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Campa-Najjar vs. Hunter is now a ‘toss-up’

Devoted Christian challenges anti-LGBT culture of corruption

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Ammar Campa-Najjar. (Photo courtesy Campa-Najjar)

Stonewall Democrats laughed when Ammar Campa-Najjar described himself as Donald Trump’s “worst nightmare”— a Latino, Arab-American millennial who talks unabashedly about morality, under-representation of minorities and the administration’s “assault on our values” and “country over party.”

“Whether you’re Latino or Middle Eastern or LGBTQ or maybe both–or all three–it’s a really defining time for our country. We have to stand for our values. An assault on any one of us is an assault on all of us,” said the 29-year-old challenging anti-LGBT Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th congressional district, covering northeastern San Diego County.

 

“We’ve seen how Donald Trump has really enabled the worst of the worst to come out of people. And right now it’s really about bringing people back together again,” Campa-Najjar told the Los Angeles Blade last July, noting that he has an LGBTQ stepsister and his stepfather, a Vietnam veteran, is a Trump supporter.

Though the 50th CD is on the list of GOP seats Democrats are hoping to flip to win back the House, this race is a steep climb. Though Hunter was the target of an FBI investigation before the June primary, a San Diego Union-Tribune poll showed Hunter with 43% of the vote to Campa-Najjar’s 10%.

Then the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego released a 47-page indictment charging the Hunters with 60 criminal counts, including illegally using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses such as flying their pet rabbit across the country and purchasing clothing itemized as “golf balls for a wounded warriors” nonprofit, as well as conspiracy, wire fraud and falsifying records. Hunter blamed the Democrats for the “witch-hunt” and threw his campaign manager wife under the bus: “Whatever she did, that’ll be looked at, too, I’m sure, but I didn’t do it.”

Unlike Trump, Hunter doesn’t wear corruption and irresponsibility well. A Monmouth University Poll subsequently revealed that Hunter was still leading with 49% but Campa-Najjar had jumped to 41%, with 10% undecided. 

Hunter could lose his legacy seat, handed down from his anti-LGBT father, Duncan Hunter Sr., who won reelection from 1981 to 2009 largely because of his position on the powerful House Armed Services Committee. Hunter Jr. has used his seat on that committee to collect campaign money and posit anti-LGBT legislation like the proposed ban on transgender military service, advocated by the Family Research Council.

House Speaker Paul Ryan temporarily removed Hunter from three House committees after the indictment. But he still uses his committee connections to wield political power. On Oct. 15, Hunter released a letter labeled “Security Alert” from retired brigadier general Terry Paul and two retired major generals, Randall West and T.L. Corwin—all three lobbyists with business before the House Armed Services Committee. They allege Campa-Najjar is a “national security risk” who would use “secret information on U.S. military operations” to protect disengaged family in the Middle East.

“Mr. Hunter’s ongoing attacks on me, his wife, and the Justice Department aren’t just political; they’re pathological,” Campa-Najjar said in a statement. VoteVets encouraged 148,000 Twitter followers to complain to the Marine Corps.

But Hunter went even lower. “Ammar Campa-Najjar is working to infiltrate Congress,” says the narrator of Hunter’s ad on YouTube. “He’s used three different names to hide his family’s ties to terrorism.”

That outraged the conservative San Diego Union-Tribune: “We endorse Campa-Najjar for Congress. He is far superior to the troubled incumbent. This fact is underlined by the despicable ad that Hunter has begun to air in recent days suggesting that his ‘Palestinian Mexican millennial’ opponent was linked to terrorist groups and was ‘working to infiltrate Congress.’”

Ammar Campa-Najjar with his mother Abby Campa and his “abuelita,” Abigal Campa, in 2017. (Photo courtesy the Campa-Najjar campaign on Facebook)

The Union-Tribune disputed the allegation that Campa-Najjar—who was raised by his single Catholic Mexican mother after his Palestinian father left when he was a boy—is a risk to national security because his grandfather, who was killed by Israeli commandos 16 years before Campa-Najjar was born and whom he has strongly disavowed, was a terrorist who helped plan the 1972 attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

“It’s also well-known that Campa-Najjar, a Christian, has had literally nothing to do with his grandfather. As Campa-Najjar notes, when he worked at the White House, he was ‘given a security clearance by the Secret Service after a thorough background check.’ With this smear, Hunter continues to demolish his own reputation,” said the Union-Tribune editorial.

Ammar Campa-Najjar with gay California Assemblymember Todd Gloria (Photo via Facebook)

An Oct. 15 Washington Post editorial also noted that the “ad’s claims have been thoroughly discredited, earning a four Pinocchios rating from The Post’s Fact Checker, which concludes the Hunter campaign ignored or distorted basic biographical facts about Mr. Campa-Najjar.”

The Post pointed out that Campa-Najjar’s job in the Obama White House “reviewing letters sent to the president” and his public affairs position at the US Department of Labor “required him to pass FBI background checks (something the Fact Checker noted Mr. Hunter would be unable to do because of his indictment)…. The only danger posed by Mr. Campa-Najjar is to Mr. Hunter’s reelection chances.”

Nonetheless, Hunter doubled down, enlisting his father after an Oct. 4 Los Angeles Times/University of California-Berkeley poll showed Hunter with only a 2% lead, well within the margin of error. “Mr. Najjar is a security risk,” Duncan Hunter Sr. said at an Oct. 16 press conference. “As an American congressman, he would have the right to know about American troop movements in the Middle East.”

Campa-Najjar didn’t wait for a call from reporters—he went to the news conference and charged the former congressmember with “race-baiting” and promoting “disinformation.”

“This is an act of desperation,” Campa-Najjar said. “Daddy had to come out and save him…. I’m my own man and the people of my district respect people who fight for themselves.”

It’s a flash of anger from a contemporary Christian gladiator. Campa-Najjar speaks with such authentic empathy and thought about the biblical principles of love, as well as the distortions caused by “toxic masculinity,” he sounds like an updated version of Thomas a Kempis’ “Imitation of Christ.” In fact, the real “nightmare” Campa-Najjar may pose to Trump and anti-LGBT religious right hero Mike Pence is his grasp of humanity and real morality. 

“You have to extend love to those who you may not maybe share views with. That’s how we have to deal with Trump,” Campa-Najjar tells the Los Angeles Blade. “Even that slogan that ‘love trumps faith.’ I think that is something that is rooted in our humanity but also can be found in our Christian teachings.”

Agape, for instance, is “unconditional love. That no matter what you do, what you believe in, how different you may look or feel or love or live—that is irrelevant to the fact that you have to show people love,” he says.

“The opposite of love is condemnation and then putting that condemnation into action by persecuting others is very far away from what God died for, in my view,” Campa-Najjar says.

“In the Bible, there’s only one time where Jesus was angry, like outright angry, uncharacteristically outraged and it was the event that led to his crucifixion. It was when he went to the temple and there were the money changers, the tax collectors, and those who were trying to basically get money out of everybody to give them something to leave at the alter for God,” he says. “And literally homeless people and widows and people with no money—the least of these—were giving pennies, whatever they had to scrape together, to get some commodity to offer to the alter to God—a pigeon,” a valueless “rodent with wings.”

Campa-Najjar continues, as if recalling a memory: “And Jesus was so angry that he turned over the tables and the money and he said to them, to the religious elites: ‘you’re white washed and beautiful on the outside but you’re dead inside.’ And he was so outraged that it led to his crucifixion” since Pontius Pilot saw this act as meaning that “Jesus was no longer containable,” that he was a rebel who posed a threat to the elites.

“I see that moment as today’s tax plan where it’s basically taking away from those who have almost nothing just to give more to those who are at the very top,” he says. “The income inequality that turns into gender and racial and generational inequality—that’s the kind of thing that morally outraged Jesus so much that it led to his crucifixion. And I think right now we have an administration that is doing the same thing— but in the 21st century, in the form of giving tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of those who are really, really struggling,” the lower and middle class.

“That’s the kind of outrage that I think even Jesus would express,” Campa-Najjar says. “And it’s OK and healthy and I think within our bounds as Christians to speak truth to power when there is gender, generational or income inequality, when the least of these are either religious minorities, or any minority, be it women or orientation, we have an obligation to speak out and defend them. On that grounds, we do have, as Christians, an obligation to speak up against the moral bankruptcy of all of this today.”

Besides, Campa-Najjar says, “ I made a promise to my mom that her future granddaughter, her life would be fairer, her opportunities would be more equal and her rights would be more protected. And I can’t keep that promise with the way the world is going today. So I’m desperately looking forward to getting involved and making sure that we hold people accountable in Washington.”

For more, visit campacampaign.com

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West Hollywood

Final OUTZone patios removed from WeHo’s Rainbow District

During the most acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood responded in a variety of creative ways to community needs

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West Hollywood Rainbow District. (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The final four remaining OUTZone outdoor patios in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District were dismantled and removed this past week, marking the end of an era when outdoor patio dining spilled onto Santa Monica Boulevard during the pandemic.

The OUTZone patios were taken down from Beaches WeHo, Tom Tom Restaurant, Fiesta Cantina, and Trunk’s Bar, all located within walking distance of each other.

Beaches WeHo owner Jacob Shaw tells WEHO TIMES that he was able to work out a deal with Koontz Hardware next door and obtained permission to expand their patio area into their property line, so their patio area is wider than before the pandemic. Workers were seen on Wednesday taking the OUTZone apart and making adjustments.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Tom Tom Restaurant had to revert back to their previous patio space. The restaurant was also trying to meet a deadline to have the OUTZone patio removed by Thursday.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Trunks Bar had their seating area removed right after WeHo Pride weekend. The city also had the concrete K-rails removed, and cars are already taking advantage of the extra parking space in a spot where customers enjoyed drinks for these past three years.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Fiesta Cantina removed portions of their OUTZone but still needs to take down the wood paneling as of the posting of this piece.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Some businesses like La Boheme WeHo had the option to apply to make their OUTZone patios permanent. However, businesses on streets with sidewalks greater than or equal to 19 feet deep were not given this option. Therefore, businesses in the City’s Rainbow District along Santa Monica Boulevard were mandated to revert to pre-COVID-19 sidewalk allowances. They were given an extension to keep the OUTZones past WeHo Pride weekend. Some businesses, like Stache WeHo and Hi Tips, opted to end theirs early at the beginning of the year.

During the most acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood responded in a variety of creative ways to community needs as we all navigated the pandemic.

In July 2020, the City began a Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit (TOEP) program by offering streamlined approval for businesses to use sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, and private parking lots as areas to expand operations while protecting health and safety.

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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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea

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

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West Hollywood

Heart WeHo owners say club will remain open until further notice

It will be business as usual at the former home of Rage Nightclub while the business is in escrow and legal agreements are ironed out

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Heart WeHo/WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Heart WeHo nightclub, located at 8911 Santa Monica Boulevard, is not closing anytime soon, say the owners of Beaches Tropicana, the new restaurant and bar set to take over the space near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard.

It will be business as usual at the former home of Rage Nightclub while the business is in escrow and legal agreements are ironed out.

Beaches WeHo owner Jacob Shaw tells WEHO TIMES that a report stating Heart WeHo was closing after WeHo Pride weekend is false. He said there will be a transition from business to business and that Heart WeHo will remain open through most of it until they may have to close for major renovations.

Partner Paul Nichols added that there will be no disruption to operations and there will not be a farewell party because some partners are staying (Nichols included), and the partners leaving are simply going across the street to Rocco’s WeHo.

In fact, this past Thursday night, Heart WeHo had a busy night with a long line snaking around the corner for an album release party for Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo. There is also a Thank You for Pride Party happening this Saturday.

The Beaches WeHo team has formally announced that a whole new concept called Beaches Tropicana is coming to the former Heart WeHo space in the heart of West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. Renovations are set to kick off after Pride Month celebrations, with the highly anticipated grand reopening slated for Labor Day 2024.

“HEY BEACHES FAM!” reads a post on Beaches WeHo’s social media platforms. “We have some exciting news to share with you all. We’ve officially purchased the venue that is currently Heart WeHo, and Heart’s original partners Lance Bass and Paul Nichols will be joining the Beaches team. Together, we are all excited to transform the space into something truly special. INTRODUCING **BEACHES TROPICANA!”

According to the post, Beaches Tropicana will be their flagship headquarters, combining a full-service Cuban-American restaurant with an entertainment venue where guests can dine, dance, and enjoy top-notch performances, all in one space.

Beaches WeHo at 8928 Santa Monica Boulevard will also be getting a makeover and will be turned into Beaches Baja with a new Tex-Mex menu. According to a press release, the team is in talks with several high-profile chefs and hopes to make an exciting announcement once these plans are finalized.

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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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea

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

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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

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

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

The Veteran Peer Access Network (VPAN) is the first community-driven support network serving veterans and their families in the U.S. Led by veterans for veterans, VPAN connects L.A. County Departments, nonprofits, the V.A., and L.A. City Programs to help veterans navigate often complicated systems to connect to resources. VPAN prioritizes hiring veterans as “battle buddies” and systems navigators to connect assist their fellow veterans.

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

In Case You Missed It

Arts Internship Program – Apply Today!

LA County Arts and Culture Internships - Positions now open!

Positions for the 2024 Arts Internship Program are now available! This program will provide 228 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience in the arts at over 160 nonprofit organizations across the LA region. What’s more, all Arts Internship Program internships provide 400 hours of work experience at $17.28 an hour.

Positions will continue to be posted on a rolling basis through July 2024. Visit the LA County Arts & Culture website to learn more!

At Your Service

The Works App

From reporting potholes to finding critical services, it’s LA County at your fingertips.

The Works App empowers you to report:

  • Issues like potholes, graffiti, overgrown trees, and blocked storm drains
  • Property-related concerns and suspected violations
  • Illegal dumping activities affecting our streets and environment
  • Maintenance needs of trails and facilities in County parks

Keep up to date with the County’s latest news on upcoming events. Locate the nearest LA County offices, libraries, shuttle buses, and other services.

Download The Works for iPhone or Android today and transform how you connect with LA County!

Out and About

Celebrating Juneteenth

Join LA County in celebrating Juneteeth at Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell’s 4th Annual Juneteeth Celebration and Resource Fair on Friday, June 21, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This event features music, food trucks, live performances, access to County services, resources, fun activities, and more! All residents are welcome to attend this FREE event. We encourage you to register and forward this email to your friends and neighbors! Register here

To learn more about Juneteeth and find events and programming in your community, click here.

Photo Finish

Levitated Mass at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Photo: Los Angeles County)

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

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Los Angeles County

Parks make life better month- Culver City’s movies in the park

California’s “Parks Make Life Better!” recognizes the importance of equitable access to parks, recreation, trails, open space, & facilities

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

CULVER CITY, Calif. – July is “Parks Make Life Better!” month and the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department is celebrating with Movies in The Park every Saturday night, all month long! 

Bring your blankets, picnic baskets, and lawn chairs to see:

Gates will open at 7 PM and movies will begin at dusk. Admission is free. 

The California “Parks Make Life Better!” campaign recognizes the importance of equitable access to parks, recreation, trails, open space, and facilities for the positive development of all. Culver City PRCS invites you and your family to celebrate with us. 

PARKS MAKE LIFE BETTER MONTH

MOVIE SCREENINGS

WHEN

Saturday July 6, 13, 20, and 27

7 PM gates open, movie starts at dusk

WHERE

  • Veterans Memorial Park on 7/6
  • Syd Kronenthal Park on 7/13
  • Fox Hills Park on 7/20
  • Culver West Alexander Park on 7/27
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Los Angeles County

LA Metro: More frequent and reliable bus service

Bus ridership in the San Fernando Valley is growing faster than in any other Metro bus service area & improvements reflect ridership growth

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles/Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

LOS ANGELES – Effective Sunday, June 23, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced that the agency will offer more frequent and reliable bus service and an improved travel experience on multiple routes based on direct feedback from customers and bus operators, and review of ridership and travel time data. 

Bus service improvements will update travel times so riders will wait less at stops. Added trips at peak travel times will provide extra capacity to move additional riders more efficiently during busy travel periods and some lines will be extended so riders can more easily reach major destinations. Several bus lines will operate more frequently on weekdays as outlined in the NextGen Bus Plan.

Metro is also improving peak hour frequencies weekdays on two San Fernando Valley bus lines as part of the North San Fernando Valley Corridor Transit Improvements project.

Route changes by region are as follows:

San Fernando Valley

Bus ridership in the San Fernando Valley is growing faster than in any other Metro bus service area. Metro is adding capacity on many lines to accommodate this growth in ridership.

As a first step in implementing the Measure M funded North San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Improvements Project, Line 152 on Roscoe Boulevard and Line 166 on Nordhoff Street will begin operating service every 10 minutes during the busiest weekday peak periods both eastbound and westbound. On Line 152, 10-minute service will operate eastbound in the 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. hours and westbound during the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours in the evening. Line 166 will operate 10-minute service westbound in the 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. hours and eastbound in the 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. hours. Each will add new weekday trips to the schedule. Seven new trips on Line 152 and eight on Line 166.

Line 158 will add 25 extra trips between the Southern terminal at Moorpark/Van Nuys and Van Nuys/Woodman to increase weekday frequency from 60 minutes to 30 minutes on the segment of Line 158 along Woodman Avenue.

Line 165 on Vanowen Street will add two additional eastbound trips during the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours of weekday evening peak.

Line 169 on Saticoy Street will add one additional weekday trip during the 6:00 a.m. hour westbound and an additional eastbound trip during the 4:00 p.m. hour between Hollywood Burbank Airport and West Hills Medical Center for service every 30 minutes.

San Gabriel Valley

Line 76 routing will be modified to achieve faster access to and from Downtown LA and provide new direct connectivity via Alameda Street to the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station (A & E Lines). Line 76 will have new stops along Alameda Street for Union Station and will discontinue stops at Vignes Street at Cesar Chavez behind Union Station. Riders from Union Station will now board the bus on the Alameda Street side of the station.

Line 267 will be extended from Pasadena to Altadena, replacing Line 686 on Colorado Boulevard and Allen Avenue. Operating hours will be extended by an extra hour until 9 p.m. for Line 267 to maintain the same hours of service that Line 686 offers. Frequency will increase for the former Line 686 segment between Pasadena and Altadena on weekdays to every 30 minutes from every 60 minutes. Weekend service will remain at every 60 minutes.

Line 268 will improve bus service to the City of Sierra Madre in response to resident requests, by extending the route to Sierra Madre Boulevard via Baldwin Avenue, Sierra Madre Boulevard, and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue instead of Foothill Boulevard to and from Sierra Madre Villa Station. Metro Micro rideshare service will continue to be available in Sierra Madre. A second route change for Line 268 will improve access to the El Monte Metrolink Station with buses rerouted via Tyler Avenue, Valley Boulevard, and Santa Anita Avenue.

Gateway Cities

Line 265 on Paramount Boulevard will increase service from 60 minutes to 40-45 minutes on weekdays. Service will remain at 60 minutes on the weekends.

South Bay

Line 108 in the City of Commerce on Eastern Avenue will move its terminus location slightly north to Harbor Street due to Eastern Avenue being restored to two traffic lanes in each direction, preventing buses from safely parking at the existing terminus.

Westside/Central LA

Line 81 will relocate the northbound terminal at Eagle Rock Plaza from eastbound on Colorado Boulevard at Eagle Dale Avenue to westbound Colorado Boulevard at Eagle Dale Avenue to accommodate the Line 217 extension to Eagle Rock Plaza at the Colorado and Eagle Dale Terminal. This change will require that two stops relocate near Eagle Rock Plaza. Line 81 will also see two southbound trips added to the afternoon peak schedule weekdays in the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours to accommodate increasing ridership.

Line 217 will extend from Vermont/Hollywood to Eagle Rock via Glendale to allow easier access for riders between Mid-City, Hollywood and Glendale. Lines 180 and 217 will each be scheduled to operate every 12 minutes daytime on weekdays and every 15 minutes daytime on weekends with coordinated schedules to maximize frequency on duplicated segments.

At Westwood, Metro Line 20, 602, and 720 buses will no longer be able to travel through the federal GSA building parking lot between Veteran Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard. As a result, Line 602 will move from the existing terminus on Veteran Avenue to a new terminus location at Kinross Avenue west of Gayley Avenue and will discontinue use of the stop at Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue. Eastbound Line 20 and 720 buses starting trips from Veteran Avenue will instead travel via Veteran Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard to reach Wilshire Boulevard.  

Metro will also adjust service levels slightly on many bus lines to better match ridership   levels and to accommodate the above improvements. This includes some changes to the first and last trips on some lines. Also, 49 weekday, 42 Saturday, and 41 Sunday bus lines will have revised schedules to improve their reliability. A complete list of the changes and links to new schedules can be found at metro.net/mybus.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.netfacebook.com/losangelesmetrotwitter.com/metrolosangeles,  twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

Bus & Rail Transit information
323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876)
6:30am – 7pm (Monday – Friday)
8:00am – 4:30pm (Saturday/Sunday)

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Southern California

Triple A: SoCal gas prices continue dropping quickly

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.87, which is 11 cents lower than a week ago

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Triple A Auto Club/Los Angeles Blade

LOS ANGELES – Gas prices in Southern California have dropped by more than 50 cents a gallon in most areas after two straight months of price declines, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.87, which is 11 cents lower than a week ago. The average national price is $3.46, which is two cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.83 per gallon, which is 10 cents less than last week and 13 cents less than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.85, which is 10 cents lower than last week and eight cents lower than this time last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.97, which is five cents lower than last week and two cents higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.75, which is 10 cents lower than last week and 10 cents lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.96 average price is eight cents less than last week and nine cents higher than a year ago today.

“Oil Price Information Service reports the latest Energy Information Administration data shows that West Coast refinery utilization rates reached their highest production levels of 2024 at the beginning of this month,” said Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe. “California continues to have the highest gas prices in the U.S., but this week for the first time since March, gas prices in most local areas are lower than at this time a year ago.”

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on June 13, averages are:

061324

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Los Angeles County

Culver City Pride Ride & Rally

You’re invited to Culver City’s 4th annual Pride celebration. The party will place on Saturday, June 29th, 2024

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Photo Credit: Culver City Government

CULVER CITY, Calif. – The Culver City PRIDE RIDE will start at 4PM on Saturday, June 29th, 2024, from Syd Kronenthal Park and make its way over six miles through the neighborhood streets of Culver City. RSVPs are required for attendees of the PRIDE RIDE. Metro Bikes will be available for those who want to ride and do not have a bicycle.

The Culver City PRIDE RALLY, which is an evening street block party with Drag Performers, local speakers, Live DJs, dancing, a Family Art Experience, and so much more! Located on Main Street in Downtown Culver City from 6PM to 9PM.

In a press release a spokesperson noted: “You’re invited to Culver City’s 4th annual Pride celebration. The party will place on Saturday, June 29th, 2024. This event is known throughout for bringing our community together to celebrate what makes us unique and the values that unite us.”

Consider taking the bus or using other mobility options to attend the event including the City’s Circulator that connects Downtown to the Culver City ELine (Expo) Station! Plan your trip by calling 310-253-6500, visiting the Culver CityBus website, or using the Next CCBus app that provides real time bus locations, trip planning and bus occupancy levels. Learn more about the parking in downtown Culver City and please avoid parking in residential neighborhoods. To take the circulator, look out for “Board Here” signs!

For exact times, use the NextCCBus app or visit CulverCityBus.com.

For more information about the events and to RSVP for the PRIDE RIDE, please visit the Culver City Pride website.

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West Hollywood

WeHo Mayor John Erickson graces cover of THE FIGHT Magazine

This interview delves into his personal narrative, celebrating his identity and the vibrant LGBTQ+ community he now calls home

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Mayor John M Erickson on the cover of THE FIGHT Magazine (Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson has landed on the front page of The Fight Magazine.

In this issue, a shirtless Mayor, being interviewed by editor and publisher of WEHO TIMES, Paulo Murillo, speaks about the gay male experience while growing up in Ripon Wisconsin.

The Q&A is part of an ongoing media partnership between the two news outlets. Space is limited in print, so stay tuned for the full unedited online interview coming soon.

Mayor John M Erickson on the cover of THE FIGHT Magazine (Paulo Murillo/WeHo Times)

West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson grew up in the small town of Ripon, Wisconsin where he faced the challenges of understanding his sexuality amidst a backdrop of limited representation and societal expectations.

This interview delves into his personal narrative, celebrating his identity and the vibrant LGBTQ+ community he now calls home as we approach Pride Month in the City of West Hollywood.

How do you identify?

I identify as a very proud gay man. I identify with the historical struggle to come out as a member of what was then the lesbian and gay community or the gay community, and now the full beauty of the rainbow we have today… I’m comfortable in my own body that way, and I fought like hell to be this comfortable and this out with who I am.

When did you know you were gay?

I grew up in a really small town … population like 7,000 people, and I knew I was different at a young age. I want to say middle school. I probably knew I was gay as more versions of LGBTQ identity were coming out on TV. You’re always so fearful of what that is because you’re othered in so many communities. By the time I was in high school, I knew I was gay. And before I went to college, I came out privately to a few close friends. Then when I was a sophomore in college, I came out fully to my family.

How did your family react?

My mother probably took it harder than anyone, but that’s because she grew up at a time when LGBTQ people were further demonized than they are still today. My dad was very stoic and said, “Well, you’re just so good at sports. I don’t understand what’s going on.” He didn’t get it, but I came to be close to them in individual ways. My sisters were extremely supportive in bringing my parents around. Thank God they’re licensed therapists, so they were able to work through it with my mom and my dad. They had a toolbox, and now my parents are some of my biggest supporters. I can’t do what I do without them.

To read the rest of the interview click on the link below:

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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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea

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

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Los Angeles

Tens of thousands at LA Pride Parade & Block Party in Hollywood

The parade was hosted by “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez and ABC7 anchor Ellen Leyva. ABC7 broadcast the parade live.

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KABC interviews actor George Takei's (seated on trunk lid) husband Brad Takei at LA Pride Parade on Sunday. Takei and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley served as grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade in Hollywood. (Screenshot/KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – The 54th annual LA Pride Parade kicked off Sunday morning as tens of thousands of Angelenos and visitors took over the streets of Hollywood, continuing a two-day celebration of Pride Month 2024.

Broadcast live and online by KABC 7, The band Mariachi Arcoiris kicked off the 2024 LA Pride Parade with a rousing performance in Hollywood.

KABC also caught up with grand marshal and “Star Trek” legend George Takei accompanied by his husband Brad Takei.

The parade began at 11 a.m. at Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, then headed north on Highland, east on Hollywood Boulevard, south on Cahuenga Boulevard and back to Sunset.

Takei, who served as the Icon Grand Marshal told KABC: “As someone who has witnessed the struggles and triumphs of our community over the years, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and inspired to continue the fight for full acceptance and equality for all.” 

Takei’s husband Brad compared him to the late Betty White joking about the actor being 87 years old having just had a birthday this past Spring.

KABC noted that Professional wrestler Cassandro, El Exotico served as the Legacy Grand Marshal, while Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley — the agency’s first openly gay chief — was the Community Grand Marshal.

“These individuals epitomize this year’s theme of Power in Pride,’ not just through their own achievements, but through their unwavering commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and visibility,” Gerald Garth, board president of event sponsor Christopher Street West, said in a statement. “As this year’s grand marshals, they embody the essence of empowerment, showing us that our differences are not obstacles but sources of strength. Together, they inspire us to embrace our identities, break barriers.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Blade on Friday, Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Kristin M. Crowley expressed her excitement about participating in the LA Pride Parade this Sunday.

“This feels like a whole other level, especially being part of the parade as a grand marshal of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” she said. “It’s very humbling. I have been proud to participate in the pride parade over the past few years, but this is extra special—being able to be out front and represent the department and our community as a whole.”

The parade was hosted by “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez and ABC7 anchor Ellen Leyva. ABC7 broadcast the parade live.

The LA Pride Block Party followed the parade beginning at noon and continuing until 8 p.m. on Hollywood Boulevard between Vine and Gower streets. The free event included vendor and information booths, a beer garden, food trucks and live entertainment.

Additional reporting by KABC 7 LA

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Los Angeles County

Dive into Summer with LA County Parks & Recreation!

Enjoy free recreational swim, exciting games, fun giveaways, music, delicious food, and so much more! Visit LA County Parks & Recreation today

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Castaic Sports Complex Aquatic Center offers a splash pad, recreational swimming pool, and swim lanes. (Mayra Vasquez/Los Angeles County)

LOS ANGELES – Join us for an epic series of pool parties happening at all our pools to kick-off our summer aquatics programs!  Enjoy free recreational swim, exciting games, fun giveaways, music, delicious food, and so much more!

Check out our website: parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics and find a pool party happening near you!
Don’t miss out on the fun! Bring your friends and family and let’s make this summer unforgettable! 

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