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California Senate approves HIV & Aging Act

The HIV & Aging Act would ensure older people living with HIV have access to the programs and services administered through the California Department of Aging.

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SACRAMENTO – The California Senate advanced SB 258, the HIV and Aging Act, by a bipartisan vote of 36-0 Thursday. Introduced by Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), SB 258 would update the definition of “greatest social need” in the Welfare and Institutions Code to include older people living with HIV.

The HIV & Aging Act would ensure older people living with HIV — who are likely to turn to government and community-based services due to multiple comorbidities, behavioral and mental health issues and limited social support — have access to the programs and services administered through the California Department of Aging.

Following Illinois in 2019, California would be only the second state to designate older adults with HIV as a target population of “greatest social need.” The legislation is co-sponsored by Equality California, SAGE, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and APLA Health.

Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) (Photo Credit: California Senate)

With recent advancements in HIV treatment, people with HIV who take antiretroviral therapy can keep the virus suppressed and live long and healthy lives. For this reason, the number of older people living with HIV is increasing and over half of people living with HIV in California are now aged 50 years or older.

However, older people with HIV continue to face unique challenges and barriers in health and well-being. A 2020 report by SAGE’s HIV and Aging Policy Action Coalition (HAPAC) identified that older people with HIV are more likely than their HIV-negative counterparts to have multiple comorbidities, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, fractures, and hepatitis C.

Older people with HIV also face a number of behavioral health challenges, including rates of depression up to five times greater than their HIV-negative peers and greater levels of stigma, social isolation and loneliness.

“Older Californians living with HIV are among our most resilient friends, family and loved ones, and our state must be responsive to their unique needs.” said Equality California Legislative Director Tami A. Martin. “With the approval of Senator Laird’s HIV and Aging Act today, we are one step closer to ensuring that not a single one of our elders living with HIV has to go without food assistance, job training, transportation or any other vital service. The LGBTQ+ community will continue to advocate for older Californians living with HIV until they are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”

“APLA Health applauds the Senate for voting to pass SB 258, which is an important step toward ensuring that older people with HIV have the support they need to stay healthy and thrive,” said APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson. “The bill makes it clear that programs administered by the California Department of Aging should be tailored to address the unique set of challenges faced by people with HIV as they grow older. Now, we call on the Governor and legislature to go even further and allocate new resources in the state budget to expand much-needed programs and services for this rapidly growing population.

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Los Angeles County

Ballot-dropoff sites at Metro transit stations & free rides election day

Metro issued a map of its route lines which includes nine locations that have dropoff boxes for ballots. The free rides include buses & trains

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles/Metro Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – On Primary Election Day which is next Tuesday March 5, the Los Angeles area regional transit agency Metro is again offering free public transit rides on Election Day to help voters reach the polls.

Metro issued a map of its route lines which includes nine locations that have dropoff boxes for ballots. The free rides include all Metro buses, trains, bike share and Micro rideshare.

On Election Day – Tuesday March 5 – polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. but the free rides continue until midnight.

The Super Tuesday ballot includes the presidential race, California’s U.S. Senate seat, multiple seats in Congress and many local races and measures.

RIDE FREE ON METRO ON ELECTION DAY TUESDAY!

ballot dropoff at 9 stations http://mtro.la/fw2F50QK2SN

plan trip Google/Apple maps, http://metro.net

polling locations etc http://lavote.gov

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Los Angeles County

Connie Norman Trans Center is first voting center in a trans space

Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center prepares to open as a voting place Saturday for Los Angeles County primary voting

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California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis addressing the audience at the Connie Norman Trans Empowerment Center. (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo)

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky paid a visit to the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center (CONOTEC) on Thursday morning, joining FLUX, the Unique Women’s Coalition (UWC), and the Human Rights Campaign in commemorating a historic moment.

The center has made U.S. history by becoming the nation’s first Vote Center situated within a Transgender establishment. The center prepares to open as a voting place Saturday for Los Angeles County primary voting.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky

FLUX’s Queen Victoria Ortega, UWC’s Queen Chela Demuir, Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, and the Lieutenant Governor marked this milestone by announcing that CONOTEC would open its doors to all Los Angeles County voters from Saturday, March 2, through primary election day on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis expressed, “The opening of the nation’s first transgender voting center today in Los Angeles marks a significant milestone in our efforts to champion equity, inclusivity, and LGBTQA+ rights in California. By providing a safe and affirming space for the transgender community to exercise their fundamental right to vote, we are breaking down barriers and ensuring every Californian has equal access to the ballot box.”

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky added, “I couldn’t be prouder that L.A.’s Fifth Council District is now home to the first voting center in the Nation located in a transgender facility. As extremists across the country continue their endless attacks on both the LGBT Community and our democracy, Los Angeles must stand as a beacon of hope. I want to thank CONOTEC for opening this voting center and for the critical work they do every day to support the needs of the Los Angeles transgender and nonbinary community.”

California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and LA City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky joined FLUX, Unique Woman’s Coalition, and Human Rights Campaign at Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center today as it prepares to open Saturday for Los Angeles County primary voting

Queen Victoria Ortega, international president of FLUX, stated, “Fighting to provide a safe and welcoming place for our transgender and non-binary siblings is exactly why the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center exists. We will continue to work towards equality for all.”

Queen Chela Demuir of UWC echoed, “We have reached out to our transgender community across Los Angeles County, encouraging them to join us to vote here at the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center. This is our home. This is their home. Everyone is welcome here. Come and cast your ballot and do your civic duty to make your voice heard.”

In Los Angeles County, voters can cast their ballot at any Vote Center, irrespective of their residential address. Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, highlighted, “Our vote center model gives us the flexibility to locate vote centers in facilities and communities that give voters options that convey the significance of being heard through the act of voting.”

Voter registration services are available at all vote centers, and voters can drop off their voted mail ballot at any vote center as well.

Brian Michael Smith, actor from 911 Lone Star and Human Rights Campaign Board Member, stated, “The Human Rights Campaign is proud to stand with and assist Queens Victoria and Chela as they do critical work of fighting for Equality for all – without exception. Part of that equality includes having a safe space for voting in your community.”

The Connie Norman Trans Empowerment Center, named in honor of Connie Norman, the ‘AIDS Diva,’ a fearless Transgender and AIDS activist who passed away in 1996, opened on September 10, 2021.

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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

Mom says beating & stabbing of her 16-year-old son is a hate crime

The video shows the teen cover his face as he’s being stomped, kicked & stabbed as homophobic epithets & racist slurs can be heard being used

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Photo provided by the family of the victim

PLAYA DEL REY, Calif. – The mother of a sixteen-year-old boy is asking for community support as her son recovers from a vicious beating and stabbing by multiple people at Dockweiler Beach while his attackers shouted racial and homophobic slurs, the entire incident caught on mobile phone video.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told the Blade that based on witness statements some of the suspect assailants have been identified as minors and are being interviewed by LAPD detectives. The spokesperson noted that investigators are aware of the video footage of the attack, including it in their criminal probe.

The mother Frankie, who chose to remain unidentified by her surname, told both the LAPD and KABC 7 Eyewitness News the assault happened Feb. 10 at a bonfire party at the beach. She says her son suffered a concussion and spent days in the intensive care unit with severe injuries.

“He had a tube going through his chest. They had to collapse a lung to repair the other lung,” she said. “They had to take a camera in his stomach to check to see if there was anything else going on in his stomach because there was so much blood.”

According to the mother, the fight started after her son tried to help a friend and that he was not the aggressor – a detail police confirmed to KABC Eyewitness News.

“When he went to go help her up I guess the guys didn’t like it, and they came and wanted to fight, and my son didn’t want any problems,” his mother said. “The guy just pushed him, and then another guy came and they just all started attacking him – there was nothing my son could do.”

The video showed the teen cover his face as he’s being stomped, kicked and stabbed by at least five assailants. Also homophobic epithets and racist slurs can be heard yelled by the attackers. Initially when she got to hospital, When she got to the hospital, doctors told her they weren’t sure if he would survive. “Everything went black from there,” she added.

The LAPD has not classified it as a hate crime and continue to investigate.

The mother has set up a GoFundMe page to help offset medical expenses which continue to increase as he remains in hospital recovering and the costs of relocating.

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West Hollywood

Settlement in lawsuit between WeHo trans activist & LASD

According to court docs “the parties advise the Court that a full and complete settlement of the case was reached on February 26, 2024”

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Annie Jump Vicente booing during the swearing in of West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson. (Photo by Paulo Murillo)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A joint settlement has been reached in a legal case involving plaintiff Annie Jump Vicente, a trans activist and resident of West Hollywood, and defendants the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the County of Los Angeles, and ten individual sheriff deputies identified as ‘Does.’

According to court documents obtained by WEHO TIMES, “the parties hereby jointly advise the Court that a full and complete settlement of the case was reached on February 26, 2024.”

Furthermore, “The parties anticipate that they will be able to finalize the settlement documents, provide the settlement draft to Plaintiff, and file a final stipulated dismissal of the entire case with prejudice within sixty (60) days.”

Jump, also known as Annie Vicente Jump, a transgender woman, filed the civil rights lawsuit against LASD, ten individual West Hollywood Station LASD deputies (referred to as Doe LASD Deputies), and the County of Los Angeles. The lawsuit stemmed from an incident on December 7, 2022, when Jump was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly obstructing Sheriff deputies from entering her apartment building while responding to a domestic violence call.

Jump faced charges under Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC, which criminalizes willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing peace officers or EMTs in the performance of their official duties. However, a Los Angeles County District Attorney Charge Evaluation Sheet dated December 21, 2022, concluded that “the defendant’s total conduct cannot be characterized other than a refusal to consent to a request to enter her apartment. Such conduct cannot constitute grounds for a lawful arrest or subsequent search and seizure… Refusal to stand aside and permit a requested entry, even when officers… had a right to force an entry… cannot constitute a violation of section 148.”

The civil case, number 2:23-cv8584, was filed on October 11, 2023, by the Law Offices of Christian Contreras. The list of complaints for damages included allegations of negligence, false arrest/imprisonment, assault and battery, violations of the Bane Act (Civil Code § 52.1) and the Ralph Act (Civil Code § 51.7), violations of the First Amendment for retaliation for protected speech (42 USC § 1983), violations of the Fourth Amendment for excessive force (42 USC § 1983), municipal liability for unconstitutional policy, custom, or practice, and municipal liability for failure to train.

The defendants retained the services of Collison, Daehnke, Inlow & Greco, a civil litigation defense firm specializing in various civil litigation matters.

Attorney Laura E. Inlow, with nearly 30 years of practice, leads the firm’s Governmental Entity Liability Practice Group, focusing on police misconduct and civil rights cases under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as professional liability, premises, and general liability matters. Attorney Lenore C. Kelly brings extensive experience in the aggressive defense of public entities, particularly in cases involving law enforcement use of force, civil rights violations, employment disputes, complex tort, and general casualty.

Jump alleged that she was attacked and arrested by unidentified LASD deputies on December 7, 2022, while officers were responding to a domestic violence call. The Complaint stated that upon returning home with groceries, Jump found LASD deputies demanding entry into the building to investigate a domestic violence incident involving her neighbors, who were out of town and requesting a search warrant. Jump was forcibly pulled out of her doorway, causing injuries. Two days earlier, Jump had criticized LASD’s negligence at a West Hollywood city council meeting.

Jump says the incident caused severe mental and emotional distress, including feelings of shame, disillusionment with the justice system, fear of law enforcement, and PTSD.

Related

In a recent development this month, West Hollywood Sheriff deputies arrested Ms. Vicente on Thursday, February 15, 2024, for a separate incident and is currently facing a felony assault with a deadly weapon (245 PC) for allegedly striking a Block by Block Ambassador on the head with a flashlight. Captain Moulder of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station stated that a second suspect is outstanding. Detectives are continuing to actively investigate this case.

During a recent West Hollywood City Council meeting, Ms. Vicente alleged that she had been sexually assaulted and battered by the Block by Block ambassador and asked the City to end its contract with Block by Block security. “He beat the shit out of me,” she said during public comment. “And then he had me arrested and charged with a felony.”

However, a video released by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station shows a violent attack against the Block by Block ambassador. Two individuals assaulted him while he was on his lunch break according to Captain Moulder. One of the attackers was identified as Ms. Vicente and arrested. The other suspect is still at large as of the posting of this piece. LASD detectives released a Special Bulletin asking for the public’s help in identifying the second person.

Details on the recent settlement have not yet been disclosed, and there is no word yet on whether Ms. Jump will be filing another lawsuit for her most recent arrest.

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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

Triple A: Local gas prices resume climbing after brief pause

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.74, which is ten cents higher than a week ago

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Triple A Auto Club/Los Angeles Blade

LOS ANGELES – Southern California gas prices began climbing again this week after a brief week-long pause in most areas, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.74, which is ten cents higher than a week ago. The average national price is $3.32, which is five cents higher than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.85 per gallon, which is five cents more than last week, 27 cents higher than last month, and one cent higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.86, which is five cents more than last week, 27 cents higher than last month, and one cent higher than this time last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.81, which is four cents higher than last week, 25 cents higher than last month, and four cents more than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.72, which is four cents higher than last week, 32 cents higher than last month and two cents lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.62 average price is four cents more than last week, six cents more than last month, and 15 cents lower than a year ago today.

“According to Oil Price Information Service, the latest Energy Information Administration data is showing increased refinery production on the West Coast while gasoline inventories declined,” said Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Gas prices are likely to increase further in the next few months as consumer fuel demand grows in the spring and summer months.”

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Feb. 29, averages are:

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Women’s History Month; Getting Out the Vote; Strategic Plan Open House; Temp Closure of Sections of WeHo Park; plus more

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood Celebrates Women’s History Month in March

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood will celebrate National Women’s History Month in March with a series of events to recognize and honor women and women’s history.

The City’s National Women’s History Month events will officially kick-off with the unveiling of two new women’s history month street pole banners honoring two notable women: transgender pioneer Marsha P. Johnson, one of the most prominent figures of the gay rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and whose legacy continues to this day; and country music legend and actor Dolly Parton. The street pole banners presentation will take place at the regular meeting of the West Hollywood City Council on Monday, March 4, 2024 at 6 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. Attendance is free; no RSVP is required. Limited validated parking will be available at the adjacent five-story structure. The City Council meeting broadcast will be available for viewing on the City’s website by visiting www.weho.org/wehotv or on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.  

From Tuesday, March 5, 2024 through Friday, March 22, 2024, the globe lanterns above Santa Monica Boulevard will glow purple and gold. Throughout the month, a series of street pole banners that commemorate famous American women, civil rights leaders, and women’s rights activists will be on display along Santa Monica Boulevard. The City’s featured banners include: Gail Abarbanel; Maya Angelou; Ivy Bottini; Hillary Rodham Clinton; Midge Costanza; Marion Wright Edelman; Alicia Garza; Barbara Gittings; Dolores Huerta; Coretta Scott King; Wilma Mankiller; Michaela Mendelsohn; Patsy Mink; Zoe Nicholson; Connie Norman; Michelle Obama; Rosa Parks; Mary Pickford; Sonia Sotomayor; Nadia Sutton; Gloria Steinem; Elizabeth Taylor; Ruth Williams; Oprah Winfrey; among others. This year’s additions to the Women’s History Month banners are Marsha P. Johnson and Dolly Parton.

The City of West Hollywood and its Russian-Speaking Advisory Board will host a free program celebrating International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 3, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center, rooms 5 & 6, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The celebration will feature music, food, dancing, and a fashion show. For additional information call (323) 848-6826 or email [email protected].

Supported by the City of West Hollywood, the first annual Sexual Healing/Sexual Health Ladies’ Brunch is a sex-positive and age-positive experience to learn more about women’s reproductive and mental health, menopause, and sexual pleasure. The brunch will be held on Sunday, March 3, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Pleasure Chest and Hind Lounge located at 7733 Santa Monica Boulevard. This event is presented in partnership with The Pleasure Chest and Hind Bar and supported by the City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $45 and available for purchase both online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sexual-healingsexual-healthtickets-823196401597 and at the door. For additional information email [email protected]

Also on Sunday, March 3, 2024 the City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board will co-sponsor Guaranteed Abundance: Guaranteed Income Advocacy Training presented by LA Voice and the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles to be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free. To register visit bit.ly/GBIAdvocacy. For additional information email [email protected].

There will be a viewing party with artist Shaghayegh Cyrous to watch the moving image artwork, Xvarnah, on the digital billboard (Streamlined Arbor) at 9157 Sunset Boulevard on Sunday, March 3, 2024 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Artwork airs every 20 minutes beginning at the top of the hour.  Admission is free. This project is presented as part of the West Hollywood Moving Image Media Art Program (MIMA), an exhibition series administered by the City’s Arts Division, as part of its Art on the Outside program, and is presented with the City’s Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. Xvarnah will be on display through Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Women and Books is a book club that meets on the first Tuesday of each month to discuss books written by women authors. On Tuesday, March 5, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. the group will discuss The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher. Women and Books is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood through its Women’s Advisory Board and by West Hollywood Library. Admission is free. This is a hybrid event and will be hosted in-person at the West Hollywood Library’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, as well as virtually on Zoom. To register, visit: https://lacountylibrary.webex.com/lacountylibrary/j.php?MTID=maa8a00d769f8b023cc81d2d603b7184c

MashUp Contemporary Dance Company’s annual International Women’s Day Dance Festival will kick-off in West Hollywood on Friday, March 8, 2024 with the LA Women in Dance Summit in WeHo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Great Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The event will feature guest speakers, master classes and an Industry Expo. Tickets prices range from $20 to $65. To register and find out more about the entire  festival, visit: https://www.mashupdance.com/tickets/international-womens-day-dance-festival. This project is supported in part by a grant from the City of West Hollywood. 

The City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board will co-sponsor the Annual Herstory Awards & Reception, which is presented by the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Hollywood NOW) to honor a woman who has made exceptional contributions to the community and embodies the spirit of feminism. This year’s honoree is Abbe Land, former West Hollywood Mayor and City Councilmember. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 7 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free. To RSVP, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/849689954527?aff=oddtdtcreator.

The City and its Women’s Advisory Board will host the Women’s History Month Party to honor the contributions of women and the more than 30 years of service of the City’s Women’s Advisory Board on Friday, March 15, 2024 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room and Auto Court, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free, RSVP is requested by visiting www.weho.org/whm

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the 27th Annual West Hollywood Women in Leadership Awards and Reception will take place at the Andaz West Hollywood, located at 8401 Sunset Boulevard. The event is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board along with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Admission is $25 and proceeds will benefit the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. To RSVP visit www.weho.org/whm.

A full schedule of City of West Hollywood events and meetings is available at www.weho.org/calendar.For more information about Women’s History Month in the City of West Hollywood, please contact Larissa Fooks, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6413 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series Presents a Free Screening & Panel Discussion of  ‘Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom’

To recognize the tenth anniversary of the war and the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series will host a screening of the award-winning documentary film Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom followed by a panel discussion featuring Emmy- and Oscar-nominated director/producer Evgeny Afineevsky and Anna Zaitseva, film protagonist, activist and survivor. Crafted from stark footage and exclusive interviews with people displaced by the enduring conflict, Freedom on Fire reveals how the spirit of unity strengthens morale even amid the country’s darkest hours. 

The event will take place on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and opening remarks will take place at 6:30 p.m., followed by the film screening and panel discussion. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP is required at http://go.weho.org/hrss.

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series brings together diverse communities to learn about and discuss global, national, and local human rights issues in a supportive environment. The series reflects the City’s commitment to human rights and core value of Respect and Support for People.
For additional information about the Human Rights Speakers Series, please visit www.weho.org/hrss.For more information, please contact Joy Tribble, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Specialist, at (323) 848-6360 or at [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

2024 Public Safety Awards & Luncheon

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend the 2024 Public Safety Awards & Luncheon as the City celebrates and recognizes its organizational partners in public safety organizations that have made significant efforts towards enhancing community safety in West Hollywood.

The Public Safety Awards & Luncheon will take place on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at 11:30 a.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Lunch will be served in the Auto Court area outside the Chambers followed by the awards presentation inside. Admission is free; no RSVP is required. Parking will be available in the adjacent five-story structure, accessible from the El Tovar Place entrance off N. Robertson Boulevard.

This year, the Public Safety Awards will be presented to members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood Station, Los Angeles County Fire Department Stations 7 and 8, and to West Hollywood Block by Block Security Ambassadors.

These award recipients have made extraordinary efforts in public safety programs and events, strengthened community partnerships; and have demonstrated leadership in multiple ways that have contributed to a safer community.For more information about the City’s Public Safety Awards & Luncheon, please contact Anita Shandi, the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Manager, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6446. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Temporary Closure of Sections of West Hollywood Park will Take Place in February/March to Accommodate Special Event

From Wednesday, February 28, 2024, to Thursday, March 14, 2024, there will be a temporary closure of certain sections of West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard – including the small dog park and basketball courts – to accommodate the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party and fundraiser.

Additionally, there will be intermittent lane closures on N. San Vicente Boulevard, one full street closure, and impacts to certain West Hollywood Park facilities, as follows:

Intermittent lane closures will occur on Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and PDC Drive on the following dates:

  • Friday, March 1, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 & #2 lanes will be closed from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.;
  • Saturday, March 2, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 & #2 lanes will be closed from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.;
  • Monday, March 4, 2024, through Thursday, March 7, 2024 (Daily) Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #2 lane will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
  • Friday, March 8, 2024, through March 10, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #2 lane will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.;
  • Monday, March 11, 2024 – Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #2 lane will be closed from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 lane will be closed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.;
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2024 Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard #1 & and #2 lanes will be closed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

A full street closure will occur on Northbound and Southbound N. San Vicente Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue starting on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at 12 p.m.; the street will reopen on Monday, March 11, 2024, at 5 a.m.

West Hollywood Park facilities impacts/closures will occur as follows:

  • West Hollywood Park small dog park and basketball courts will be closed from Wednesday, February 28, 2024, through Wednesday, March 13, 2024; and
  • West Hollywood Park large dog park will be closed from Friday, March 8, 2024, through Monday, March 11, 2024;
  • West Hollywood Park Five-Story Parking Structure will be closed all day on Sunday, March 10, 2024; the structure will reopen on Monday, March 11, 2024, at 5 a.m.

The City of West Hollywood has proudly supported the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and its Academy Awards Viewing Party over many years. This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.For inquiries related to the City of West Hollywood and temporary impacts on West Hollywood Park, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division at [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

West Hollywood Invites Community Members to Participate in Upcoming ‘WeHo 40’ Strategic Plan Open House

The City of West Hollywood will host a community open house to kick off the development of West Hollywood’s next citywide strategic plan, WeHo 40. This free event will include a brief program, food, and live entertainment. It will take place on Saturday, March 2, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kings Road Park, located at 1000 N. Kings Road. Community members are encouraged to stop by at any point during the event to learn more about the project, to provide feedback, and to connect with fellow community members. Translation services will be available in Spanish and Russian. Advance RSVP is not required. 

This community open house will be the first in a series of community feedback-gathering events, which are central to developing WeHo 40. This event will focus on visioning and goal setting, including the identification of potential goals and priorities. Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute their experiences, ideas, and insightful perspectives to support the development of the strategic plan. The program will include a brief presentation followed by small group discussions and exercises. These activities will be repeated several times over the course of the open house; participants are encouraged to drop in at any time to participate. 

WeHo 40 is the City of West Hollywood’s forward-looking strategic planning process. Rooted in 40 years of municipal history – and looking ahead toward 2040 – WeHo 40 will engage residents, community members, and local businesses in setting priorities to create an inclusive and equitable roadmap for the City’s future and build upon the successes of the City’s past strategic plans.

For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been engaging in the collaborative development of strategic plans in order to shape forward-thinking policies and priorities. The City developed its first strategic plan in 1990. In 2003, the City launched its second strategic plan, Vision 2020. The development of Vision 2020 included the participation of more than 250 community members and helped shape the City’s Mission Statement and Core Values.

Visit engage.weho.org/wehostrategicplan to learn about the latest WeHo 40 updates and sign up for project-specific announcements. For more information, please contact Paolo Kespradit, City of West Hollywood Management Analyst, at (323) 848-6460 or [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood is Getting Out the Vote: Presidential Primary Election Voters May Vote In-Person, Vote by Mail, or Use Ballot Drop-Off Boxes through 8 p.m. on March 5, 2024

As part of the City of West Hollywood’s continuous efforts to increase voter participation, the City reminds community members that each vote counts and your voice matters in the upcoming Presidential Primary Election.

Key Dates for the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election:

  • February 1: Vote by Mail begins & Drop Boxes Open 
  • February 20: Last Day to Register to Vote & Receive a Vote by Mail Ballot 
  • February 24: Same-Day Registration and 11-Day Vote Centers Open (City of West Hollywood Plummer Park Vote Center, located in Fiesta Hall, 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard) 
  • March 2: 4-Day Vote Centers Open (City of West Hollywood West Hollywood Park Vote Center, located in the Aquatic and Recreation Center San Vicente/La Cienega Rooms) 
  • March 5: Election Day

The State of California allows for conditional day-of registration and allows that voter to cast a provisional ballot. Vote by Mail postal mail-in and ballot-drop-off voting for registered voters began on February 1, 2024. Many LA County Vote Centers will begin operating on February 24, 2024; there will be two City of West Hollywood Vote Centers (Plummer Park opens on February 24 and West Hollywood park opens on March 2). 

Vote Centers are open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the pre-Election Day voting period. On Election Day, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, Vote Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For all LA County Vote Center locations and estimated wait times, visit https://locator.lavote.gov/locations/vc

The City of West Hollywood provides two free options for residents who need transportation assistance to vote in person at a Vote Center. Cityline makes regular stops at or within a short distance of voting locations. For a route and schedule, visit www.weho.org/cityline. Dial-a-Ride is a rideshare service for West Hollywood residents over 62 or who are living with a disability (of any age) available between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by reservation. Advance registration is required; to register, call toll-free (800) 447-2189.

In addition to postal Vote by Mail and in-person voting at Vote Centers for the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election, the City of West Hollywood has worked with LA County to establish three Ballot Drop Box locations in West Hollywood. These Ballot Drop Boxes are bright yellow and clearly marked. They feature safety and security features, such as 24-hour electronic monitoring. Locations are as follows:

  • West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard

(Ballot Drop Box located behind City Hall, off of N. Sweetzer Avenue)

  • West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard

(Ballot Drop Box located on the west side of the street, in front of the library)

  • Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard

(Ballot Drop Box located in front of the Plummer Park Community Center)

The City of West Hollywood encourages every eligible voter to have a vote plan with the following tips:

  • Check your voter registration status or register to vote at www.lavote.gov/vrstatus or call (800) 815-2666;
  • Decide how you would like to vote: Fill in your ballot and drop off a ballot at a Ballot Drop Box or a Vote Center; or, Vote in-person at a Vote Center;
  • Educate yourself about the issues and then vote as soon as you receive your ballot;
  • Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to vote or register to vote;
  • Assist those who need help with their mail-in ballot or offer to take a homebound senior to a Vote Center; and
  • Track your ballot. You can sign-up to receive personalized text messages, emails, and/or automated voice messages on your Vote-by-Mail ballot (whether sent by mail or dropped off at a Ballot Drop Box or Vote Center) by subscribing to Where’s My Ballot. This is a free service available to all registered voters that provides updated information about where your ballot is and when you can expect to receive it. Sign up to be notified of the status of your ballot at california.ballottrax.net/voter.

City of West Hollywood voters receive complete ballot information by mail directly from the LA County Registrar-Recorder. More election information is available at www.weho.org/elections.  

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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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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

The Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder-County Clerk is prepared for Tuesday’s presidential primary election with a brand-new facility to process ballots.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

In Case You Missed It

Early Voting Now Open!

119 Vote Centers are now open for you to vote early ahead of the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election. Vote Centers will be open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM to vote in person.

A full list and map of Vote Center locations is available online at LOCATOR.LAVOTE.GOV.
Voters can visit any location to vote or drop off their ballot.

First-time voters who missed the registration deadline can visit any Vote Center, complete a Conditional Voter Registration, and cast a ballot in this election. Voters can also update their registration information, including their party affiliation, to receive their preferred party’s ballot or request a crossover ballot.

The ballot in this election is extensive and includes contests and candidates from the neighborhood and local levels through state offices, measures, and federal representatives. Voters are encouraged to review their ballot carefully and vote early.

Learn more at plan.lavote.gov.

At Your Service

Free Tax Prep LA

Tax season is here! Start preparing to file your taxes with the help of Free Tax Prep LA. The program aims to educate and provide money-saving tax services, supported by various organizations including the Community Investment for Families Department – City of Los Angeles, Consumer & Business Affairs – Los Angeles County, Koreatown Youth and Community Center, and United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Eligible participants can access cashback tax credits and stimulus payments, potentially totaling up to $10,000, including Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, CalEITC, and federal stimulus payments.

Visit Free Tax Prep LA for more information.

Out and About

Find Arts and Culture Near You!

As the creative capital of the world, Los Angeles County is home to amazing art and cultural treasures! To help LA County community members get involved in local arts and culture experiences, the LA County Department of Arts and Culture created the Arts and Culture Near You Map. In it, you’ll find amazing arts and culture spots all over the County to explore, and you can also add your own favorites—a theater, museum, dance studio, music venue, or an organization where you engage in the arts.

Photo Finish

Photo: Los Angeles County / Mayra Beltran Vasquez

LA County Library’s Laptop & Hotspot Loan program.


Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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West Hollywood

WeHo hosts V-Day & One Billion Rising anti-violence outreach

Vice-Mayor Chelsea Byers joined members of the LA Sheriff’s Department, Block by Block Security Ambassadors & LA LGBT Center’s WeHo Life

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V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach. (Photo Credit: WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood hosted a community outreach event as part of its annual recognition of V -Day, the global activist movement to end violence against all women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence), girls and the planet.

Community members distributed materials to help to promote a message of consent with its “Only Yes Means Yes” public awareness campaign, distribute drink-spiking test strips, share domestic violence awareness information and human trafficking prevention and awareness information as well as general safety information and resources.

V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach – WEHO TIMES

West Hollywood Vice Mayor Chelsea Lee Byers joined members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station, Block by Block Security Ambassadors, members of the LA LGBT Center’s WeHo Life group, members of the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Advisory Board, Public Safety, and City staff members in WeHo’s Rainbow district, to pass out awareness and prevention materials at various nightlife locations in the city. Members of the public are invited to stop by and pick up materials at a table on Santa Monica Boulevard.

V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach – WEHO TIMES

“Today we’re passing out drink test strips,” Vice-Mayor Byers told WEHO TIMES. “It’s an initiative that the city’s been really proud to partner with the LA LGBT Center and APLA Health. We’ve been out here passing out test strips to the community, and people at the bars on the Saturday afternoon. We’re having a conversation with them about the risks that are inherent in that activity and the ways that they can better protect themselves. We’re really excited to be engaging in that way as a community.”

V-Day and One Billion Rising Anti-Violence Outreach – WEHO TIMES

Drink-spiking test strips are designed to detect the possible presence of “date rape” drugs, such as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) or ketamine. Outreach staff from the WeHo Life program began test-strip distribution efforts in October 2022 to inform and educate community members and businesses that drink-spiking test strips are a tool for personal safety that can be used anywhere at any time.

First launched in 2016, the #onlyYes campaign is a public-awareness campaign to encourage people in the community to be more aware of sexual assault and to promote a message of consent.

For over 20 years the City has participated in V-Day.  V-Day was founded on the belief that when art and activism come together, they have the power to transform systems and change culture. Founded by V (formerly Eve Ensler), activist and author of the The Vagina Monologues, V-Day has inspired women all over the world and raised collective consciousness about how violence and gender intersect. V-Day is a movement and an example of how the power of art can be used as a liberating tool for transformational holistic education and social justice. www.vday.org

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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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Riverside County

Riverside judge refuses to block trans outing & CRT policies

Forced disclosure requires schools to inform parents if a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from their birth certificate

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Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education admin offices (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A Riverside County Superior Court judge denied a motion on Friday morning, Feb. 23, to issue an injunction seeking to stop the Temecula Valley Unified School District from enforcement of two controversial polices on transgender notification to parents or guardians and a ban on teaching of critical race theory.

Superior Court Judge Eric Keen denied plaintiffs’ motions to issue the injunctions without clarification or elaboration. The Daily Bulletin media outlet reported Public Counsel, which sought the injunction, will appeal Keen’s ruling Public Counsel attorney Amanda Mangaser Savage said after the hearing.

“We always knew that this case was going to go up on appeal, whether we prevailed or not,” she said. “This is a question that the California appellate courts really need to decide to set a precedent for superior courts across the state of California.”

She added: “While yes, we are disappointed in today’s ruling, we are excited about the possibility of taking this up on appeal and having a court rule on the merits of our claims in a way that will impact courts across California.”

“Despite the small but vocal opponents that seek to rewrite history and indoctrinate students, I am very optimistic for our school district,” Dr. Joseph Komrosky, President of the school board said in a statement issued Friday after the ruling. “I believe that the diversity that exists among the District’s community of students, staff, parents, and guardians is an asset to be honored and valued. These policies were enacted by the school board to ensure our district puts the needs of students and their parents above all else. Our district remains focused on providing a holistic education for all of our students, free from both discrimination and indoctrination.”

According to the Daily Bulletin last week Keen ruled that the lawsuit, described as a groundbreaking challenge of a critical race theory ban, could move forward.

The battle over parental notification of trans and non-binary students policies at school board levels across California, which opponents say are plainly dangerous forced outings, resulted in another court fight, which in that case San Bernardino California Superior Court Judge Michael Sachs issued a preliminary oral injunction last Fall against the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education’s mandatory gender identity disclosure policy, further halting the enforcement of the policy.

The Superior Court’s ruling came after California Attorney General Bonta in August announced a lawsuit challenging the enforcement of the Board’s forced outing policy. Prior to filing a lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta announced opening a civil rights investigation into the legality of the Board’s adoption of the policy.

Bonta in January issued a legal alert addressed to all California county, school district, and charter school boards and superintendents, warning them against forced gender identity disclosure policies detrimental to the privacy, safety, and well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

Forced disclosure policies require schools to inform parents whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission or when doing so would put them at risk of physical, emotional, or psychological harm.

Such policies also require notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that do not align with their sex on official records. In today’s alert, Attorney General Bonta reminds all school boards that these forced gender identity disclosure policies violate the California Constitution and state laws safeguarding students’ civil rights.

According to City News Service, Yi Li, a fellow at Public Counsel said: “Unfortunately, Temecula is just one example of school districts and states around the country that are putting culture war politics before the needs of the students and communities. Temecula students are now in classrooms where they cannot learn material required by state standards, or have open and honest discussion about current events. And Temecula teachers are at risk of facing sever and arbitrary penalties just by doing their jobs.”

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Los Angeles County

LA County sues Grubhub alleging deceptive business practices

Lawsuit seeks to hold Grubhub accountable for business practices that deceive & overcharge consumers, exploit drivers & restaurants

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App food delivery driver picks up an order. (Screenshot/YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County filed a lawsuit yesterday against food delivery company Grubhub alleging false and deceptive advertising, misrepresentation and unfair business practices that financially harm consumers, delivery drivers and restaurants.

“This lawsuit sends a clear message: Los Angeles County will not tolerate businesses that deceive consumers, take advantage of restaurants, and exploit the drivers who work hard to provide a valued service,” said Los Angeles County Board Chair Lindsey P. Horvath. “Our County Counsel and Department of Consumer and Business Affairs are standing up for consumers and businesses by fighting these unfair practices.”

The lawsuit alleges that Grubhub engages in the following unfair and deceptive business practices and seeks statewide relief to stop these violations:

Harm to Consumers

  • Deceptively advertises that consumers can place delivery orders online “for free” but then charges consumers fees on those orders at check-out.
  • Uses bait-and-switch tactics to lure consumers with a flat, unqualified price for delivery upfront while adding deceptively labeled “service,” “small order” and “driver benefits” fees at checkout. In some cases, the costs of the fees exceed the cost of the food item ordered.
  • Misrepresents restaurant search results on its apps and websites, telling consumers that the search results are based on relevance to the consumer’s query (e.g., “Chinese food near me”), when in fact, the results and rankings are based in part on how much restaurants have paid Grubhub for placement.

Harm to Drivers

Grubhub misrepresents the qualities, characteristics and scope of the “Driver Benefits Fee,” which Grubhub charges consumers in connection with Proposition 22. Grubhub deceptively implies that the fee provides healthcare benefits to drivers and that consumers no longer need to tip their drivers because “they don’t have to depend on tips.”

Harm to Restaurants

Grubhub deceptively and unilaterally charges restaurants for customer refunds, which Grubhub issues without restaurants’ consent, and without verifying whether the customer or the restaurant was responsible.

“The deceptive and excessive fees charged by Grubhub at checkout blatantly undermine our goal of promoting a fair marketplace where businesses, employees and consumers can thrive,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director of the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “These practices inflict financial harm on LA County’s residents, restaurants and workers and are unacceptable while so many of them struggle to make ends meet.”

Consumers, drivers and restaurants who believe they have been harmed by Grubhub’s actions are invited to share their experiences with DCBA by emailing: [email protected], filing online at https://iddweb.isd.lacounty.gov/dca_ecomplaint/ or calling 800-593-8222.

The lawsuit, filed by Los Angeles County Counsel Dawyn R. Harrison on behalf of the people of the State of California in response to complaints from consumers and restaurant owners, seeks injunctive relief to stop the unfair and deceptive business practices, and civil penalties. County Counsel’s Affirmative Litigation and Consumer Protection Division has retained the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC to assist on this case.

“Our lawsuit seeks to hold Grubhub accountable for their unfair and deceptive business practices that deceive and overcharge consumers, exploit drivers, and unfairly short-change restaurants on order refunds,” Harrison said. “My office is committed to protecting County workers and residents and holding businesses accountable for violations of consumer and worker protection laws.”

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, and a copy of the complaint is available here: LA County Grubhub Complaint-Redacted.pdf.

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