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AJ Valenzuela is running for Community College Board

Out bisexual wants to serve Ventura County

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AJ Valenzuela (Photo courtesy Valenzuela campaign)

Lost in the uproar over heady political conflicts and fears of a conflagration poised to destroy American democracy as we know it are the skirmishes closer to the ground, the local grassroots fights over elected seats for the judiciary, controller, assessor, or on water boards and school boards that impact citizens more directly than most voters realize.

Arthur “AJ” Valenzuela Jr., 27, is one such candidate. Valenzuela is a young bisexual Democratic activist running for Ventura County Community College District Trustee Area 1, an area that covers Ventura and Ojai. After incumbent Trustee Stephen Blum decided not to seek re-election, four people qualified to run for that seat. Valenzuela says he was recruited by Blum.

“He thought I would be a good candidate because I used to be the Student Trustee on the Ventura County Community College District Board years ago, back in 2012-2013,” Valenzuela tells the Los Angeles Blade. “I had the experience with higher education at the community college level, was elected President of the California Community College Association of Student Trustees, did some advocacy work for U.C. Santa Barbara and also covered higher education for Assemblymember Das Williams. I was known as a local young activist that probably could give a better understanding of the student youth population when it came to community colleges.”

Valenzuela comes to the table armed with policy positions on such hot button issues as free college tuition, workforce development and building community—and he has the personal experience to back it up. 

“I was that student that struggled with community college back when I went through it. Most of my friends went off to four year universities and I was that person locally who went to a local community college, went up to a four year university, came back and now I’m contributing to the community,” he says. “And I think I do have a lot to offer the community college system here locally as a young professional Latinx LGBTQ youth.”

Valenzuela, a strong advocate for free community college, is in favor of Democratic Socialism—which he says means the government is supposed to provide for the community. In the 1960s, he notes, “education was free until Prop 13 came along and Ronald Reagan.” K through 12 grade education is free now, and community college was free in the past so his plan to “break down barriers” is “nothing radical.” Besides, with the California College Promise that waives certain enrollment fees for eligible students at any community college, “we are halfway there now to providing free community college.”

The California College Promise is a good start. “But let’s go to the next step—let’s see how we can make it two years free and so forth, extending it to four years versus in the long run. So I’m willing to work towards it in the realistic capacity that we have,” he says.

Valenzuela has been involved in California politics since 2012, which accounts for endorsements from out former Assembly Speaker John Perez, State Sen. Kevin de Leon and out California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman. “It shows my dedication to the community and to the Democratic Party,” he says. “I think it just shows that my reputation of being effective and progressive works for itself.”

He supports Sen. Bernie Sanders’ view of Democratic Socialism. “It means that people get a fair say in how things are distributed, that it’s done equally,” he says. “But I think we all have to give what we can as individuals. Some of us can give more than others. For example, I do believe that people should pay their fair share of taxes, especially as someone who comes from a family of long shoremen. I do think that we do get plenty of money and we give a good amount back in taxes because we benefit a lot from public taxes that go into contributing to our ports. So for me, as a young professional or a young blue collar worker, we are giving our fair share.”

Valenzuela is highly cognizant of the burgeoning student loan crisis. “The student loan crisis started becoming an issue in California after they started charging students for tuition for attending higher education,” he says. “For me, that just seems like it’s more privatization of community college because in the long run people are gonna have to pay back student debt.”

Valenzuela says he was “very lucky” having to only take out $4,400 while attending UC Santa Barbara. “Once we provide free education for people, we have our Community College Foundation that can help students with the other needs that they have,” he says. “Ideally, I would like to see forgiveness of student loans just from the scratch. But I don’t know if that is politically possible at this time.”

Valenzuela thinks it was “a tragedy” that Donald Trump was elected president. “It was unfortunate that a lot of people didn’t turn out to vote in 2016,” he says. But “I think young people are going to vote when it comes to people that meet their values.”

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Celebrating Black History Month in February, Implementing a New Organics Collection Program, ‘WeHo Reads’ Launches on February 8 plus more

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

City Celebrates Black History Month in February

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood celebrates Black History Month with events held throughout the month. Black History Month recognizes, celebrates, and honors the rich and diverse history and important contributions and achievements of African Americans, and is observed annually during the month of February.

On Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 9 a.m., the community is encouraged to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event (previously postponed due to weather) at West Hollywood Elementary School, located at 970 N. Hammond Street. Residents, visitors, and community members are invited to take part in this day of service where volunteers will be helping to perform various landscaping, clean-up, painting, and other beautifying tasks at the school. Volunteers must be 13 years of age or older to participate.

To sign-up as a volunteer, please register on the City’s volunteer portal at https://volunteer.weho.org/.  For more information or questions about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event, please contact the City’s Community Programs Coordinator, Larissa Fooks at (323) 848-6413 or [email protected].  

On Saturday, February 25, 2023 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visit the Black Women Lead Pop-Up Market. This free, open-air event will feature Black vendors, panelists, and performers, providing the community with the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month in West Hollywood. This event will take place at the West Hollywood Park Great Lawn, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Event updates will be provided on the City’s website calendar at www.weho.org/calendar.  For information, please contact City of West Hollywood Community Programs Coordinator Jasmine Duckworth at (323) 848-6559 or [email protected].

Additional programming during the month of February includes:

The City of West Hollywood presents WeHo Reads: Writing Paths Toward Justice: an exploration and panel discussion with authors who examine what happens when the social contract fractures along the journey towards justice will take place online at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

Walter Mosley is one of America’s most celebrated writers with over 50 published books. His recently published novel, Every Man a King, is the second installment in his Joe “King” Oliver series.

Steph Cha is the author of Your House Will Pay, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy.

Kellye Garrett is an Anthony, Agatha, and Lefty award-winning author whose most recent suspense novel, Like a Sister, is about the death of a disgraced reality TV star. 

Joe Ide is the author of the award-winning IQ series, including the most recent installment, Smoke

Jordan Harper has been a music journalist, film critic, and TV writer. His most recent novel, Everybody Knows, is a crime thriller about a publicist who works for the corrupt and depraved elite in Southern California.

More information and an RSVP link is available at www.weho.org/wehoreads. For more information about WeHo Reads, contact City of West Hollywood Arts Coordinator Mike Che at (323) 848-6377 or [email protected]. For information, please contact City of West Hollywood Community Programs Coordinator Jasmine Duckworth at (323) 848-6559 or [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City Encourages Community Members to Participate in American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED Training

When an emergency happens, would you know what to do? Get certified in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), First Aid, and Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to give you the confidence you need to respond in an emergency.

The City of West Hollywood is offering a free American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED Certification Training on Saturday, February 4, 2023. The training will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center, located at 8750 El Tovar Place in the San Vicente/La Cienega Meeting Room. The training schedule will include a meal break. Parking will be available at the West Hollywood Park 5-Story parking structure, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

This American Red Cross Certification Training will cover adult and pediatric CPR/First Aid/AED topics and participants will learn how to respond to medical emergencies. Prior to meeting in-person, participants will be enrolled in an online learning session that takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. There will be in-person section reviews and tests that will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours per section for participants to receive certification. The online learning session link will be sent out seven days prior to the in-person training session. All online coursework must be completed before the in-person training session.

Space is limited and is anticipated to reach capacity quickly. Enroll using the City of West Hollywood’s “ActiveNet” online reservations portal. RSVPs require ActiveNet registration, which takes just a minute to complete.

Once capacity reaches limits, community members who are interested are encouraged to join a waitlist. The City will host additional American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED Certification Trainings during the 2023 calendar year. To join this waitlist, please contact Cortez Jordan, in the City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division, at (323) 848-6585 and the City will reach out as future trainings are scheduled.

Knowledge in first aid has multiple benefits. Accidents are inevitable, and there is no guarantee that people are safe from any physical injury, illness, or trauma. The best thing that people can do is to be prepared when and if any accidents, mishaps, and occurrences happen. Every year, millions of people are hurt or killed from injuries due to inadequate response or lack of timely assistance.

The biggest difference between victims who survive and those who do not is a bystander’s willingness to help. Performing any sort of basic life support on victims while an ambulance is on the way doubles a person’s chance of survival.

For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s free American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED Certification Training, please email [email protected] or call (323) 848-6538. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

West Hollywood’s 2023 ‘WeHo Reads’ Series ‘Mindful Journeys’ Launches on February 8, 2023

The City of West Hollywood is launching its 2023 WeHo Reads literary series with a reception, readings, and the launch of a new photographic exhibition. Community members are invited to celebrate art, literature, poets, and authors. 

The kick-off event will take place on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. 

At 6 p.m., there will be a reception for an exhibition of photographs from a contest that was held around the theme of the 2022 WeHo Reads series about creating joy in times of sorrow. The contest was held in the fall of 2022 and was juried by writers/photographers Lynell George and Marisela Norte. Photographers featured in this exhibition include: Natalia Affonso, Nadia Alamah, Rick Castro, Arpan Basu Chowdhury (who had the first-place winning submission), Gabriella Maria dos Santos Silva, Victoria Goring, Haro Istamboulian, Louis Jacinto, Alessia Piscopo, Mateo Salas, and Don Tinling.

At 7 p.m., there will be readings by authors featured in WeHo Reads including: bridgette bianca, Shonda Buchanan, Jen Cheng, Lisbeth Coiman, Flint, Charles Flowers, Peter J. Harris, Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett, Lester Graves Lennon, Malia Márquez, Thea Pueschel, Luivette Resto, Carla Sameth, Sehba Sarwar, Lynne Thompson, and Hazel Kight Witham.

RSVPs are required to attend this event at www.weho.org/wehoreads.    

This year’s theme for WeHo Reads is Mindful Journeys, and the events will feature writers who are seeking to navigate joy in the midst of sorrow and craft mindful journeys toward better futures, whether through fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry.

WeHo Reads is presented by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division and produced by BookSwell, LLC. Additional support for WeHo Reads is provided by UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and Poets & Writers as well as media partnerships with Bookshop.org, Book Soup, and Los Angeles Review of Books.

Additional WeHo Reads 2023 series events will follow:

  • WeHo Reads: Writing Paths Toward Justice on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at 6 p.m. (online).

This discussion will explore what can we learn about human nature from imagining the paths taken by criminals and outcasts. Walter Mosley is one of America’s most celebrated writers with over 50 published books. His recently published novel, Every Man a King, is the second installment in his Joe “King” Oliver series. Steph Cha is the author of Your House Will Pay, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy. Kellye Garrett is an Anthony, Agatha, and Lefty award-winning author whose most recent suspense novel, Like a Sister, is about the death of a disgraced reality TV star.  Joe Ide is the author of the award-winning IQ series, including the most recent installment, Smoke. Jordan Harper has been a music journalist, film critic, and TV writer. His most recent novel, Everybody Knows, is a crime thriller about a publicist who works for the corrupt and depraved elite in Southern California. This online event will take place on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehoarts. Members of the public can RSVP and be sent a direct link to view the event by visiting the WeHo Reads webpage on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehoreads.

  • WeHo Reads: Crafting Literary Legacies on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. (online).
    During Women’s History Month, we speak with authors creating new truths through storytelling and putting women at the center of literature. Natashia Deón is a two-time NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literature, Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award Nominee in Fiction, a practicing criminal attorney, and author of the critically acclaimed and widely reviewed novels, The Perishing and GRACE. Toni Ann Johnson is the winner of the 2021 Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction with her linked collection Light Skin Gone to Waste. Malia Márquez is a teacher and author of work that has appeared in Poetry Magazine, Hobart, Coffin Bell Journal, and elsewhere and of her award-winning first novel, This Fierce Blood. Laura Warrell is a writer and teacher whose work has appeared in HuffPost, The Rumpus, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. Her first novel is Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm. This online event will take place on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehoarts. Members of the public can RSVP and be sent a direct link to view the event by visiting the WeHo Reads webpage on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehoreads.
  • WeHo Reads: Lounging with Poets on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ‘spa day’, 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. program (in-person).
    Self-care is a radical act. Come lounge with a poet at our inaugural Poetry Spa Day at the respite deck of the new West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center. From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., guests will receive a menu of services and tokens to have individual, one-on-one experiences with former West Hollywood Poet Laureates and special guests, ranging from cucumber poetry facials to poetry speed dating. At 7:30 p.m., we gather at the steps at sunset to hear all the poets share their words in a ritual closing and celebration of National Poetry Month. City of West Hollywood Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace emcees this event, and will be joined by Jen Cheng, Kim Dower, Charles Flowers, Linda Ravenswood, and Steven Reigns. This in-person event takes place at the Respite Deck of the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC), located at 8750 El Tovar Place, next to the West Hollywood Library. RSVPs are requested ay www.weho.org/wehoreads
  • WeHo Reads: Shaping Motherhood online on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at 7 p.m. (online).
    We consider motherhood–joys, hardships, challenges, graces–and the role they play in shaping ourselves and future generations. Amber Flame is an interdisciplinary creative, activist and educator whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and more. Gerda Govine Ituarte, Ed.D., poet, art curator, columnist, and CEO of G. Govine Consulting, was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and emigrated to New York City in the mid 50’s and California in the early ’80s. Luivette Resto is a mother, teacher, poet, and Wonder Woman fan who was born in Puerto Rico but proudly raised in the Bronx. Carla Sameth, 2022-2024 Altadena co-poet laureate, is the author of the memoir One Day on the Gold Line and the poetry chapbook, What Is Left, and teaches creative writing to a variety of ages. Colette Sartor’s linked short story collection, Once Removed, won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the NYC Big Book Award for Short Story Collections, and the Juror’s Choice Award, and the Short Stories Award from the National Indie Excellence Awards. This online event will take place on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehoarts. Members of the public can RSVP and be sent a direct link to view the event by visiting the WeHo Reads webpage on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehoreads.

All events are free to attend. For additional information about these events and to RSVP, visit www.weho.org/wehoreads

WeHo Reads is the City of West Hollywood’s literary series presenting authors of interest to the West Hollywood community since 2013. Past participants have included: André Aciman, Andrew Rannells, Arlene and Alan Alda, Armistead Maupin, Bianca Del Rio, Bryan Fuller, Carrie Brownstein, Charles Phoenix, Charles Yu, Chris Kraus, Danez Smith, Dasha Kelly Hamilton, David Ulin, Eileen Myles, Eloise Klein Healy, Emma Donoghue, Erwin Chemerinsky, Henry Rollins, Imani Tolliver, Jacob Tobia, James Sie, Lester Graves Lennon, Josephine Giles, LeVar Burton, Lillian Faderman, Lloyd Schwartz, Lorna Luft, Luis J. Rodriguez, Lynell George, Lynne Thompson, Michael York, Michelle Visage, Myriam Gurba, Natalie Goldberg, Natasha Deón, Nina Revoyr, Patrisse Cullors, Patt Morrison, Peter J. Harris, Randa Jarrar, Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, Ryan Gosling, Ryka Aoki, Sarah Silverman, Seymour Stein, Shonda Buchanan, Stephen Chbosky, Tananarive Due, and Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.

BookSwell, a literary events and media company dedicated to lifting up writers from historically excluded communities, is producing the WeHo Reads 2023 season. BookSwell was founded in 2017 by Cody Sisco.

For more information about WeHo Reads, please contact Mike Che, City of West Hollywood 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.

As Part of the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series, The City of West Hollywood Presents: Kassaram (Adapted) by Artist Thania Petersen and Reverse Women by Artist Sarah Rara On the Sunset Strip from February 1 through May 31

The City of West Hollywood announces the debuts of the next exhibitions in the Moving Image Media Art (MIMA) program. MIMA is an ongoing exhibition series of moving image media artworks on multiple digital billboards at various locations along Sunset Boulevard. The goals of the MIMA Program are to foster cultural equity, expand accessibility, inspire communication, create public space, and enhance the human experience of the Sunset Strip. 

Kassaram (Adapted), a short film from artist Thania Petersen, will debut at the Streamlined Arbor billboard, located at 9157 Sunset Boulevard, and will air at the top of every hour for 10-and-a-half minutes. Reverse Women, a short film from artist Sarah Rara, will debut at the Invisible Frame billboard, located at 8743 Sunset Boulevard, and will air at the top of every hour and 30 minutes past each hour. Both works will be on exhibition from Wednesday, February 1, 2023 through Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

About Kassaram (Adapted)The historically significant building that sits at the base of the Streamlined Arbor inspires artwork as an authentic reexamination of cultural identity, by amplifying the voices of those silenced and marginalized. Thania Petersen’s vivid and layered work, Kassaram (Adapted) examines how embedded clichés devalue culture and provide the framework for the permission of subjugation. Across a timeline of slurs and stereotypes, nuanced imagery devolves into more familiar scenes of chaos. Petersen subverts the narrative by illustrating how structural racism serves to further isolate, diminish, and dehumanize. 

Thania Petersen is a South African multidisciplinary artist who addresses the intricacies and complexities of identity. Petersen’s work has been presented at such institutions as Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), Whitechapel, Istanbul Modern, Ballroom Marfa, Alte Kelter Fellbach, and Jeffrey Deitch. Her work is collected by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.; Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town; IZIKO South African Museum, Cape Town; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; and many others.

About Reverse WomenImages of running women advance backwards in slow motion, as if the ground is being pulled out from under them, evoking unsettling allegories of agency, power, and progress. In Reverse Women the gesture of running is pivotal and intentionally ambiguous, seen both as a sign of practiced liberation, wellness, resilience; yet infused with suspense by the discomfort of watching someone struggle to escape. Reverse Women ultimately illustrates the disorientation of our unreliable and faltering constitutional protections. 

Sarah Rara’s multi-disciplinary practice explores the position of witness within fragile systemsRara is a contributing member of the ongoing project Lucky Dragons (with Luke Fischbeck). Their work, solo and in collaboration, has been presented at such institutions as the Hammer Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Walker Art Center, London’s Institute for Contemporary Art, PS1 in New York, REDCAT, LACMA and MOCA in Los Angeles, among others. Rara is a 2018 recipient of the LACMA Art + Technology fellowship and holds an Assistant Professor of Moving Image at Williams College.

The Moving Image Media Art Program (MIMA) is a City of West Hollywood exhibition series administered by the City’s Arts Division, as part of its Art on the Outside Program, and is presented with the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. MIMA offers artists the opportunity, and the funding, to create immediate, remarkable, and ambitious works of art that engage with the unique visual landscape of the world-famous Sunset Strip, and experiment with the state-of-the-art technology of high-definition digital signage.  

MIMA enables artists to occupy, contest, and play with the boundaries and uses of public space and manifest moments of connection and awe. Artists exhibited in the program are selected from the MIMA Prequalified List, a rolling, open-call for moving image media artists, curators, and non-profit arts organizations, with applications reviewed bi-annually by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, in May and November. The MIMA Prequalified List includes a diverse list of artists of all career levels; from emerging to internationally recognized: www.weho.org/community/arts-and-culture/visual-arts/mima  

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, Free Theatre in the Parks, Human Rights Speaker Series, Library Exhibits, WeHo Pride LGBTQ 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 about MIMA, please contact Rebecca Ehemann, City of West Hollywood Arts Manager at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6846. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City is Implementing a New Organics Collection Program in Compliance with SB 1383, a Statewide Effort to Reduce Emissions of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

The City of West Hollywood is implementing a new organics collection program in compliance with SB 1383, a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) by reducing organic waste disposal.

Under SB 1383, community members throughout California will be required to place all food scraps, food-soiled paper (100% fiber-based), and landscaping waste into a green waste container. Athens Services, which provides waste collection and recycling services for the City of West Hollywood, is implementing food scrap collection, which applies to all customers including single-family-home residents, multifamily buildings, and commercial customers in West Hollywood.

To assist community members in collection of food scraps, the City of West Hollywood and Athens Services will be hosting two events on Saturday, January 28, 2023 to provide free kitchen pails. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., there will be a Kitchen Pail Giveaway at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a Kitchen Pail Giveaway at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. West Hollywood community members are eligible for one free kitchen pail, limited to one per household or commercial customer.

“West Hollywood has long been a leader in green policies and practices. I’m excited to see our city develop this new program in adherence to SB 1383 to help collect organic waste and, ultimately, turn food scraps into soil compost,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. “Community-based efforts to reduce waste and emissions are essential in our greater efforts in combating climate change.”

West Hollywood residents in single-family homes and multifamily buildings must, under SB 1383, separate food scraps, food-soiled paper (100% fiber-based), and landscaping waste into green waste containers. SB 1383 establishes statewide targets to achieve a 75% reduction of organic waste disposal from 2014 levels by the year 2025.

With its new organics collection program, Athens Services will accept all types of food scraps. Its American Organics compost facility converts organics waste into nutrient-rich soil amendment. The resulting compost is used by commercial farmers, projects, garden shops, landscapers, and residents.

The Athens Services outreach team is currently in West Hollywood visiting customers, including those in multifamily and commercial buildings, to ensure they are set-up for the new organics recycling program. Many buildings in West Hollywood already have a green Athens organics bin and in such cases the Athens Services outreach team is educating and informing building management that food scraps must now be put in those bins.

For Athens Services customers who do not yet have a green bin, the Athens Services outreach team is working to get them set-up. Additionally, Athens Services will provide a kitchen pail to any customer in West Hollywood who requests one. The outreach team has found that for residents of multifamily buildings, kitchen pails make it much easier to collect food scraps and then empty them into green Athens bins situated at their property.

To contact Athens Services to make a request, or for community members who may have questions about the new organics collection program, please contact the Athens Customer Care Center at (888) 336-6100 or visit www.athensservices.com/sb-1383

To learn more about acceptable items for organics collection, including types of green waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper that Athens Services collects, visit www.athensservices.com/in-the-news/food-waste-recycling. For a complete recycling guide, visit www.athensservices.com/recycling-guide. For more information about SB 1383, visit www.calrecycle.ca.gov/organics/slcp.

In the spirit of “think globally, act locally,” the City of West Hollywood aims to inspire sustainability and eco-conscious programs, projects, and policies. In December 2021, the City adopted its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) to guide the implementation of the climate measures and actions and will help to ensure that West Hollywood is a sustainable, vibrant, livable, and equitable city for current and future generations. To find out more, visit www.weho.org/climateaction. For additional information about the City’s ongoing sustainability efforts, visit www.weho.org/gogreen.

For more information, please contact Matt Magener, City of West Hollywood Environmental Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6894 or at [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s City Council Offices at (323) 848-6460. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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.

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Southern California

Triple A: ‘Summer Blend’ begins affecting gas pump prices

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.52, which is nine cents higher than last week

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LOS ANGELES – The transition from winter-blend to summer-blend fuel in Southern California has already started pushing pump prices upward as refineries begin producing and soon distributing the more expensive summer blend before the April 1 deadline to switch, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. 

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.52, which is nine cents higher than last week. The average national price is $3.50, which is 12 cents higher than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.55 per gallon, which is four cents higher than last week, 11 cents higher than last month, and 12 cents lower than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.58, which is four cents higher than last week, 13 cents higher than last month, and four cents lower than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.51, which is four cents higher than last week, one cent higher than last month, and nine cents lower than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.42, which is four cents higher than last week, 13 cents higher than last month and 18 cents lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.52 average price is four cents higher than last week, two cents lower than last month, and six cents lower than a year ago today.

“Southern California’s shift to producing summer-blend gasoline, annual refinery maintenance that can affect fuel supply, increasing oil prices worldwide and increased gas demand in the spring are the reasons that prices are likely to rise in coming weeks,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “We recommend that drivers continue to conserve fuel and shop around for the lowest available gas prices using a tool like the free AAA Mobile app.”

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 Jan. 26, averages are:

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West Hollywood

A Sip of Coffee with WeHo Mayor Sepi Shyne

Sips with Sepi is a monthly event that takes place at various coffee shops throughout the City of West Hollywood

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West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne and others gather for coffee (Photo Credit: WeHo Times)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Outgoing West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Commissioners, Richard Maggio and Historic Preservation Commissioner Lola Davidson hosted this month’s Sips with Sepi, as part of a monthly meet and greet with West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne.

The event took place in WeHo’s eastside, at the Domain’s lobby, located at 4171 Santa Monica Boulevard this past Saturday.

Breakfast Republic provided pastry treats and the coffee came from the local Starbucks nearby in the West Hollywood Gateway.

Community members and residents of The Domain had an opportunity to chat with the Mayor and ask questions, or raise concerns about issues important to them in the city.

Outgoing West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Commissioners, Richard Maggio and Historic Preservation Commissioner Lola Davidson hosted this month’s Sips with Sepi, as part of a monthly meet and greet with West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. The event took place in WeHo’s eastside, at the Domain’s lobby, located at 4171 Santa Monica Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Breakfast Republic provided pastry treats and the coffee came from the local Starbucks nearby in the West Hollywood Gateway.

Community members and residents of The Domain had an opportunity to chat with the Mayor and ask questions, or raise concerns about issues important to them in the city.

Photo Credit: WeHo Times
Photo Credit: WeHo Times
Photo Credit: WeHo Times
Photo Credit: WeHo Times

Captain Moulder of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station was in attendance, along with Danny Rivas, the City of West Hollywood’s Director of Community Safety, and Shae Gibson the Block by Block Operations Manager. Various members of boards and West Hollywood Commissions also attended the meet and greet over sips with Sepi.

Maggio and Davidson were both appointed by former West Hollywood council member and Mayor John D’Amico. They finish their terms as West Hollywood commissioners on January 28, 2023.

Photo Credit: WeHo Times

Sips with Sepi is a monthly event that takes place at various coffee shops throughout the City of West Hollywood. This is an effort for the Mayor to be accessible and transparent to the community she serves with the hopes to engage West Hollywood residents with the Mayor and City Staff.

Mayor Pro Tempore John Erickson hosted a similar event that Saturday at Plummer Park. “Have an issue?” Reads his events invite on social media. “Need to get connected to services? Just want to chat with your Councilmember? This is our eighteenth event in Plummer Park and I’m looking forward to you all joining us! Bring a chair, a reusable cup for some coffee, and your dog (or cat), and let’s talk! Come out to the Great Lawn (along Vista St.) at Plummer Park and meet and speak with West Hollywood Councilmember John M. Erickson. Can’t make this event? Email John at [email protected]

Mayor Shyne can be found on Instagram under the handle @sepishyine.

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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.

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

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Los Angeles County

Monterey Park grieves as investigators probe for a motive

As the community grieves the Langley Senior Center in Monterey Park has become a resource center for survivors and families of the victims

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The Star Ballroom in Monterey Park Calif. (Star Ballroom/Facebook)

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. – As Monterey Park police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide investigators piece together the events of Saturday’s massacre at the Star Ballroom on the eve of the Lunar New Year, the majority-Asian community is in deep grief.

UPDATE from the Los Angeles Times Monday:

The death toll in the Lunar New Year mass shooting in Monterey Park rose to 11 Monday, after one person who was injured in the massacre died at the hospital.

The first 10 victims were all in their 50s, 60s or 70s, according to the L.A. County coroner. Only two – My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63 – have been identified by name. No age or name was immediately given for the latest victim.

A spokesperson for the LA County Sheriff’s Department told the Blade Monday that detectives are attempting to determine the motive that drove 72-year-old Huu Can Tran to kill 10 people and wound 10 others in the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom before traveling to the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra. Tran was forcibly disarmed and fled in a White cargo van.

Tran was later found deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot would hours later after a stand-off with LASD and local police tactical units in Torrance.

Law enforcement sources said that the investigation is focused on Tran’s prior interactions at two dance studios targeted and whether jealousy over a relationship was a possible motive stressing that the investigation is in its early stages. But detectives believe that Tran had frequented both clubs.

Speaking to reporters, Congresswoman Judy Chu who represents the area and is herself a former Mayor and City Councilmember of Monterey Park stated: “I still have questions in my mind, which is: What was the motive for this shooter? Did he have a mental illness? Was he a domestic violence abuser? How did he get these guns and was it through legal means or not?” 

Brandon Tsay, 26, who helps run the Lai Lai dance hall with his family, spoke to ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an interview Monday on “Good Morning America,” telling her he heard the front door click close behind him.

He told Roberts that the gunman was “looking around the room” as if he was “looking for targets — people to harm.”

“That’s when I turned around and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun. My first thought was I was going to die here, this is it.”

“He started prepping the weapon and something came over me,” Tsay said. “I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him. I needed to take this weapon, disarm him or else everybody would have died.”

“When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon and we had a struggle,” he added. “We struggled into the lobby, trying to get this gun away from each other. He was hitting me across the face, bashing the back of my head.”

Tsay speaking with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America:”

As the community grieves the Langley Senior Center in Monterey Park has become a resource center for survivors and families of the victims. The American Red Cross, Los Angeles Mayor’s Crisis Response Team and the Department of Mental Health are there to offer assistance. The center is located at 400 W Emerson Ave.

A GoFundMe has created a central page with all verified fundraising campaigns.

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Los Angeles County

Monterey Park shooter is deceased & identified, no motive known

Huu Can Tran, 72, was identified by Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna as the suspect in the mass shooting

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna (Screenshot/YouTube KNBC 4 LA)

MONTEREY PARK –Huu Can Tran, 72, was identified by Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna as the suspect in the mass shooting at a ballroom dance studio late Saturday night that killed 10 people and wounded an additional ten persons.

Sheriff Luna confirmed that the suspect was discovered deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being confronted by Torrance Police and LA County Sheriff Department’s tactical teams Sunday morning in the parking lot of a shopping center off Hawthorne Blvd near Sepulveda Blvd in Torrance. He was driving a vehicle sought in the shootings, a White cargo van with stolen plates Luna noted.

The Sheriff also told reporters in the late Sunday evening press conference that police recovered a semi-automatic assault style handgun with an extra capacity magazine. Less than 20 minutes after the mass shooting in Monterey Park, bystanders wrestled a gun away from a man at a dance hall in Alhambra, Luna added.

Luna said that at this time the motive for the shooting has not been established he also indicated that the majority of the victims appeared to be older past the age of 50 although victims have not been identified as the investigation is ongoing.

The White House released a statement from President Biden late Sunday:

Jill and I are thinking of those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park. While there is still much we don’t know about the motive in this senseless attack, we do know that many families are grieving tonight, or praying that their loved one will recover from their wounds. 

Even as we continue searching for answers about this attack, we know how deeply this attack has impacted the AAPI community. Monterey Park is home to one of the largest AAPI communities in America, many of whom were celebrating the Lunar New Year along with loved ones and friends this weekend. 

Early this morning, I directed my Homeland Security Advisor to mobilize full federal support to local and state authorities as they continue to respond and investigate this shooting.  As we await more crucial information from law enforcement, I want to assure the community of Monterey Park and the broader area that we will support you in every way we can. 

The President also issued a honoring the victims:

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on January 21, 2023, in Monterey Park, California, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 26, 2023.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

Watch Live: Monterey Park Shooting Update:

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Los Angeles County

Police in stand-off with mass shooting suspect in Torrance ends

UPDATE: LASD deputies gained entrance to the white cargo van. The person inside was found deceased

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Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7

TORRANCE – Multiple law enforcement agencies are on scene in a stand-off with the suspect in the mass-shooting at a Monterey Park ballroom at around 10:22pm Saturday night.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s tactical units have boxed in a late model white van in the parking lot of a shopping center off Hawthorne Blvd near Sepulveda Blvd in Torrance.

UPDATE: LASD deputies gained entrance to the white cargo van. The person inside was found deceased

Screenshot KABC 7 News

Though official confirmation has not yet been released, authorities believe the person inside the white cargo van is the person who killed 10 and wounded 10 others in Monterey Park, as well as possibly being the attacker who was disarmed in nearby Alhambra a few minutes after the initial attack.

That white van is currently boxed in by two SWAT vehicles, and a large police presence has established a wide perimeter around the van.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting by his homeland security advisor, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. He directed the FBI to provide support to local authorities and keep him updated.

“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park,” Biden tweeted. “I’m monitoring this situation closely as it develops, and urge the community to follow guidance from local officials and law enforcement in the hours ahead.”

Governor Gavin Newsom also issued a statement via Twitter:

“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year,” Newsom said. “Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence. Our hearts mourn as we learn more about the devastating acts of last night. We are monitoring the situation closely.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass extended her sympathies to the residents of Monterey Park also on Twitter:

LIVE coverage from ABC 7 Eyewitness News:

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Los Angeles County

Mass shooting in Monterey Park kills 10- police search for gunman

The Sheriff said that because of ongoing investigation & search for the suspect he was limited in being able to provide some specific details

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna addresses reporters (Screenshot/YouTube)

MONTEREY PARK – A man walked into a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night and opened fire killing 10 people Los Angeles County Sheriff Department spokesperson Capt. Andrew Meyer told reporters.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters in a press conference outside of the Monterey Park Civic Center Sunday morning that his agency, in partnership with other regional law enforcement agencies and the FBI, are actively searching for the shooting suspect, an Asian male between the age range of 30 to 50.

According to the Sheriff, the victims were 5 females and 5 males. The mass shooting, one of California’s worst in recent memory, happened at around 10:22 p.m., sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Meyer told reporters Sunday morning. “When officers arrived on scene, they observed numerous individuals, patrons pouring out of the location, screaming. The officers made entry to the location and located additional victims,” Meyer said.

Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said that because his agency was wrapping up the Lunar New Year event from earlier in the day and because the location of the shooting was so close to the department his officers was able to respond immediately to the 911 reports of the incident.

Sheriff Luna said that because of ongoing investigation and the search for the suspect he was limited in being able to provide some specific details, the Sheriff also did not label the incident a hate crime but indicated all options are on the table. Monterey Park Police Chief Wiese told reporters that his investigators think that it was unrelated to the massive Lunar New Year celebration.

Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released a statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang in response to the mass shooting in Monterey Park on Lunar New Year’s Eve:

“My heart breaks for the victims of last night’s shooting in Monterey Park, their families and loved ones. A day of celebration for so many in our API communities, as we welcome the Lunar New Year, has become a day of mourning. Equality California stands ready with our partners to support those impacted, as we continue to combat hate and gun violence that fueled this horrific attack.”

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Southern California

Triple A: Gas prices remain mostly stable

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.43, which is one cent higher than last week

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Screenshot/YouTube

LOS ANGELES – Gas prices experienced very little movement in most areas of Southern California in the last week, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.43, which is one cent higher than last week.

The average national price is $3.38, which is 11 cents higher than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.51 per gallon, which is one cent higher than last week, four cents higher than last month, and 16 cents lower than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.54, which is the same as last week, eight cents higher than last month, and nine cents lower than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.47, which is one cent lower than last week, seven cents lower than last month, and 14 cents lower than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.38, which is two cents higher than last week, six cents higher than last month and 22 cents lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.48 average price is one cent lower than last week, 21 cents lower than last month, and 11 cents lower than a year ago today.

“We are unfortunately heading toward the time of year when California drivers start to see rapid price increases due to refinery maintenance season and the ramp-up to producing the more expensive ‘summer blend’ of gasoline, which is required to be sold starting April 1, but usually arrives in gas stations well before that,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Hopefully there will be at least a few weeks of price stability before that happens.”

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 Jan. 19, averages are:

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Los Angeles County

Sheila Kuehl honored with Hero Award

Kuehl will be honored on Jan. 18 during the Los Angeles Blade’s Best of LGBTQ LA Readers’ Choice Awards 2023 

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Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl/Facebook

By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD – “I haven’t been this happy since I was in my 20s,” says out former Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who will celebrate her 82nd birthday on Feb. 9. “The freedom of deciding or not deciding every day what you want to do without any weight on you, without any expectations on you, without any demands on you, is enormously freeing and really, really pleasant.”

After almost three decades as an elected leader and actively fighting for progressive issues, Kuehl’s final day in office representing the Third District was Nov. 22, 2022 — a day filled with celebration and grateful tears shed by colleagues and friends.

Now she’ll have time to write. The working title for her planned autobiography is “My Life As I Remember It: Probably a Novel.”

Much of that life has been in service of advancing LGBTQ rights, for which Kuehl is being honored by the Los Angeles Blade and the Ari Getty Foundation on Jan. 18 at 10 DTLA during the Blade’s Best of LGBTQ LA Readers’ Choice Awards 2023.

In an odd flash of fickle fate, Kuehl culminated her long legislative career in much the way as she began it — protected by bodyguards from threatening bullies. In 1994, the bullies were knuckle-dragging followers of Far Right rhetorical bombastic bomb-thrower Newt Gingrich. Today, the bullies are followers of Gingrich’s heir, Donald Trump, some of whom the Department of Justice considers domestic terrorists.

In Kuehl’s case, her primary bully was LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who LA Magazine dubbed “the Donald Trump of L.A. Law Enforcement.” Last Sept. 14, after two years of fiercely fighting Villanueva over alleged LASD wrongdoing, a slew of Sheriff’s deputies pounded on Kuehl’s door at 7:00am, served her with a search warrant in a corruption investigation, and escorted her outside barefoot to a face a throng of reporters and TV news cameras.

The raid was big news but backfired on Villanueva, who subsequently lost his bid for re-election. The LA Times reported succinctly: “A Times review of the case found it is based on the testimony of just one person, a former Metro employee named Jennifer Loew, who brought her bribery complaint to at least fourlaw enforcement agencies, but found a receptive audience only at the Sheriff’s Department. The Times found no evidence to support Loew’s allegation.”

1994 was also a year of living dangerously. Gingrich was elevated to the traditionally respected position of Speaker of the US House of Representatives and pledged to implement his anti-gay, lie-based Contract with America, civility be damned. Meanwhile Kuehl and her best friend Torie Osborn were watching a new LGBTQ movement grow and get stronger as thousands of LGBTQ people, AIDS activists, Queer Nationals and allies took over the streets in 1991 after California GOP Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed AB 101, the gay rights bill he had promised to sign.

“Thousands and thousands of us were on the street, as opposed to just being in the closet and hiding in a lot of shame,” says Kuehl. “I had not really thought about running. I was engaged in more of the Women’s Movement, especially domestic violence issues, sexual assault issues, trying to get any law in California to deal with domestic violence, which it didn’t have at the time. We founded the California Women’s Law Center.

“There was a lot going on in the ’70s and ’80s and there was a lot to push back against,” Kuehl continues. “There’s a difference between working towards something when there’s nothing there and working to gain something back — like the loss of Roe v Wade (the federal law permitting abortion). Our expectations grew, but there was nothing in place to protect us. I actually had not thought about running. But I had been up and back to Sacramento many times testifying on new domestic violence bills that I helped to draft before I was elected and I understood from sitting for so many hours at committee hearings that there was no silver bullet genius talent in these members, that they were just like me — and in some cases, less capable because they hadn’t been to law school. They didn’t really understand the issues.”

Then, on Jan. 17, 1994, two earthquakes happened at once – the Northridge earthquake and Kuehl’s decision to enter politics.

“There was broken glass and fallen pictures and glasses and everything all over my house. I picked up the LA Times and it says, ‘Terry’s not running,’” she recalls, referring to Assemblymember Terry Friedman. “I think, ‘Okay, this is my chance if I’m going to be one of those people sitting in those chairs and try to make a difference.’ I started exploring running, and frankly, I didn’t think at that moment about how historic it would be. I didn’t think about being the first gay person if I got through whatever. I felt more like a feminist progressive that needed to be there to add that voice to the table.”

Kuehl quickly discovered that she was making history. But her victory as the first gay person elected to the California State Legislature was fraught with danger, with so many death threats, then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown ordered a bodyguard for her protection. “I had to wear a bulletproof vest the whole first year that I was in the legislature,” Kuehl told Spectrum News1.

But braving those threats and doing the work, then and now, is not the only reason Sheila Kuehl is an LGBTQ hero. She recognizes her place in the largely invisible long span of LGBTQ history.

“Just as people have said they’re standing on my shoulders,” Kuehl says, “I stood on a lot of shoulders, too.”

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Karen Ocamb is the former news editor of the Los Angeles Blade. She is an award-winning journalist who, upon graduating from Skidmore College, started her professional career at CBS News in New York.

Ocamb started in LGBTQ media in the late 1980s after more than 100 friends died from AIDS. She covered the spectrum of the LGBTQ movement for equality until June 2020, including pressing for LGBTQ data collection during the COVID pandemic.

Since leaving the LA Blade Ocamb joined Public Justice in March of 2021 to advocate for civil rights and social, economic, and racial justice issues.

She lives in West Hollywood, California with her two rescue dogs.

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Southern California

Triple A: Local gas prices reverse course, begin dropping

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.42, which is two cents lower than last week

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Screenshot/YouTube

LOS ANGELES – After two weeks of increases in most areas, Southern California gas prices began dropping again in the last week, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.42, which is two cents lower than last week. The average national price is $3.27, which is also two cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.50 per gallon, which is three cents lower than last week, 12 cents lower than last month, and 17 cents lower than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.54, which is two cents lower than last week, five cents lower than last month, and eight cents lower than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.48, which is five cents lower than last week, 19 cents lower than last month, and 14 cents lower than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.36, which is four cents lower than last week, 13 cents lower than last month and 24 cents lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.49 average price is three cents lower than last week, 38 cents lower than last month, and ten cents lower than a year ago today.

“The heavy rainstorms of the past week throughout California depressed gas demand, which helped to lower pump prices,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Also, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that West Coast fuel inventory has increased.”

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 Jan. 12, averages are:

CA 011223
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