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California

Rob Bonta confirmed as California Attorney General

Bonta, 49, will be the first Filipino American to serve as the state’s top law enforcement official

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Alameda Assemblymember Rob Bonta (Screenshot via KCRA NBC 3)

SACRAMENTO – Alameda Democratic Assemblymember Rob Bonta was confirmed Thursday as the next California Attorney General by the state Legislature. Bonta, 49, will be the first Filipino American to serve as the state’s top law enforcement official when he takes the oath of office to head the State of California’s Department of Justice at a ceremony Friday.

Bonta has a track record as a leading advocate for criminal justice reform who has campaigned to abolish the death penalty and eliminate cash bail for many offenses.

“Rob represents what makes California great – our desire to take on righteous fights and reverse systematic injustices,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

Bonta was elected to the California State Assembly’s 18th District in 2012, where he represents the cities of Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro. He became the first Filipino American state legislator in California’s then 160-plus-year history.

The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus Chair Asm. Evan Low, Vice Chair Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman issued a joint statement on Newsom appointing Assemblymember Rob Bonta as Attorney General;

“The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus is incredibly pleased with Governor Newsom’s decision to appoint Assemblymember Rob Bonta to the position of Attorney General. During his time as a State Assemblymember, Mr. Bonta has been a steadfast ally to the LGBTQ+ community and a leader in calling for criminal justice system reform. We have no doubt Mr. Bonta will guide the California Department of Justice with honor and integrity.”

State Senator Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco), told the Blade, “I’m thrilled that my former colleague Rob Bonta is now officially California’s new Attorney General. He is a progressive champion for many important criminal justice reforms, and I am excited to see what he does with his tenure. He is also an LGTBQ+ champion and I believe he will be an important ally in protecting our community and fighting for civil rights.”

Bonta will replace Xavier Becerra, who was recently sworn in as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

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Los Angeles County

UCLA survey says quality of life in L.A. County is way down

High cost of housing is the most important factor impacting the annual Quality of Life Index, particularly among renters

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(Photo: Los Angeles County/Mayra Beltran Vasquez)

LOS ANGELES – Affordable housing, groceries and consumer goods that have all spiraled upward in cost has lowered the quality of life for Los Angeles County residents this past year according to a survey conducted by UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Interviews were conducted with 1,686 L.A. County residents between Feb. 22 and March 14, both in English and Spanish.

The Quality of Life Index, or QLI, is a project of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs measures county residents’ satisfaction in nine categories. The overall rating fell two points from last year to 53 on a scale from 10 to 100, marking the second time in three years it came in below the survey’s 55 midpoint since the index launched in 2016. That means a majority of respondents are dissatisfied with the overall quality of their lives.

Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the study at UCLA said renters, who make up nearly half of survey respondents, are being disproportionately affected by the economic and inflationary pressures facing the region. More than half, or 59%, cited housing as the most important factor in their rating.

“Housing costs have gone up,” Yaroslavsky said. “And incomes have not gone up anywhere near commensurate with what’s happened to housing.”

Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

While 61% of homeowners feel optimistic about their economic future in Los Angeles County, 51% of renters report being pessimistic. Only 23% of renters think they will be able to buy a home where they would want to live at some point in the future.

KTLA reported that according to data released by the National Association of Realtors earlier this year, parts of L.A. County rank 8th highest in the nation for highest housing prices. Just 23% of the renters that responded to the survey believed that they’d be able to buy a home in an area they find desirable in the future.

Homelessness problems are worsening

This year’s survey also produced striking results on the issue of homelessness.

“We discovered very little optimism about whether the current programs and efforts to eradicate homelessness will work,” Yaroslavsky said.

More than half, or 60%, of respondents said homelessness in their area has gotten worse over the past year, with only 10% saying it has gotten better. Just 20% are more hopeful than they were last year that the homelessness situation in Los Angeles County will improve.

Respondents were also asked whether they worried about becoming homeless themselves, with the highest levels of anxiety expressed by people living in households earning less than $60,000 annually at 44%, renters 37% and African Americans 33%.

“Despite the best efforts of state and local officials, the public is more negative and less hopeful about solving homelessness,” Yaroslavsky said.

In an email to the Blade Wednesday, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Lindsey Horvath said:

“Watching my neighbors struggle with affordability or be on the brink of homelessness is what calls me to be of service to our community. We need to urgently address our overlapping homelessness and affordable housing crises by expediting production of all forms of housing, expanding tenant protections, and ensuring fair wages to address rising income inequality.”

Dissatisfaction with the government

Noting the fact that this is an election year Yaroslavsky, a former member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from December 1, 1994 – December 1, 2014, said: “It feeds an overall sense that things aren’t working well.”

He framed this year’s results in the context of nearly a decade’s worth of research showing positive results for neighborhood quality and racial/ethnic relations, but low marks in categories commonly associated with decisions by public officials.

“A main theme over the last nine years is that Angelenos love the neighborhoods where they live. We appreciate diversity and get along with others better than some people think. And the quality of life for most of us is pretty good,” he said. “But at some fundamental level, people think our governmental institutions are letting them down.”

The last year has seen a modest decline in most ratings for elected officials.

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna is viewed favorably by 34% and unfavorably by 26%. Last year was 37% favorable and 21% unfavorable.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is viewed favorably by 42% and unfavorably by 32%, a drop from 46% favorable and 23% unfavorable in last year’s QLI.
  • Respondents had a slightly favorable view of the city councils in their cities: 37% favorable and 32% unfavorable. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is viewed more negatively: 27% favorable and 35% unfavorable.

The Quality of Life Index in issues regarding the environment found that 25% of respondents said climate change had a major impact on their quality of life in the last year; 38% saw a minor impact.

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West Hollywood

Family demanding answers in beating of gay hair stylist in WeHo

The family questions why it taking so long for West Hollywood Sheriff’s station to retrieve video footage from local businesses

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54-year-old Albert Vasquez, a celebrity hairdresser, was found brutally beaten in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. (Family photo)

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – Friends, family, and supporters of 54-year-old Albert Vasquez, a celebrity hairdresser found brutally beaten in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District on April 5, 2024, continue to demand answers and call for justice as they try to piece together what happened on that fateful Friday night.

Vasquez was discovered unconscious on the ground with severe head trauma, a black eye, and scrapes and scratches to his arms and legs in a parking lot behind Heart WeHo at 8911 Santa Monica Blvd, in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District.

The family questions why it taking so long for West Hollywood Sheriff’s station to retrieve video footage from local businesses. They also don’t understand why the Sheriff’s Station suggested to media outlets that Albert could have possibly fallen and gotten injured without investigating or knowing any details about his injuries.

Questions have also arisen regarding Heart WeHo, the last nightclub where Albert was allegedly seen on the night of the attack, reportedly after leaving Gym Bar according to witnesses. In efforts to solve the mystery surrounding the attack, supporters have taken to social media to demand that Heart WeHo, partly owned by celebrity entrepreneur Lance Bass of the boyband NSYNC, deliver unedited footage to detectives at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

The calls for video footage and threats to have a protest outside of Heart WeHo prompted Heart to issue a statement.

“Heart WeHo remains deeply committed to the safety and wellbeing of our community. We are aware of the incident that occurred on April 5th and have been actively collaborating with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department to assist in their investigation since the beginning. We have provided the authorities with unrestricted access to our security footage,” reads the statement by Heart WeHo. “We urge anyone with additional information pertaining to this incident to come forward and assist the West Hollywood Department in their efforts to ensure the safety and security of our neighborhood.”

The victim’s sister, Gloria Jimenez, tells WEHO TIMES that Heart WeHo turned over surveillance footage to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station on Monday, ten days after the incident occurred.

“I was hoping people would speak up or that somebody has video or something,” she said. “Everybody’s always videotaping, and we haven’t gotten anything at all. We’re really just relying on the police to expose that footage but there are all these rules and regulations where you cannot get it yourself. You have to wait for police to collect it and we were after the police to do something and they just got the footage yesterday [Monday].”

Regarding updates on Albert’s injuries, Ms. Jimenez says that doctors discovered a second skull fracture on the other side of his head. He also has bruised lungs, which went unnoticed throughout his stay at the hospital. These injuries are in addition to a black eye and scratches on his legs and arms, and it appears he was kicked in the neck.

However, despite his newly discovered injuries, Albert seems to be on the mend, she said. He was in a coma for one day when he was brought to the hospital, but is currently awake and seems to be aware of his surroundings. He starts therapy this week and is expected to be in the hospital for another week and a half. He has not spoken about what happened to him that Friday night, mainly because he’s heavily medicated and nurses feel it’s too soon to pressure him to relive the trauma.

Related

Jimenez’s story has garnered national and global attention. His attack was published in the Daily Mail, and there is a campaign of supporters asking for justice for Albert, who is widely known in the West Hollywood community.

Ms. Jimenez alleges that they have received several tips alleging Albert was last seen at Gym Bar when he was there with friends and then he headed to Heart WeHo, which is the last time they saw him. She said in addition to the footage at Heart WeHo, she is also going to seek footage from Gym Bar to determine what time he left and in which direction he headed.

There were also some witnesses stating that he was heavily intoxicated and that he had a confrontation with one of the securities at Heart WeHo, but that has not been confirmed. The surveillance video will answer that question.

Ms. Jimenez thanks the community for their support and for being relentless in holding investigators accountable and demanding they get answers. She’s also grateful for the public’s generosity to help cover medical expenses.

Anyone with information is asked to reach out to West Hollywood Detective Franklin at (310) 855-8850.

The family’s GoFundMe campaign: (Link)

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

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

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Los Angeles County

Eric Schockman appointed to LA County LGBTQ+ Commission

Schockman served as high-level staffer in the State Assembly & was instrumental in passing AB 1 (1st LGBTQ+ civil rights bill in California)

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Hearing Room in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration located in downtown Los Angeles. (Photo: Los Angeles County/Mayra Beltran Vasquez)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang appointed LGBTQ+ community leader and educator as well as noted author H. Eric Schockman, Ph.D., to the first-ever Los Angeles County LGBTQ+ Commission. 

Schockman currently is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Woodbury University, previously serving as Associate Dean and Associate Adjunct Professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. 

He was President and founder of the Global Hunger Foundation, dedicated to helping women in the developing world break the chains of poverty by funding projects designed to provide sustainable development and organic farming.  He served as CEO and President of a prestigious international anti-hunger organization for over a decade pumping some $60 million in grants into the field. 

“This was an easy choice for this ground-breaking commission,” Los Angeles County Assessor Prang said. “I’m just grateful that Eric agreed to serve on this important commission, especially in light of the serious and hateful policies against the LGBTQ+ community across the country. Eric has a long record of leadership and activism, advocating for LGBTQ+ equality and will add a strong voice of experience and accomplishment to this important commission.”

Schockman served as high-level staffer in the State Assembly and was instrumental in passing AB 1 (the first LGBTQ+ civil rights bill in California).  He has also written several books and edited many articles on leadership and politics in California, the nation and international affairs, and presented on scholarly panels on these same topics.

H. Eric Schockman, Ph.D.
(Photo Credit: Woodbury University)

Schockman holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of California.  

“I am pleased and honored to be asked to serve on this historic commission,” Schockman said. “Assessor Prang has shown his leadership in LGBTQ+ issues for years and I do not take this new assignment lightly. I am grateful to be selected.”

The Commission was created last June with a motion authored by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Janice Hahn. The 15-member Commission will provide recommendations on policies and budget priorities at a time when LGBTQ+ people face mounting challenges. 

According to the LA County Commission on Human Relations’ 2021 Hate Crime Report, 89% of the hate crimes towards gay men were of a violent nature and 93% of anti-transgender crimes were violent – a rate of violence higher than any other marginalized group recorded by the report. 

The Los Angeles County LGBTQ+ Commission will be seated and hold its first meeting in the coming months.  

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West Hollywood

WeHo City Council Votes to affirm minimum wage of $19.08

The minimum wage increase is determined by the Consumer Price Index for for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, areas

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Community members in the audience during the council session Monday evening. (Photo by Mike Pingel/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – At a Regular West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, April 15, 2024, the City Council voted to affirm the City’s Minimum Wage rate of $19.08 per hour and current Leave Provisions through December 31, 2024.

Council member John Heilman made a motion to ask City Staff to come back with an ordinance change that will make the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase annual starting in January. the motion was seconded by council member Lauren Meister. The motion passed 4-1 with a no vote from council member Sepi Shyne.

The City of West Hollywood breaks down the City’s minimum wage ordinance as follows:

How is the CPI increase determined?

The minimum wage increase is determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA area.

According to the Resolution establishing an annual minimum wage increase, the minimum wage increase shall be no less than 1.0% and no more than 4.0%.

Compensated and Uncompensated Leave

Full time employees for all businesses are to be provided at least 96 compensated hours and 80 uncompensated hours per year for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity. Part-time employees are to be provided compensated and uncompensated hours in increments proportional to that accrued by someone who works 40 hours in a week.

Administrative Regulations

To provide West Hollywood Employees and Employers further clarification on implementing the Minimum Wage Ordinance, the City has published Administrative Regulations. The Administrative Regulations outline guidance related to payment of the Citywide Minimum Wage, Compensated and Uncompensated Leave, and application of a waiver for certain Employers.

Every Employer in the City of West Hollywood shall post in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any Employee works, the bulletin published each year by the City informing Employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights under the Ordinance. Every Employer shall post notices in English, Spanish, and any other language spoken by at least five percent (5%) of the Employees. Every Employer shall also provide to each Employee at the time of hire, the Employer’s name, address, and telephone number in writing.

July 1, 2023 Minimum Wage Notices

Waiver Application

A one-year waiver may be granted to businesses who are able to demonstrate that compliance with the payment of the Citywide Minimum Wage would force the business to: file bankruptcy or a shutdown, reduce its workforce by more than twenty percent (20%), or curtail its Employees’ total hours by more than thirty percent.

A one-year, one-time waiver may be granted to businesses who are able to demonstrate that compliance with the leave provisions of the Citywide Minimum Wage would force the business to: file bankruptcy or a shutdown, reduce its workforce by more than twenty percent (20%), or curtail its Employees’ total hours by more than thirty percent.

Alternatively, a three-month waiver may be granted to businesses who are able to demonstrate that compliance with the leave provisions of the Citywide Minimum Wage would cause an implementation hardship due to my business’ existing payroll and human resources processes and platforms the business has in place. Businesses may apply for up to two three-month waiver (maximum of six months)

To file your waiver application, please follow these steps:

  1. Notify all your employees, in writing, of the business’ intent to file a Waiver Application
  2. Compile all required documents – incomplete applications will be denied
  3. Submit the Waiver Application and all required documents by selecting the waiver for payment of minimum wage or leave provisions:

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

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

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Southern California

USC cancels valedictorian’s speech over antisemitism allegations

“I am shocked by this decision & profoundly disappointed that the university is succumbing to a campaign of hate meant to silence my voice”

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(Screenshot/YouTube KNBC 4)

LOS ANGELES – The University of Southern California (USC) has decided to cancel the commencement speech of Asna Tabassum, a pro-Palestinian undergraduate and this year’s valedictorian, citing safety concerns. This decision marks the first time in the university’s 141-year history that a valedictorian has been prohibited from speaking at the graduation ceremony.

Provost Andrew Guzman expressed that while disappointing, the decision was necessary to ensure the safety of the campus and its students, emphasizing that the university’s actions are aligned with legal obligations to maintain a secure educational environment. He also clarified that the decision does not infringe upon free speech rights, as there is no entitlement to speak at the event.

Tabassum, majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in “resistance to genocide,” faced criticism for her online posts about the Middle East conflict. The controversy escalated when a pro-Israel group accused her of antisemitism less than a week ago.

In response to the cancellation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Los Angeles (CAIR-LA) has called for the decision to be reversed, allowing Tabassum to deliver her speech. Tabassum, through CAIR-LA, stated that she has been subjected to a campaign of racist hatred due to her stance on human rights.

In a statement released through the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Los Angeles (CAIR-LA), Tabassum conveyed her shock and profound disappointment at the university’s decision, stating it was a result of a “campaign of hate” aimed to silence her voice. “Anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian voices have subjected me to a campaign of racist hatred because of my uncompromising belief in human rights for all,” Tabassum said.

USC maintains that the decision was solely based on safety considerations and not on the content of Tabassum’s proposed speech or her political views. The university has consulted its public safety department and external safety experts, concluding that the potential risks necessitate the cancellation for this year’s commencement to focus on celebrating the graduates without disruptions.

Asna Tabassum (Photo Credit: Annenberg Media/USC)

Tabassum’s full statement:

“I am honored to have been selected as USC Class of 2024 Valedictorian. Although this should have been a time of celebration for my family, friends, professors, and classmates, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian voices have subjected me to a campaign of racist hatred because of my uncompromising belief in human rights for all.

“This campaign to prevent me from addressing my peers at commencement has evidently accomplished its goal: today, USC administrators informed me that the university will no longer allow me to speak at commencement due to supposed security concerns. I am both shocked by this decision and profoundly disappointed that the University is succumbing to a campaign of hate meant to silence my voice. 

“I am not surprised by those who attempt to propagate hatred. I am surprised that my own university—my home for four years—has abandoned me,” Tabassum wrote.

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Los Angeles

LA leaders call for unity & protection for trans community

LAPD has noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent

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LAPD Deputy Chief Ruby Flores speaks to reporters during a April 15, 2024 press conference. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES – Addressing a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQ+ organizations throughout the country, leaders from TransLatin@ Coalition, the Los Angeles Police Department, and other officials gathered in a press conference to denounce acts of intimidation and to call for unity and protective measures for the trans and queer community.

A bomb threat called in to the LAPD on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition specifying today April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities and others. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

The suspect, identified as Henry Nolkemper, a white 61 year old male, was arrested by LAPD shortly afterward after being observed entering his residence on West 53rd Street. The police then searched his residence. Despite the absence of explosives, he was booked under serious charges including criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.

Nolkemper, known to have a history of mental health issues, was on parole for previous threats to the community. His parole has since been revoked and he is currently held on a one million dollar bail.

The press conference today began with remarks from Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, who highlighted the organization’s role as the third largest source of hate crime reporting in Los Angeles, trailing only police sources.

He also stated that LA vs Hate has reported a troubling increase in trans-specific crimes, noting that such incidents are grossly underreported, a sentiment echoed by surveys within the trans community.

Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, Bamby Salcedo at the podium speaking, LAPD Assistant Chief Blake Chow, & Capri Maddox, Executive Director, City of LA Civil + Human Rights & Equity Dept. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of TLC, expressed her gratitude for the continued support from various partners and emphasized the daily challenges faced by transgender individuals. “Every day a trans woman steps out of her home, it is a revolutionary act. We are people who walk with targets on our backs,” Salcedo declared, setting a tone of resilience and defiance against the threats.

Special thanks were given to Supervisor Hilda Solis and Jury Candelario, a partner from APAIT and a Filipino immigrant, who marked 35 years in America by calling the trans-related stress “chronic” in his long tenure as a social worker. Esther Lim, representing Supervisor Solis, condemned the bomb threat as an act of “cowardice” and highlighted Solis’ support through a previous $55,000 contribution to TLC and a new motion to establish LA’s first LGBTQ+ commission.

Assistant Chief Blake Chow and Deputy Chief Ruby Flores of the LAPD provided updates on the legal actions following the threat. They noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent. “Behind each hate crime, there is a victim, there are families,” Flores said, urging the community to report incidents and support anti-hate education initiatives.  “These crimes affect people in ways statistics can’t reflect.” 

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The press conference also featured voices from the community like Mariana Marroquin, Associate Director of Trans Wellness, who spoke passionately about the ingrained nature of hate experienced by trans individuals from a young age, and Cari Maddox, who emphatically stated, “Hate has no home in Los Angeles.”

Mark Bayard, representing Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, affirmed the DA’s commitment to fighting hate crimes vigorously, especially in light of the upcoming election season, which often sees a spike in such incidents.

As the community grapples with this latest threat, the message from today’s conference was clear: solidarity, education, and legal protection are key to combating hate and fostering a society where transgender people can integrate fully and safely.

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Riverside County

Riverside County school district kills trans outing policy

MVUSD’s forced outing policy is identical to the Chino Unified School District policy which a judge described as “discriminatory on its face”

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Murrieta Valley Unified School District support services & administration building. (Photo Credit: Murrieta Valley Unified School District)

MURRIETA, Calif. – The Murrieta Valley Unified School District Board (MVUSD), abandoned its controversial policy that would have forced school faculty and staff to “out” trans and non-binary students to parents.

In an emailed sent out Friday to parents, faculty, and staff members, school district administrators noted that the policy was reversed.

The California Department of Education found that it violated the state’s education codes and warned MVUSD that the policy “provided no educational or administrative purpose that could justify the discrimination of LGBT+ students.” The Department of Education stated the policy “singles out and is directed exclusively toward one group of students based on that group’s legally protected characteristics of identifying with or expressing a gender other than that identified at birth.”

In its email, MVUSD noted that the policy “is inconsistent with Education Code Section 220 and for this reason the mandatory notification requirements set forth in BP 5020.1 will not be implemented.”

Last month the MVUSD school board voted 3-2 to keep the forced outing policy on the books even though, according to a Press-Enterprise report, MVUSD Board President Paul Diffley was warned by the district’s law firm, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR), that “‘going ahead (with the policy) in such an environment’ could cost the district $500,000 in legal expenses.”

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After the board vote, two district educators, Jamie Goebel and Karen Poznanski, filed a complaint with the California Department of Education about the policy due to its “discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.”

“This policy not only violated the privacy and dignity of our students but also perpetuated harm and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and their families,” Poznanski told the Press Enterprise once the California Department of Education sided with the teachers last week.

MVUSD’s forced outing policy is identical to the policy passed by Chino Unified School District (CVUSD) that California Superior Court Judge Michael Sachs described as “discriminatory on its face” and placed under a preliminary injunction in October 2023. 

The lawsuit, The People of the State of California, Ex Rel. et al -v- Chino Valley Unified School District (San Bernardino County Superior Court Case No. CIVSB2317301), was introduced by California Attorney General Rob Bonta on August 28, 2023, and was placed under a temporary restraining order on September 6, 2023 prior to the October ruling.

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West Hollywood

Out stylist found beaten outside Heart WeHo nightclub recovering

Family is asking for public’s assistance in locating the person or persons responsible for the criminal assault

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54-year-old brother, Albert Jimenez, was discovered last Friday night, on April 5, 2024 in a parking lot next to Heart WeHo nightclub. (Family photos)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The family of 54-year-old Albert Jimenez, an acclaimed hair stylist with some celebrity clientele is asking for the public’s assistance in finding the suspect or suspects responsible for his being badly beaten and hospitalized recovering from traumatic head injuries.

Jimenez was discovered last Friday night, April 5, 2024, in a parking lot behind Heart WeHo at 8911 Santa Monica Blvd, in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. Gloria Jimenez tells WEHO TIMES that her family is unclear about what happened to brother.

“All the information we have is that it occurred near two local West Hollywood bars, Heart WeHo and another one named Gym Bar. I guess they’re both close together. All we know is that he was struck by something on the head. He was found in the parking lot by a bystander who was walking by and who called the emergency crew to come out and pick him up. They brought him to Cedars.”

According to Ms. Jimenez, the last time someone spoke to Albert was at 7:45 p.m. The family does not know when he sustained his injuries or at what time he was picked up and rushed to the hospital. They were not notified until the following Tuesday, after a friend called Albert’s phone and a nurse answered the call.

Jimenez’s sister also noted: “We do not know if he was randomly attacked by a stranger in what could be a homophobic or racist hate crime, or if he was attacked by someone he interacted with at one of the bars.”

Ms. Jimenez said her brother has a long road to recovery.

“Albert has suffered brain swelling, and they had to remove bone fragments. He’s been in the hospital in critical condition for a week. He is expected to survive, but he will need multiple surgeries and could have possible brain damage.”

“He’s a harmless person and was just enjoying his Friday evening,” She said of her brother. “He would never hurt anyone. We are all shocked that this has happened to him. He’s the baby of the family, and his entire family is just shocked by it all. This is something we never thought would happen. He’s an independent guy, and that’s why we thought he was just out and about, you know, until we got that call on Tuesday.”

The family has filed a report with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Anyone with information is asked to reach out to West Hollywood Deputy Franklin at (310) 855-8850.

The family’s GoFundMe campaign: (Link)

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

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

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West Hollywood

Vinson is leading riders in 2024 WeHo Pride & Dyke march

This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade

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Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

By Catherine Eng | WEST HOLLYWOOD – In anticipation of Weho Pride 2024, WeHo resident Katrina Vinson sat with WEHO TIMES for an interview to discuss being the lead Biker and organizer of Pride Riders in this year’s WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024 and the Dyke March on Saturday, June 1, 2024.  

Over the years, the Dyke March took place on Fridays. After much lobbying, the L Project (Producers of Women’s Freedom Festival) were able to get the event moved to Saturday-  greatly increasing participation. This year, the call is on to gain more attention, greater participation and a call for women who ride to join the parade. We spoke to Katrina about this year’s event, how she came to lead the contingency and the outreach to riders.

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson


Q:  Hello Katrina! Let’s hear about your journey to the City of Weho;  where are you from, what brought you to the city and how long have you resided in Weho? 

I grew up in San Jose, CA.  About 15 years ago, while I was still living in San Jose, I had a long distance relationship with a woman living in Santa Monica. I would visit for about a week or more at a time and we would always go out to WeHo. I slowly started falling in love with the City. Years later, after we broke, I was offered a job in LA, and I moved to Palms, a short drive from WeHo. I quickly made friends and we enjoyed the WeHo nightlife weekly. After about 4 years in Palms, the opportunity opened up for me to move to WeHo and I never looked back. Once I moved here I began to learn and appreciate so much more about this City. I never loved a City that I’ve lived in as much as I love WeHo. I’ve been here for 8 years now.

Q:  What started your activism in our city?

I would have to say my former partner. I mostly supported her and attended events she was leading or participating in. She was unstoppable and the events and network grew immensely. Over time, she became heavily involved in the City, inspiring me and others along the way. Slowly over-time I got more involved. We all have different strengths in this life. Mine are far different from hers and I never considered myself an organizer or activist. I helped how I could with whatever strengths and resources I had. Over time, our whole network of friends became primarily activists and I showed up in whatever capacity I could. I must have picked up a few things along the way since more and more people are calling me an activist. I’ve always been diplomatic, and stuck up for what’s right, and cannot stand to see any injustice, racism, sexism, inequality, or bigotry. 

Q:    You formerly served on the City’s Planning Commission but you resigned after 1 year. Can you talk about this experience?

I had come to know Sepi Shyne quite well as well as volunteered in both her campaigns for City Council. She knew quite a bit about my education and experience in construction. I believe she trusted my moral compass and desire to do good. Once she was elected to City Council she asked me if I would serve on the Planning Commission as her appointee. I believe she thought I could bring something to the position given my construction experience. Unfortunately, I had some major life changes arise where my bandwidth changed and I knew I couldn’t give the Planning Commission the dedicated time that it deserved and needed. I do hope to serve again someday. 

Photo courtesy of Katrina Vinson

Q:   In your professional capacity – you hold some unique positions; both as a Commercial Construction Superintendent and as a Carpentry instructor @ LA Trade Tech College. Tell us about these roles, how you feel you’ve been able to trailblaze in these positions and what obstacles you’ve felt as a lesbian female in this field.

Oh boy, how much time do you have? Becoming a Commercial Construction Superintendent wasn’t easy. I worked my butt off going to Carpentry school full time while also working full time. I was doing 13 hour days but I absolutely LOVED it. LA Trade Tech College lit me up. I couldn’t get enough, I couldn’t absorb enough.That passion that was ignited in me along with my mechanical aptitude, and my skills at building put me at the top of my class. I won several carpentry competition awards and ended up graduating first in my class with honors and scholarships.

Given my love for the school and especially the Carpentry program, I made it known to the instructors, as well as the head of the department, that I hoped to come back and teach someday. After graduating, I was very saddened to no longer be involved with the program but I would have to work at least two years in the construction industry to even be eligible to be an instructor, not to mention that positions rarely ever opened up.

After being heavily recruited, I ultimately decided to take a job with a General Contractor as an Assistant Superintendent. I was only able to enter the construction workforce at such a high level due to my many years experience as an operations manager coupled with excelling so quickly in the Carpentry and Construction technologies. I was promoted from Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent in just one year and I’ve never looked back. Recently I completed a 10 million, 30,000 sq ft project with high end finishes. 

Luckily, after just over two years in the industry, I got a request from Trade Tech College to apply for an adjunct teaching position that was opening up. I wasn’t sure I could handle the load on top of my insanely demanding Superintendent Position but I knew I could not let the opportunity pass. Those positions almost never open up. I ended up getting the position and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to make it work. There are plenty of female carpentry instructors at LATTC but I am the only queer carpentry instructor. I’ve had quite a few LGBTQ+ students in my class over the semesters and I think it’s important for them to see that representation.

I haven’t met many obstacles as a lesbian but more obstacles as a female in general in construction. The number of women in construction is growing but more in the office roles. Women make up about 10-14% of the workforce in construction but only 4% working onsite in the field and even less in a position as high as mine. There are very few female Superintendents in all of Southern CA. It’s hard to know how many for sure but my educated guess is that it’s less than 5. For the first 4 years, I was the only woman on my jobsite each and every day.  I’m constantly running into architects, clients, designers, and construction managers that say to me, “I’ve never met a female Superintendent before!” Mostly in an excited tone. That gets me excited and lights me up. I usually think, “and wait until you see what I can do”. It’s important to me to put my best foot forward, produce the highest quality of work that I can, and try everyday to blow people away knowing that I am representing women in the field. I have two goals/hopes. 1) To prove to the industry that women are valuable assets to the industry and bring different sets of skills, creativity, and points of view. 2) To show and inspire other woman to join the construction industry. 

Q:  You are the new lead of Pride Riders, the Motorcycle group which leads the Weho pride parade and the Dyke March. How exciting to see a new generation of riders!  How long have you been riding?  How did you come to lead this group for Pride?

I’ve been riding for 24 years now. I got my motorcycle license as well as my first bike when I was just 18. Organizing the motorcycle group for the March and for WeHo Pride was unexpected. The leader of the motorcycles in previous years has been a mentor of mine. I have spent years at her side helping her lead pride parades and the Dyke March. In 2022, she came down with covid the day before the parade and needed someone to step in to lead and pace the parade. She called me and I gladly accepted. I was honored. The following year in 2023, due to unforeseen circumstances the opportunity to lead a new contingent of bikers for the Dyke March presented itself when the leader of the motorcycle contingent withdrew  from the event.

Riders, who still wanted to ride, participate, and be seen; were left confused and didn’t know what to do or how to enter. They had less than a week’s notice and some riders had family flying to see them ride in the parade but were left stranded. I was torn. I needed to step up for the riders that were left stranded without an organizer. I worked with Jackie Steele to come up with the name Pride Riders so I could register us in the parade and I worked with The  L-Project to help organize riders for the Dyke March. If it wasn’t for The L-Project the Dyke March wouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have been moved to a Saturday. Jackie helped organize the riders while I registered as the leader of Pride Riders. 

We had a pretty decent turnout of riders given the extreme short notice. The L-Project helped us in procuring parking for all the riders so they could stay for the day and enjoy the Women’s Freedom Fest prior to riding in the Dyke March. They also organized an amazing entrance for the riders to ride in as the Festival was ending and rev up the crowd to transition into marching behind us in the Dyke March. It was quite awesome. Riders were happy, spectators were happy, and the Dyke March got more exposure.

Q:   Do you remember your first Pride?  Where/when was it and how do you think that experience has shaped your development of Pride Riders/what you’re trying to create?

Barely. I was a gaybe back then. My first Pride was in San Francisco since I lived in San Jose. I remember the Dyke March especially. There’s nothing like Dolores Park and the Dyke March in San Francisco. I was in awe. It was a sea of queer women as far as I could see in every direction. We marched for what felt like forever but I didn’t want it to end. The community cheering for us was overwhelming. It was incredible. Then the next day I saw the Dykes on Bikes lead the parade and I knew I wanted to be one of them one year (I already had a motorcycle). It just wasn’t a thing I knew about or how to get into. All those years I lived in San Jose and went to countless SF Pride Parades and Dyke Marches and I never ended up riding my motorcycle in a parade or march until I moved to LA. I would LOVE to see that type of turnout here in WeHo and a big obstacle to the turnout was not having it on the weekend. Now that the Dyke March is moved to Saturday we hope the participation can finally grow and we can bring the Dyke March the visibility it should have. 

Dyke March 2023 – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Q:  What are the goals for Pride Riders and the Dyke March?  What would you like to see from the city and the community,  as we prepare for this year’s Pride?  What are you most looking forward to?

Last year was such a success, we saw more diversity and so many folks joining for the march. The city shared that this was the most heavily attended Dyke March in years. Our goals are an even greater turnout, greater visibility, and greater diversity. It’s so important to be seen and heard and to celebrate with our community and share our herstory. All are welcome to join in and ride. 

I am most looking forward to this year’s Women’s Freedom Fest. Last year’s event was such a good program and line-up and just an overall good time! L-Project has an even better program in store for Pride this year. I’m really looking forward to that event as well as working with the L-Project to breathe new life into the Dyke March and bring it the exposure it deserves. 

Q: What outreach are you doing for more participation, greater awareness?
How can riders, or supporters, get involved? What actions from the community would enhance the Dyke March?

We promote on social media and the City promotes the events under the Overall Pride weekend advertising. We’d love for everyone to help get the word out. I attend motorcycle events to spread the word and I’m hoping this article will also help. Motorcyclists tend to have many friends who also ride so I’m hoping it will spread by word of mouth as well. L-Project is also a huge help in marketing and spreading awareness. It’s been great working with the L-project to link Women’s Freedom Fest with the Dyke March. It just makes sense to link the two and bring with it more participation.
(Note:  more info can be found here:  https://www.instagram.com/pride_riders_la/

Riders can register here: [email protected]

Q:  And finally – what hopes do you have for the future of West Hollywood? How do you see this city evolving?

My hopes for the City are for there to be greater diversity and equity here. I like to see less people priced out from living here and more gender equality and diversity across our residents,  businesses, patrons, boards, commissions, and city council. 

Thank you for engaging with us, congratulations on all your accomplishments and have a safe, successful Pride Ride.

******************************************************************************************

Catherine Eng

Catherine Eng is a long time resident of the City of West Hollywood. She currently serves as a West Hollywood Business License Commissioner, was a journalism major, and is a supporter of Weho Times @thedamecat

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

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Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood to Host Symposium: ‘Water Wise | Water Works’

WEST HOLLYWOOD – During Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood is working to focus attention on environmental efforts and initiatives and educational opportunities for the community. The City aims to elevate awareness about its programs and policies related to West Hollywood’s natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability.

As part of this effort, the City of West Hollywood will host a free in-person symposium: Water Wise | Water Works. The event will focus on water as a natural resource, concentrating on its indispensable role in supporting urbanized environments. It will look ahead at issues, opportunities, and challenges in West Hollywood and the Greater Los Angeles region in the future.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will take place on Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public, RSVP is requested via Eventbrite. Limited validated parking is available in the adjacent five-story parking structure.

All life begins and ends with water. A precious resource, water is vital for a healthy and vibrant planet. Clean fresh water is not only essential for drinking and sanitation and providing for our crops, livestock, and industry, it is also the basis for creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all humanity depends. Spending time in proximity to nature and water has been shown to have a direct effect on emotional well-being, reducing stress, anxiety, and heart rates as well as extending human life spans.

The Water Wise | Water Works symposium will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings and will look at some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead concerning future sustainability, construction mitigation, climate change, ecological systems, and resilience goals.

Presentations scheduled for the symposium include an overview of current City programs and talks on the following topics:

  • Water Policy Happenings at the Regional & Local Scale with Kim Clark, Planning Supervisor, Resource Conservation & Resilient   

Communities, Southern California Association of Governments;

  • Resource Management and Underground Water: Technical Challenges and Opportunities Ahead with Laney Nelson, Water Engineer, ARUP, experts dedicated to sustainable development;
  • History of Water and Ecological Resilience in a Rapidly Changing Context with Dr. Edith Guzman, UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation;
  • Power of Water-Centric Design with Water with Mariam Mojdehi, Architect, Founding Partner, MAAM Architecture & Design Studio; and
  • Water Wise Landscapes/Regenerating Nature with Hadley Arnold, Executive Director, Arid Lands Institute/Woodbury University.

Following the presentations, there will be a moderated panel discussion and a period for questions and answers.

The City of West Hollywood is dedicated to sustainability and preserving the environment, including its:

  • Participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge to mark the City’s commitment to saving the monarch butterfly and other pollinators through public awareness and expansion of pollinator gardens throughout West Hollywood; 
  • Designation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Community by meeting 65% of its 100% renewable energy use through voluntary green power that goes above-and-beyond the State of California’s standards. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that helps increase Green Power use among U.S. organizations to advance the American market for renewable energy and development of those sources as a way to reduce air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with electricity use. Learn more about how the West Hollywood community gets its Green Power;
  • Green Building Program, the first-in-the-state green building code, that builds upon state requirements and integrates locally specific requirements for new buildings and remodels to strive towards energy efficiency, improve the health of the environment and community, and help the City shape a sustainable future. The Green Building Program was updated in 2023 to include more aggressive standards for electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • Implementation of an organics collection program in compliance with SB 1383, a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants by reducing organic waste disposal.

The City of West Hollywood continues its work to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, WeHo Climate Action, which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the community. The City launched a public dashboard that monitors progress under the Plan toward achieving carbon neutrality. To learn more about the City’s ongoing sustainability programs and initiatives as well as information and resources, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

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

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

West Hollywood Celebrates Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week

The City of West Hollywood recognizes April 22, 2024 through April 28, 2024 as Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week. The City will display the Lesbian Pride flag in medians along Santa Monica Boulevard and West Hollywood City Hall and the lanterns over Santa Monica Boulevard will be lit in pink, orange, white, and red to reflect the shades of the Lesbian Pride flag.

Events during the week will feature a variety of gatherings produced with the assistance of the L-Project and Fan Girl Cafe including:

  • NextGen Coffee and Convo, featuring a panel on queer activism, challenges faced by LGBTQ women in business, and advocating for non-binary and gender-nonconforming identities with panelists Marquita Thomas, Chanel Lumiere, and Melanie Vesey. This free event will be held at Fan Girl Cafe, located at 8157 Santa Monica Boulevard, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will also feature an opportunity for community members to network and meet one another. 
  • Lesbian Speakers Series Film screening of the award-winning documentary Ahead of the Curve and Q&A with Franco Stevens and filmmakers Jen Rainin (Franco’s wife) and Rivkah Beth Medow. Ahead of the Curve captures the story of Franco Stevens, founder of the most successful lesbian magazine in the world and her fight to keep Curve magazine alive. This free event takes place on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This event will begin with a reception with light snacks and refreshments at 5:30 p.m. The screening will begin at 6 p.m. The Q&A will follow the film. 
  • The City invites community members to spend an afternoon at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, for a Queer Art in the Park gathering on Sunday, April 28, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature lawn games, music, and queer arts and crafts vendors. Entry is free. Feel free to bring a blanket, yoga mat, lawn chair, sunscreen, and picnic accoutrements and meet new and old friends in the park. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/lgbtq

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

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Queer Women Visibility Week, please visit www.weho.org/lgbtq or contact Moya Márquez, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6574.

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

WeHo Pride 2024 Participant Application Deadline is April 15 for WeHo Pride Street Fair Exhibitors, Parade Entries, and Food Vendors

The City of West Hollywood will close the Parade Participant, Street Fair Exhibitor, and Food Vendor application portals for its WeHo Pride 2024 celebrations on April 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Application portals can be accessed via the ‘Get Involved’ page on the WeHo Pride website: www.wehopride.com

 WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, May 31, 2024; Saturday, June 1, 2024; and Sunday, June 2, 2024 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The weekend will include a free Street Fair, the Women’s Freedom Festival, the Dyke March, the WeHo Pride Parade, and the ticketed OUTLOUD Music Festival @ WeHo Pride, as well as WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD.

The WeHo Pride Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024 and Sunday, June 2, 2024. It will celebrate Pride with the diverse participation of LGBTQ community groups and allied organizations as part of visibility and expression. The Street Fair is free and will feature a vibrant variety of exhibitors along Santa Monica Boulevard. There will be live entertainment and performances on two stages along the boulevard, highlighting the LGBTQ community. The Street Fair is open to everyone. It is a great occasion to take part in WeHo Pride’s LGBTQ community experience. WeHo Pride Street Fair applications are also currently open for vendors, artists, performers, and more. The Street Fair promises to be bigger and better than ever before. With a wide range of activities and options, there is sure to be something for everyone. Organizations interested in applying to participate as an Exhibitor at the WeHo Pride Street Fair can apply here. Food vendors interested in participating in the event can fill out the Google form here.

Get festive as we roll down Santa Monica Boulevard for the WeHo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2, 2024! The WeHo Pride Parade is an imaginative and colorful annual tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ people and our contributions to community and culture. The Parade is a lively, energetic experience with good cheer and great vibes, and a whole lot of rainbows! Whether you participate in the Parade or join in the fun as a spectator, there’s something for everyone at the WeHo Pride Parade! Organizations and individuals interested in submitting an application to participate as an entrant in the annual WeHo Pride Parade can apply here. Get creative and think outside of the box! The WeHo Pride Parade welcomes floats, bands, drill teams, dance teams, entertainment entries, marchers, and more. 

There are a variety of ways for brands to sponsor this brand-new era of Pride in West Hollywood as well. From traditional activation spaces (street fair visibility and parade entries) to inclusion at one of the most diverse music events nationally, as well as creative customized opportunities, there are multiple outlets for brand visibility! Organizations interested in becoming a WeHo Pride sponsor can reach out to [email protected] 

Additional details about WeHo Pride 2024 will be posted as they become available at www.wehopride.com. Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook.

About WeHo Pride and the City of West Hollywood Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, West Hollywood consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and four of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly LGBTQ.

Pride is deeply rooted part of West Hollywood’s history and culture. In fact, Pride events have taken place in West Hollywood for more than 40 years (since 1979, five years before the City of West Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality). The City’s embrace of Pride is part of its advocacy for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals, and the City is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (now LGBTQ+ Commission) and a Transgender Advisory Board, which each address matters of advocacy. As part of its support of the transgender community, the City has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website.

In 2022, the City of West Hollywood inaugurated WeHo Pride with programming that represents a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. West Hollywood is a community of choice for LGBTQ people from throughout the world and WeHo Pride embraces a source of deep connection for its LGBTQ history and culture.

For more information about WeHo Pride and the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, please visit www.wehopride.com.

For more information about Outloud @ WeHo Pride, please visit www.weareoutloud.com.

For inquires to the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division, please email [email protected].

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

‘Spring Fest’ at West Hollywood Park

The City of West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division invites the community to splash into Spring Fest in the park and at the pool on Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Bring your family and friends for a fun day of outdoor activities. Limited parking is available in the adjacent five-story West Hollywood Park structure.

Activities will begin at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center and Great Lawn. There will be carnival games, music, performances, giveaways, egg hunts, face painters, and much more! You won’t want to miss this!

Three of the featured activities for the event are:

  • Youth Basketball Shoot Out (Ages 10 to 15) – register here ($7) – In the Shoot Out, the player shoots from five spots around the key: right corner, right wing, top of key, left wing, and left corner. At each spot: take one dribble in for a mid-range shot, dribble for a lay-up, and then end the game with a 1 & 1 free throw.
  • Duck Relays and Cardboard Boat Races – register here (free) – Duck Relays are a swim event using inflatable ducks to race relay-style across the pool in a team of four and Cardboard Boat Race are one- to three-person teams of all ages that will test their ingenuity in racing homemade boats made of cardboard and duct tape across the pool.
  • Themed Recreation Swim and Rubber Duckie Hunt – registration has reached capacity, waiting list is open here (free) – Themed Recreation Swim is full of adorable rafts of rubber ducks, water toys, floaties, and mighty merfolk of the sea and swimmers will be able to participate in a rubber duckie hunt.

Learn more about Spring Fest and recreation programming by visiting www.weho.org/recreation and selecting Rec Reader.

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

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

Open Call for Arts Grant Program Applications

The City of West Hollywood has opened application opportunities for its 2025 Arts Grant Program. The City will host a virtual Arts Grant Program information workshop for those who are interested in applying to learn more about the City’s grant-eligibility requirements and application process, as well as to ask questions.

The Arts Grant Program information workshop will be held online via the Zoom platform on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 1 p.m. First-time grant applicants and returning organizations with new development personnel are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop to become familiar with the application process. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/arts

The City of West Hollywood, through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, has managed the Arts Grant Program for 26 years. West Hollywood’s Arts Grant Program provides grant funding to individual artists, artist collectives, and nonprofit arts organizations for the production, performance, or presentation of art projects that take place in the City of West Hollywood as well as those that serve the West Hollywood community.

The City of West Hollywood invites and encourages artists and organizations representing diverse populations and diverse artistic disciplines to apply for these grants. As defined in the Cultural Equity Statement, diversity includes all ways in which people differ, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, education, age, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, geography, citizenship status, religion, language, physical appearance, and the intersection of these various identities. The City commits to ensuring cultural equity in all arts policies and practices.

The Arts Grant Program categories with open application processes for 2025 are as follows:

Arts Project Grant — 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. The proposed projects should take place in the City of West Hollywood in 2025 and 2026. Proposed presentations may include, but are not limited to: comedy show, dance performance, drag performance, film screening, visual art exhibit, music presentation, poetry reading, and theatre presentation. The Arts Project Grant category is awarded in a two-year cycle [with one application, grantee can be awarded for 2 years]. The maximum grant award is $20,000 per grantee ($10,000 per year). The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Community Arts Grant — Supports non-profit arts organizations with a history of supporting BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations can include an art centered presentation or performance, and/or an educational and participatory program (workshop) which engages BIPOC, LGBQ, and/or female artists and audiences. The maximum grant award for both artists and non-profits arts organizations for this category is $6,000. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024. 

Transgender, Gender Diverse, Intersex, + (TGI+) Arts Grant — Supports and enhances the presentation of artworks in West Hollywood by transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender nonconforming artists and non-profit organizations with a history of supporting artists in these communities. Proposed projects should take place in West Hollywood in 2025. Proposed presentations should include art presentations which engage transgender, gender diverse, and/or intersex artists and audiences. The maximum grant award is $6,500 for both artists and non-profit arts organizations. The deadline for this category is Monday, July 1, 2024.

WeHo Artist Grant — Supports 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. Eligible artists must reside in the City of West Hollywood. The grant award is $6,000 per year for five artists. The deadline for applications is Monday, July 1, 2024.

Artists and organizations interested in applying may visit www.weho.org/arts for more information.

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

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

West Hollywood Promotes Local Actions that Address Climate Change as it Celebrates Earth Month in April with ‘WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024’

In honor of Earth Month in April, the City of West Hollywood will celebrate WeHo Takes Climate Action 2024 to rally community members to collectively embrace sustainable practices and contribute to the City’s 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Community members are encouraged to share social media posts about taking sustainability action steps using the hashtag #WeHoClimateAction.

Starting in April, residents, businesses, and local organizations are encouraged to take various actions that support the City’s ambitious environmental goals. Through its @wehocity social media pages, the City will promote various steps relating to energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience that community members can take. The City will also share the latest information on its climate action initiatives to raise community awareness about City programs and policies related to its natural and built environments, ecology, and sustainability efforts.

The City of West Hollywood has a strong record of developing and instituting progressive and forward-thinking environmental policies and, as a city committed to reducing its carbon footprint, West Hollywood recognizes the importance of individual actions in making a substantial impact on the health of the planet.

 “One of the City of West Hollywood’s most critical core values is Responsibility for the Environment,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “West Hollywood has steadily led the way in developing and applying policies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and promote sustainability. As we take next steps in realizing the goals of our Climate Action Plan, Earth Month in April is a wonderful opportunity for all us of to do what we can to make individual steps that add up to big community impacts and help our city to reducing our carbon footprint, which will better prepare us for the future effects of climate change.”

In the spirit of proactive initiatives, the City of West Hollywood is gearing up for Earth Month with a variety of community events and programs in April:

  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024, the City will host a free in-person symposium, Water Wise | Water Works, which will explore the fundamental role that water plays in supporting urbanized settings. It will examine some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with respect to future sustainability, climate change, ecology, and resilience goals that are pursued at the local and state levels. The symposium will take place at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information is available on the City website calendar
  • On Saturday, April 20, 2024 the City will host an annual Tree Planting at 9 a.m. in the public parkway at 1146/1148 Formosa Avenue. Four paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) trees, which are widely planted throughout Southern California and are native to Australia, will be planted. The paperbark is a rounded, evergreen tree with a maximum height of 40 feet. It has a low water use rating and features exfoliating bark and oblong leaves with seasonal flower displays in the summer and fall that will attract pollinators and birds. Sun exposure ranges from partial shade to full sun. West Hollywood community members are invited and encouraged to participate in this year’s annual tree planting event. Drop in; no RSVP is needed. Supervision, instruction, tools, and gloves will be provided. The event will start with a short ‘how-to’ planting session, followed by a discussion on the benefits trees provide to the urban environment.

To showcase the City of West Hollywood climate actions in energy, transportation, zero waste, natural environment, and resilience programs, the City will highlight its sustainability programs and share information about how community members can get involved via social media and more, including the following:  

  • The City’s newly launched Green Business Certification program is a recognizes and encourages efficient, profitable, and sustainable business operations. To support businesses, West Hollywood’s Green Business Program and its services are being offered at no cost. Visit go.weho.org/greenbusiness for more information.
  • Electrify WeHo is the City’s new web resource on electrification with resources to help community members transition into an all-electric home which can improve indoor air quality, lower your energy costs, modernize your home, and help WeHo reach its 2035 carbon neutrality goal. Learn about the benefits and incentives to help make the switch at Electrify WeHo.
  • Go Solar West Hollywood is a City-sponsored program encouraging property owners to go solar. The City has partnered with online marketplace EnergySage to help property owners receive and compare quotes. 
  • The City’s new Resilience Efforts webpage provides the public with information on resilience and centralizes the City’s resiliency efforts to serve as a resource for community members. 
  • The City of West Hollywood encourages community members to leave their automobiles at home and take alternate forms of transportation when possible while traversing the City, including by using scooters, bicycles, walking (the City is only 1.9 square miles!), or via the City’s free transit options. Please visit www.wehopickup.com or www.weho.org/cityline for more information.
  • Responding to a statewide effort to reduce emissions associated with organic waste disposal by diverting waste from landfills, the City has worked with Athens Services to establish an organic recycling service throughout West Hollywood. Community members are encouraged to visit the City’s organic recycling webpage to learn how to sort waste and recycle.
  • In January 2024, the West Hollywood City Council adopted the new Tree Canopy ordinance regulating the preservation, removal, relocation, and replacement of existing mature canopy trees. 
  • The City’s Heritage Tree program promotes identifying specimen trees, promotes tree awareness, advocates for the protection of mature tree benefits, and educates community members about the City’s heritage trees and proper maintenance practices. All great trees start small! Visit the City’s webpage about young tree care best practices. The WeHo community is encouraged to check out resource videos and take the tree steward pledge!

Finally, the City will continue to implement its people-centered Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (WeHo Climate Action), which outlines the City’s intended path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate while centering equity and quality-of-life outcomes for the West Hollywood community. The City s biannually updates its WeHo Climate Action public dashboard that monitors progress toward achieving carbon neutrality and its 60 programs and projects. To learn more about the City’s active sustainability initiatives and public dashboard, visit WeHo Climate Action & Sustainability.

The City of West Hollywood will, additionally partner with The Center for Early Education to provide a day of service for school children. This private event will take place at Kings Road Park and programming will feature monarch butterfly conservation education and activities, planting nectar and other foliage, and park cleanup. Visit the City’s educational Monarch Butterfly Conservation webpage to learn more about monarch butterfly conservation and City efforts.

For more information about West Hollywood’s Earth Month 2024, please contact Andi Lovano, City of West Hollywood Community & Legislative Affairs Manager, at (323) 848-6333 or at [email protected].

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

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For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at www.weho.org/email, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at www.weho.org/calendar. West Hollywood City Hall is open for walk-in services at public counters or by appointment by visiting www.weho.org/appointments. City Hall services are accessible by phone at (323) 848-6400 and via website at www.weho.org. Receive text updates by texting “WeHo” to (323) 848-5000.

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