of West Hollywood, please contact Larissa Fooks, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6413 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series Presents a Free Screening & Panel Discussion of  ‘Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom’

To recognize the tenth anniversary of the war and the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series will host a screening of the award-winning documentary film Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom followed by a panel discussion featuring Emmy- and Oscar-nominated director/producer Evgeny Afineevsky and Anna Zaitseva, film protagonist, activist and survivor. Crafted from stark footage and exclusive interviews with people displaced by the enduring conflict, Freedom on Fire reveals how the spirit of unity strengthens morale even amid the country’s darkest hours. 

The event will take place on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and opening remarks will take place at 6:30 p.m., followed by the film screening and panel discussion. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP is required at http://go.weho.org/hrss.

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series brings together diverse communities to learn about and discuss global, national, and local human rights issues in a supportive environment. The series reflects the City’s commitment to human rights and core value of Respect and Support for People.
For additional information about the Human Rights Speakers Series, please visit www.weho.org/hrss.For more information, please contact Joy Tribble, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Specialist, at (323) 848-6360 or at [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

2024 Public Safety Awards & Luncheon

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend the 2024 Public Safety Awards & Luncheon as the City celebrates and recognizes its organizational partners in public safety organizations that have made significant efforts towards enhancing community safety in West Hollywood.

The Public Safety Awards & Luncheon will take place on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at 11:30 a.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Lunch will be served in the Auto Court area outside the Chambers followed by the awards presentation inside. Admission is free; no RSVP is required. Parking will be available in the adjacent five-story structure, accessible from the El Tovar Place entrance off N. Robertson Boulevard.

This year, the Public Safety Awards will be presented to members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood Station, Los Angeles County Fire Department Stations 7 and 8, and to West Hollywood Block by Block Security Ambassadors.

These award recipients have made extraordinary efforts in public safety programs and events, strengthened community partnerships; and have demonstrated leadership in multiple ways that have contributed to a safer community.For more information about the City’s Public Safety Awards & Luncheon, please contact Anita Shandi, the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Manager, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6446. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Temporary Closure of Sections of West Hollywood Park will Take Place in February/March to Accommodate Special Event

From Wednesday, February 28, 2024, to Thursday, March 14, 2024, there will be a temporary closure of certain sections of West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard – including the small dog park and basketball courts – to accommodate the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party and fundraiser.

Additionally, there will be intermittent lane closures on N. San Vicente Boulevard, one full street closure, and impacts to certain West Hollywood Park facilities, as follows:

Intermittent lane closures will occur on Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and PDC Drive on the following dates:

  • Friday, March 1, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 & #2 lanes will be closed from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.;
  • Saturday, March 2, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 & #2 lanes will be closed from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.;
  • Monday, March 4, 2024, through Thursday, March 7, 2024 (Daily) Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #2 lane will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
  • Friday, March 8, 2024, through March 10, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #2 lane will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.;
  • Monday, March 11, 2024 – Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #2 lane will be closed from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 lane will be closed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.;
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 & and #2 lanes will be closed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

A full street closure will occur on Northbound and Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue starting on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at 12 p.m.; the street will reopen on Monday, March 11, 2024, at 5 a.m.

West Hollywood Park facilities impacts/closures will occur as follows:

  • West Hollywood Park small dog park and basketball courts will be closed from Wednesday, February 28, 2024, through Wednesday, March 13, 2024; and
  • West Hollywood Park large dog park will be closed from Friday, March 8, 2024, through Monday, March 11, 2024;
  • West Hollywood Park Five-Story Parking Structure will be closed all day on Sunday, March 10, 2024; the structure will reopen on Monday, March 11, 2024, at 5 a.m.

The City of West Hollywood has proudly supported the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and its Academy Awards Viewing Party over many years. This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.For inquiries related to the City of West Hollywood and temporary impacts on West Hollywood Park, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division at [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

West Hollywood Invites Community Members to Participate in Upcoming ‘WeHo 40’ Strategic Plan Open House

The City of West Hollywood will host a community open house to kick off the development of West Hollywood’s next citywide strategic plan, WeHo 40. This free event will include a brief program, food, and live entertainment. It will take place on Saturday, March 2, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kings Road Park, located at 1000 N. Kings Road. Community members are encouraged to stop by at any point during the event to learn more about the project, to provide feedback, and to connect with fellow community members. Translation services will be available in Spanish and Russian. Advance RSVP is not required. 

This community open house will be the first in a series of community feedback-gathering events, which are central to developing WeHo 40. This event will focus on visioning and goal setting, including the identification of potential goals and priorities. Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute their experiences, ideas, and insightful perspectives to support the development of the strategic plan. The program will include a brief presentation followed by small group discussions and exercises. These activities will be repeated several times over the course of the open house; participants are encouraged to drop in at any time to participate. 

WeHo 40 is the City of West Hollywood’s forward-looking strategic planning process. Rooted in 40 years of municipal history – and looking ahead toward 2040 – WeHo 40 will engage residents, community members, and local businesses in setting priorities to create an inclusive and equitable roadmap for the City’s future and build upon the successes of the City’s past strategic plans.

For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been engaging in the collaborative development of strategic plans in order to shape forward-thinking policies and priorities. The City developed its first strategic plan in 1990. In 2003, the City launched its second strategic plan, Vision 2020. The development of Vision 2020 included the participation of more than 250 community members and helped shape the City’s Mission Statement and Core Values.

Visit engage.weho.org/wehostrategicplan to learn about the latest WeHo 40 updates and sign up for project-specific announcements. For more information, please contact Paolo Kespradit, City of West Hollywood Management Analyst, at (323) 848-6460 or [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood is Getting Out the Vote: Presidential Primary Election Voters May Vote In-Person, Vote by Mail, or Use Ballot Drop-Off Boxes through 8 p.m. on March 5, 2024

As part of the City of West Hollywood’s continuous efforts to increase voter participation, the City reminds community members that each vote counts and your voice matters in the upcoming Presidential Primary Election.

Key Dates for the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election:

  • February 1: Vote by Mail begins & Drop Boxes Open 
  • February 20: Last Day to Register to Vote & Receive a Vote by Mail Ballot 
  • February 24: Same-Day Registration and 11-Day Vote Centers Open (City of West Hollywood Plummer Park Vote Center, located in Fiesta Hall, 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard) 
  • March 2: 4-Day Vote Centers Open (City of West Hollywood West Hollywood Park Vote Center, located in the Aquatic and Recreation Center San Vicente/La Cienega Rooms) 
  • March 5: Election Day

The State of California allows for conditional day-of registration and allows that voter to cast a provisional ballot. Vote by Mail postal mail-in and ballot-drop-off voting for registered voters began on February 1, 2024. Many LA County Vote Centers will begin operating on February 24, 2024; there will be two City of West Hollywood Vote Centers (Plummer Park opens on February 24 and West Hollywood park opens on March 2). 

Vote Centers are open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the pre-Election Day voting period. On Election Day, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, Vote Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For all LA County Vote Center locations and estimated wait times, visit https://locator.lavote.gov/locations/vc

The City of West Hollywood provides two free options for residents who need transportation assistance to vote in person at a Vote Center. Cityline makes regular stops at or within a short distance of voting locations. For a route and schedule, visit www.weho.org/cityline. Dial-a-Ride is a rideshare service for West Hollywood residents over 62 or who are living with a disability (of any age) available between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by reservation. Advance registration is required; to register, call toll-free (800) 447-2189.

In addition to postal Vote by Mail and in-person voting at Vote Centers for the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election, the City of West Hollywood has worked with LA County to establish three Ballot Drop Box locations in West Hollywood. These Ballot Drop Boxes are bright yellow and clearly marked. They feature safety and security features, such as 24-hour electronic monitoring. Locations are as follows:

  • West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard

(Ballot Drop Box located behind City Hall, off of N. Sweetzer Avenue)

  • West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard

(Ballot Drop Box located on the west side of the street, in front of the library)

  • Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard

(Ballot Drop Box located in front of the Plummer Park Community Center)

The City of West Hollywood encourages every eligible voter to have a vote plan with the following tips:

  • Check your voter registration status or register to vote at www.lavote.gov/vrstatus or call (800) 815-2666;
  • Decide how you would like to vote: Fill in your ballot and drop off a ballot at a Ballot Drop Box or a Vote Center; or, Vote in-person at a Vote Center;
  • Educate yourself about the issues and then vote as soon as you receive your ballot;
  • Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to vote or register to vote;
  • Assist those who need help with their mail-in ballot or offer to take a homebound senior to a Vote Center; and
  • Track your ballot. You can sign-up to receive personalized text messages, emails, and/or automated voice messages on your Vote-by-Mail ballot (whether sent by mail or dropped off at a Ballot Drop Box or Vote Center) by subscribing to Where’s My Ballot. This is a free service available to all registered voters that provides updated information about where your ballot is and when you can expect to receive it. Sign up to be notified of the status of your ballot at california.ballottrax.net/voter.

City of West Hollywood voters receive complete ballot information by mail directly from the LA County Registrar-Recorder. More election information is available at www.weho.org/elections.  

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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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WeHo hosts V-Day & One Billion Rising anti-violence outreach

Vice-Mayor Chelsea Byers joined members of the LA Sheriff’s Department, Block by Block Security Ambassadors & LA LGBT Center’s WeHo Life

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V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach. (Photo Credit: WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood hosted a community outreach event as part of its annual recognition of V -Day, the global activist movement to end violence against all women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence), girls and the planet.

Community members distributed materials to help to promote a message of consent with its “Only Yes Means Yes” public awareness campaign, distribute drink-spiking test strips, share domestic violence awareness information and human trafficking prevention and awareness information as well as general safety information and resources.

V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach – WEHO TIMES

West Hollywood Vice Mayor Chelsea Lee Byers joined members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station, Block by Block Security Ambassadors, members of the LA LGBT Center’s WeHo Life group, members of the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Advisory Board, Public Safety, and City staff members in WeHo’s Rainbow district, to pass out awareness and prevention materials at various nightlife locations in the city. Members of the public are invited to stop by and pick up materials at a table on Santa Monica Boulevard.

V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach – WEHO TIMES

“Today we’re passing out drink test strips,” Vice-Mayor Byers told WEHO TIMES. “It’s an initiative that the city’s been really proud to partner with the LA LGBT Center and APLA Health. We’ve been out here passing out test strips to the community, and people at the bars on the Saturday afternoon. We’re having a conversation with them about the risks that are inherent in that activity and the ways that they can better protect themselves. We’re really excited to be engaging in that way as a community.”

V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach – WEHO TIMES

Drink-spiking test strips are designed to detect the possible presence of “date rape” drugs, such as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) or ketamine. Outreach staff from the WeHo Life program began test-strip distribution efforts in October 2022 to inform and educate community members and businesses that drink-spiking test strips are a tool for personal safety that can be used anywhere at any time.

First launched in 2016, the #onlyYes campaign is a public-awareness campaign to encourage people in the community to be more aware of sexual assault and to promote a message of consent.

For over 20 years the City has participated in V-Day.  V-Day was founded on the belief that when art and activism come together, they have the power to transform systems and change culture. Founded by V (formerly Eve Ensler), activist and author of the The Vagina Monologues, V-Day has inspired women all over the world and raised collective consciousness about how violence and gender intersect. V-Day is a movement and an example of how the power of art can be used as a liberating tool for transformational holistic education and social justice. www.vday.org

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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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WeHo trans activist Annie Jump Vicente arrested for felony assault

Jump facing a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge for allegedly striking a Block by Block Ambassador on the head with a flashlight

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West Hollywood resident and trans activist, Annie Jump Vicente, shown here in this file photo, speaking before the WeHo City Council.

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood resident and trans activist, Annie Jump Vicente (also uses the alias Annie Vicente Jump) was arrested on Thursday, February 15, 2024 and is facing a felony assault with a deadly weapon (245 PC) for allegedly striking a Block by Block Ambassador on the head with a flashlight.

Captain William (Bill) Moulder the commanding officer of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station stated that a second suspect is outstanding as of the publishing of this piece. Detectives are continuing to actively investigate this case.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Inmate Information Center, booking number 6762311 states that Jump was arrested on February 15, 2024, at 2:00 a.m. by West Hollywood Sheriff Deputies and booked at 2:45 a.m. She was released the following day.

A source familiar with the incident tells WEHO TIMES that Ms. Jump (who was booked as male) assaulted the Block by Block ambassador near Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Vista Avenue.

Full details on the incident are not yet available, however Jump has a court date scheduled for March 7, 2024.

Jump_Booking Record Details – Inmate Information Center

Ms. Jump spoke during public comment Tuesday night at a regular city council meeting to tell her own version of what happened that night.

“As I’m sure you heard by now, one of your security ambassadors, or goons as they are, crossed paths with me,” she said tearfully. “He’s actually, he then sexually assaulted me and battered me. He beat the shit out of me. And then he had me arrested and charged with a felony. I was asked about my genitalia by the deputies. I was assigned male, though my identification states I’m female. They put me with the men. Imagine what it’s like to be a trans woman incarcerated with men. Unfortunately, you can’t.”

She alleged that this is not the first time Block by Block assaulted her. “Security ambassadors touch me. They violate me and they punch me and if you recall from your inauguration [Mayor] Erickson, I played a video where one of your city paid goons threatened to kill my dog. She was unfortunately there that night on Valentine’s Day and she had she was an absolute angel. She was so scared and helpless to get around. I had to get her out of there before they killed my dog.”

Twitter account @TransinWeho believed to belong to Ms. Jump posted an edited video she had with a Block by Block Security ambassador. In the video, she is shown aggressively confronting and following a security ambassador as he tries to flee the scene.

Jump was also arrested by West Hollywood sheriffs on December 7, 2022, and charged with a misdemeanor for blocking deputies from entering her building responding to a domestic violence call. Jump was arrested and charged for violation Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC which makes it a crime to willfully resist, delay or obstruct peace officers or EMTs who are performing their official duties—however, a Los Angeles County District Attorney Charge Evaluation Sheet dated December 21, 2022, concluded that “the defendant’s total conduct cannot be characterized other than a refusal to consent to a request to enter her apartment. Such conduct cannot constitute grounds for a lawful arrest or subsequent search and seizure… Refusal to stand aside and permit a requested entry, even when officers… had a right to force an entry… cannot constitute a violation of section 148.”

She has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), ten individual West Hollywood Station LASD deputies (referred to as Doe LASD Deputies in the lawsuit), as well as the County of Los Angeles.

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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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