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Michelle Obama: ‘Vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it’



Michelle Obama urged Americans to vote out President Trump in the 2020 election. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Former first lady Michelle Obama, in an intimate video speech for the Democratic National Convention, made a personal plea Monday for voters to reject President Trump.

In her remarks drawing on her ability to connect personally with an audience, Obama urged Americans to back Joe Biden in the presidential election, drawing on the coronavirus crisis, economic hardship and call to action against racism in the United States.

“You know I hate politics,” Michelle Obama said. “But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children. So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

Watch the full video here (via PBS NewsHour):


West Hollywood

West Hollywood celebrates ACT UP LA’s 35th anniversary

In December 1987, ACT UP Los Angeles became one of the first chapters established in the world regularly meeting at Plummer Park in WeHo



ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood - Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood hosted the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) LA’s 35th anniversary with a tribute event at Plummer Park’s Great Hall/Long Hall, on Saturday, December 2, 2023.

The event also paid tribute to the memories of ACT UP LA activists Mary Lucey and Nancy Jean MacNeil, who died in early 2023 and raised awareness of ACT UP LA’s history surrounding World AIDS Day by highlighting ACT UP LA’s decade of brave and deeply influential HIV/AIDS activism. And it all originated in West Hollywood.

West Hollywood council members Lauren Meister and Chelsea Byers attended the event, which turned out a packed house paying tribute and celebrating 35 years of AIDS activism following World AIDS Day the previous day. Community members were also joined by City Staff, City Commissioners and Board Members.

ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES
ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

ACT UP is a diverse, nonpartisan group of individuals, united in anger, and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. ACT UP was founded in 1987 in response to the Reagan administration’s blatant refusal to acknowledge the growing AIDS crisis.

In December 1987, ACT UP Los Angeles became one of the first chapters established in the world. Regularly meeting at Plummer Park in West Hollywood, ACT UP LA stood out from other chapters with its focus on compassionate release for prisoners with AIDS, fight for clean needle exchange, and taking a national leadership role in the ACT UP Network Coalition for Universal Healthcare.

ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

Mary Lucey and Nancy Jean MacNeil were together for more than 30 years. They eventually married when it became legal to do so. Lucey and MacNeil, along with fellow AIDS activists Jordan Peimer, Helene Schpak, and Judy Ornelas Sisneros, launched the ACT UP LA Oral History Project on World AIDS Day 2021 with the goal of documenting HIV activism in the Los Angeles area from 1987 to 1997, with a notable focus on the work of ACT UP LA.

ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

Mary Lucey and Nancy Jean MacNeil both joined ACT UP LA after they attended the first Women’s Caucus meeting in June 1990. Lucey was among the first HIV-positive women in Los Angeles to be out about her status. Fueled by a sense of outrage at AIDSphobia, she fought for several years in ACT UP to expand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s definition of AIDS to include women’s opportunistic infections and for health care for incarcerated women with AIDS. MacNeil became the founding Executive Director of Women Alive, an organization by and for HIV-positive women with a membership of more than 500 people. She established a treatment-focused newsletter and the first national women’s AIDS hotline.

ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

The ACT UP LA Oral History Project is committed to giving a voice to the activists who constructed regional and national history during the AIDS pandemic. Focused on the lifespan of ACT UP LA from 1987-1997, the intent of this project is to capture the experiences of those individuals whose participation in ACT UP LA led to successes in the community that saved lives, changed the way society thought about people with AIDS, and challenged and changed the institutional biases that allowed the AIDS crisis to explode to such a devastating level.


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.


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

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Northern California

Gaining a new foothold in Redding, the only gay bar’s renaissance

“It’s just not good for everybody to not have a place to be that’s explicitly open to them being who they want to be”



The Vault bills itself as Redding California's Gayest Bar & Nightclub. (Photo Credit: The Vault/Facebook)

REDDING, Calif. – For nearly 27 years in this Northern California city the only refuge for Shasta County’s queer community was the 501 bar and club in downtown Redding. Then last year during Pride Month the owners alerted their customers and the community the bar was closing permanently.

The club was given a rousing farewell which on its Facebook page it was dubbed the “Last Dance.” Featuring music, a candlelight vigil, the community gathered to say their final goodbye to a place that always accepted them for who they are.

This week Redding’s ABC News affiliate KRCR 7 interviewed Brad Thompson, the new owner of the bar now called ‘The Vault’ that sits on the corner of Center and Division Street, telling KRCR it [the 501] felt like home when he moved to the city in 2015.

(Photo Credit: The Vault/Facebook)

“This was really the only bar that I found to be home and where I felt comfortable in being who I wanted to be,” Thompson says. “Hanging out with other people who had the same values of just being authentic and being in the moment and being here.”

Thompson explained the sense of loss when the 501 shut down in 2022.

“The community got really fractured,” he says. “And it’s just not good for everybody to not have a place to be that’s explicitly open to them being who they want to be.”

According to ABC 7, Thompson was eager to acquire the property and get it re-established as a safe space place for LGBTQ+ people to be themselves.

“I’m just trying to improve on it or, at least, create my vision of what I want to see here,” he shares. “Which is more relationships formed, more people connecting and creating good vibes, and that expanding out into the community.“

Although the bar has been reopened since October, it has gained a loyal following and continues to make its mark in Redding and Shasta County.

You can find more information about The Vault’s hours and events on their site.

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Out in the World: LGBTQ+ news from Europe & Asia

LGBTQ+ stories from around the globe including Nepal, Malaysia, The Vatican, the United Kingdom, Ireland & Russia



Los Angeles Blade graphic


For the first time in Nepal, the marriage of a same-sex couple has been registered in the Himalayan nation between Ram Bahadur Gurung (Maya) and Surendra Pandey. (Screenshot/Pahichan Media)

KATHMANDU, Nepal – The marriage between Maya Ram Bahadur Gurung and Surendra Pandey this past week in the Nepalese capital city is being hailed by the country’s LGBTQ+ rights activists. Gurung, a transwoman and Pandey, who is gay was registered by the local municipality ward office four months after the Himalayan nation’s highest court legalized same-sex marriages in an interim order.

The former Executive Director/CEO and founder of the Blue Diamond society, first LGBTQ+ rights organization in Nepal, Sunil Babu Pant, who has also served in the country’s parliament was present for the civil ceremony telling the Associated Press: “After 23 years of struggle, we got this historic achievement, and finally, Maya and Surendra got their marriage registered at the local administration office,” Pant said.

In a later interview with Naya Prakashan news Pant noted. “A wedding in Nepal today can become the signpost in South Asia for a more equal tomorrow.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Gurung, a transgender woman who is legally recognized as male, and Pandey, a cisgender gay man, held a Hindu wedding ceremony in 2017. They first attempted to legally register their marriage in June this year at the Kathmandu District Court, following an interim order by Nepal’s Supreme Court instructing authorities to register same-sex marriages while considering a case that argues for marriage equality across the country.

When that court rejected their registration, saying it did not need to recognize a couple that was not one legal male and one legal female, they appealed to the Patan High Court in September.

But the high court judges rejected the appeal, saying that it was the responsibility of the federal government to change the law before the lower authorities could register such marriages, HRW reported.

Nepal’s civil code currently only recognizes marriages between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court attempted to rectify that by ordering the creation of an interim registry for nontraditional marriages until parliament changes the law. The two lower courts then reversed the logic by claiming that the national law must be changed first.


 Johor State Assembly. (Photo Credit: Bernama/News agency of the government of Malaysia)

JOHOR, Malaysia – Malaysian LGBTQ+ rights activists are decrying efforts by the Johor state government to establish a “rehab” centre for “people in same-sex relations,” which would use the globally debunked conversion therapy to change sexual orientation.

Malaysian society is predominately Muslim and conservative. Human Rights Watch has noted that the government authorities in the Malay Archipelago are willing to enforce the rigid gender roles by which they compel all Malaysians to abide with few exceptions.

Speaking at the Johor state assembly on Wednesday, the state’s Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid said 400,000 ringgit ($86,000 USD) has been allocated for the rehabilitation center, which was expected to open in July next year the South China Morning Post reported.

“This rehabilitation center is established … for them to get back on the right path,” Fared told the assembly.

Aside from same-sex individuals, Fared proclaimed that the center would also house “those who are deemed deviant” from the state-prescribed religious Islamic orthodoxy, which includes the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Baha’i among some 42 groups, the state’s religious affairs body has identified as “deviant.”

The Malaysian government relies on the force of law to prohibit expression and conduct that fall outside of a heterosexual, cisgender norm. It is one of only a handful of countries that explicitly makes gender nonconformity a criminal offense.

Reacting to the rehab news, transgender rights group Justice for Sisters told the South China Morning Post that detaining people was a violation of the Malaysian constitution, which safeguards personal liberty, privacy, dignity, equality and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

“Detaining people on the grounds of changing their SOGIE – sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression – amounts to torture without a doubt,” said the group’s spokesperson Thilaga Sulathireh.

Malaysia also criminalizes consensual same-sex conduct at both the federal and state levels. Its officials frequently insist that the laws criminalizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are intended not primarily to punish, but rather to return them to “the right path,” statements echoed this past week by Johor’s Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman.

Human Rights Watch notes that officials under successive Malaysian governments have typically coded their approach to sexual and gender diversity in a logic of “prevention” and “rehabilitation,” backed by the threat of punishment. Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who was in office between March 2020 and August 2021, described LGBT people as a threat to Islam, backed by “foreign influences,” and a “disorder” that requires counseling.


Pope Francis prayed the Angelus from the chapel in the Casa Santa Marta last week. (Photo Credit: Vatican Press Office)

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis this past week further disciplined another American prelate, retired Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has publicly critiqued Francis over the Pope’s ongoing efforts for reforming the Catholic Church, especially over issues centered on LGBTQ+ Catholics and the LGBTQ+ community.

The Associated Press reported that Pope Francis revoked Burke’s subsidized Vatican apartment and retirement salary, according to sources because he was a source of “disunity” in the church.

The move is “unprecedented in the Francis era”, Christopher White, a Vatican observer who writes for the National Catholic Reporter, told the BBC.

“Typically, retired cardinals continue to reside in Rome after stepping down from their positions, often remaining active in papal liturgies and ceremonial duties,” he said. “Evicting someone from their Vatican apartment sets a new precedent.”

Burke, who spends much of his time in the U.S. at the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine he founded in his native Wisconsin, has not yet been notified of the Pope’s actions according to the AP.

At the end of October, the Pope convened a month long conference,  known as a Synod of Bishops, followed an unprecedented two-year canvassing of rank-and-file Catholics. During the conference Jesuit Fr. James Martin, a popular spiritual author and editor of the LGBTQ Catholic publication Outreach, noted that on LGBTQ+ issues, “There were widely diverging views on the topic,” he said.

In early November, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Eastern Texas was “relieved” of his position as head of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas by Pope Francis after Strickland’s refusal to resign in a dispute over the Church’s LGBTQ+ inclusion in Catholic practices. Strickland often had echoed Cardinal Burke’s positions.

Although retired in 2014, Burke had an incredibly anti-LGBTQ public record since, especially in vocalizing his opposition to plans to be inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.  Burke was once a high-ranking U.S. archbishop and head of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican court, but was repeatedly demoted under Pope Francis and then forced to retire.

In March of 2020, Burke laid blame on the coronavirus pandemic on the LGBTQ+ community. As churches were forced to close during the lock-downs ordered by health officials, Burke wrote:

“Worship is particularly needed now because of ‘how distant our popular culture is from God,’ he wrote, noting abortion and euthanasia, then attacking the LGBTQ equality movement, particularly activism for recognition of transgender identity.

“‘We need only to think of the pervasive attack upon the integrity of human sexuality, of our identity as man or woman, with the pretense of defining for ourselves, often employing violent means, a sexual identity other than that given to us by God,’ he said. ‘With ever greater concern, we witness the devastating effect on individuals and families of the so-called “gender theory.”‘ Burke went on to say, ‘There is no question that great evils like pestilence are an effect of original sin and of our actual sins.’”

Burke once compared lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to murderers.


Former UK Prime Minister & MP for South West Norfolk, Liz Truss speaking to the Institute for Government in Sept. 2023. (Photo Credit: Institute for Government/Office of MP Liz Truss)

LONDON, UK – Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss is said to be backing a private bill to be introduced into the House of Commons that will ban minor children under the age of 18 from accessing hormone therapy and block the National Health Service and the UK government from recognizing their social transition.

After Truss was one of 20 backbencher MPs to be selected to bring forward a bill, a source reportedly said she chose the legislation because she believes under-18s need to be protected from “making irreversible decisions about their bodies.”

PinkNewsUK pointed out that argument fails to consider the fact that trans under-18s are typically prescribed physically reversible puberty blockers and are only permitted to do so after lengthy medical checks.

Physically reversible puberty blockers are also typically only given to teenagers over the age of 16. It is exceptionally rare for under-16s to be prescribed puberty blockers.

Despite this, Truss is expected to formally present the bill on Wednesday (6 December) during a House of Commons hearing where its MP backers will also attend, PinkNewsUK also reported.

A spokesperson for the UK government said in a statement: “This government is clear on the fundamental importance of biological sex.

Drag Race UK star The Vivienne aka James Lee Williams. (Photo Credit: Williams/Facebook)

LIVERPOOL – A magistrate’s court found a fifty-one-year-old man guilty of a hate crime in an assault on Drag Race UK star The Vivienne this past June at a local McDonald’s. Alan Whitfield told the court that he had struck James Lee Williams, aka The Vivienne, in the face claiming that his actions were not motivated by homophobia but by what he described as “banter.”

During his testimony, 31-year-old Williams said he was subjected to a “barrage of abuse” from Whitfield after entering the fast food restaurant PinkNewsUK reported.

“He [Whitfield] carried on, then after the fourth ‘look at the state of you’ I said ‘look at the state of you’, I said ‘look at the state of your face’, to which he said ‘I’ve got skin cancer’ and then punched me straight in the face.”

PinkNewsUK reported that the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star, who took home the crown in the first series in 2018, argued that the attack was motivated by homophobia because there were “countless other people” in the McDonald’s at the time.

Whitfield maintained throughout the proceedings that the assault “was nothing to do with him [Williams] being gay”, reiterating that he has LGBTQ+ members of his family.

After court deliberation, Justice Anthony Canning said that Whitfield’s evidence was “not credible”.

“Having considered this incident from beginning to end, we believe beyond reasonable doubt that the hostility shown by yourself from that outset was motivated and down to the perceived sexuality of the complainant and this was homophobic in nature.”

Whitfield will be sentenced in January 2024.


Saoirse Mackin has been nominated by the Social Democrats to run in Cork City North West’s 2024 election, and she is believed to be the first openly transgender person in history to run for local election in the Republic of Ireland. (Photo Credit: Saoirse Mackin)

CORK CITY, Ireland – A 25-year-old 2nd year Law student at the University College Cork is set to make history as the first openly transgender person in history to run for local election in the Republic of Ireland.

Saoirse Mackin, who co-founded Trans+ Pride Cork in 2022, was nominated by the Social Democrats to run in Cork City North West’s 2024 election. Mackin, who transitioned in 2017, told LGBTQ+ media outlet GCN – Ireland, that if elected, one of her top priorities will be eliminating the excessive healthcare barriers that are in place for transgender women in Ireland.

Mackin also advocates for better cycling infrastructures, as well as affordable housing and improved public services GCN noted.

She said, “If elected, my priority areas will include the provision of more affordable housing, improved public services, universal access to healthcare and the development of quality cycle infrastructure in Cork. I will also campaign for better local amenities, such as upgraded parks, green spaces, playgrounds and sports facilities.”

In addition to being a transgender activist, Mackin is also a law student and community organizer who has bravely spoken up against the growing far-right movement in Ireland. She was also named in the Irish Examiner‘s 100 Women of 2022 list.


Russia Supreme Court Justice reads its ruling that bans the LGBTQ rights movement labeling it extremist. (Screenshot/Reuters)

MOSCOW – Russia’s Supreme Court this past week on Thursday ruled that “the international LGBTQ movement” is “extremist” which, legal experts and human rights advocates say will lead to all LGBTQ groups and organizations in Russia being banned.

The Russian Ministry of Justice had lodged an administrative legal claim with the High Court to recognize the International LGBTQ public movement as extremist and ban its activity in Russia. Russian Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko did not specify whether it was seeking the closure of any specific groups or organizations, or if the designation would apply more broadly to the LGBTQ community, causes and individuals.

Speaking with Agence France-Presse, the head of the Sphere human rights group, which advocates for the Russian LGBTQ community, had criticized Minister Konstantin Chuychenko actions. 

“Russian authorities are once again forgetting that the LGBTQ+ community are human beings,” said  Sphere head Dilya Gafurova, who has left Russia.  

Authorities “don’t just want to erase us from the public field: They want to ban us as a social group,” Gafurova told AFP. “It’s a pretty typical move for repressive non-democratic regimes — the persecution of the most vulnerable. We will continue our fight,” he added.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk in a statement issued from Geneva, Switzerland after the ruling said:

“This decision exposes human rights defenders and anyone standing up for the human rights of LGBT people to being labeled as ‘extremist’ – a term that has serious social and criminal ramifications in Russia,” said the High Commissioner.

“No one should be jailed for doing human rights work or denied their human rights based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“I call on the Russian authorities to repeal, immediately, laws that place improper restrictions on the work of human rights defenders or that discriminate against LGBT people. The law must uphold and defend the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The law must never be used to perpetuate inequality and discrimination,” Türk added.

Laws that must be reformed include those prohibiting gender-affirming medical and administrative procedures, and banning so-called “LGBT propaganda”,which made it illegal to discuss LGBT issues in Russia on penalty of substantial fines, Türk said.

The High Commissioner also pointed out the wide use of the “extremist” label is more generally used to prosecute all those perceived as opponents, including politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and others.

“LGBTIQ people exist in every country, and a legal ban on the undefined ‘international LGBT movement’ will result in more violence, discrimination, and isolation of LGBTIQ people in Russia, who are already targeted for being who they are,” said Maria Sjödin, Executive Director at Outright International.

“Russia, which has already restricted access to information about LGBTIQ issues, is yet again violating the human rights of LGBTIQ people by restricting freedoms of association and expression. This is a great concern not just for human rights defenders focused on protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people but for everyone who believes in human rights for all,” Sjödin added.

Russian Police vehicle in Moscow. (Photo Credit: Russian Government/TASS)

Within 48 hours of the High Court’s ruling, multiple Russian law enforcement agencies executed a series of raids at multiple queer venues in the Russian capital. At one club located on Ulitsa Malaya Yakimanka street in the center of the city, there were approximately 300 people gathered when Russian security forces burst in under the pretext of searching for drugs in the establishment. Several persons were detained. 

“In the middle of the party, they stopped the music and began to enter the halls [the police]. There were also citizens of other countries at the party. At the exit, they photographed passports without permission to do so,” an LGBTQ rights activist who had previously spoken to other media outlets told the Blade in a phone call Sunday.

The raids took place in at least four venues, and were reportedly expected by the clubs management and owners.

Security forces arrived at an establishment near the Avtozavodskaya metro station and a themed strip club for guys near the Polyanka metro station in central Moscow. The administration of the clubs warned visitors about the events in advance, the Moscow Times reported.

According to an eyewitness to the police raid on Mono, a bar also located in the city’s central district on Pokrovsky Boulevard, “there was the usual party, then the owner came out and said that within an hour law enforcement would arrive in connection with the recent ruling by the Supreme Court. Within 20 minutes the dance floor started to empty,” Ostorozhno Novosti, an independent Russian news outlet reported.

The Moscow Times could not independently verify Ostorozhno Novosti’s reporting, and employees from at least two of the clubs believed to have been targeted on Friday denied the reports, which they called “fakes.”

“I wake up… and I’m reading the news, and, of course, it’s hilarious. Where was [this raid] when we had nothing going on?” the manager of the club Mono said in a video posted on social media Saturday. 

The Blade has also been unable to verify Ostorozhno Novosti’s reporting on the Mono bar raid but in a series of phone calls and Telegram chats was able to determine that multiple raids had in fact taken place across central Moscow and that gay clubs and LGBTQ+ safe spaces were targeted.

In the Baltic city of St. Petersburg, the largest gay club, Central Station, according to independent news outlet Sota, reported the club’s management said that they were denied further rental of the site due to the “new law.”

Additional reporting from Pahichan Media, the South China Morning Post, Human Rights Watch, The BBC, PinkNewsUK, Agence France-Presse, The Moscow Times, GCN Ireland, The Vatican News and The Associated Press.

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Nominations for its 2024 Rainbow Key Awards, 34th Annual Toy and Food Drive, 2024 Arts Grant Program Grant Recipients and more



Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood opens nominations for its 2024 Rainbow Key Awards

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is gathering nominations for its 2024 Rainbow Key Awards. The City’s Rainbow Key Awards recognize people who have made outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.

Nominations may be submitted electronically through the City’s website at Nomination forms are due by 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. The newly formed LGBTQ+ Commission will review nominations and present recommendations to the West Hollywood City Council. The awards presentations for 2024 Rainbow Key Awards nominees are anticipated to take place during the second half of 2024.

Since 1993, the City of West Hollywood has presented Rainbow Key Awards to individuals and groups that have gone above and beyond in their service to the LGBTQ+ community. Contributions have come in many forms, including the arts, community service, humanitarian action, sports, medicine, armed services, leadership potential, benefit to the global LGBTQ+ community, and more. Past honorees have included activists, artists, civic leaders, educators, community organizations, and many others.

The City of West Hollywood will be hosting an event for its 2023 Rainbow Key Awards presentation, which is anticipated to take place in early 2024. Additional details will be made available when the date is confirmed. Stay informed by visiting the City’s website calendar at and opt-in to news updates and calendar e-notifications by signing up at

For more information, please contact Moya Márquez, City of West Hollywood Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6574 or at [email protected].

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

West Hollywood is Informing Dog Owners about LA County Public Health Announcement Regarding Atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (aCIRD)

The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out about a recent announcement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that it has received multiple reports of dogs experiencing a sudden respiratory illness of unknown origin. Symptoms for dogs include cough, nasal discharge, sneezing, and lethargy.

Related to this, the Vanderpump Dog Foundation cancelled its World Dog Day 2023 event, which had been scheduled to take place in West Hollywood Park on Saturday, December 2, 2023. The cancellation was made to ensure all necessary precautions are taken to safeguard the health and wellness of dogs. The event is anticipated to be rescheduled in 2024.

Currently, LA County Public Health is in case-finding mode to determine if and to what extent there is a new respiratory illness impacting dogs in Los Angeles County and is communicating with federal and state entities to ensure efforts are coordinated.

According to LA County Public Health, the respiratory illness impacting dogs is currently known as Atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (aCIRD). Cases are currently defined as having a negative canine respiratory PCR test panel, which tests for common viruses and bacteria identified in dogs with similar symptoms, plus one of the following clinical scenarios:

  • Chronic mild to moderate respiratory infection that lasts more than six weeks that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics;
  • Chronic pneumonia that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics; or
  • Acute pneumonia that rapidly becomes severe and often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24 to 36 hours.

Given the lack of knowledge about the cause of this disease, LA County Public Health is advising dog owners to look out for symptoms such as cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, and lethargy in their dogs. If a dog is experiencing these symptoms, owners should take the following steps:

1. Contact their pet’s veterinarian so the pet may be evaluated, and, if indicated, the appropriate tests and medications may be provided.

2. Isolate sick dogs at home for a minimum of 28 days past the first day of the onset of illness. Dogs exposed to the sick dog should quarantine at home and away from other dogs for 14 days to monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness.

3. Clean regularly and disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, keyboards, and animal equipment. To disinfect, use an EPA-registered disinfecting product or a stronger bleach solution.

4. Keep the dog home and away from day care, boarding kennels, grooming facilities, and dog parks.

5. If a dog becomes ill after being boarded or being in a facility, owners should take it to a veterinarian for evaluation and they should also notify the facility about the illness.

At this time, the City of West Hollywood will maintain regular operations and cleaning for William S. Hart Dog Park and Dog Parks at West Hollywood Park, keeping them open. Advisory information about Atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (aCIRD) will be posted in these park areas. The City will maintain close contact with LA County Public Health on this topic in the event that local officials deem additional steps should be taken.

For more information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, please contact [email protected] or (213) 240-8144.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call the City of West Hollywood’s TTY line (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Host Winter Wonderland at West Hollywood Park

The City of West Hollywood will host its second-annual Winter Wonderland event on Saturday, December 16, 2023 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. 

The highlight of this event is the transformation of West Hollywood Park into a picturesque Winter Wonderland with 20 tons of snow on the Great Lawn, which is snow laughing matter! The City has doubled the size of its snow zone play area, so get ready to frolic and play in a space that’s twice as grand, making this year’s event truly snow-tastic!

Two snow zones will be in place, one for ages five-and-under, and another for ages six and up. Bundle up and don your gay apparel, sweaters, gloves, and boots, hop on your sleigh and point it toward West Hollywood Park for a sweet and festive adventure full of fun and cheer! Yule be sorry if you miss it!

Additional event festivities include, crafts, holiday décor, hot cocoa and snacks, performances by community groups, a DJ spinning holiday classics, plenty of opportunities to take elfies and remember, no resting Grinch face. In case of rain, the event will move to the gymnasium inside the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center, located at 8750 El Tovar Place, directly adjacent to the West Hollywood Park grounds. 

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Winter Wonderland event, please contact the City’s Recreation Services Division at (323) 848-6534 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Says Loud-and-Clear:  ‘Don’t Drink (or Use) and Drive’

The City of West Hollywood, its City Council, and its Public Safety Commission join the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, local Fire Stations 7 and 8, and Block by Block Security Ambassadors in reminding community members about an important safety message during the holidays: do not drink (or use) and drive. Driving under the influence of cannabis carries the same DUI designation as alcohol.

This critical message will be the theme of an upcoming community reception Celebrating 10 Years of the City of West Hollywood’s free weekend trolley The PickUp. Launched in 2013, The PickUp is the City’s fun, flirtatious, (and free!) trolley that runs along Santa Monica Boulevard on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on certain holidays. The PickUp carries people safely to and from bars, clubs, restaurants, and entertainment venues in and around the City’s Rainbow District and Center City and Eastside areas.

The PickUp Celebrating 10 Years community reception will take place on Monday, December 4, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. in the motor court adjacent to the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. It is free and open to the public. The reception will precede the regular meeting of the West Hollywood City Council, which will begin at 6 p.m. 

Irreverent and lighthearted, The PickUp provides more than 100,000 passenger trips each year and connects people to the places in West Hollywood they want to go. When it was launched a decade ago, The PickUp was illustrated with a bright yellow palette of graphic pop-art characters. It has evolved to feature photo-based images with new typefaces, logos, and designs. Everyone enjoys a ride on The PickUp. Most importantly, it reduces driving while intoxicated and eases parking and traffic congestion. Details:

The City’s Cityline service offers an additional way to get around West Hollywood and to connect to the Hollywood/Highland station from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays for Los Angeles Metro Rail B Line (red line) service. Details: Visit for additional information about City of West Hollywood transit programs. 

There are sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about the dangers of DUI. Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver; more than one-million drivers are arrested yearly for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics; and, marijuana users were approximately 25 percent more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers with no evidence of marijuana use.

The City of West Hollywood works year-round to raise awareness about safe driving, distractions, and pedestrian safety. The City’s Drive Mindfully campaign reminds community members to embrace a mindful approach to driving. When we Drive Mindfully, we all do our part to help encourage safety in the community whether we’re driving, bicycling, or walking.

The City of West Hollywood has many bars, restaurants, lounges, nightclubs, and venues that serve alcohol. The City’s Imbibe Intelligently campaign promotes safety tips and messages regarding alcohol consumption and encourages responsibility as the City works to maintain safe establishments that are free from overconsumption of alcohol.  

As the holiday season approaches, the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has issued the following safety tips:

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk — or worse, the risk of having a crash while driving.
  • If you will be drinking or using marijuana, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins – a designated driver is someone who hasn’t had any alcohol or marijuana, not just the person who drank or smoked the least. 
  • If you have been drinking or using marijuana, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use a ride share service or public transportation, or call one of your local sober ride home programs.
  • Be responsible. If someone you know is impaired, do not let that person get behind the wheel, and do not accept a ride with an impaired person.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station’s Community Impact Team (CIT) actively patrols bars, nightclubs, and hotels. Deputies are proactive in addressing impacts from entertainment establishments and special events. The Sheriff’s Station’s Entertainment Policing Team (EPT) focuses on entertainment- and alcohol-related law enforcement issues. Together, the Sheriff’s Station and the City’s Code Compliance Division work with the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to educate businesses and work collaboratively on alcohol-related issues. 

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s efforts for community members not to drink (or use) and drive, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Community Safety Department at (323) 848-6414 or at [email protected].

For more information about The PickUp Celebrating 10 Years or about the City of West Hollywood’s transit programs, please contact Douglas Bear Nguyen, City of West Hollywood Transportation Program Administrator, at (323) 848-6370 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Announces 2024 Arts Grant Program Grant Recipients

The City of West Hollywood has announced the recipients for its 2024-2025 Arts Grant Program, totaling $217,800 awarded to 23 new grantees and 10 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 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 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 low cost 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.

The City received a total of 53 applications representing a variety of arts disciplines and a wide array of projects. Following a peer panel review and the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission funding recommendations, the West Hollywood City Council approved the below recommendations at its regular meeting on Monday, October 16, 2023.

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 2024-2025: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Greenway Arts Alliance, Inc., Helix Collective, Kol Sephardic Choir (ROSE), No Easy Props, Inc., ONE Archives Foundation, Prism Comics, Inc., Rogue Artists Ensemble, and Vox Femina Los Angeles.

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. The 2024 grant recipients in this category are: Celebration Theatre, Andre Keichian, Chanel Lumiere, Maddox Pennington, and Yozmit The DogStar.

The Community Arts Grant intends to support non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and/or female artists and audiences. The grant recipients in this category include: Arts Bridging the Gap, Entertainment Community Fund, Wokelicious LLC, and Women Who Submit.

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: 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 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 2024 are: Kat Evasco, Yvann Filipczak, Peter Fitzgerald, Caroline Nagy, Zach Oren, and Christopher Youmans. 

Join the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division to celebrate the recipients of the 2023 WeHo Artist Grant – Ignacio Darnaude, Sharmin Rahman, and Steven Reigns – on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 6 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. These accomplished artists will discuss their 2023 projects, will show short films demonstrating their work, and will answer audience questions about their creative processes. This 2023 WeHo Artist Grant event is free; RSVP is requested at

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, Drag 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 Arts Festival.

For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program, please visit

For more information, please contact Eva Angeloff, Grants Coordinator in the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division, at (323) 848-6354 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays with 34th Annual Toy and Food Drive

The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station are partnering to help give back to those in need this holiday season. The 34th Annual West Hollywood Toy and Food Drive will be accepting monetary donations until Friday, December 15, 2023, with the goal of providing as many families as possible with toys and holiday gift cards. Donations may be made online at New users must create an account and click on the Donations tab to contribute; existing users may simply log in to start the donation process.

The cost to help one family is $95; up to 10 families can be helped with $950. New unwrapped toys are also needed and gift cards in $25 denominations to retailers such as Pavilions, Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, or Target will help families through the holiday season. Toy collection bins are now available at the West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center (2nd floor lobby), Plummer Park, West Hollywood City Hall, West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, and West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. 

The following West Hollywood hotels will also have collection bins: Andaz West Hollywood, The London West Hollywood, 1 Hotel, and Ramada Plaza West Hollywood, as well as the Chateau Marmont in LA on the Sunset Strip just outside of the City’s municipal border.

For more information, please contact City of West Hollywood  Recreation Leaders Natalie Mignon at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6321 or Jennifer Baram at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6534.

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


For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at

West Hollywood City Hall is open for walk-in services at public counters or by appointment by visiting City Hall services are accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via website at

Receive text updates by texting “WeHo” to (323) 848-5000.

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Los Angeles County

El Segundo News – December Edition

Watch El Segundo Media “on demand” providing replays of a City Council meeting, and original programming including cultural events



A home in El Segundo decorated for the holiday season. (Photo Credit: City of El Segundo)

Citywide News

Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting, Thursday, December 7th

The Recreation, Parks, and Library Department proudly presents our annual Joy Around the World: Festival of Holidays and Tree Lighting event on Thursday, December 7th, 2023, from 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. The event takes place at City Hall Plaza and the 300 block of Main Street. This free, family-friendly outdoor event combines El Segundo’s Christmas Tree Lighting tradition with the celebration of winter holidays from around the world, including Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Nochebuena, and Ōmisoka.

Guests attending the event will enjoy live music and cultural dance performances, Christmas tree lighting, a visit with Santa Claus and gift giveaway, kids’ train ride, food trucks offering multicultural cuisines, craft-making stations, handmade jewelry and crafts for purchase, and more! This event is free to the public. For more information, please click here or call 310-524-2700.

Virtual Town Hall with AQMD, Wednesday, December 6th  at 6:00 p.m.

Tanks a Hyperion with words "City of El Segundo Town Hall Meeting with AQMD"

On Wednesday, December 6th, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. the City of El Segundo is hosting a virtual town hall with representatives from South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and elected officials representing El Segundo and L.A. County with the goal of addressing community concerns regarding the air quality and odor issues related to the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.

The meeting will feature:

  • Status of Hyperion’s compliance with AQMD’s Orders of Abatement
  • Information about AB 1216 requiring testing for pollutants of concern at Hyperion
  • Opportunity for the public to ask questions of AQMD and elected officials

For more information about the meeting and the zoom link to attend, please click here

Candy Cane Lane, Saturday, December 9th – December 23rd

House on Candy Cane Lane covered in Christmas Lights with a California theme

Candy Cane Lane is back in El Segundo! Celebrated every year since 1949, except for 2020 due to the pandemic, Santa Claus will kick off this highly anticipated event on December 9th at 7:00 p.m. He will bring his magic down the 1200 block of East Acacia Avenue, lighting up decked-out houses and festive holiday displays as he goes!  Santa will then head back up to the North Pole but the light show continues nightly from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. until December 23rd. Please note, there will be nightly street closures at Center Street and East Acacia Avenue and at East Walnut Avenue and California Street to allow for safety precautions.

Santa’s Mailbox through December 9th

Cartoon of child writing a letter to Santa Claus

Children are invited to write letters to Santa! Santa’s Mailbox is open through Saturday, December 9th during library hours. Please be sure to include a return address so that Santa can send you his reply! The mailbox is located in the Youth Library downstairs. This program is in partnership with the El Segundo Woman’s Club.

Santa’s Sleigh Ride Starts Monday, December 11th

Santa with woman and child in a sleigh, smiling and waving.

Santa is coming to town, and he wants to meet you!  As always, the Police Officers Association is partnering with the Kiwanis Club to bring Santa to the streets of El Segundo. The dates for the sleigh will be December 11th through December 14th, and again on the following week, December 18th. The Head Elf will be tracking Santa at approximately 5:00 p.m. – 8::30 p.m. each day. Be sure to listen for the sirens, when you hear them, come visit Santa Claus and get a candy cane!

Menorah Lighting – Thursday, December 14th

Menorah Lighting 2019

El Segundo’s annual menorah lighting ceremony will take place on Thursday, December 14th at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall Plaza. All are welcome to celebrate the festival of lights with potato latkes, jelly donuts, gifts for kids, and Hanukkah music and dancing.

Community Christmas Eve Dinner – December 24th

Christmas Dinner Joselyn Center

Enjoy a free and delicious holiday meal at the Recreation, Parks, and Library Department’s annual community Christmas Eve dinner on December 24th, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Joslyn Center. This event is open to the public and is available by free delivery. Please RSVP before December 20th in-person or by calling the Joslyn Center at (310) 524-2705.

Toys for Tots Toy Drive through December 10th

Toys for Tots Logo

This holiday season the El Segundo Police Department is partnering with the United States Marine Corps to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas.

The Marine Toys for Tots Program was started by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to help bring the joy of Christmas and to send a message of hope through the gift of a new toy. Starting today, November 21st until Sunday, December 10th we will have 3 locations where you can donate in person. For details about the drive and donation locations, click here.

Spark of Love Toy Drive through December 14th

Words "Spark of Love Toy Drive" with a fire helmet

The Spark of Love toy drive, the largest community toy drive in the nation, returns to El Segundo. This special community campaign collects new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for under-served children. Donations are being accepted now through Thursday, December 14th at Fire Station #1 or you can donate online. More details and info available here

El Segundo News – December Edition

ES News

El Segundo News is a monthly news show that can be watched on the City’s website, Channel 3, and the City’s social media channels. The show focuses on city-related issues and events.

Check out the December episode with all the latest happenings, news, and business spotlights HERE

City Council Recap for November 7th Meeting

City Council Recap

The City Council Recap provides highlights and a quick overview of business discussed during the Tuesday, November 7th City Council meeting. To watch the full City Council meeting, click here.

Winter 2024 Recreation Activity Guide

Winter 2024 Brochure Flyer with QR code

The Winter Recreation Activity Guide is now available! Click here to view the guide and see all the classes, activities, and events we have coming up in the new year!

Registration for El Segundo residents opens on Monday, December 4th at 9:00 a.m. and non-resident registration opens on Monday, December 11th at 9:00 a.m. To register for these classes and activities, visit and click on the “Winter 2024” tab. In-person registration is also available at the Checkout Building, Clubhouse, Joslyn Center, and Aquatics Center.

Please call 310-524-2362 or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Housing Element Implementation Community Meeting
Thursday, December 14th at 5:30 p.m.

Cartoon of street with houses, benches, lights and words "Housing Element"

On December 14, 2023, at 5:30 p.m., the City will hold a community meeting regarding the implementation of the City’s 2021-2029 Housing Element.  The community meeting will take place during the regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting.  During the meeting, staff will provide an update on the 2021-2029 Housing Element implementation, answer questions, and receive input on housing-related topics. 

For more information on the Housing Element and to get the latest updates, please visit the Housing Element webpage at

The public is invited to attend the meeting in person at City Hall Council Chambers – 350 Main Street, El Segundo.

Sign Up for the Community Police Academy

ESPD Officers in action and words "Community Police Academy"

The El Segundo Police Department is now accepting applications for our FREE January 2024 Community Police Academy. Classes start Wednesday, January 10th!

The course is intended for those interested in learning more about how the El Segundo Police Department functions and operates. The goal of the program is to open the lines of communication and encourage interaction between our officers and the community.

The FREE 10 week course is held on Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Dinner is provided and topics include K9, School Resource, Motors, SWAT, Dispatch, Investigations, DUI and more. 

To register click the link: Community Police Academy Application or email Officer Josh Gilberts at [email protected] to secure your seat and we’ll see you in January!

Construction Activity Around Town

Snack Bar and Restroom building at Brett Field

Brett Field Restroom Improvements Project construction will begin on Monday, December 4, 2023. GEM Construction will begin an interior renovation of the George Brett Field Restroom Building within Recreation Park to improve building accessibility. These restrooms will be closed during the estimated 1 ½ month duration of the project. Work hours will be Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information about the project, please click here.

El Segundo Boulevard Improvement Project construction is underway and is expected to continue through early 2024.

The project rehabilitates existing pavement along El Segundo Boulevard (between Illinois Street and Isis Avenue) and Nash Street (between El Segundo Boulevard and Imperial Highway). Additional improvements include installation of curb ramps and bike lanes, traffic signal modifications, drainage modifications, and landscaping.

More information and the project location map can be found here.

Funding provided by Metro, a partner in our community.

Hyperion Update

Below are the most recent updates on the situation with the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, which is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles:On December 6th, at 6:00 p.m., the City is hosting a virtual town hall with AQMD via Zoom. Click here for full event details and the zoom link.

Hyperion has agreed to host the next Hyperion Citizens forum in person on January 18th at the El Segundo Public Library. Information about the event will be shared on the City’s website once all of the details are finalized.Hyperion continues the replacement of tank covers for Batteries C and B which is expected to be completed in December of 2023.Additional details and documents continue to be shared on and at future City Council meetings. 

Sign up to receive the latest Hyperion news and updates from the City of El Segundo directly to your inbox.

December 2023 City Hall Closure Dates

El Segundo City Hall will be closed in December for:

  • Christmas – Monday, December 25th & Tuesday, December 26th
  • New Year – Monday, January 1st & Tuesday, January 2nd

City Hall’s regular operating hours are
Monday – Thursday, 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Holiday Parade
Sunday, December 10, 2023

The El Segundo Chamber of Commerce’s 59th Annual Holiday Parade will take place on Main Street on Sunday, December 10th from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. This year’s theme is “A Home Run for the Holiday” and will feature our hometown Little League champions, marching bands, performers, floats, antique cars, and a visit from Ol’ Saint Nick himself to delight spectators from all over the South Bay! To learn more about the event go to El Segundo’s Chamber of Commerce website.

Missed a meeting or event? Check out El Segundo Media…

Watch El Segundo Media “on demand” providing original local programming since 2009. Check out replays of a City Council meeting, and original programming including cultural events, community awareness issues, spotlights on local businesses, healthy living, local sports highlights and more!

Watch Here

City of El Segundo 

350 Main Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

310-524-2300  |  Website

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Hyatt Regency Miami settlement over ‘Drag Queen Christmas’

The Hyatt Regency Miami agreed to pay a $5,000 fine & the consent order said the hotel “admits no liability by settling” the dispute



Hyatt Regency Miami (Photo courtesy of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation - Hyatt Regency Miami)

MIAMI, Fla. – The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR) and the Hyatt Hotels Corporation reached a settlement this past week stemming from enforcement actions taken by the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, which operates under the FDBPR, targeting the Hyatt Regency Miami for an event it hosted that included a drag show last December.

Orlando’s ABC News affiliate WFTV 9 reported that under the settlement, known as a consent order, the Hyatt Regency Miami agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and to prevent minors from attending performances at a facility known as the James L. Knight Center if such a performance “contains, depicts or simulates” activities targeted in the new law which is currently blocked by two Federal courts.

The consent order said the hotel “admits no liability by settling” the dispute. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced the settlement Wednesday.

The hotel’s affiliated James L. Knight Center had hosted “A Drag Queen Christmas” performed Dec. 27, 2022 with minors present in the audience. The Knight Center is a major South Florida venue and has previously hosted the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. The venue’s main room can seat 4,600 people.

In targeting of the show, which is a holiday-themed drag show that toured in 36 different cities and featured stars from the reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Insider webzine journalist Kimberly Leonard reported that the DeSantis administration officials accused the Knight Center of several violations, including a prohibition of “lascivious exhibition” before people younger than 16.

The department’s complaint said performers engaged in “acts of simulated sexual activity, and lewd, vulgar, and indecent displays” that included:

  • Performers forcibly penetrating or rubbing exposed prosthetic female breasts against faces of audience members
  • Intentionally exposing performers’ prosthetic female breasts and genitalia to the audience
  • Intentionally exposing performers’ buttocks to the audience
  • Simulating masturbation through performers’ digitally penetrating prosthetic female genital
  • Graphic depictions of childbirth and/or abortion

Last Spring state lawmakers in Tallahassee passed SB 1438, signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, that put a statewide ban on drag performances where children may be present. In June, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell ruled it unconstitutional noting [SB 1438] ” is specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queen performers.”

Presnell in his twenty-four page ruling further noted: “The state claims that this statute seeks to protect children generally from obscene live performances. However, as explained [in court filings], Florida already has statutes that provide such protection.”

The State then appealed his ruling to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit based in Atlanta, Georgia.

In a significant ruling released in October by the 11th Circuit, the court determined that the law posed a threat to constitutionally-protected free speech and expression and affirmed that the block of the law would stand for the entire state of Florida.

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Former Rep. Liz Cheney’s “dire” warning against reelecting Trump

Cheney believes blocking Trump and preventing a Republican House majority in the next election is “the cause of our time”



Former Republican Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney tells CBS News' John Dickerson that voters have become increasingly numb to politicians warning of looming dangers to democracy. (Screenshot/YouTube CBS Sunday Morning)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Former Republican Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney says that voters have become increasingly numb to politicians warning of looming dangers to democracy, so in her new book, “Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning,” she lays out the case for the threats to the Constitution posed by Donald Trump should he regain the White House.

Cheney talks with CBS News’ John Dickerson about how the leading GOP candidate’s own words reveal his plans for a second term, and why she believes blocking Trump and preventing a Republican House majority in the next election is “the cause of our time.”


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West Hollywood

Meet the “CEO of Everything Gay” who just bought the Abbey

The Los Angeles Blade spoke to Schukraft at The Abbey during its annual tree-lighting fundraiser for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation



Tristan Schukraft with equine friend at the Varian Stable in Newmarket, United Kingdom 2019 (Photo Credit: Schukraft/Facebook)

By Rob Salerno | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Tristan Schukraft laughs when I suggest he’s building a gay empire, but he doesn’t deny it. 

When it was announced last month that the owner of the Abbey and Chapel nightclubs had entered into an agreement to sell the business to Schukraft, it seemed like a strange move for the jet-setting tech CEO. 

But the portfolio he’s building up – founder and owner of the telemedicine app for gay men Mistr, owner of the queer nightclub Circo and Tryst Hotel in Puerto Rico – appears to be bent towards hoovering up ever more pink dollars by getting involved in an ever wider section of gay life.

The Los Angeles Blade spoke to Schukraft at The Abbey during its annual tree-lighting fundraiser for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation about what he plans to do with the storied nightclub, and how he became one of America’s most visible gay moguls.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The Blade: Why the Abbey? 

Schukraft: Well, I wanted to make sure it stayed in the hands of the gay community. You know, it’s an institution. It’s a cornerstone of West Hollywood gay life, but more importantly, it’s I think it’s a cornerstone of the gay community far beyond West Hollywood, right? 

Looking at your background in tech companies, your recent turn into the nightclub and hospitality industry seems like a bit of a left turn.

You know, I’ve been drinking here for a long time. So now, after all that investment, I’m actually gonna start getting money back. I basically bought it so I can get free drinks. 

You know, at the end of the day, I’m an operations guy. I’m a technology guy. I own hotels. With hotels, you have bars and restaurants, so it’s not too far of the track. It’s a little off track. Why not? Right? 

You know, after watching The Birdcage, I always wanted my own hotel [like Robin Williams’ character in the 1996 film] and somebody shattered my dreams the other day by telling me it was a nightclub. I’m like, what? It was a nightclub? And then I watched it, and it’s true, it was a nightclub. So, now I have a nightclub. Yeah, so it all started with The Birdcage

You’re known for being a disrupter of the things that you invest in. Is there a disruption plan for the Abbey, or for Weho? Are you planning to change things here? 

Not a major disruption here at The Abbey. I-You know, I’m gonna put my touches on it. But yeah, it’s a pretty well-oiled machine. We’re definitely gonna focus on our values of being LGBTQ. I got some ideas for new nights and I definitely want to make it an epicenter of the gay community. And I think there’s opportunities to take it beyond West Hollywood.

David Cooley, the founder of The Abbey (L) with Mistr CEO Tristan Schukraft, Dec. 1, 2023.
(Photo by Rob Salerno)

Can you give any kind of sneak peek at what you’re thinking? 

East Coast. That’s your sneak peek right now. East Coast. 

I think you’ll see in a couple months what I’m gonna do with the Abbey. But you know as far as taking it outside of West Hollywood, I see there’s opportunities on the East Coast right now. 

I think that’s where David [Cooley, the founder and current owner of The Abbey] and I really we both appreciate the value of The Abbey brand. I think it’s world famous, right? It’s the biggest gay bar. It’s one of the longest lasting. Obviously you have the Stonewalls of the world. But this is like a bar where people go on a regular night versus a tourist attraction. Maybe for some it’s a tourist attraction, but I mean, it really is an institution. It’s a community gathering point. It’s a name that people recognize that we can bring into other communities. 

Do you have any plans to put a hotel somewhere here? 

[Laughs] People are like, “Are you gonna paint it blue for Mistr?” Or, “You’re gonna make it a hotel?” But no, we’re not building a hotel here. That would be terrible to build. I mean build a hotel and Abbey would be out. I don’t think the Abbey’s ever closed in 33 years, besides COVID. Minus that, it’s never closed for construction. You know, when David did his expansion, it was always open. 

I was looking at those old photos and I’m like, oh my God, I remember the wall of candles. I’ve been coming here a very long time. 

So you’re more or less like keeping the same sort of operation going here, keeping the team in place?

The team, I mean, I think that’s what kind of really makes The Abbey unique. It’s like a place where everybody knows your name. 

When I bought the hotel in Puerto Rico, obviously I don’t know anyone. Buying here. I’m like, oh, yeah. I know Todd. I know everybody, right? Not everybody, but a majority of people. And I think that’s why people come here. Because it’s their staple. They go every Sunday. They know they have their favorite bartender. So, you know, everybody will be kept in place, no changes to personnel. 

You gave an interview to Authority Magazine where you said you promised your partner that you wouldn’t be starting up any new businesses. How did you get him on board with jumping into becoming Weho nightlife impresario?

I broke that promise two or three times since I said that. I mean, no, I just buy him gifts to make him happy.

I work long hours, right? And he’s like, I don’t know why. 

You’ve created and run several tech companies. How did you get started in that business? Where did that money come from? 

I started my very first company was 21 with a $10,000 loan. I was living in Hong Kong at the time. I think my father really wanted me to come back [to California]. My dad’s a corporate guy, not a big risk taker, but he’s like, ‘I’ll give you 10,000 dollars to start your company.’ It wasn’t enough to start the company, so I imported 437 Razor scooters and I thought I was gonna sell out in two weeks. It was very popular at the time – this is like 23 years ago. It took me six and a half weeks. I was selling them out of my truck. I went to every swap meet in Southern California. Sold the last six on Christmas Eve and learned a couple lessons in business from that. But with the money I made from selling those scooters combined with the loan, I started my first company, which was like an Expedia for airline personnel.

And then I got into e-ticketing, and at that time, I didn’t know how to turn on the computer. So, I really surround myself with people that know what they’re doing, that are experts. So, do I know how to run a bar? No, but I’m an operations guy and I hire the talent to make it happen. That’s how I got started and I built that company and others along the way. 

Other than that first $10,000 loan from your parents, you’re basically self-made then? 

Yeah. You know, I looked for investment. I did end up raising $18 million for my second company, but I put in a lot of money. I mean at 25, my first company was going really well, and there was this e-ticketing mandate and I said, oh there’s a real opportunity here. And I had a home and was doing good for a 25-year-old, and I kind of leveraged it all. And I thought, “Oh my God, what did I do? I just fucked up my whole life. Why did I do this?” Anyways, I got that first investor, got that first client, and it just kind of took off from there. 

And now with Mistr, The Abbey, your Puerto Rico clubs, are you starting a gay empire? 

The CEO of Everything Gay, yes. I have a few more things. You know, all the businesses are very complementary, right? So, you come to The Abbey, then you go to the Tryst Hotel or Circo in Puerto Rico, and obviously all of the people that come here or the Tryst, they’re all perfect candidates for Mistr. So yeah, so it looks a little weird. But it is very complementary to our various business units.


Rob Salerno is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Canada.

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West Hollywood

LASD seeks help in locating Jack Basil Cooper last seen in WeHo

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (323) 890-5500



Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Unit’s investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating missing person, Jack Basil Cooper, a 23 year-old White male who was last seen in West Hollywood.

A bulletin released on Friday states that Cooper was last heard from on October 23, 2023, near the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente Boulevard, only steps away from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

Cooper is described as 5’09” tall, 125 lbs., straight brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a black shirt and black hat.

His family is concerned for his well-being and is asking for the public’s help.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (323) 890-5500.

If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store.

If you see something, say something. Anyone with information can also drop a tip at

Your identity is always encrypted and anonymous. No personal information, phone number, e-mail, IP address or location is ever requested, saved, traced, tracked or monitored. Period.

West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station polices the City of West Hollywood and the unincorporated communities of Franklin Canyon, Universal City (which includes Universal Theme Park, Studios, and Citywalk), and the Federal Enclave in West Los Angeles.


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.


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

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911 tape released in criminal investigation of Florida GOP chairman

The criminal investigation, which sources say involves video recordings and the seizure of Christian Ziegler’s phone, is ongoing



Christian Ziegler with his wife Bridget at Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration. (Ziegler/Facebook)

By Bob Norman | SARASOTA, Fla. – The sexual battery investigation of Florida GOP chairman Christian Ziegler began with a 911 call from a friend of the alleged victim who was worried about her well-being, according to a recording of the call obtained by the Florida Trident. 

The 911 call, made on October 4 at 2:46 p.m., reveals the caller was concerned about the mental health of the woman, who isn’t being identified due to the nature of the investigation.

“I was hoping to do a wellness on a friend of mine,” the caller began. “She hasn’t shown up for work the past two days and I just got off the phone with her and she sounds drunk and I know she has pain medication on her and she told me that she doesn’t think she can do it anymore.” 

The dispatcher then asked questions about the victim’s address, which was redacted, before the caller said the alleged victim had been struggling with addiction that had “gotten worse and worse the last couple of months.” Then she relayed the information that kicked off a criminal investigation that is ongoing. 

“She won’t answer anyone else at work except for me but she told me she was raped yesterday and that she’s scared to leave her house,” said the caller. “… She’s saying she’s scared that — the person that raped her came to her house — that she’s scared to leave.” 

The caller then told the dispatcher, “I’m worried about her right now.” 

“I have units en route,” said the dispatcher. 

The alleged perpetrator is Ziegler, who has yet to publicly comment on the investigation first reported by the Trident on Thursday morning. His attorney, Derek Byrd, said in a written statement Ziegler would be fully exonerated in the investigation.

Sources close to the investigation told the Trident that Ziegler and his wife, Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler, who is also an appointee of Gov. Ron DeSantis and cofounder of the right-wing group Moms For Liberty, had a three-way sexual relationship with the woman prior to the alleged October 2 sexual assault.

A copy of the search warrant involved in the case was released late Friday that substantiated much of the Trident’s earlier reporting and added a wealth of new information.


Ziegler, according to the affidavit, had known the woman for 20 years and they had agreed to a tryst at the woman’s home on October 2 with Ziegler’s wife.  When Bridget Ziegler wasn’t able to make it, the woman canceled via text to Christian Ziegler, writing that she had been “more in for her,” meaning Bridget. She told police that Christian Ziegler came to her home anyway and entered uninvited as she opened the door to walk her dog. Inside, she said he raped her.

In an interview with detectives attended by his attorney, Christian Ziegler admitted he had sex with her that day but said it was consensual sex with the woman. He also admitted that he shot video of the incident, which he said he initially deleted, but later uploaded to a Google Drive. When the affidavit was filed with the court on November 15, police had yet located the video. The contents of the Google Drive was among items seized by police under the warrant, along with his Gmail and iPhone.

According to the affidavit, Bridget Ziegler told detectives she was involved in a sexual encounter with her husband and the woman once over a year ago.

News of the criminal investigation led DeSantis to publicly call for Ziegler to step down from his role at the top of Florida’s Republican Party shortly after the presidential candidate’s debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday night on the Fox News Channel. 

“I don’t see how he can continue with that investigation ongoing, given the gravity of those situations,” DeSantis told reporters. “And so, I think he should step aside. I think he should tend to that. He’s innocent until proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny. And so, I hope that — I hope the charges aren’t true. I’ve known him, I’ve known Bridget; they’ve been friends. But the mission is more important,”

The criminal investigation, which sources tell the Trident involves video recordings and the seizure of Christian Ziegler’s phone, is ongoing.

Florida Center for Government Accountability public access director Michael Barfield contributed to the reporting of this story.


Bob Norman is an award-winning investigative reporter who serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Trident and journalism program director for the Florida Center for Government Accountability. He can be reached at jo[email protected] or by phone at 954-632-4343.  

The preceding article was previously published by the Florida Center for Government and is republished with permission.

The Florida Center for Government Accountability, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization, focuses its government accountability and journalistic efforts primarily on local governments, providing support and assistance for citizens and investigative journalists working to hold government accountable. All donations made to FLCGA are tax deductible.

FLCGA is a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News — a nationwide network of independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. Learn more at

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