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Man who threatened ‘Pulse-style attack’ arrested in Fresno

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Fresno Police arrested a suspect on Monday, June 17, for making online threats of carrying out another “Pulse-style” mass shooting against a local LGBTQ nightclub, ABC News affiliate KFSN-ABC30 reported. On June 12, much of the nation commemorated the three- year anniversary of the mass shooting at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead and 53 others wounded.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters that the threats were made on a Facebook profile, which was later determined to be counterfeit. Terry Story, owner of the FAB Fresno nightclub, had reported the threats to police, and even though the profile disappeared the same day, detectives were able to trace it to 28-year-old Jose Lechuga, with help from the FBI and Facebook.

“Lechuga certainly had the capability of carrying out this threat,” Chief Dyer said. “The information was very alarming because those posts appeared to be very, very real,” Dyer noted. “Whether he would’ve done so is unknown. But I can tell you we have prevented what could’ve been a mass shooting in our city.”

ABC30 investigative reporter Colin Hoggard tweeted a photo of the weapons seized by Fresno Police while executing the arrest of Lechuga that were displayed during the press conference.

According to ABC30, the threats occurred after a video of a woman slurring anti-gay insults at people at FAB was uploaded to the club’s social media pages. The woman can be heard on the video cursing “this is a fucking bunch of fucking queers” after she was asked to leave the club. Fresno officers who responded to complaints didn’t arrest her, so the club’s owner decided to post the video to make sure there were some consequences.

Fresno police stated that within the first 24 hours of that post going up, 27,000 Facebook users viewed the video, including a person labeling himself “Maga Shooter.” The Facebook profile photo was that of the Pulse nightclub murderer. Comments left on the nightclub’s Facebook page by the “Maga Shooter” threatened a repeat of the Pulse shooting at FAB.

Fresno Investigators said Lechuga admitted to making those threats but, ABC30’s Hoggard noted, Lechuga told detectives he didn’t plan to carry them out. Investigators said he was mad about how the video portrayed the woman, now dubbed “Nightclub Nancy.” According to police, Lechuga is dating one of her daughters, adding that the unnamed woman has not been charged in connection with the threats made against the club.

Lechuga was released on bail Monday evening.

https://www.facebook.com/ABC30/videos/451627148987091/?t=0

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Research/Study

Suicide risk & access to care among LGBTQ college students

LGBTQ college students with access to mental health services through their college had drastically lower odds of attempting suicide

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LGBTQ+ UCLA graduates (Photo Credit: UCLA LGBTQ Campus Resource Center)

NEW YORK – The Trevor Project’s researchers team published new data this week that assessed suicide risk, access to mental health services, and access to LGBTQ student services among a national sampling of LGBTQ+ college and university students.

The report’s findings show that LGBTQ college students with access to mental health services through their college or university had drastically lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those without access.

The data in the report takes on greater relevance as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is observed this September and highlight the ways in which community leaders, parents, and others can help prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth — a group that is more than four times more likely to attempt suicide compared to their straight and cisgender peers.

Key Findings:

  • LGBTQ college students with access to mental health services through their college had 84% lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to LGBTQ college students without access. 
    • LGBTQ college students reported that common barriers to accessing care included that they did not feel comfortable going (33%), long waitlists, (29%), and privacy concerns (17%).
  • LGBTQ college students with access to LGBTQ student services through their college had 44% lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to LGBTQ college students without access.
    •  Over six in ten (63%) LGBTQ college students reported that their college had LGBTQ-specific services, such as an LGBTQ center, available. 
    • Those who did not have access to LGBTQ student services through their college reported significantly higher rates of seriously considering suicide in the past year (41%) compared to those who did have access (30%). 
  • One in three (33%) LGBTQ college students seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 7% reported a suicide attempt in the past year. 
    • Rates of considering suicide were higher among LGBTQ college students of color (35%), multisexual students (35%), and transgender and nonbinary students (39%),
    • LGBTQ students of color (9%) and transgender and nonbinary students (9%) reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year compared to White LGBTQ students (6%) and cisgender LGBQ students (4%).
  • Nearly nine in ten LGBTQ college students (89%) reported that their college was accepting of LGBTQ people, and this was associated with the availability of LGBTQ-specific student services.

“These findings are strikingly clear: LGBTQ college students who reported having access to mental health services at school had dramatically lower odds of attempting suicide compared to those without access,” said Dr. Jonah DeChants (he/him), Research Scientist at The Trevor Project.

“While college environments offer a number of positive and protective factors for LGBTQ students, the reality is that suicide risk still very much persists, especially among those who do not have access to affirming spaces and services. We urge all colleges and universities to realize that access to mental health care services, as well as LGBTQ-specific student services, on college campuses is critical for ensuring the mental health and safety of their LGBTQ student body,” he added.

Read the report here (Link)

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California

California to build more housing; Student housing bill signed

Legislation signed today will create much-needed new housing units aimed at helping middle and low income Californians

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Governor Newsom gives remarks at future site of affordable housing community in San Francisco (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SAN FRANCISCO – Building on California’s historic efforts to tackle the housing crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed legislation to streamline the housing approval process in California and create thousands of good paying jobs. Governor Newsom also announced $1 billion in awards to 30 shovel-ready projects through the California Housing Accelerator – creating 2,755 new homes for Californians.

“California has made historic investments and taken unprecedented actions to tackle the state’s housing crisis over the past four years,” said Governor Newsom. “But we recognize there’s more work to do – this package of smart, much-needed legislation will help us build new homes while rebuilding the middle class. I’m thankful for the leadership of the Legislature for stepping up to meet this moment to help address the affordability crisis that stretches across the entire nation.”

Governor Newsom signed the housing package alongside legislative, local, housing, and labor leaders, at the future site of an affordable housing community in San Francisco.

“SB 6 and AB 2011 are game changers when it comes to producing desperately needed housing for all income levels,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins. “These two bills are the culmination of many years of work to find solutions that streamline the regulatory process and ensure that workers building homes are being paid a fair wage. I applaud Senator Anna Caballero and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks for their dynamic teamwork and tireless dedication to serving their communities, and our state. I’m grateful to Governor Newsom for signing these bills, and to Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire, Speaker Anthony Rendon, and our labor partners for helping make this victory possible. With these laws in place, we will soon see more building and more jobs, and more families will be able to achieve the California Dream.”

“Today’s signings demonstrate that we can make real progress on improving California’s housing outlook, despite the many challenges we face,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “In particular, AB 2011 shows what can be accomplished when disparate advocates team up on a critical goal. And, of course, the Assembly is proud to have been able to team up with the Senate and the Governor to make this all a reality.”

AB 2011 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) and SB 6 by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced) together will:

  • Help create much-needed new housing units for low and middle income Californians by allowing housing to be built in underutilized commercial sites currently zoned for retail, office, and parking uses.
  • Generate thousands of jobs with health benefits and good wages – and encourage apprenticeships.
  • Increase use of public transit by building housing near existing transit or near corridors for new transit.

Newsom also signed into law Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) legislation to address the student and faculty housing shortage, Senate Bill 886.

SB 886, the Student and Faculty Housing Act, streamlines and accelerates student and faculty housing production across the state and increases the supply of housing so more students and faculty can live on campus. SB 886 gives more students the opportunity to attend California’s public colleges and universities. The legislation exempts from CEQA student and faculty housing projects built on land owned by UC, CSU, or community colleges. CEQA, at times, has been used to stop or delay new student housing from being built.

SB 886 effectively provides UC, CSU, and CCC the same ability to create new student and faculty housing that many cities already have through state housing streamlining laws.

“For far too long, California’s college students have been sleeping in their cars, crashing on friend’s couches, or forced to stay in motels because their schools simply can’t build enough housing for them,” said Senator Wiener. “But today is a new day for students and faculty struggling to find stable housing. Schools will be able to build on-campus housing more quickly and easily. College is a path to the middle class for so many low-income Californians – but college will never be truly accessible if students are worrying about where they’ll sleep, rather than their grades. SB 886 will have a tangible impact for so many.”

California’s lack of student housing drives college students into homelessness. According to a 2021 report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, 5% of UC students are currently experiencing homelessness. That number rises to 16% when those living in hotels or transitional housing are included. For CSU students, the rate of homelessness during the academic year is 10%. With over 280,000 students currently enrolled in UCs and 485,000 in CSUs, this means that over 60,000 students at four-year universities in California are currently facing homelessness, with even more facing housing insecurity.

The statistics are even more jarring for our community college system. In a 2019 survey of 40,000 California community college students, 19% of students had been homeless in the last year while 60% had experienced housing insecurity. With 1.8 million Californians currently attending community college, this means over 1 million community college students in this state alone are unable to find an adequate and affordable place to live while pursuing a degree.

The lack of student housing also impacts California’s urgent need to expand access to public higher education for California youth. The UC system, for example, received record amounts of applications in 2021 and has expanded enrollment as demand has increased. The growth in admissions, combined with decades of limited housing development, has left campuses without the necessary shelter for their students or staff. Schools have revoked housing guarantees, and housing waitlists continue to grow. In the fall of 2021 alone, 13 CSU campuses reported having 8,700 students on waitlists for housing, while 8 UC campuses reported 7,500 students – a combined total of over 16,000 students unable to gain access to housing through the university they attend.

Although half of CSUs and all UCs have added housing capacity since 2015, the rate at which these projects are ready to be inhabited has not matched the rise in admissions. One issue facing potential housing projects for students and faculty is the prevalence of CEQA appeals and lawsuits.

CEQA requires state and local agencies to evaluate and disclose the significant environmental impacts of projects they approve and to avoid or mitigate those impacts if possible. CEQA is a critically important law that protects the environment from projects such as refineries that pollute natural resources and jeopardize health, especially for historically marginalized and underserved populations.

However, the CEQA process is subject to appeals and lawsuits that can increase project costs and create delays for reasons completely unrelated to the environment. It’s not unusual for it to take three to four years and millions of dollars to resolve a single lawsuit, while pre-lawsuit appeals regularly take six months to resolve. The delays and excessive costs associated with CEQA can slow down projects, or even prevent proposals from moving forward.

Using CEQA to delay or halt student and faculty housing projects has greatly impacted California campuses, increasing the cost of living in and around campuses, pushing thousands of students and staff into housing insecurity or homelessness. Moreover, increasing on-campus student and faculty housing is inherently environmentally beneficial, as students and faculty can walk to work or school, rather than driving long distances due to the extreme cost of housing.

To qualify for this exemption, projects must be on a UC, CSU, or CCC campus, utilize prevailing wages and a skilled and trained workforce, not utilize land demarcated as farmland, wetlands, or a very high fire hazard severity zone, and not result in the demolition of rent-controlled or affordable housing. Additionally, projects must be consistent with Long Range Development Plans or Master Plans that have been certified on or after January 1, 2018, have a transportation demand management program, and mitigate all construction impacts. Projects cannot result in any net additional emissions of greenhouse gasses.

To qualify for this exemption, each building within a development be LEED Platinum certified, have no more than 33% of the square footage be used for dining, academic or student support spaces, and have a maximum of 2,000 units or 4,000 beds. Projects must be located within half a mile of a major transit stop, half a mile of the campus boundary, or have 15% lower per capita VMT. Lead agencies must hold at least one hearing – with public notice – for a project.

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Melrose Gathering Place Community Conversation; ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series; 2023 Arts Grant Program Grant Recipients + more

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series Presents a Free Panel Discussion and Screening of ‘Queers Across Years’ on National Coming Out Day

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series, in conjunction with QueerWise, will host a panel discussion and screening of the film Queers Across Years.

The event will take place on National Coming Out Day, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and opening remarks will take place at 7 p.m. followed by the film screening and a panel discussion that will begin at 8 p.m. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP is requested at https://HRSS-2022Oct11.eventbrite.com. Parking validation for the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure, will be available at the event (parking is limited to availability).

Queers Across Years was developed through workshops over the course of a few weeks and features a group of younger (ages 18-25) and older (50+) LGBTQ community members sharing personal thoughts, ideas, and writings. The workshops were composed of pairs of younger and older participants with members of QueerWise, an LGBTQIA+ multigenerational writing collective and performance group based in Los Angeles. Members of QueerWise include published poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, and playwrights, singers, musicians, social activists, dancers, and actors, artists, and teachers. The stories written in those workshops have been developed into the material that’s woven into this inter-generational and inter-GENDER-ational video tapestry.

Featured panelists will include QueerWise Artistic Director/Founder Michael Kearns and Queers Across Years participants Gabrielle Néla and Gordon Blitz. The discussion will be moderated by Lucia Chappelle, Co-Producer of This Way Out international LGBTQ radio and Minister of Social Justice, FMCC.

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series brings together diverse communities to learn about and discuss global, national, and local human rights issues in a supportive environment. The series reflects the City’s commitment to human rights and core value of Respect and Support for People.

For additional information about the Human Rights Speakers Series, please visit www.weho.org/hrss.

For more information, please contact Joy Tribble, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Specialist, at (323) 848-6360 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Celebrates Disabilities Awareness Month in October

The City of West Hollywood and its Disabilities Advisory Board will recognize October as Disabilities Awareness Month. This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is landmark civil rights legislation that works to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities across society, including in the workplace.

Throughout the month of October, the City of West Hollywood will commemorate Disabilities Awareness Month with the installation of 43 street pole banners along Santa Monica Boulevard, which recognize past recipients of the City’s Disability Service Awards in the individual and nonprofit organization categories.

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

On Thursday, October 20, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the City of West Hollywood, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, will host a free Outdoor Flu and COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in the Great Hall Courtyard at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. COVID-19 transmission is still a concern in Los Angeles County. People who are unvaccinated are at higher risk for serious illness and death. Additionally, the flu season presents a challenge to public health because symptoms of influenza can be very serious. Services offered at this event are: flu vaccines for ages 6 months and older (children 6 months to 8 years of age receiving their first flu vaccine may be registered for their required second dose at https://myturn.ca.gov/); COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines: first, second, and Bivalent Booster doses for ages 12 years and older; Pfizer third dose for immunocompromised individuals 12 years and older. This event will also feature free blood pressure checks and a voter registration booth. 

Walk-ins for both the flu and COVID- 19 vaccines will be accepted, however pre-registration is recommended for the COVID-19 vaccines. Go to: https://myturn.ca.gov/ and use zip code “90046” to locate Cedars-Sinai Pop-up – West Hollywood Plummer Park (10/20/22 Only). A mask must be worn to attend the event. Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Participants should bring a form of identification and existing COVID-19 vaccination card. Please stay home if you are not feeling well. For more information or if you have questions about the Outdoor Flu and COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic, please call Cedars-Sinai at (310) 423-4625.

On Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 6 p.m. the City of West Hollywood will host the 24th Annual Disability Service Awards at a special televised meeting of the Disabilities Advisory Board. The virtual meeting will take place on the Zoom platform at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81840112413. The Disability Service Awards will also be broadcast live on WeHoTV on Spectrum Cable Channel 10 in West Hollywood; will be livestreamed on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv and on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv; and will be livestreamed via the AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, AndroidTV, and Roku platforms by searching for “WeHoTV.”

This year’s Disability Service Awards honorees are:

  • Lovedy Brydon Differently Abled Individual Award: Dena Saur Bowman – (posthumously);
  • Business Award:  Pavilions West Hollywood;
  • Media Award: Paulo Murillo; and
  • Nonprofit Award: West Hollywood Comprehensive Service Center/Jewish Family Service LA. 

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

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division at (323) 848-6510.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing please contact [email protected] for more information and to request accommodation. Individuals may also use TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Host Community Conversation for Melrose Gathering Place on Thursday, September 29 at 6 p.m.

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend a Melrose Gathering Place Community Conversation on Thursday, September 29, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the Respite Deck of the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center (Floor 5 at the top of the grand staircase), located at 8750 El Tovar Place, next to the West Hollywood Library.

The space at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Norwich Drive is currently sidewalk and diagonal parking. It will be transformed into approximately 7,200 square feet of park-like space with landscaping, trees, seating, public art, and other amenities. The previously proposed design for this space is now being reimagined, and the City is excited to restart the effort with a new design team, artist, and with renewed input from the local community. The Community Conversation will be an in-person opportunity for neighbors, local business owners, and residents’ associations to meet the newly commissioned design team early in the process and participate in reimagining the space.

The Melrose Gathering Place project was established as part of the Design District Streetscape Master Plan, which was unanimously approved by City Council in 2014. The Design District Streetscape & Undergrounding Project is now in its second phase of construction. The Master Plan was designed to improve the overall aesthetics and mobility of the commercial district known as West Hollywood Design District, with the goal of strengthening the economic vitality of the district. Key features of the project include pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements; new pavement and sidewalks; distinctive trees and landscaping; upgraded street furniture and streetlights; smart city infrastructure installation; utility undergrounding work; and the creation of new public gathering spaces, such as the Melrose Gathering Place, with integrated public art.

For additional information, please contact Michael Barker, the City of West Hollywood Project Architect in the City’s Urban Design and Architecture Studio, at (323) 848-6483 or at [email protected].

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

City Council Adopts Positions of Support for Four State Ballot Initiatives that will Appear on the Ballot for the Nov. 8 General Election

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood, at its regular meeting on Monday, September 19, 2022, adopted positions of support for four of the seven state ballot initiatives that will appear on the ballot for the November 8, 2022 General Election. The City Council is adopting Resolutions in support of: Proposition 1; Proposition 28; Proposition 30; and Proposition 31. These four Propositions are of particular concern and interest to the City of West Hollywood. 

A summary of City Council positions on state ballot initiatives is as follows:

SUPPORT. Proposition 1, if approved by voters, would amend the California Constitution to prohibit the state from enacting legislation or regulations that would deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. The City of West Hollywood is a self-declared pro-choice city and has been a strong supporter of individuals’ right to choose. Proposition 1 is consistent with the City’s core values, the 2021-2022 legislative priorities, and previously adopted policies.

SUPPORT. Proposition 28 is intended to supplement current school funding that is governed by Proposition 98 of 1988, which requires the state to set aside funds for K-12 education from the state’s General Fund and property taxes. This proposition will commit an additional 1% of GF funds for arts and music education in public and charter schools. The City of West Hollywood has been a longstanding supporter of arts and culture in our community and is dedicated to providing accessible arts programs for residents and visitors. Providing additional funding to arts and music education in public and charter schools is important to ensuring equity and accessibility for all, including economically disadvantaged schools and students.

SUPPORT. Proposition 30 would increase the tax on personal incomes above $2 million by 1.75% and dedicate the revenue to zero-emission vehicle subsidies; zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging stations; and wildfire suppression and prevention programs. The City of West Hollywood has adopted sustainability policies consistent with the City’s commitment to protecting the environment and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Proposition 30 will increase revenues and allocate funding for the expansion of programs to facilitate a reduction of GHGs in California and West Hollywood. This not only will assist the state’s efforts to combat climate change, it will also result in the reduction of air contaminants, which for many people living with respiratory diseases could mean the ability to breathe easier and have a better quality of life.

SUPPORT. Proposition 31, The proponents of this ballot initiative, manufacturers of tobacco products, including tobacco flavored products, are seeking to repeal the 2020 state law (SB 793, Chapter 34, Statutes of 2020) that banned the retail sales of flavored tobacco products in California. SB 793 was introduced by Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. As the opponents were able to qualify the referendum challenging SB 793, the law did not go into effect. Thus, the voters will decide whether or not the ban on the sales of flavored tobacco products should stay or be repealed. A Yes vote on Proposition 31 is a vote to uphold the law and keep the ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. In 2021, the City of West Hollywood adopted an ordinance to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, and electronic smoking devices. Support for Proposition 31 is in line with the City’s adopted policies.

California voters, in the upcoming November 8, 2022 General Election, will be asked to vote upon seven statewide initiatives. Voters in the City of West Hollywood will vote, as well, to fill three (3) West Hollywood City Council seats for four-year terms. Details about the General Municipal Election are available on the City’s website at www.weho.org/elections. The City encourages community members to check voter registration status at www.lavote.gov/vrstatus.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s legislative affairs efforts, please visit www.weho.org/legislative or contact Hernán Molina, the City of West Hollywood’s Governmental Affairs Liaison, at (323) 848-6364 or [email protected]

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

City of West Hollywood is Implementing Block by Block Program Expansion with 30 Additional Security Ambassadors

The City of West Hollywood is pleased to announce that it is in the process of expanding its Block by Block program with 30 additional Security Ambassadors. The Block by Block program has hired and trained 20 new Security Ambassadors, one Team Lead, and one Operations Supervisor, as reported at the West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, September 19, 2022. The Block by Block program is on-track to be fully staffed by October 1, 2022, with a total of approximately 85 Security Ambassadors.

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood unanimously approved a Block by Block Security Ambassadors program update at its meeting on Monday, September 19, 2022. This follows City Council approval on Monday, June 27, 2022, of the City’s FY 2022-23 & 2023-24 two-year operating budget and capital work plan, which directed an increase to the number of Block by Block Security Ambassadors by 30 positions. Additional direction regarding the expansion was provided by the City Council on Monday, August 1, 2022 when it approved the related amendment to the Block by Block agreement for services.

“The City’s Block by Block Security Ambassadors program will continue to provide bicycle and foot patrols throughout the City’s commercial districts,” said City of West Hollywood City Manager David Wilson. “The program is adding dedicated foot patrols in residential neighborhoods citywide and is staffing new kiosks in selected locations. Block by Block Security Ambassadors work in close alignment with Deputies from our Sheriff’s Station, as well as our City’s Code Enforcement and Homeless Initiative teams, among others. The collaboration positively impacts quality of life in West Hollywood.”

Block by Block Security Ambassadors work in collaboration with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to provide supplemental safety services and they get to know West Hollywood’s neighborhoods to assist in providing an extra level of hospitality to businesses, residents, and visitors. Expansion of the program aims to provide an additional public presence to proactively reduce crime.

Block by Block Security Ambassadors are highly focused on safety and hospitality in West Hollywood with specific emphasis on:

  • Maintaining uniformed foot and bicycle patrols throughout the City’s business districts and residential neighborhoods;
  • Providing in-person responses 24/7 to non-violent calls for service;
  • Conducting safety escorts for residents, businesses, and visitors; and
  • Offering helpful guidance to community members and visitors about City information, directions, parking, and more.

In consultation with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, the City of West Hollywood will implement four new Block by Block Security Ambassador kiosks by October 1, 2022, at or near the following intersections: (1) Santa Monica Boulevard at N. Robertson Boulevard; (2) Santa Monica Boulevard at Westmount Drive; (3) Sunset Boulevard and Sunset Plaza Drive; and (4) Melrose Avenue and Westmount Drive.

During the next several weeks, the City will be sharing additional information about the Block by Block Security Ambassadors program with outreach to residents and businesses.

About | Block by Block Security Ambassadors Program – The City of West Hollywood partners with Block by Block on its Security Ambassadors program, which has a direct positive impact on safety and neighborhood livability.

First established as a City program in 2013, West Hollywood Block by Block Security Ambassadors provide a highly visible uniformed presence at the street level and leverage the effectiveness of local law enforcement by working in collaboration with personnel from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

In addition to supplemental safety services, Block by Block Security Ambassadors get to know West Hollywood’s neighborhoods and assist in providing an extra level of hospitality to businesses, residents, and visitors and help to address and respond to quality of life concerns in the community.

Security Ambassadors receive trainings on topics such as active shooters, cultural diversity and sensitivity, administration of Narcan to treat narcotic overdose, mental health first aid, sexual harassment, emergency/disaster preparedness, and more.

The Block by Block Security Ambassador Hotline provides access to free, 24/7 support by phone or text at (323) 821-8604; a new toll-free number will be introduced in the coming weeks. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/bbb

About | Sheriff’s, Fire, Code, and Emergencies – The City of West Hollywood contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement and the Los Angeles County Fire Department for fire protection. The City’s Neighborhood & Business Safety Division oversees code enforcement.

For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/publicsafety. For anyone with public safety concerns, please reach out to the Sheriff’s Station 24/7 at (310) 855-8850. In an emergency, always call 911.  

For more information, please contact City of West Hollywood Director of Community Safety Danny Rivas at (323) 848-6424 or [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Announces 2023 Arts Grant Program Grant Recipients

The City of West Hollywood 

has announced the recipients for the 2023-2024 Arts Grant Program, totaling $211,000 for twenty new grantees and sixteen multi-year grantees who are all Los Angeles County based non-profit arts organizations and artists. 

The City of West Hollywood, through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, has maintained an Arts Grant Program since 1997. The Program provides funding support, through the Arts Grant Program, to eligible artists and nonprofit arts organizations for the production, performance or presentation of arts projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood and that serve the West Hollywood community.

The City received a total of 49 applications, and $315,604 in funding requests, from artists and non-profit arts organizations proposing art projects to take place in the City of West Hollywood in 2023. These applications represent a variety of arts disciplines and a wide array of excellent project proposals. Following peer panel review, Performing Arts and Cultural Affairs Subcommittee, and Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission funding recommendations, the West Hollywood City Council approved the below recommendations on September 19, 2022.

The Arts Project Grant category supports the production, performance or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood and that serve the West Hollywood community. It is a two-year grant. The following non-profit arts organizations are grant recipients for 2023-2024: Brockus Project Dance Company, Grand Performances, International Eye Los Angeles, Mashup Contemporary Dance Company, Oasis Players, Pieter, Pride Poets, and Saturday Night Bath Concert Fund.

The Transgender Arts Initiative Grant category supports and enhances the presentation of artworks in West Hollywood by transgender artists, artist collectives or groups, and non-profit organizations with a history of supporting transgender artists. First initiated in 2013, this grant category is the first to support artwork by, for, and about the Transgender community. Last year, the City received 4 eligible applications; this year 16 applications were received. The 2023 grant recipients in this category are: Celebration Theatre, Cleveland Wright Lopez, Drian Juarez, Lauren Woods, and Marval A Rechsteiner.

The Community Arts Grant intends to support non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting BIPOC and/or female artists and audiences. The grant recipients in this category include: Age Inclusion in Media, The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Chicana Directors Initiative, and East West Players, Inc.

The WeHo Artist Grant aims to nurture and support the long-term development of an artist’s ideas by providing funds that increase the capacity for artists to realize work, advance the conditions of creation, and navigate the complexities of both making art and making a career. The West Hollywood resident artist grant recipients for 2023 are: Ignacio Darnaude, Sharmin Rahman, and Steven Reigns. 

In addition to these new grant awardees, the City continues to support its multi-year grantees in their second or third year of programming. The multi-year grantees are: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Greenway Arts Alliance, Helix Collective, Kontrapunktus Neo-Baroque Chamber Orchestra, LAXART, Look What She Did, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, ONE Archives, Rogue Artists Ensemble, Suarez Dance Theater, The New Arts Foundation, War Toys, Prism Comics, No Easy Props, Arts Bridging the Gap, and Wordsville.

The Arts Grant Program is considered a central component to arts and cultural programs and services provided by the City of West Hollywood. Arts grants offer subsidized funding to artists and organizations so that ticket prices are free or more affordable for the public. In other cases, art grants provide opportunities for artistic development, allowing space for stimulating creativity and deepening cross-cultural understanding, while contributing to the quality-of-life residents and visitors can enjoy in West Hollywood. The funding provided through the vehicle of a grant ensures a fair and equitable review process and results in the reflection of the diversity contained among our residents.

Join the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division staff for the WeHo Artists Roundtable, on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room. RSVP at https://bit.ly/WeHoArtistsRoundtable. The WeHo Artists Roundtable is a gathering of arts organizations, individual artists, arts and creative businesses, and community members committed to West Hollywood’s artistic and cultural vitality. This Roundtable will offer a presentation by Greg Victoroff, Esq. centering the topic of copyright issues for art makers. 

The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors. The City delivers a broad array of arts programs through its Arts Division including: Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Arts Grants for Artists and Nonprofit Arts Organizations, City Poet Laureate Program, Free Theatre in the Parks, Human Rights Speakers Series, Library Exhibits and Programming, Summer Sounds / Winter Sounds, Urban Art Program (permanent public art), WeHo Reads, and the WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program, please visit www.weho.org/arts or contact Eva Angeloff, Grants Coordinator in the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division, at (323) 848-6354 or at [email protected].

City of West Hollywood Presents 59, a Film from Artist Leslie Foster as Part of the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

The City of West Hollywood announces the next exhibition in the Moving Image Media Art program (MIMA) and the debut of 59, a film from artist Leslie Foster. 59 will air at the top of every hour on the digital billboard at 8743 Sunset Boulevard (Invisible Frame) on the Sunset Strip from Saturday, October 1, 2022, through Tuesday, January 31, 2023. 

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. Among the most resonant and applicable themes MIMA seeks to represent is the concept of invisibility in relation to communities rendered unseen by inequity.

H. Leslie Foster II is an experimental filmmaker whose work shines a bright light on the historically silenced. 59 is comprised of 11 films, that were shot in 11 months in May 2017, with 11 different collaborators. 59 represents the completion of a yearlong art residency with the nonprofit art collective Level Ground, where he now serves as the Director of Art Residency. The work recognizes struggle as a universally shared experience, which provocatively describes our differences and similarities all at once. 

Foster is an artist based in Los Angeles whose work explores Black and queer futurism through a lens of dream logic. His love for storytelling is inspired by a childhood spent in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Berrien Springs, Michigan. Since 2006 he has shot films and music videos in Serbia, gone undercover in Jamaica to shoot a documentary about violent homophobia, attended Burning Man 8 times, and has been exhibited internationally. He is also a founding member of the collective Museum Adjacent, which was formed by members of the 2019 Torrance Art Museum FORUM residency cohort.

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 within 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. Leslie Foster was selected for exhibition from the MIMA Prequalified List, a rolling, open-call for moving image media artists, curators, and nonprofit arts organizations, with applications reviewed bi-annually by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, in November and May. The MIMA Prequalified List includes a diverse list of artists of all career levels; from emerging to internationally recognized. https://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 (323) 848-6846 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Presents THREE OVERLOOKED WOMEN FILMMAKERS from Artist Sabrina Gshwandtner As Part of the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

The City of West Hollywood announces the debut of the next exhibition in the Moving Image Media Art program (MIMA) program and the worldwide debut of THREE OVERLOOKED WOMEN FILMMAKERS, a collection of three short films, from artist Sabrina Gshwandtner. The THREE OVERLOOKED WOMEN FILMMAKERS Film I will air at the top of every hour, followed by Film II and Film III at 20 and 40 minutes past each hour on the Streamlined Arbor billboard, located at 9157 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip from Saturday, October 1, 2022, through Tuesday, January 31, 2023. 

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. Among the most resonant and applicable themes MIMA seeks to represent is the concept of restoration in relation to communities rendered unseen by inequity.

Sabrina Gschwandtner has examined the historical erasure of work done by women in film throughout her career. By creating kaleidoscopic moving image “quilts” of meticulously manipulated historic footage, Gshwandtner’s work performs an act of historical remediation, recovering the names and works of under-recognized women filmmakers of the silent era, where intricate sewing skills translated their handcraft perfectly to the rigorous demands of weaving together an engaging movie. Gshwandtner’s expressive films mend unconscionable gaps in Hollywood’s past, but they also exist as beautiful, mesmerizing moments on their own, flickering at the western edge of the city, confidently guiding us home.   

Sabrina Gschwandtner’s artwork, comprised of film, video, photography, and textiles, was recently featured at The Sum of the Parts, Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, and at a solo exhibition at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Los Angeles. Gschwandtner’s artwork has been exhibited internationally at museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Museum of Arts and Design, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, among many others. Her work is held in the permanent collections of LACMA, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the RISD Museum, the Mint Museum, the Philbrook Museum, the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins Collect, and the Carl and Marilyn Thoma Art Foundation, among other public and private collections worldwide. Gschwandtner was born in Washington D.C., received her MFA from Bard College, and received a 2019 City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellowship. 

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 within 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. Sabrina Gshwandtner was selected for exhibition from the MIMA Prequalified List, a rolling, open-call for moving image media artists, curators, and nonprofit arts organizations, with applications reviewed bi-annually by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, in November and May. The MIMA Prequalified List includes a diverse list of artists of all career levels; from emerging to internationally recognized. https://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 (323) 848-6846 or at [email protected].

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

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