Connect with us


Why WeHo’s Tim Sullivan supports Prop 10

November ballot initiative impacts renters’ rights



Tim Sullivan in his West Hollywood apartment (Photo courtesy Yes on Prop 10)

The message on Tim Sullivan’s answering machine was shocking. He’s been receiving phone calls to his private West Hollywood apartment since his pro-Prop 10 ads started airing on TV. But they were mostly disembodied voices saying “No on 10” and then hanging up. This one was scary.

“I know who you are and I saw your commercial and I know you’re a lie. You are not struggling,” the sometimes garbled voicemail said, ordering him to stop or be exposed.

“The one thing I’ve never let anyone know about me is how poor I am, until now,” Sullivan tells the Los Angeles Blade. A resident of West Hollywood since 1987, Sullivan owns a boutique candle-making shop, sits on the board of Best in Drag, and for 17 years during the AIDS crisis, he was a board member for Aid for AIDS.  With 27 years in a 12 Step program, he is beloved in the Los Angeles recovery community for providing many alcoholics and addicts their first jobs in sobriety.

 “The only thing I really get is Social Security, period. Any money I did have I put into this company,” which is not fairing well these days,” Sullivan explains. “It costs me a lot of money to run this company now. And the only thing I get out of it is kind of a living expense. It’s supplemental. If it’s $1000 a month, it’s a lot. So if you take my $1500 Social Security check, you take $1000 out for my rent, take $300 out for my supplemental Medicare insurance, and another $108 for my insurance for medications which are not covered under “others”—there’s nothing left,” says Sullivan. “It scares me because I don’t think I could live here if they take rent stabilization away from me.”

Yes on Prop 10 ad showing Trump-tied developers (Screenshot via YouTube)

Sullivan says he did the Yes on 10 ad “to protect people my age from being shifted out” by owners selling their property. “They have so many different ways of getting you out now,” says the almost 78-year old gay man with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). But hate won’t deter him. “I’m not going to be afraid of anything. I’ve come this far,” says Sullivan.

Housing insecurity and homelessness are significant issues in the LGBT community, particularly among LGBT youth and people of color. Rent control was a driving factor in the establishment of the City of West Hollywood in 1984, an effort lead by renters, seniors and gays—three categories Sullivan now fits. 

Proposition 10, the Local Rent Control Initiative, on the Nov. 6 ballot would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that limits the use of rent control in California and allow counties and cities to adopt rent control ordinances regulating how much landlords can charge tenants. Prop 10 would not allow government to reduce a fair rate of return for landlords.

“The need to have affordable housing is important for all Californians,” West Hollywood City Councilmember and law professor John Heilman tells the Los Angeles Blade. “But there’s a particular need for LGBTQ individuals. Often times there’s lack of family support, which is what drives people to leave their home communities to relocate to California, which is more supportive—but obviously the housing cost here is quite high, and it’s a big shock to people when they move here from other states.” 

The West Hollywood City Council supports Prop 10, says Heilman, one of WeHo’s co-founders. “We’ve had rent control laws from the very beginning of our establishment as a city,” he says. “We all understand the challenge that many renters face with rising housing costs. And Prop 10 would restore to local communities the ability to control rent upon a vacancy.” 

Local “authority to draft ordinances that makes sense for their communities,” is key, says Heilman, since rent control is not necessarily the best solution for every city in California.

The Prop 10 battle asks which solution is best to resolve California’s housing crisis and the harmful displacement of renters: repeal Costa-Hawkins or let the market determine housing and rental costs?

Researchers Nicole Montojo and Stephen Barton, Ph.D., authors of a Sept. 19 research brief published by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California/Berkeley, on housing and rent control, feel the need to answer that question is urgent.

“Rent control is really about addressing the issues the people are facing right now, which the other [housing] strategies are unable to do. If we don’t have rent control right now—if we wait for building to catch up; if we wait for us to amass enough funding to pay for that affordable housing—it will be too late. People are being displaced right now,” Montojo tells the Los Angeles Blade.

The coalition of property developers, real estate investors, landlords and others opposed to Prop 10 insist the initiative would discourage development of new properties during the housing crisis.

“It would be disastrous, not only for apartment developers but for California. No one would invest, development would stop, and the housing crisis would be exacerbated,” Alexander Goldfarb, an analyst with Sandler O’Neill & Partners, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Heilman is skeptical. “I’ve always questioned this idea that rent control prevents or impedes new construction,” he says. “New construction has always been exempt under all rent control ordinances and under state law. The idea that somehow or another new construction would be deterred by rent control just doesn’t make sense.”

Montojo and Barton contend that free market solutions are insufficient to meet the needs of burdened tenants. “For a variety of reasons,” Barton says, “it’s not that simple. Housing is not like heirloom tomatoes or plaid shirts. It’s a much more expensive good, and it’s much more difficult to deliver.”

Fixes proposed as alternatives to rent control would take too long to make a discernible impact, the researchers say. “California is now operating at a rate in which it will only add one percent of supply to its housing stock,” Barton says. “If you can overcome all the barriers—we have a shortage of construction workers now, for example—and doubled the supply, you’d still be adding only two percent of new housing stock to the supply. It’s a very slow process, even when it’s working.”

Additionally, setting aside units increases the supply incrementally “but that alone is not going to solve the problem. We also need to build permanently supportive housing for people who are not able to maintain on their own—people with various mental/physical disabilities, and certain seniors—they need additional support. Just building the units isn’t always enough,” Heilman says.

But “it’s difficult to explain to people why the supply doesn’t respond to the demand,” Montojo suggests.

And that makes arguing to vote for Prop 10 difficult.

At issue, Heilman explains, is how homeowners who live in single-family homes or condos—people who are not directly affected by rent control, as they are exempt in most jurisdictions—are going to vote. “Are they going to side with their friends and neighbors who are renters?” he asks. “Or are they just going to vote against it or not vote at all on it?”

The No on 10 arguments are easier for voters to understand, Montojo says. “The supply/demand argument tends to stick in people’s minds, whereas getting into the details of the importance of rent control is a much longer conversation that needs to be had.” And “it’s hard to get at that, to the ballot language that people are seeing when they’re responding to polls.” 

The Yes on 10 coalition is portraying their opposition in simple terms: greedy corporate landlords and real estate investors who want to guarantee climbing profits even at the expense of widespread displacement, housing insecurity, and homelessness. 

A television ad released Sept. 30 linked four major donors in the No on 10 camp to President Donald Trump, hoping the predicted “blue wave” of Democratic voters will throw their support behind Prop 10, which is endorsed by the California Democratic Party. 

Developers like those featured in the Yes on 10 spot, Barton says, have capitalized on the demand for housing in coastal California, reaping astronomical profits.

“In terms of somebody’s wealth, we’re in a situation where people will buy properties for as much as 20 times the value of the net operating income. In other words, people will settle for a 5 percent rate of return. This means people have a tremendously highly valued asset whose value keeps going up. They can not only draw on the money, but they can borrow against it or use it as a security in other borrowing, often to buy even more property and expand their empire,” he says.

“What the opposition stands to lose is pretty obvious. If you own existing housing in, especially, coastal California, you’re getting massive increases in rents,” Barton continues. “This is a matter of tremendous windfall profits. Landlords didn’t double the quality of the buildings they’re providing. It’s just that the demand for access to locations that are high on jobs and amenities has increased. They’re getting a whole lot more money without having to invest much of their own money in fixing up the buildings or improving the buildings.” 

Montojo feels Prop 10 is a referendum on the state’s values; a measure of how much voters care about who is pushed out of local communities and displaced because they can no longer afford housing.

“If we allow rent to continue to rise,” Montojo says, “and if we don’t make a change right now to stabilize renters, this means people will be excluded. We wanted to call attention to the need to make an intentional decision about who we say is part of California and what that means in terms of the policy decisions that we make.” 

Decisions that impact Tim Sullivan and those for whom he speaks.

Continue Reading

West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

The City of West Hollywood’s first annual Pet Week, City also to Re-Open Applications for Guaranteed Income Pilot Project Testing



Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is pawsitively pumped to host its inaugural Pet Week. Pet Week is an initiative to highlight animal companions and celebrate the joy they bring into our lives.

“I am so excited for the City of West Hollywood’s first annual Pet Week, featuring pet-friendly businesses and pet-centered events, like World Dog Day,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “Pet Week is an opportunity for us to show our appreciation and love for our companion animals. My dogs, Suki and Sammy, approve!”

“West Hollywood is one of the most pet friendly cities in America,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne. “Many of our residents have beloved animal companions. I am so delighted to have brought forward the initiative with Mayor Meister to create Pet Week dedicated to our beloved companions, which includes an entire day dedicated to felines. My hope is that we as a community learn more about how to care for our companions, celebrate them, and make West Hollywood a destination for visitors who have pets as well.”

As part of the Pet Week celebration, the City’s Recreation Services Division will be highlighting community members’ pets on social media. To join the paw-ty, submit a pet picture and description to [email protected], including a fun fact about them and what they mean to you! Pets of all species, shapes, and sizes are welcome to participate. One day will be designated as “Feline Day” to specifically highlight our feline friends! Follow along @wehorec on Instagram and @westhollywoodrec on Facebook. 

As part of Pet Week, the City will be hosting a virtual Pet Week Panel Discussion focused on holistic veterinary care and alternative remedies featuring Dr. Heather Oxford, DVM, MPH, CCRT, CVA and Dr. Lindsey Wendt, DVM, CVA, CVFT on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Register at

Dr. Oxford is an acupuncture and rehabilitation veterinarian focused on mobile integrative holistic veterinary medicine to improve health, optimize performance, and accelerate healing for small animals. Dr. Wendt is the owner and creator of Crystal Lotus Veterinary Care, which focuses on providing individually focused holistic health care to pets in the comfort of their homes.

Dr. Oxford and Dr. Wendt will be in conversation with City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister and Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne where they will discuss several topics, including health and wellness of pets; and holistic care and alternative remedies such as acupuncture, laser therapy, food therapy, integrative medicine, and dealing with separation distress and anxiety. 

The City of West Hollywood is also excited to co-sponsor The Vanderpump Dog Foundation’s 6th annual World Dog Day on Saturday, May 28, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

“Ruff ruff. Ruff-ruff ruff ruff ruff-ruff Saturday May 28, West Hollywood Park, ruff ruff woof-woof ruff ruff,” interpreted Councilmember John D’Amico. “Meow? Grrrrrr. Ruff ruff ruff.”

World Dog Day brings together hundreds of people and their furry friends to celebrate dogs for a day of fun and entertainment and takes place during the City of West Hollywood’s first ever Pet Week. Admission is free and open to the public; canine companions must attend on a leash. All activities will be outside and socially distanced; masks will be encouraged.

Started in 2016, this family-friendly event will include live performances and DJs; an Adoption Area with adoptable rescue dogs; an Animal Education area; a dog water park; a doggy fashion show featuring past Adopted Rescue Dogs and celebrity judges; a doggy pie eating contest; an amazing raffle with incredible prizes; dozens of exhibitors featuring pet-friendly products and services; plus an array of food trucks for all to enjoy – even celebrity guests!

World Dog Day will be a memorable day of celebrating dogs while raising awareness about global dog abuse, including the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The Vanderpump Dog Foundation has rescued and adopted more than 2,300 dogs to their forever homes domestically, and hundreds more internationally. For additional information about World Dog Day, please visit  

The City of West Hollywood invites canine members of the community and their humans to sniff out a spot and romp around at the City’s two dog parks at West Hollywood Park. A small dog park and large dog park are located on each side of the park’s basketball courts and each area features expanses of open space with shade trees, small mounds and turf terraces, and water stations. In addition, the City operates the William S. Hart Park and Off-Leash Dog Park located at 8341 De Longpre Avenue.

The City of West Hollywood is often recognized as one of the most animal-friendly cities in the nation and has a long history of supporting measures that promote the protection of animal rights and animal welfare. In April 2003, the City became the first municipality in the nation to prohibit cat declawing. In February 2010, the City passed an Ordinance to address the inhumane conditions endured by “puppy mill” animals by prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats in companion animal stores. In September 2013, the City’s Fur Ordinance went into effect, which prohibits retail establishments from selling, trading, distributing, importing, or exporting any fur product.

For more information about upcoming dog events in the City of West Hollywood, please call (323) 848-6460. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Re-Open Applications for Guaranteed Income Pilot Project Testing the Impact of Cash Payments on the Financial Stability of Older Adults on June 17

The City of West Hollywood, in collaboration with nonprofit partner, National Council of Jewish Women/LA, will re-open applications for the pilot project for guaranteed income aimed at evaluating the impact of cash payments on the financial stability and quality of life of older adults. Guaranteed income is a direct and regular cash payment – no strings attached – provided to a specific group of people for a designated time.

In January 2021, the West Hollywood City Council approved an item for the City of West Hollywood to join the Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MGI) network and directed staff to develop a guaranteed income pilot program for West Hollywood, including identification of research, funding, community implementation, and evaluation partners.

There are numerous cities, counties, and private guaranteed income pilots happening throughout the nation. Guaranteed income pilots are a way to test the impact of cash payments, while also providing a service to help financially stabilize community members and learn information to help create future, evidence-based policies and programs.

Beginning June 1, 2022, community members may access to learn more. The application will open on the website beginning Friday, June 17, 2022, and will close on Sunday, June 26, 2022.

Applicants Must Reside in City of West Hollywood and: Must be 50 Years or Older; and Must Meet Criteria for Individual Yearly Income of $41,400 or Less

Community members who are interested in applying for the West Hollywood Pilot for Guaranteed Income must reside in the City of West Hollywood, be 50 years or older, and have an individual income of $41,400 or less. The program will be facilitated by the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles. People who need assistance applying may call (323) 852-8500, ext. 650, or may send an email message to [email protected].

A total of 25 qualifying participants will be randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants to receive unconditional monthly $1,000 payments from September 2022 through February 2024. 

The move to re-open applications for the pilot project for guaranteed income follows a shift in March 2022 when the City became aware that the pilot, because it was created and supported by a government entity, was susceptible to legal challenges due to the inclusion of LGBTQIA criteria as an eligibility requirement to participate.

The City, with the help of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) and the Center for Guaranteed Income at the University of Pennsylvania (CGIR) had originally developed a data-driven guaranteed income pilot that was set to launch in April 2022 and would have been the first LGBTQIA-focused pilot and the first older adult-focused pilot in the nation.

Protecting the rights of LGBTQ community members has been a long-standing mission of the City, and the City has worked tirelessly to identify and address inequities. For years, the City – along with LGBTQ advocates nationwide – has fought for equal civil rights, including the right to marry, the ability to obtain access to spousal protections and benefits including healthcare and pensions, and efforts to reduce/eliminate discrimination in housing and employment.

These hard-earned rights and protections come with other legal consequences as well. Although the City could engage in a legal battle over the contested eligibility requirement, the implications of litigating such a challenge had to be considered. Having LGBTQIA identification as an eligibility requirement for the pilot could potentially violate the California Constitution as sexual orientation is a protected suspect class in the state.

Therefore, the City Attorney, City staff, and pilot partners recommended that the City Council of the City of West Hollywood revise the pilot to include three of the four original criteria (residency, age, and income level) in order to satisfy the legal obligations, protect potential participants, and move forward with a program that serves community members in need of financial support and stability. All applicants from the first iteration of the pilot will be automatically entered into the pool of applicants for the revised pilot.

The City of West Hollywood seeks to test the emerging promise of guaranteed income to help prevent homelessness, support community members as they age in place, and to reduce the stressors of poverty and financial insecurity.  In addition, the West Hollywood Pilot for Guaranteed Income seeks to examine impact in the following areas: 

  • Quantitative data to evaluate the collective impact of guaranteed income on different populations;
  • Capture unique qualitative narrative information to provide greater understanding into the income challenges faced by older adults in West Hollywood and inform the creation of evidence-based policies and programs to better support the health and well-being of older adults; and
  • Test the concept of guaranteed income to evaluate whether to expand the initial pilot or create new/additional pilots in the City.

The City will engage two nonprofit partners in the pilot. The first is the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at University of Pennsylvania as the research and evaluation partner responsible for creating and administering the research instruments, conducting the randomized selection of eligible applicants to participate in the pilot, collecting/processing/analyzing the data, and providing a report on the findings. 

The City’s second partner in the pilot is the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW|LA) as the nonprofit administrator implementing the pilot. NCJW was selected for its knowledge, experience, and understanding of the nuances of guaranteed income. NCJW will be responsible for conducting outreach to the community about the pilot, assisting community members to complete applications, verifying that West Hollywood residency and other pilot criteria are met to ensure the eligibility of each applicant, submitting the completed and verified applications to CGIR for the randomized selection of participants, and notifying the participants selected by CGIR.

25 Randomly Selected Participants will be Chosen from a Pool of Eligible Applicants to Receive 18 Unconditional Monthly $1,000 Payments

They will also conduct onboarding and provide individualized benefits counseling for each participant, manage a storytelling cohort and storytelling activities that complement the research component of the pilot and provide the participants an opportunity to share their experiences in their own voices. In addition, the nonprofit administrator will subcontract and coordinate services with a nonprofit financial distributor (utilizing debit card services) to ensure that funds are distributed to participants in a timely, predictable, and seamless fashion.

Additional information about research and evaluation, as well as pilot partners and pilot funding is available in the May 2022 City Council staff report at

For more information, please contact Diane Kahn-Epstein, the City of West Hollywood’s Strategic Initiatives Program Administrator, at (323) 848-6548 or at [email protected].

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

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Reminder: 101 closed through DTLA until 10pm Sunday

The closure began at 10 p.m. Saturday and will be completed by 10 p.m. Sunday, the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering announced



Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – (KTLA) Motorists are being reminded that the stretch of 101 through the downtown area of Los Angeles is shut down for road restoration and reconstruction work.

KTLA reported the closure began at 10 p.m. Saturday and will be completed by 10 p.m. Sunday, the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering announced.

The 24-hour closure between State Route 60 and the 10 Freeway interchange is needed for the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project, which aims to replace the original, seismically-deficient structure built in 1932, authorities said.

During the closure, the California Department of Transportation will also be doing slab replacement work along the same stretch of the 101 Freeway.

The closure will center around the east side of the viaduct construction site in Boyle Heights. While the stretch is closed, drivers headed west on State Route 60 from the Pomona area will not be able to access the 101, officials said.

Off-ramps and on-ramps in the area will also be closed during as road work gets underway.

Drivers who reach the closure will see signs directing them to a detour.

(The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering)

The new $588 million viaduct is expected to be completed in Summer of 2022, stretching between Boyle Heights and the Arts District.

Officials say it is the largest bridge project in the history of Los Angeles.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles County

Assemblymember Santiago: Up food access to undocumented Californians

A study from the Food4All Coalition, in partnership with UCLA research, 45% of undocumented Californians face food insecurity



Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (Twitter/Assemblymember Miguel Santiago)

LOS ANGELES – The sharply rising costs of food, housing, gasoline, coupled with the inflation rate hovering at 8.3%  has many Californian scrambling to supplement their access to food. The cost for food alone in the Southern California region has risen 1% from February 2022 to March 2022, and food prices were 8.8% higher than in March 2021.

Governor Gavin Newsom had previously announced in January that he intended to extend CalFresh public food assistance programs in the budget to include undocumented immigrants ages 55 and over, a move advocates including state Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, who represents the 53rd District covering parts of downtown L.A. applauded as a first step in curbing food insecurity for millions of low-income Californians.

At the beginning of the month in Newsom’s revised budget the governor removed exclusions to the California Food Assistance Program for Californians 55 and older, regardless of immigration status.

Santiago, joined by the Food4All Coalition, the LA Regional Food Bank, the California Immigrant Policy Center, Gender Justice LA, and Nourish California gathered for a ‘ Food4All” rally Friday in Los Angeles to ensure that all ages are to be included in Newsom’s revised proposal.

“If you qualify for CalFresh program, you should have the ability to obtain the dollars to be able to feed your kids,” said Santiago.

Betzabel Estudillo ( Nourish California /Twitter)

Betzabel Estudillo, a senior advocate with Nourish California told the rally attendees; “This campaign has been years in the making. We appreciate the governor’s proposal, but the need is greater. Nearly half of undocumented Californians face food insecurity. It’s even worse for children – 2 out of every 3 are going hungry.”

Currently, all undocumented people are ineligible for CalFresh benefits. Only certain low-income immigrants that have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, including those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those with permanent residence, may be eligible for the benefits. Immigrants who receive disability-related assistance or benefits and children under 18 years old with permanent residency are also eligible, regardless of their entry date.

Newsom’s proposals would revise those CalFresh benefits restrictions.

According to a study from the Food4All Coalition, in partnership with UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 45% of undocumented Californians face food insecurity.

“We’re pushing for a budget that includes over $500 million to be able to feed those who are the hungriest in the state of California,” said Santiago.

Newsom has until the end of June to finalize the budget.

Continue Reading

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts