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West Hollywood City Council approves hotel worker ordinance

The newly approved policy is among the strongest and most progressive hotel worker ordinances to date in the Los Angeles region

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Hotel workers march prior to a city council vote July 19 on a protective ordinance (Photo via Maria Hernandez)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Late Monday night the West Hollywood City Council voted 4-1 in favor of a hotel worker ordinance that would provide thousands of the city’s hotel employees with needed workplace protections.

The newly approved policy is among the strongest and most progressive hotel worker ordinances to date in the Los Angeles region. Similar ordinances have been passed previously in Santa Monica and Long Beach. 

“Tonight’s vote makes clear: recovery in West Hollywood will include everyone,” said Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “I am honored to stand with our courageous hotel workers, and I am proud to see the City of West Hollywood choose to treat our frontline hospitality workers with dignity and respect.”

The policy would ensure workers in the hotel industry, many of whom have dedicated decades of service to the industry, have jobs to return to as the economy reopens, and are protected from various forms of abuse, including threatening sexual conduct.

The policy also contains a series of measures to address the constellation of industry-wide problems that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as inadequate compensation for heavy workloads, and the lack of comprehensive, standardized training. 

Hours before the anticipated vote, hundreds of WeHo hotel workers and allies marched to West Hollywood City Hall in favor of the policy.

“For years my coworkers and I were the invisible workforce that built the tourism industry in West Hollywood. Tonight, the West Hollywood City Council saw our humanity and stood with us. On behalf of our city’s hotel workers I want to say thank you for ensuring these protections and passing this policy,” said Norma Hernandez, who worked as a housekeeper at the Mondrian for 12 years and was a fierce advocate for the law.

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West Hollywood

Arrest made in a kidnapping in West Hollywood bar & nightclub district

Detectives seek to speak with any additional witnesses or anyone who has had contact with Diaz on the night of the incident or in the past.

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Photos courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department announced in a tweet that deputies had arrested Fernando Diaz, 50, at 3 a.m. Friday morning after he was seen allegedly carrying an unconscious woman to a van and then driving off. Diaz was released on bond a day later, officials confirmed Sunday.

Diaz’s bail amount was set at $100,000 and he was released on Saturday after posting bond, according to the Sheriff’s Department’s inmate locator.

Detectives seek to speak with any additional witnesses or anyone who has had contact with Diaz on the night of the incident or in the past.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Cynthia Mejia at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station Detective Bureau by calling 310-358-4028 or [email protected]

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood’s ‘Pride Walk,’ a return to historic LGBTQ+ activism roots

“We wanted to be there “to show our pride openly and honestly and receiving the love back from the people in the street is the best.”

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WeHo Pride Walk 2021 (Photo By Jorge Barragan)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – About 100 people gathered at North Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Boulevard Sunday morning, for an ad hoc Pride Walk organised by the publisher of the Los Angeles Blade, Troy Masters, which also included more than a dozen members of the Southern California Motorcycle Contingent for Equality.

Though he had called for a simple no sponsor, non-permitted and organic march in an April editorial and again in early June in the paper and also created event posts on social media, only 120 or so people expressed an interest.

“I was having a little bit of trouble getting Pride Walk off the ground so I thought to myself, I need some lesbians,” said Masters to the delight of the crowd after being honored by West Hollywood City Council member Sepi Shyne for organizing the walk.

The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce commissioned a number of business activities and turned Robertson Boulevard into a festival atmosphere, but there was no plan for a march for the first time in more than 50 years.

“Pride Walk was intended to make sure that did not happen, Covid be damned,” Masters said.

Marna Deitch, a Southern California Motorcycle Contingent for Equality leader and a social media organizer of Pride Walk, kicked off and led the walk with more than a dozen bikers, leading about 75 walkers with her motorcycle contingent.

“We wanted to be there “to show our pride openly and honestly and receiving the love back from the people in the street is the best.  Seeing more of that over the decades keeps me optimistic to continue our fight, our Pride,” said Deitch.

Though the LASD presence was not requested, deputies showed up anyway at which point Deitch and Masters negotiated marcher’s access to the streets with the Commander of LASD West Hollywood substation, Lt William Moulder. The march was unpermitted and unsanctioned by the City of West Hollywood, however, Moulder allowed the bikes and the marchers to slowly navigate their way through the traffic along Santa Monica Blvd., escorted by several LASD units.

The spirit of the crowd was very matter of fact, with lots of socializing and flag waving, responding to the honking of car horns and the cheers and applause of bystanders on the sidelines.

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Mary Jo Godges and Rene Sotile, the Emmy award-winning filmmaking team (and married couple) marched at the front of the crowd with Masters, holding a simple rainbow banner that read “Come out and Join Us” “WeHo Pride Walk” “#WeHoPrideWalk.” Sotile is also a member of West Hollywood’ Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board.

An image of the banner for the 2021 WeHo Pride Walk

Among the walkers, which included WeHo City Councilmember Sepi Shyne, were several members of the Lesbian and Gay Advistory Board, LGBTQ and AIDS non-profit executive directors, business owners and activists, but the event was intentionally low-key and there were no speeches planned and no rally in advance.

At one point, Alex Mohajer, an actor, author, artist, and LGBTQ+ activist, gave a marching speech that reminded walkers of the history of Pride marches, walks and parades.

And it was even educational-  Mohajer and Masters joked at the intersection of La Cienega and Santa Monica that “we should have a die-in right here.”  “What is a die-in,” asked a young woman.  Mohajer explained that in many instances over the years “it’s what we had to do to express our rage and get their attention.  And we are not at a place yet that is safe.

A young lesbian couple expressed astonishment upon learning that Pride marches and walks once included die-ins. “I never heard anything about that. That’s amazing.” 

“Stonewall was a riot, and 52 years later it’s more important than ever that LGBTQ+ people remember our own history of activism and dissent. Our fight is not over, and I’m proud to march today in honor of those who came before us in the fight for equal justice,” said Mohajer, who is also a candidate for President of the Stonewall Democratic Club.

Photo Credit: Project Angel Food ED Richard Ayoub, (Right) with Remi Beverly

Richard Ayoub, Project Angel Food Executive Director said “When I walk in the pride parade every year there’s always at least one person in the crowd who, is a Project Angel Food client, and mouths to me “Thank you. And although this walk was much smaller it had the sane impact— a client expressed his gratitude in a quiet and respectful way. This was the perfect way to cap pride month.”

“Only the Weho LGBTQ community can come together like this last minute and have the showing and support that it did,” Ayoub added.

The march continued along Santa Monica Boulevard to Robertson where the crowd gathered for a group photo.

As the first West Hollywood Pride Walk came to a conclusion in a parking lot across from the Abbey on Robertson, Masters stepped onto the “Born This Way” mural and kept his remarks brief. “I have a 4-word speech to give:  Thank you for everything.”

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West Hollywood

Los Angeles Rams celebrate LGBTQ+ community with Pride events

In recognition of Pride Month, the Los Angeles Rams will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through a series of initiatives

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Graphic courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams NFL Team

WEST HOLLYWOOD – In recognition of Pride Month, the Los Angeles Rams will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through a series of initiatives. As part of the celebration, the Rams are teaming up with West Hollywood staple, Hamburger Mary’s, for a themed Bingo Night and kicking off a partnership with the Varsity Gay League (VGL).

Rams partner with West Hollywood Staple Hamburger Mary’s for Themed Bingo Night; Announce Partnership with Varsity Gay League

Each June, Pride events are held throughout the country to commemorate and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The entire month is dedicated to uplifting voices, honoring culture, and supporting LGBTQ+ rights. 

 

Below are events the Rams are supporting in celebration of Pride Month: 

Rams Bingo Night at Hamburger Mary’s 

The Rams are teaming up with West Hollywood staple, Hamburger Mary’s, for a themed Bingo Night. Rams Cheerleaders will join Hamburger Mary’s famous drag queens to host Bingo and a live auction. All attendees will receive a Rams Pride t-shirt and a portion of the proceeds raised during the event will benefit the You Can Play Project, which has partnered with the Sports Equality Foundation to help ensure safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and fans. 

When & Where: 

The Bingo Night will take place at Hamburger Mary’s located at 8288 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046 on Wednesday, June 23 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. PT.  

Rams to Announce Partnership with Varsity Gay League 

On Saturday, the Rams will announce a partnership with the Varsity Gay League (VGL), which is one of the original queer recreational sports organizations in Los Angeles. While VGL offers a variety of sports year-round, the Rams are supporting their expansion by sponsoring their first flag football division this fall. The Rams also will host game day watch parties throughout the season for VGL participants at Gym Sports Bar and Grill, VGL’s official league bar in West Hollywood. 

When & Where: The Rams will host a celebratory kickoff party at Poinsettia Park located at 7341 Willoughby Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046 on Saturday, June 26 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. PT.

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