Connect with us

California

Importance of the LGBT vote in California

Trump Republicans working to erase our progress

Published

on

The upcoming election is a referendum on President Trump, whose supporters are working overtime to roll back recent LGBT advances. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

“There is a war on truth,” Washington Post’s iconic reporter Bob Woodward told out MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Sept. 11, discussing his new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.” This is not hyperbole. The Post has been fact-checking President Donald Trump and, as of Sept. 3, “Trump has made 4,713 false or misleading claims” in 592 days in office.

The exchange between Maddow and the cautious, meticulous Watergate reporter sounding the “Wake Up People!” alarm gets to the heart of why the midterm elections are a critical necessity as a check on the liar with his finger on the nuclear button.

“I feel like as a citizen, I am less worried about a president who is wrong than I am worried about a president who is sort of wrong in the head,” says Maddow. “And I don’t mean to say that in a snarky way. The president being ignorant about certain things or having bad policy ideas or being unable to learn things quickly is worrying. That you would want somebody more capable in the…but there are suggestions that it’s worse than that. At one point you say the president is emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable. I worry in particular about the emotionally overwrought part of it. Do you mean by that he is out of control?”

“No,” says Woodward. Trump is dangerously and willfully ignorant, choosing his own beliefs despite mounds of evidence to the contrary. “He closes his mind to the information,” adamantly sticking to ideas he ingested 30 years ago. Even if you are “the most ardent Trump supporter, that has got to give you pause that the White House and the government are being managed this way.”

In addition to his bottomless narcissism, Trump lacks the simple ability to even comprehend empathy or compassion. Trump started off the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with an exuberant tweet: “17 years since September 11!” Deplaning from Air Force One for the memorial service for Flight 93 victims in Shanksville, Pa.—including gay hero Mark Bingham—Trump pumped his fists greeting supporters at the airport.

Trump “has no capacity for the duties of the office when it comes to expressions of dignity, empathy, and filling the chair that he is a temporary custodian of, that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln once sat in,” former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt told the Washington Post.

The mourning LGBT community got a sense of this in 2016 when then-candidate Trump turned the mass shooting at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando into a campaign moment. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump tweeted. “I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

The 2018 midterm elections this November are a referendum on Trump and his Republican Party, which now controls both chambers of Congress and is working on owning the judiciary. With Trump-whisperer Mike Pence and chief adviser Tony Perkins in the wings,a ReligiousRight-driven autocracy is not beyond the realm of possibility if the Democrats don’t at least flip the House.

California is on the frontlines of the resistance movement, from Gov. Jerry Brown gathering international leaders to work against climate change to pushback against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ creating internment camps for the burgeoning number of undocumented immigrants under forced deportation—including LGBT refugees from violence seeking asylum. Sessions has increased by 50% the number of immigration judges to speed up the process while failing to prosecute people who lie to illegally buy guns, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Sept. 10. Last March, Sessions announced with much fanfare that the Justice Department would prioritize prosecutions of people who lie on their background check forms about criminal records or having a mental illness diagnosis—apparently an empty publicity countermeasure to the Parkland students organizing student walkouts across the country to call for gun restrictions.

Democrats working to take back the House are counting on winning vulnerable Republican congressional seats in California’s Orange County. Though the Republican Party now has few registered voters than No Party Preference, Orange County is still heavily conservative, though attitudes and demographics are changing. These will be battles until the last vote is cast.

Specifically: in CD 25, bisexual Katie Hill is now “Lean Democrat” against anti-gay
Republican Rep. Steve Knight; CD 39 is an open seat with Democrat Gil Cisneros in a serious fight with Young Kim; CD 45 is woman-vs-woman with consumer lawyer Katie Porter taking on Trump-supporter Rep. Mimi Walters; CD 48 is a knock-down contest between Russia-loving Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and LGBT-heralded Harley Rouda; in CD 49, the race for retiring Darrell Issa’s seat is between favored Democrat Mike Levin and Republican Diane Harkey; and CD 50 has become a spotlight race between indicted anti-LGBT Rep. Duncan Hunter is facing former Obama White House fellow, Ammar Campa-Naijar.

While the congressional races are the focus, other races are also important. Lt. Gavin Newsom is running for governor against Trump-supporting John Cox. State Sen. Ricardo Lara is running for California Insurance Commissioner—which would make him the first openly gay person elected statewide. And while out LA County Assessor Jeff Prang’s re-election bid seems solid—no candidate’s race is safe from anti-LGBT and other sheer crap in the Trumpian age of hostility.

Woodward’s Wake Up call must be heeded. LGBT citizens must eschew apathy and vote out of the necessity to restore American values and save the progression to full equality.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, ‘Howl-O-Ween Pet Showcase’ to Take Place on October 7 at West Hollywood Park, plus more

Published

on

West Hollywood City Hall (Photo credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott)

City of West Hollywood to Recognize October as Domestic Violence & Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood recognizes October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Awareness efforts will highlight the impact of domestic violence/intimate partner violence in the LGBTQ+ community and through the lens of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE), as well as the intersection of other dimensions of diversity including age and ability status. The City will share information and resources with the community about the various types of intimate partner violence and where to get help. 

As part of the month’s activities, West Hollywood City Hall and the globe lanterns above Santa Monica Boulevard will glow purple through Friday, October 20, 2023. The City will join national and local organizations in participating in the “Purple Day” campaign, a social media action day to be held on October 19 urging people to flood social media with pictures of themselves wearing purple to raise awareness about domestic violence and work to end it. 

The City will also host a community-based temporary display of silhouettes symbolizing people killed by domestic violence and intimate partner violence, called Silent Witness. The Silent Witness Initiative promotes an end to domestic violence through community-based exhibits and education that started with a small group of volunteers in one state and grew into an international presence, with projects in all 50 States and in 23 countries. Silent Witness silhouettes will be displayed with anti-violence messaging at various locations in West Hollywood through the month of October.   

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, more than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually.  On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive more than 20,000 calls, an average of close to 15 calls every minute.  

Domestic violence is prevalent in every community and affects all people regardless of age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence, is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship. It occurs in same- and opposite-sex relationships, and among those who are married, in long-term, and short-term relationships. 

Domestic violence can take many forms; in addition to physical abuse, it can include sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, controlling behaviors, isolating behaviors, and economic abuse.  The devastating consequences of domestic violence and intimate partner violence can cross generations and last a lifetime, from adolescence to young adulthood to older age. Approximately one in four women and one in ten men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence can occur in LGBTQ relationships at rates equal to or even greater than that of cisgender/heterosexual relationships. Statistics indicate that:

  • 44% of lesbians, 61% of bisexual women, and 35% of heterosexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes;
  • 26% of gay men, 37% of bisexual men, and 29% of heterosexual men experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes; and
  • The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that more than half (54%) of transgender and non-binary respondents experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.

The following resources are provided on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/dvipv. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of domestic violence/intimate partner violence, sexual assault or stalking, there are resources to help:

  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website at https://ncadv.org offers comprehensive and inclusive information for all about warning signs of domestic violence and abuse.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline website at www.thehotline.org offers immediate help to everyone  24/7/365 via the “chat now” button on the website or by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or texting LOVEIS to 22522, and for people who are Deaf/hard of hearing: 1-855-812-1011 (VP) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
  • Immediate help if you are experiencing domestic violence and in need of shelter is also available via the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence 24- hour Support Services by contacting 1-800-978-3600. 
  • The Los Angeles LGBT Center offers domestic violence/partner abuse counseling services geared toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities by contacting (323) 993-7649.  
  • The Jewish Family Service – Hope program offers assistance and crisis services for survivors of domestic violence. The confidential 24-hour crisis line is able to assist English, Spanish, Farsi, and Armenian speaking callers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by contacting (818) 505-0900 and  www.jfsla.org/fvp.
  • Peace Over Violence provides one-on-one intervention by contacting the 24-hour hotline (310) 392-8381 and provides accessible services for victims of sexual and domestic violence who are Deaf, hard of hearing, have a disability, and/or elder individuals at (213) 785-2684.
  • Love is Respect National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline provides 24/7 intimate partner violence help and support to young people between the ages of 13 and 26 by contacting 1-866-331-9474; TTY 1-866-331-8453 or text LOVEIS to 22522.
  • The National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline (NDDVH) is available to Deaf callers across the nation 24/7 by phone or videophone by contacting 1-855-812-1001 or email at [email protected]. Callers using a voice phone will be connected to an interpreter for the duration of the phone call.  
  • The SPCA-LA Animal Safety Net provides temporary homes for pets of domestic violence survivors by contacting 1-888-527-7722.

For more information about Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month, please contact City of West Hollywood Community Programs Coordinator Larissa Fooks at (323) 848-6413 or [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

West Hollywood Recognizes Banned Books Week through October 7

The City of West Hollywood recognizes Banned Books Week, which takes place through Saturday, October 7, 2023. The City Council of the City of West Hollywood adopted Resolution 23-082 in support of Banned Books Week at its regular meeting on Monday, September 18, 2023.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Banned Books Week seeks to highlight the value of free and open access to information, celebrates the freedom to read, and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.

According to a report by PEN America, a 100-year-old nonprofit organization that works to defend and celebrate free expression in the United States and worldwide through the advancement of literature and human rights, the number of individual book bans across the country increased by 28% during the first half of the 2022-23 school year, compared to the prior six months.

Book bans are happening at an alarming rate not only throughout the nation, but in California, as well. In 2022, The American Library Association (ALA) documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources, the highest number of attempted book bans since the ALA began compiling such data more than 20 years ago. Most of these censorship attempts targeted books for a teen audience and were by or about Black or LGBTQ+ persons.

According to the ALA, nearly all of the top 10 books targeted for censorship last year in California schools and libraries included LGBTQ+ themes. The LGBTQ+ community has increasingly come under fire including protests at Drag Story Hour events, as well as examples such as the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees firing a superintendent for including LGBTQ+ civil rights icon Harvey Milk in a school curriculum. Observers note that decision was made in defiance of state law, the FAIR Education Act, which mandates California schools to include LGBTQ+ history in curricula. 

LA County Library has established a Books Unbanned initiative in response to a motion introduced by Los Angeles County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Lindsey P. Horvath. LA County Library is one of the largest public library systems in the United States, serving residents living in 49 of the 88 incorporated cities of Los Angeles County, including in the City of West Hollywood with West Hollywood Library.

The Books Unbanned initiative was launched with a news conference at West Hollywood Library on Monday, October 2, 2023, and makes digital library cards available to all California teenagers ages 13-18. It offers free and unrestricted access to the LA County Library’s entire digital eBook and audiobook collection, which includes many frequently banned titles. For more information about the initiative and about obtaining an LA County Library digital library card, visit https://lacountylibrary.org/books-unbanned.  

Founded in 1912, LA County Library is one of the largest and most innovative library systems in the nation. It provides culturally responsive and dynamic collections, programs, and services to meet the literacy, information, personal enrichment, and entertainment needs of all LA County residents.

West Hollywood Library has been part of West Hollywood since before West Hollywood was incorporated as a city. The current Library was opened to the public in October 2011. The 32,000-square-foot, LEED-certified library, owned by the City of West Hollywood and operated by the LA County Library, showcases the City’s rich intellectual, literary, and cultural communities, and provides a landmark facility for the community’s passionate commitment to lifelong learning. It houses collections, materials, and programs as diverse as the community, itself, including a variety of books and content in English, Spanish, and Russian, as well as an LGBTQ+ collection, the Ron Shipton HIV Information Center, the Friends of the Library Bookstore, and more.

In recognition of Banned Books Week, the City of West Hollywood encourages community members to support and celebrate West Hollywood Library. Visit and sign up for a library card (or help someone apply for their first library card!) and attend programming at West Hollywood Library. Reading and accessing a wide variety of content can help open doors and create opportunities. It also helps people obtain unfiltered information to thoughtfully contribute to civil discourse on a range of complex topics, such as the right to vote, the environment, and the history and origins of inequities in society.

For more information or for questions, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Government Affairs Liaison Hernán Molina at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6364.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing please contact [email protected] for more information and to request accommodation.

West Hollywood Celebrates Disabilities Awareness Month in October

The City of West Hollywood and its Disabilities Advisory Board will recognize October as Disabilities Awareness Month. This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is landmark civil rights legislation that works to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities across society, including in the workplace.

Throughout the month of October, the City of West Hollywood will commemorate Disabilities Awareness Month with the installation of 45 street pole banners along Santa Monica Boulevard, which recognize past recipients of the City’s Disability Service Awards in the individual and nonprofit organization categories.

The City will host two events to raise awareness and shine recognition on people and organizations that positively impact the lives of people with disabilities in the community.

On Tuesday, October 17, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the City of West Hollywood, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, will host a free Community Health and Wellness Event, in the Plummer Park Community Center, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The flu season presents a challenge to public health because symptoms of influenza can be very serious. Services offered at this event are: flu vaccines for ages 6 months and older, blood pressure screening, blood sugar screening, total cholesterol screening, emergency preparedness, trauma prevention, voter registration, and more.

Walk-ins for vaccines will be accepted. Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Participants should bring a form of identification and any existing vaccination card. Please stay home if you are not feeling well. 

On Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 6 p.m. the City of West Hollywood will host the 25th Annual Disability Service Awards at a special televised meeting of the Disabilities Advisory Board at the City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The City’s Disability Service Awards will also be broadcast live on WeHoTV on Spectrum Cable Channel 10 in West Hollywood; will be livestreamed on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv and on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv; and will be livestreamed via the AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, AndroidTV, and Roku platforms by searching for “WeHoTV.”

This year’s Disability Service Awards honorees are:

  • Terry Shajirat: Lovedy Brydon Differently Abled Individual Award
  • The Abbey Food & Bar: Business Award   
  • Being Alive: Nonprofit Award; and 
  • Spectrum Laboratory for the film Boys Don’t Wear Dresses: Media Award 

The City of West Hollywood’s Disabilities Advisory Board was created in 1995 and is comprised of nine members. The Disabilities Advisory Board addresses issues affecting people with disabilities, including ADA compliance, transportation, housing, access to City government, and services for people with disabilities, and makes recommendations to the West Hollywood City Council relative to the adoption of programs, policies, or ordinances of benefit to the constituency.

For more information or for questions about the Community Health and Wellness Event, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Human Services Division at (323) 848-6510.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing please contact [email protected] for more information and to request accommodation.

The City of West Hollywood is thrilled to announce the selection of Jen Cheng as the next City Poet Laureate, serving from October 2023 to 2026. The selection was approved by the City Council of the City of West Hollywood at its regular meeting on Monday, September 18, 2023. 

The selection comes following a rigorous selection process led by the City Poet Laureate Selection Committee, which is comprised of representatives of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division and Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, the LA County Library’s West Hollywood branch, the Friends of the West Hollywood Library, and former and current West Hollywood City Poet Laureates. 

The City of West Hollywood has a deep commitment to the arts and to celebrating the rich literary culture of West Hollywood, which includes such programs as its WeHo Reads literary series, Poetry Month celebrations and creation of the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate program in 2014. Previous City Poet Laureates are Steven Reigns, Kim Dower, Charles Flowers, and Brian Sonia-Wallace (who serves into October 2023).

Jen Cheng is a poet with a profound connection to the City of West Hollywood, where she resides. Her deep-rooted involvement in the local community and her active participation in various City programs have given her an insightful understanding of the vibrant and diverse West Hollywood community and identity.

One of the standout achievements that captured the attention of the City Poet Laureate Selection Committee is her leadership role in the highly successful “Pride Poets” project. This innovative initiative was created and headed by current City Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace for the WeHo Pride Arts Festival (at the time known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival) and has resulted in the creation of thousands of custom poems written for the public during various pop-up events and through an annual call-in telephone line.

As the newly appointed City Poet Laureate, Jen Cheng will serve as a cultural ambassador, using her gift of words and community organizing to celebrate the City’s arts scene, diverse population, and myriad of stories that define West Hollywood. Over the next three years, she will engage with the community through poetry, participate in public events, and promote the literary arts throughout the City. Jen Cheng’s selection as the City Poet Laureate aligns perfectly with West Hollywood’s ongoing commitment to promoting art, culture, and community engagement. 

An installation event will take place on Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 5 p.m. in the Plummer Park Community Center, Rooms 5 and 6, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The event will also feature 2021-22 Poet Laureate of Los Angeles Lynne Thompson and former and current West Hollywood City Poets Laureate Steven Reigns and Brian Sonia-Wallace. RSVPs are requested, but not required, at https://WeHoPoetJenChengInstallation.eventbrite.com 

Since 2019, Jen Cheng has been writing poems for West Hollywood neighbors and visitors during WeHo Pride as a member of Pride Poets and as a typewriter poet with arts and community events around the Los Angeles area. With roots in social justice activism, she has been a performance poet and local cultural events producer, and recently produced two WeHo Pride 2023 events to celebrate stories from LGBTQ elders with new souvenirs of poetry in turn building community bonds with intergenerational connection between older adults and younger poets. 

Her work and poetry has been showcased as part of the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Reads series, VCP Socal, and Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station bG Gallery. During the COVID-19 social isolation era of 2020, she began writing dog poems for her West Hollywood neighbors and hosted a virtual party to bring humor and cheer to dog lovers. As a culture creator, Jen blends her East-West perspectives into a new form, Feng Shui Poetry, infusing five element wellness concepts into poetry. Her upcoming book, Braided Spaces, has themes of immigrant displacement, critical race feminism, and queer musings by a Chinese American eldest daughter. Jen’s interviews and poems can be found in outlets such as the Beverly Press, Queer Slam, and on KPFK’s Poets Cafe. She is a 2023 California Arts Council Fellow.

The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Arts Grants, City Poet Laureate, Drag Laureate, Free Theatre in the Parks, Human Rights Speaker Series, Library Exhibits, WeHo Pride Arts Festival, Summer Sounds + Winter Sounds, Urban Art (permanent public art), and WeHo Reads. For more information about City of West Hollywood arts programming, please visit www.weho.org/arts.  

For more information on the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate program please visit: https://www.weho.org/community/arts-and-culture/literary-arts/city-poet or contact Mike Che, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, at (323) 848-6377 or at [email protected].

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

First-Ever City of West Hollywood ‘Howl-O-Ween Pet Showcase’ to Take Place on Saturday, October 7 at West Hollywood Park

The City of West Pawllywood’s Recreation Services Division will host its first-ever Howl-O-Ween Pet Showcase on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Great Lawn at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard.  

Howl-O-Ween highlights will include a parade for pets and their guardians to walk side-by-side and showcase their spookiest, silliest, and funniest costumes, and perhaps even to dress with mutt as a doggleganger. Pet guardians are highly encouraged to dress in costumes, as well. Dogs must remain on leash for the duration of the event. Entertainment includes music, a pet-friendly bubble zone, pet trick/obstacle course, community groups, and of course lots of treats: Bon A-pet-treat

This is a free event, no RSVP is required. Attendees are encouraged to carpool, rideshare, or walk, as barking lot parking at West Hollywood Park is limited.

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

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

Continue Reading

West Hollywood

WeHo Mayor Shyne taken to hospital after medical emergency

The mayor was taken to Cedars by ambulance. Sources report that the mayor was in good spirits shortly after landing in the hospital

Published

on

West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne (Screenshot/YouTube WeHo TV)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne was taken to Cedars Sinai Hospital after experiencing chest pains during a regular city council meeting on Monday, October 2, 2023.

A call received at 6:55pm reported a medical emergency at North San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood. The Los Angeles County Fire Department Division 7 was on the scene, along with sheriff deputies. The mayor was taken to Cedars by ambulance. Sources report that the mayor was fine and she was in good spirits shortly after landing in the hospital.

Mayor Shyne was lively at the start of the council meeting. She posed for photos during the presentations portion of the meeting and she appeared to be fine while she led the meeting through the early part of public comments.

“I was sitting right in front and I noticed the mayor lean in to whisper something to Mayor Pro-Tem Erickson,” a witness told WEHO TIMES. “Then she got up and left the council chambers through the side door. That’s when Erickson called for a break which seemed odd to me because it took forever. No one knew what was happening.”

The council normally breaks for ten minutes. However, the timer struck 18 minutes at Monday night’s meeting when the council returned to the chambers. Shyne was noticeably absent as Mayor Pro-Tem Erickson took over the gavel, which he pounded several times to call the meeting to order. He led the council meeting in Shyne’s absence, which was noticeably shorter than most meetings at a little under two hours.

The meeting proceeded sans the mayor, which left some community members saying they were confused and sending messages to this publication regarding her absence which was not addressed during the meeting by the Mayor Pro-Tem, or any of three remaining council members

UPDATED: On Tuesday evening Oct. 3, 2023 the City of West Hollywood issued a statement:

During the regular meeting of the West Hollywood City Council on Monday, October 2, 2023, Mayor Sepi Shyne stepped away from the meeting while not feeling well. The meeting continued, led by Mayor Pro Tem John M. Erickson until it was adjourned. In an abundance of caution, paramedics were called, and Mayor Shyne was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She spent the night under observation, and she was discharged this afternoon. She feels well and is happy to be back home. She extends her appreciation to community members and colleagues who reached out.

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

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.

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

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

Continue Reading

Orange County

Proposed Huntington Beach voter ID requirement violates state law

The city is also considering amending its charter to require that city officials “monitor ballot drop boxes located within the city

Published

on

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. (Photo Credit: Office of the Secretary of State)

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta and California Secretary of State Shirley Weber today sent a letter to the City of Huntington Beach warning that the city’s proposal to require voter identification (voter ID) at the polls in municipal elections directly conflicts with state law and is preempted.

On October 5, 2023, the City Council is set to decide whether to put this proposal before the voters in March of 2024. In the letter, Attorney General Bonta and Secretary of State Weber urge the city to drop the proposal and express grave concerns that it would only serve to suppress voter participation without providing any discernible local benefit.   

“The right to freely cast your vote is the foundation of our democracy,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “State elections law are in place to ensure the fundamental right to vote without imposing unnecessary obstacles that can reduce voter participation or disproportionately burden low-income voters, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Huntington Beach’s proposed amendment violates state law and would impose additional barriers to voting. If the city moves forward and places it on the ballot, we stand ready to take appropriate action to ensure that voters’ rights are protected.”

“We cannot turn back the clock on voting rights,” said California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. “Voter ID requirements at the polls have historically been used to turn eligible voters away from exercising the franchise, especially low-income voters and voters of color. Not only is the action unlawful, it is also unnecessary because California already has guardrails in place for establishing both eligibility of each voter and for confirming their identity when returning their ballot.”

In the letter, the Attorney General and Secretary of State explain that, under state law, people registering to vote must provide identifying information under penalty of perjury, and county and state elections officials are responsible for validating that information.

Those who register to vote knowing that they are ineligible to do so are subject to criminal penalties. At the polls, voters are only required to provide their name and address; no further identification is required.

A person’s eligibility to vote can only be challenged by election workers on narrow grounds, and only where there is probable cause to make a challenge.  In this way, state law guards the ballot box against ineligible and/or fraudulent voters while at the same time simplifying and facilitating the process of voting so as to avoid suppressing turnout and disenfranchising qualified voters.

It also makes clear that the job of local elections officials is to supervise voting at the polls, not to take over voter-eligibility functions performed by the county registrar and the Secretary of State.  

In violation of this legal framework, Huntington Beach’s voter ID proposal would place the burden on the voter to establish their identity and right to vote with some form of identification at the time they cast their ballot.

By requiring additional documentation to establish a voter’s identity and eligibility to vote at the time of voting, Huntington Beach’s proposal conflicts with state law and may constitute “mass, indiscriminate, and groundless challenging of voters,” in violation of Elections Code section 18543. The Attorney General and the Secretary of State also point out that the city has not identified any basis for its voter ID proposal, much less a basis supported by uniquely local concerns. 

The city is also considering amending its charter to require that city officials “monitor ballot drop boxes located within the city”. The Attorney General and the Secretary explain in their letter that state law already provides for video monitoring of ballot drop boxes by county elections officials.

The Elections Code also prohibits anyone, with the intent of dissuading another person from voting, from video recording a voter within 100 feet of a polling place or other outdoor site at which a voter may cast a drop off ballot.

At present, no details about how the city’s proposal would be implemented have been made available, and thus it is unclear whether or how the proposal might conflict with state law. The Attorney General and Secretary of State explain that, if the city moves forward with this proposed charter amendment, they stand ready act to ensure it is not implemented in a way that interferes with the right to vote or otherwise conflicts with state law. 

Continue Reading

Southern California

Triple A: Local gas prices continue skyrocketing

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.03, which is 24 cents higher than a week ago

Published

on

Triple A/Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES – Southern California gas prices continued upward in the last week, bringing average prices to well over $6 in all areas except Bakersfield, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.03, which is 24 cents higher than a week ago. The average national price is $3.84, which is three cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.29 per gallon, which is 23 cents higher than last week, 92 cents higher than last month, and 18 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $6.21, which is 22 cents higher than last week, 84 cents higher than last month, and 17 cents higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $6.15, which is 23 cents higher than last week, 87 cents higher than last month, and 10 cents higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $6.12, which is 23 cents higher than last week, 86 cents higher than last month and 17 cents higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.87 average price is 15 cents higher than last week, 69 cents higher than last month, and three cents higher than a year ago today.

This fall’s price spike is similar to what California drivers experienced a year ago, when refineries did not produce enough of the ‘summer blend’ of gasoline to sell through the end of October as required by state air quality regulations.

“We are continuing to see price increases due to higher oil prices and refinery maintenance that has reduced gasoline production, along with the continuing overall reduced capacity in California to produce gasoline as refineries switch to green fuel production”, said Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Last September, Gov. Newsom and the California Air Quality Resources Board suspended regulations to allow early sale of cheaper ‘winter blend’ gasoline, which brought pump prices down rapidly, but it is unknown whether they will take that action again this year.”

The Auto Club reminds drivers of the following tips to save money on gas:

  • If you use premium unleaded fuel, make sure it is required for your vehicle, not just recommended. The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center found that vehicles with recommended premium fuel performed safely with regular unleaded gasoline.
  • Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
  • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. Fuel economy peaks around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speed increases. Reducing freeway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.
  • Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because you could lose control of the vehicle.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Remove unnecessary and heavy items from your car.
  • Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
  • Download the AAA App to find the cheapest gas prices near you. 

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Sept. 28, averages are:

092823
Continue Reading

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

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

This month, girls in the Los Angeles County Foster Care System had the chance to honor their Hispanic roots with a magical Quinceañera.

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

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

On September 12, 2023, the LA County Board of Supervisors passed a motion proclaiming “Hispanic Heritage Month” in Los Angeles County. Throughout the month, we proudly celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures and contributions from the Hispanic and Latino/a/x communities that continue to shape the diverse landscape of Los Angeles County. 

Join us in recognizing and celebrating the numerous contributions of these remarkable individuals by visiting the Natural History Museum, a local library or park and learning about the culture, contributions, and heritage of Hispanic Americans.

At Your Service

LA Food Equity Fund: Grant Applications Open

Food insecurity continues to rise in LA County, affecting nearly 1 million residents. Some 3 in 10 households experienced food insecurity this year, according to a new USC research study.

But we’re working hard to find long-term solutions to hunger in our region based on recent recommendations by the Los Angeles County Food Equity Roundtable. The County will soon distribute nearly $10M in federal American Rescue Plan funds to local community organizations looking to close the hunger gap through innovative programs like urban agriculture and food waste recovery. 

Applications are being accepted through Oct. 30. 

Out and About

Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association® will host their annual Step Out Walk to raise awareness and encourage physical activity in Los Angeles County. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 133 million adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes in the United States and one in five of our adolescents are living with prediabetes, a growing epidemic.

To support the efforts of the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness and promote healthy living, join us for a 5K scenic walk along the shoreline and marinas at Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach on Saturday, September 30th, 2023.

The signature event Step Out Walk will provide an opportunity for people to improve their health by learning more about diabetes management and prevention, connect with other individuals who are living with diabetes and raise funds that extends far beyond crossing the finish line.

Photo Finish

Photo: Los Angeles County / Mayra Beltran Vasquez

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with LA County.


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

Continue Reading

California

California bans book bans & textbook censorship in schools

California provides instruction & support to roughly 5.9 million students in more than 1,000 districts & over 10,000 schools

Published

on

Governor Newsom and Assemblymember Dr. Corey Jackson. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO — Building on his Family Agenda to promote educational freedom and success, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed AB 1078 by Assemblymember Dr. Corey Jackson (D-Moreno Valley), which bans “book bans” in schools, prohibits censorship of instructional materials, and strengthens California law requiring schools to provide all students access to textbooks that teach about California’s diverse communities.

“From Temecula to Tallahassee, fringe ideologues across the country are attempting to whitewash history and ban books from schools. With this new law, we’re cementing California’s role as the true freedom state: a place where families — not political fanatics — have the freedom to decide what’s right for them,” the governor said as he signed the bill.

“When we restrict access to books in school that properly reflect our nation’s history and unique voices, we eliminate the mirror in which young people see themselves reflected, and we eradicate the window in which young people can comprehend the unique experiences of others,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “In short, book bans harm all children and youth, diminishing communal empathy and serving to further engender intolerance and division across society. We Californians believe all children must have the freedom to learn about the world around them and this new law is a critical step in protecting this right.”

“It is the responsibility of every generation to continue the fight for civil and human rights against those who seek to take them away,” said Assemblymember Dr. Corey Jackson. “Today, California has met this historical imperative and we will be ready to meet the next one.”

“AB 1078 sends a strong signal to the people of California — but also to every American — that in the Golden State — we don’t ban books — we cherish them,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “This law will serve as a model for the nation that California recognizes and understands the moment we are in – and while some want to roll back the clock on progress, we are doubling down on forward motion. Rather than limiting access to education and flat out banning books like other states, we are embracing and expanding opportunities for knowledge and education, because that’s the California way.”

AB 1078 provides the Superintendent of Public Instruction the authority to buy textbooks for students in a school district, recoup costs, and assess a financial penalty if a school board willfully chooses to not provide sufficient standards-aligned instructional materials for students. The law also prohibits school boards from banning instructional materials or library books on the basis that they provide inclusive and diverse perspectives in compliance with state law.
 
While other states ban books, California is making tens of billions of dollars in strategic investments to improve education outcomes and literacy. California outperformed most states — including Florida and Texas — in mitigating learning loss during the pandemic, and through historic levels of school funding, the state is building a cohesive structure of support for educators and students that reflects a focus on equity, inclusion, and academic success.
 
As part of the Governor’s Family Agenda, California is ensuring parents and caregivers have the opportunity to actively participate in their children’s education. Parents in California have a seat at the decision-making table for key budget, programmatic, and curricular decisions, including the creation of Local Control and Accountability Plans. In the past two years, in partnership with the Legislature, Governor Newsom has required schools to make it easier for working parents to participate in school decisions, invested $4.1 billion to convert one in four schools into community schools with deeper parent engagement, and invested another $100 million in the Community Engagement Initiative for more proactive collaboration with parents.
 
California provides instruction and support services to roughly 5.9 million students in grades transitional kindergarten through twelve in more than 1,000 districts and over 10,000 schools throughout the state. Education funding in the state is at a record high, totaling $129.2 billion in the 2023-24 budget.

Continue Reading

Riverside County

Protesting anti-LGBTQ+ actions by school board, students walk-out

Students are angry over actions recently taken by the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education

Published

on

Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education admin offices (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

TEMECULA, Calif. – One hundred plus students from Great Oak High School in Temecula walked out of class last week protesting what one student said was an oppressive toxic anti-LGBTQ+ environment.

On Wednesday, school officials warned students who participated that they would be disciplined. [See letter below]

“On Wednesday, the school sent out an email saying anyone who participated would be punished,” Moxxie Childs, a student who helped organize the protest told KABC 7.

The walk-out received the attention of California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis who tweeted:

Students are angry over actions recently taken by the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education. At the beginning of this month the board passed a controversial new policy that bans all flags except for the U.S. National Standard and the California State flags on any TVUSD properties including in classrooms.

On August 22, 2023, the Board voted to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. The enacted policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

A similar mandatory gender identity disclosure policy in neighboring Chino enacted by the Chino Valley Unified School District is now being challenged in San Bernadino Superior Court by California Attorney General Rob Bonta

In July the board voted to reject inclusion of a book and curriculum that included mention of slain former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and LGBTQ+ topics as required by state law. The board voted 3-2 to dismiss the state’s mandated textbooks and continue on with instructional materials that are nearly two decades old.

Board member Jen Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “An offensive statement from an ignorant person. This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned.”

After Newsom indicated the state would step in and also fine the district the board rescinded its earlier vote and moved forward to purchase the text books and accompanying instructional materials.

Southern California student protests school flag ban policy; hands out hundreds of Pride flags:

Continue Reading

Palm Springs

Proposed HIV sculpture slammed over its resemblance to body part

After negative public input including several uncharitable contributions on social media comparing it to a human anus- a new design planned

Published

on

(Screenshot/YouTube KESQ News Channel 3)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The proposed nine-foot sculpture to memorialize the victims of the HIV and AIDS pandemic, with an expected cost of approximately $500,000 designed by Southern California’s Coachella Valley-based artist Phillip K. Smith III, has generated considerable ill-will regarding its concept design.

After initial design approval by the Palm Springs city council, the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force which was tasked with fundraising to erect the sculpture, has been met with pushback by residents and others who have taken exception to the design of resembling a donut with ridges on it.

A local news station KESQ-TV 3 reported that in addition to concerns about the abstract nature of the sculpture, some residents have raised eyebrows over its perceived resemblance to a certain body part.

“The backside of the proposed memorial looks like a graphic depiction of the backside of a human being,” Gene Brake a local resident and founder of the Jose Sarria Foundation said.

After negative public statements regarding the design including several uncharitable contributions on social media comparing it to a human anus, the Memorial Task Force, wrote in a letter to local residents, “Please know that we’ve heard the concerns… and a revised design is in process.” According to the its letter, the Memorial Task Force will reveal the new design later this year.

AIDS memorial sculpture sparks debate in Palm Springs:

Continue Reading

Southern California

Triple A: SoCal gas prices skyrocket to over $6 in many areas

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.79, which is 28 cents higher than a week ago

Published

on

Triple A/Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES – Southern California gas prices rose at the third-fastest rate ever recorded for a one-week jump, but backed down slightly today after several days of wholesale price drops, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.79, which is 28 cents higher than a week ago. The average national price is $3.87, which is one cent higher than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.06 per gallon, which is 44 cents higher than last week, 71 cents higher than last month, and 51 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.99, which is 39 cents higher than last week, 66 cents higher than last month, and 51 cents higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.92, which is 39 cents higher than last week, 65 cents higher than last month, and 43 cents higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.89, which is 39 cents higher than last week, 65 cents higher than last month and 49 cents higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.72 average price is 34 cents higher than last week, 57 cents higher than last month, and 29 cents higher than a year ago today.

“Refinery production and imports have improved the Southern California fuel supply situation, causing wholesale prices to drop for the last few days,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “According to Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), the PBF Energy refinery in Torrance and the Wilmington portion of the Phillips 66 refinery have both started multi-week planned maintenance projects this week. However, OPIS analysts say large shipments of imported gasoline are expected to arrive on the West Coast in the coming days, which will likely offset the upward pressure on pump prices caused by the refinery maintenance.”

The Auto Club reminds drivers of the following tips to save money on gas:

  • If you use premium unleaded fuel, make sure it is required for your vehicle, not just recommended. The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center found that vehicles with recommended premium fuel performed safely with regular unleaded gasoline.
  • Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
  • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. Fuel economy peaks around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speed increases. Reducing freeway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.
  • Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because you could lose control of the vehicle.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Remove unnecessary and heavy items from your car.
  • Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
  • Download the AAA App to find the cheapest gas prices near you. 

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Sept. 21, averages are:

092123
Continue Reading

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

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

In this first episode of the County’s new show “One on One,” we delve deeper into the issue of homelessness and talk with Cheri Todoroff, director of the Homeless Initiative. From encampment resolutions to new housing, she breaks down what’s driving the crisis and what County leaders are doing to address it.

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

Register to Vote

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder reminds you to register to vote by visiting LAVOTE.GOV

Be sure to re-register if you change your name, address, or political preference. Check your voter registration online at LAVOTE.GOV/VRSTATUS

For additional information:

Voter registration for people experiencing homelessness

Voters with a criminal history

Pre-registration for voters under 18

At Your Service

Hiring Fair for Youth!

Looking for a job? Interested in exploring career options? Come to the first-ever Youth Expo for youth and learn about different careers and job opportunities that are available. Companies will be on-site to offer resources, discuss job opportunities, and provide feedback and valuable information on how to get hired! Don’t forget to bring several copies of your resume and right to work documents.

Date: Friday, September 29, 2023

Time: 10 am – 2 pm

Location: East San Gabriel Valley AJCC at Hacienda La Puente Adult School, 14101 E. Nelson Ave. La Puente, CA 91746

Out and About

Beach Clean Up

In celebration of Coastal Cleanup Day, LA County Beaches and Harbors is partnering with Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and Heal the Bay to host a Beach Cleanup event at Dockweiler Beach. Our goal is to inspire and educate a new generation on how to create a more sustainable future!

Coastal Cleanup Day will also feature the following activities:

  • Can the Trash! booth
  • Traveling tidepool
  • Arts & crafts station with reDiscover Center featuring crafts made with recycled materials

EVENT DETAILS:

  • Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023
  • Time: 9 AM – 12 PM
  • Location: Dockweiler Youth Center, 12505 Vista del Mar, Playa del Rey, CA 90293
  • Parking: Free during event hours
  • RSVP: Click here to register

SAFETY: Be safe! Be sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, water, & refillable water bottle.

Beach Cleanup Rules/Guidelines:

  • All cleanup volunteers must print, complete, and submit a signed beach cleanup waiver form in order to join the cleanup.
  • Volunteers under 18 years old must have a waiver signed by parent or guardian.
  • Volunteers ages 12 & younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Gloves, buckets and trash pickers will be provided (while supplies last), but we encourage you to bring your own reusable cleanup supplies so we can reduce our environmental footprint.

Photo Finish

Photo: Los Angeles County / Mayra Beltran Vasquez

Library Fest at the Rowland Heights Library. There’s so much more to do at Library Fest! Check out all our events, locations, and info on this page.


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

Continue Reading

Popular