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Fate of WeHo Log Cabin is at a confusing stalemate

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For decades the building known as the “Log Cabin” located at 621 N. Robertson Blvd has served as an oasis for the Los Angeles sober community with 29 meetings held each week at the site.

But the property, while technically within the jurisdiction of West Hollywood, belongs to the City of Beverly Hills. And Beverly Hills wants it gone.

The building’s complicated history is murky at best. The Historic Architecture Database lists the date of construction as 1936, although other sources have given dates ranging from 1928 to 1939.

The Log Cabin happens to sit on top of a water well that serves Beverly Hills and the western edge of West Hollywood. According to West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran, it was this well that motivated Beverly Hills to purchase the property. They later allowed the Boy Scouts of America to construct the cabin on the site and for many years it was the headquarters for their Troop 27. They stipulated, though, that the cabin be demolished upon the troop’s vacation of the property.

That didn’t happen. Instead, the Lion’s Club moved into the building and signed a lease with the same demolition clause. At some point they began allowing the space to be used for other meetings. It is now utilized for various recovery groups.

The Lion’s Club, which reportedly has a president but no other noticeable representation in Los Angeles, still has control of the building. Their lease expired in 1977 and they are presumedly in a month-to-month agreement. The original lease required just one dollar a year in rent, but apparently not once in the 42 years since the lease lapsed has that dollar been paid.

The sudden interest by Beverly Hills appears to be monetarily motivated. In recent years commercial development has exploded along Robertson Blvd. Selling the property to developers would be profitable for the city. They have also sent site inspectors to the building who have found it in poor condition.

The Lion’s Club, or what is left of it, has been asked to vacate and demolish the building by March 31, per their original lease. This information was made public this weekend and the outcry was immediate. A petition has been started to save the Log Cabin.

Numerous dissenting social media and blog posts have been shared. The backlash has led to the City of West Hollywood stepping in to coordinate a solution with Beverly Hills.

On Monday, the two cities issued a joint press release saying, in part, that they are “in discussions to determine a shared approach to the current uses at the Log Cabin property.”

What that means and how that effects the eviction notice is yet to be determined. Beverly Hills is offering alternative locations to hold meetings, but West Hollywood will be doing their own site inspections.

The contrast in the statements between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills was subtle but pointed.

West Hollywood City Manager Paul Arevalo seemed to support saving the structure. He stated in the press release, “We are committed to continued availability of services. This space serves a significant and valuable role for the recovery community and we will examine all potential options.”

Meanwhile, Beverly Hills City Manager George Chavez’s comment appeared to fall on the demolition side. “Both cities recognize the important work that has occurred at the site and the countless lives that have been changed for the better. Our concern is the safety of those within the building,” he said.

It is the sober community that will be ultimately affected.

“I’ve been a member of the sober community for over 20 years,” Duran told the Los Angeles Blade. “And that building that some might see as an eye sore is integral to helping stop the use of crystal meth, alcoholism, the spread of HIV/AIDS and so many other issues related to addiction and recovery. To suddenly shut it down takes away an essential ingredient in the city’s addressing of these issues.”

There is limited space available for such meetings, with West Hollywood’s own Drug and Alcohol Recovery Center already booked solid each week. “I don’t think Beverly Hills understands how critical the Log Cabin is,” added Duran.

Right now, those affected by the turn of events are in a holding pattern. More information will be reported as it becomes available.

Photo of Log Cabin is a stock photo, via John Duran’s Facebook page

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Monkeypox outbreak, CDC asks for reaction guided by science, not stigma

CDC says cases have been identified in Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia and New York

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Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director, CDC (Screenshot/YouTube)

ATLANTA – During a press briefing Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention confirmed that there are now seven states reporting active cases of infection of the Monkeypox virus.

Walensky told reporters that cases have been identified in Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia and New York. She added that all of the reported cases so far have been gay or bisexual men.

Samples from the nine identified cases were sent to the CDC for additional confirmatory testing and genomic investigation, she noted, and there are efforts to learn how each individual contracted the virus.

The CDC Director then called for an approach “guided by science, not by stigma.”

“This is a community that has the strength and has demonstrated the ability to address challenges to their health by focusing on compassion and science,” Walensky said in a reference to the AIDS pandemic.

“While some groups may have a greater chance of exposure right now, infectious diseases do not care about state or international borders. They’re not contained within social networks and the risk of exposure is not limited to any one particular group,” she cautioned.

Walensky implored people “to approach this outbreak without stigma and without discrimination.”

Health officials on both sides of the Atlantic are cautioning gay and bisexual men to be cautious as numbers of infections of the non-lethal monkeypox continue to climb. The outbreak according to the World Health Organization can be traced to sexual activity stemming from LGBTQ+ events, one in the Spanish in the Canary Islands and the other in Belgium.

The United Nations’ AIDS agency (UNAID) in a press release Monday decried the semingly homophobic news coverage of the recent outbreaks of monkeypox in Europe and the United States.

“Lessons from the AIDS response show that stigma and blame directed at certain groups of people can rapidly undermine outbreak response,” UNAIDS said.

Monkeypox is not usually fatal but often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets of bodily fluid from an infected person. Most people recover from the disease within several weeks without requiring hospitalization. Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are also effective in preventing monkeypox and some antiviral drugs are being developed.

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First case of Monkeypox reported in California in Sacramento

This is the first case of the monkeypox infection reported in the state of California according to Public Health officials

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Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye (Screenshot/Zoom)

SACRAMENTO – During a virtual Zoom press conference Tuesday morning, Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye told reporters that her department is investigating a potential case of infection of monkeypox in a Sacramento area resident.

This is the first case of the monkeypox infection reported in the state of California according to Public Health officials.

Dr. Kasirye said that Public Health and is waiting for confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), according to Public Health on the case and that resident had recently returned from Europe. Kasirye added the patient is isolated at home and has not been in contact with any other people and any risk to the general public is very minimal.

According to Public Health, monkeypox does not naturally occur in the United States and US cases are related to international travel or importing animals from areas where the disease may exist.

Symptoms may not appear for seven to 14 days after infection and can last two to four weeks, according to Public Health.

The chairman of the World Health Organization Emergency Committee, Professor David L. Heymann told reporters Monday that WHO researchers determined that cases were confirmed stemming from an LGBTQ+ Pride celebration in the Canary Islands that drew tens of thousands of revelers and linked to the Darklands Festival, a large-scale fetish festival in the port city of Antwerp, Belgium.

Monkeypox is not usually fatal but often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets of bodily fluid from an infected person. Most people recover from the disease within several weeks without requiring hospitalization. Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are also effective in preventing monkeypox and some antiviral drugs are being developed.

Monkeypox symptoms:

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • chills
  • exhaustion

A rash can appear on the face and spread to other parts of the body one to three days after the appearance of a fever, according to Public Health.

For more information regarding Monkeypox visit the official CDC monkeypox page or the CDPH page on the disease.

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CDC & World Health Org issue warning to gay/bi men over monkeypox

Chance of exposure to monkeypox right now doesn’t mean the risk is limited only to the gay and bisexual community

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CDC Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia (US Government/CDC)

ATLANTA – Health officials on both sides of the Atlantic are cautioning gay and bisexual men to be cautious as numbers of infections of the non-lethal monkeypox continue to climb. The outbreak according to the World Health Organization can be traced to sexual activity stemming from LGBTQ+ events, one in the Spanish in the Canary Islands and the other in Belgium.

The chairman of the World Health Organization Emergency Committee, Professor David L. Heymann told reporters that WHO researchers determined that cases were confirmed stemming from an LGBTQ+ Pride celebration in the Canary Islands that drew tens of thousands of revelers and linked to the Darklands Festival, a large-scale fetish festival in the port city of Antwerp, Belgium.

“We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected,” Heymann said. “And it looks like the sexual contact has now amplified that transmission.”

“It’s very possible there was somebody who got infected, developed lesions on the genitals, hands or somewhere else, and then spread it to others when there was sexual or close, physical contact,” Heymann added. “And then there were these international events that seeded the outbreak around the world, into the US and other European countries.”

A section of skin tissue, harvested from a lesion on the skin of a monkey, that had been infected with monkeypox virus, is seen at 50X magnification on day four of rash development in 1968. (CDC/Reuters)

On Monday, Dr. John Brooks, an official with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta told reporters that anyone can contract monkeypox through close personal contact regardless of sexual orientation. He added that so far many of the people affected globally are men who identify as gay or bisexual. Though they may have greater chance of exposure to monkeypox right now, that doesn’t mean the risk is limited only to the gay and bisexual community, he said.

The United Nations’ AIDS agency (UNAID) in a press release Monday decried the semingly homophobic news coverage of the recent outbreaks of monkeypox in Europe and the United States.

“Lessons from the AIDS response show that stigma and blame directed at certain groups of people can rapidly undermine outbreak response,” UNAIDS said.

Monkeypox is not usually fatal but often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets of bodily fluid from an infected person. Most people recover from the disease within several weeks without requiring hospitalization. Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are also effective in preventing monkeypox and some antiviral drugs are being developed.

University of Maryland’s Vice President and Chief of Infectious Diseases at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Center, Dr. Faheem Younus, tweeted a note of reassurance Monday; “Monkeypox cases are concerning but the risk of this becoming a COVID like pandemic is ZERO%”

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