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Lambda Legal wins settlement in anti-LGBT discrimination case

Lesbian teacher Julia Frost’s litigation lasted more than five years

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Julia Frost (Photo courtesy Lambda Legal)

Lambda Legal has settled a lawsuit filed in Nov. 2013 on behalf of lesbian teacher Julia Frost against the Hesperia Unified School District in San Bernardino County, Lambda announced April 18. Frost alleged that she was fired in retaliation for supporting LGBT students, who claimed discrimination by school administrators.

Frost alleged that, as the faculty adviser to Sultana High School’s Gay Straight Alliance club, she helped GSA members bring in the ACLU of Southern California to look at what they saw as a pattern of discrimination against them by faculty, staff, and school administrators. But before the ACLU weighed in, Frost was told her contract would not be renewed for the 2013-14 school year.

In a November 19, 2013 interview with the San Bernardino Sun, Frost, an English teacher, said she was asked to advise the GSA. “Almost immediately, I was singled out,” she said.

Frost was summoned to meetings with administrators without other GSA advisers. “The only thing I can surmise,” Frost told the Sun, “because it was just me and nobody else, was it was just because of my sexual orientation?”

The ACLU’s intervention ultimately led to changes in the district’s nondiscrimination policy and training procedures in 2015. 

“Since filing this lawsuit more than five years ago, Julia has stood strong, knowing that she was penalized simply for being herself and doing her job,” Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jennifer Pizer said in a press release.

Frost will receive $850,000, Lambda Legal’s largest employment discrimination settlement.

“It was important for me to bring this challenge, but I’m also happy it’s settled,” Frost said. “I’m also pleased to know that there are now clear, written policies in place at HUSD that hopefully will not allow what happened to me to happen to anyone else who, like me, was doing their job and looking after the interests of students.”

“This lawsuit forced Hesperia to establish desperately needed policies protecting the rights of LGBT students and teachers. It also compensates her for the harm HUSD caused to her career,” said Attorney Dan Stormer, a law partner with Hadsell Stormer Renick LLP and Lambda Legal’s co-counsel.

HUSD “strongly denies” Frost’s allegations of discrimination, harassment and related claims—which they claimed could not be supported by any “compelling evidence,” the district said in an emailed statement to BusinessInsurance.com. However, settling the case was a “prudent financial decision in light of the protracted litigation effort by this former employee” and “one can never predict what might happen at trial,” including “the potential risk of a huge plaintiff’s attorney fee award if the District didn’t win on all counts.”

HUSD also asserted that “the settlement is not an admission of guilt or an acceptance of liability for any alleged wrongdoing by the District.” – Karen Ocamb contributed to this report.

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

The new mural “Our Pride” by LaToya Peoples at City of West Hollywood City Hall, WeHo Pride 2022 Update, WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival

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Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is reminding community members about events surrounding the upcoming #WeHoPride season. The City will provide regularly updated information about WeHo Pride 2022 programming as it becomes available:

  • WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, June 3, 2022, Saturday, June 4, 2022, and Sunday, June 5, 2022 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard and will include will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.
  • The annual Dyke March and the new Women’s Freedom Festival will take place beginning on Friday, June 3, 2022 at 5 p.m. The Dyke March will feature the presentation of the Melissa Etheridge and Community Activist awards, a poetry reading, sign-making and supplies, speakers, a DJ, and the Dykes on Bikes contingent. The Dyke March will step off and return to the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevards. The Women’s Freedom Festival will take place immediately following the Dyke March at the #WeHoPride Street Fair stage and will feature emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women and non-binary musicians, comedians, poets, and activists, along with a featured performance from Milck, singing her latest protest song, We Won’t Go Back
  • WeHo Pride Weekend will feature OUTLOUD: Raising Voices, the award-winning three-day LGBTQ concert series produced by JJLA at West Hollywood Park. Headliners, artist lineup, and ticket information are available by visiting https://weareoutloud.com
  • The City of West Hollywood’s Pride Parade will step-off at noon at Crescent Heights Boulevard on Sunday, June 5, 2022 and will make its way west along Santa Monica Boulevard to the City’s Rainbow District.
  • WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival) will take place during 40 days from Harvey Milk Day on Sunday, May 22, 2022 to Thursday, June 30, 2022 live at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood, along with selected online programming. The theme for 2022 is With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion, and Progress For All. The WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival runs for 40 days, from Harvey Milk Day through the end of Pride month and is organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division with input from the City’s Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, Transgender Advisory Board, Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, and community partners. A full calendar of events is available online.

More information and details about WeHo Pride Weekend will be posted as it becomes available at www.weho.org/pride.

Dyke March and Women’s Freedom Festival is scheduled to take place on Friday June 3, 2022

WeHo Pride Weekend will Take Place from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5

OUTLOUD: Raising Voices Three-Day LGBTQ Concert Series Produced by JJLA Take Place from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5

WeHo Pride Parade will Step-Off at Noon on Sunday, June 5 Along Santa Monica Boulevard

WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival Will Take Place from Sunday, May 22 to Thursday, June 30

For more than three decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to the largest Pride celebration in Southern California, as hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world make West Hollywood their destination for the Pride season. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation.

Since incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay. The City has advocated for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals and the City is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level.

The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board and a Transgender Advisory Board, which each address matters of advocacy. As part of its support of the transgender community, the City has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website, which provides information about a variety of resources including legal, health, and social services, available in the Greater Los Angeles area to enhance and improve the well-being of transgender people.

For more information about WeHo Pride, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Events Services Division at [email protected].

For more information about the WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator Mike Che at (323) 848-6377 or [email protected].

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

The new mural “Our Pride” by LaToya Peoples at City of West Hollywood City Hall! Commissioned through WeHo Arts is now on display swing by and check it out.

Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook
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Orange County

Mass shooting at a church in Orange County- 1 dead, 4 wounded

Deputies were dispatched to a scene of a shooting in the 24000 block of El Toro Road at around 2 p.m Sunday

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Screenshot/KABC 7 News LA

LAGUNA WOOD – Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies were dispatched to a scene of shooting at 1:26 p.m. at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in the 24000 block of El Toro Road Sunday afternoon.

The Orange County officials on scene confirmed that one person was killed and four others were critically wounded during the incident, one other individual also suffered minor injuries.

UPDATED: Churchgoers stopped and hogtied the shooter, described as an Asian male in his 60s, preventing further carnage. “That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism … and bravery,” Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock told reporters.

Another man who saw the attack Sunday at Geneva Presbyterian Church told the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets that a pastor struck the gunman with a chair while he was reloading, giving others a chance to tackle and hogtie the suspect. The shooting marred what was meant to be a special occasion: The pastor had just returned from two years in Taiwan

According to the OCSD on Twitter: “Deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at a church on the 24000 block of El Toro Road in Laguna Woods. Multiple victims have been shot. More details to follow, PIO en route. We have detained one person and have recovered a weapon that may be involved.

The Orange County Fire Department tweeted “Our FF/PM’s are on scene and treating and transporting multiple patients. Updates will follow.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office released a statement Sunday afternoon that said it was monitoring the shooting and working closely with local law enforcement.

“No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event,” the statement read.

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Southern California

Triple A: National gas price average races to new records

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.85, which is nine cents higher than last week

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Screenshot/CBS News Money Watch

LOS ANGELES – While gas prices throughout the U.S. continued skyrocketing at levels not seen since the start of the Ukraine war due to continued uncertainties about world gasoline supply, Southern California pump prices rose more moderately in response to one major supplier being offline for maintenance, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.85, which is nine cents higher than last week. The average national price is $4.37, which is 17 cents higher than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $5.90 per gallon, which is six cents higher than last week, five cents higher than last month, and $1.74 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.86, which is five cents higher than last week, five cents higher than last month, and $1.72 higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.86, which is two cents higher than last week, one cent higher than last month and $1.73 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.81, which is four cents higher than last week, four cents higher than last month and $1.74 higher than last year. In Bakersfield, the $5.84 average price is five cents more than last Thursday, two cents higher than last month and $1.84 higher than a year ago today.

Local Refinery Maintenance Pushes Up SoCal Prices

aaa of southern california

“The Phillips 66 Wilmington refinery has been undergoing planned maintenance for nearly a month, keeping upward pressure on local prices, according to Oil Price Information Service,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe. “Another phenomenon that has occurred during this latest price runup is that premium gasoline has become even more expensive compared to regular grade gasoline. The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center has found that if your vehicle’s manual just recommends premium fuel and does not require it, the vehicle will operate safely and efficiently with the much less expensive regular gas.”

The Auto Club recommends the following tips to save money on gas:

  • Look into carpooling if you commute a significant distance. Carpooling with one other person cuts commute costs in half, and you can cut your commute costs by two-thirds by carpooling with two other people.
  • 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 May 12, averages are:

May 12

Gas prices soar to new record highs:

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