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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Annual Rainbow Key Award, LGBTQ Arts Festival Continues Till End of Pride, Screening of film Patient No More, June is HIV Prevention Month

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Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood and its Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board will host a ceremony of the annual Rainbow Key Awards to recognize people and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community.  

This year’s Rainbow Key Awards will be held in-person on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 6 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, adjacent to West Hollywood Park. Details about registering to attend the event are available by visiting the City’s website at www.weho.org/rainbowkey. The ceremony will also be available for viewing on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.  

Each year, the West Hollywood City Council selects award recipients following recommendations made through a nomination process overseen by the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB). 

This year’s Rainbow Key Awards honorees are: Jazzmun Crayton; Greg Hernandez; Damian Pelliccione, LaShawn McGhee, Alia Daniels, and Chris Rodriguez; Monica Trasandes; and, Amita Swadhin.

Celebration will Honor Those Who Have Made Outstanding Contributions to the LGBTQ+ Community

The City of West Hollywood has, since 1993, presented Rainbow Key Awards to people and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community. Previous honorees have included activists, artists, civic leaders, educators, community organizations, and many others. Contributions, whether by an individual or a group, may be in many forms, including the arts, community action, humanitarian action, sports, medicine, armed services, leadership potential, benefit to the global gay and lesbian community, or in other ways. More than 155 Rainbow Key Awards have been presented since the award’s inception.

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 current West Hollywood City Council are openly gay or lesbian. The City has advocated for nearly four 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 additional information, please visit www.weho.org/rainbowkey.For more information about the Rainbow Key Awards, please contact Moya Márquez, City of West Hollywood Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6574 or at [email protected].

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

WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival Continues Through the End of Pride Month, June 30

Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community with its WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival). The festival runs for 40 days, from Harvey Milk Day on Sunday, May 22, 2022 through Thursday, June 30, 2022, which marks the end of Pride month.

This year, some events will be presented in-person and others will be available online. All programming details are posted at pride.weho.org and there is a link to this site from www.weho.org/pride

Some highlights of the remainder of the 40-day festival include:

  • WeHo Reads: Pride & Joy in the Matrix – June 7, 2022 at 6 p.m. Free. Online, RSVP: www.weho.org/wehoreads. LGBTQ+ authors are taking a hard look at society IRL and virtually, pinpointing the ways we come up short in connecting with and loving each other.
  • Pride Poets “Pledge” Poetry Hotline June 11, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from June 11, 2022 at 11 p.m. to June 12, 2022 at 2 a.m. Free. Call (202) 998-3510. LGBTQ poets are standing by ready to tackle all your poetic needs! Call in and have an original poem created for you or a loved one. This year’s theme is “Pledge: come share your allegiances with us!”
  • Vox Femina: A WeHo Tribute to Sondheim – June 12, 2022 at 3 p.m. at Congregation Kol Ami, located at 1200 N. La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood. Featuring songs from much-loved shows such as West Side Story, Into the Woods, Company, and many more, this lively concert celebrates one of Broadway’s most beloved and influential lyricists and composers, Stephen Sondheim! With performances from the full VOX ensemble, as well as dynamic solos, this joyful evening is not to be missed! This concert is supported in part by an arts grant from the City of West Hollywood. Free, Suggested Donation $10, RSVP required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-weho-salute-to-sondheim-tickets-343385995757 
  • Q Con: A One Day Comic Convention Celebrating LGBTQ Comics – June 18, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Free. Find an exciting, diverse selection of LGBTQ comics and graphic novels all in one place! Talk to creators, get autographs! Q Con is family friendly, and admission is free. Cosplay is encouraged. Join in the costume contest for fun and prizes! For the latest updates on Q Con, visit https://www.prismcomics.org/q-con
  • Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles’ Tribute to QUEEN! – June 18, 2022 at 4 p.m. at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Free outdoor community concert. Members of the Chorus will sing a selection of iconic songs from Queen and Freddie Mercury, inspired by their recent hit concert QUEEN of the nightWe Are the ChampionsSomebody to Love and We Will Rock You are among the best pop/rock anthems ever written, and the Gay Men’s Chorus will bring them to life as you’ve never heard before in this special one-hour concert. Space is limited. For reservations visit https://gmcla.org. 
  • Trans Pride LA 2022: The VarieTy Show – June 18, 2022 at 7 p.m. RSVP required. Free. For more information and to RSVP: https://transpride.lalgbtcenter.org/. The VarieTy Show serves as the grand finale of the annual Trans Pride LA Festival.
  • QUEER DIASPORAS: Lavender City of Dreams presented by Rubén Esparza and Queer Biennial – through August 19, 2022. Free. Online exhibition with some in-person events at ONE Gallery. Touching on issues of identity, activism, futurity, and beauty where queerness is the thread that weaves through all these personal – yet universal -perspectives. View the exhibition at www.lavendercity.art 
  • Season 2: Walking Amongst the Rubble: Undocuqueer Pride LA’s free monthly queer poetry reading series, Influx Collectiv: Queer Reading Series, welcomes season two of the Walking Amongst the Rubble: Undocuqueer Pride podcast. Season two includes poetry performances and interviews by LA-based award-winning undocuqueer poets Sonia Guinansaca, Lupe Limon Corrales, Jennifer Tamayo, and Jesus L. Valles. Episodes will be released weekly on Saturdays in June. Links available here: https://www.influxcollectiv.org/podcast.  

More detailed information and a full list of the City of West Hollywood’s LGBTQ Arts Festival 2022 programming is posted at pride.weho.org and there is a link to this site from www.weho.org/pride.

2022 Festival Theme is: With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion, and Progress For All

In addition, archived online programs from 2020 and 2021 are available to view. Among these is a collection of short films which tell the fabulous, fun, and deep LGBTQ history of the City of West Hollywood called the Stuart Timmons West Hollywood LGBTQ History Tour.

Acclaimed author/historian Stuart Timmons (author The Trouble With Harry Hay, co-author of GAY L.A., former executive director of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives) was in the process of writing his West Hollywood LGBTQ History Tour as the final in a trio of walking tours (Downtown Los Angeles and Silverlake are the other two) when he suffered a debilitating stroke in 2008. The tour remained incomplete until the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division funded its completion as part of the City’s 2015 LGBTQ Arts Festival, allowing Timmons and a small team to help finish his research, bringing it to completion as both a self-guided walking tour and a special in-person event featuring performance artists as tour guides. This fun and informative tour returned for two more years, and in 2021, was recorded as a collection of short films that can be viewed on the City’s WeHo Arts YouTube channel.

The WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival theme for 2022 is “With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion and Progress for All” and this year’s festival poster was designed by Kaija Sydlowski through an open call poster competition which received submissions from around the world. 

The City of West Hollywood’s #WeHoPride LGBTQ Arts Festival is organized by the City’s Arts Division. The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors.

The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including: Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Urban Art Program (permanent public art), Summer Sounds, Winter Sounds, the WeHo Reads literary series, Free Theatre in the Parks, Arts Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations, Library Exhibits and Programming, the City Poet Laureate Program, Human Rights Speakers Series and the #WeHoPride LGBTQ Arts Festival.

For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/arts. For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, please contact Mike Che, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, at (323) 848-6377 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood to Co-Host Virtual Screening and Panel Discussion of Documentary Patient No More, Focused on Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women’s Health

The City of West Hollywood, the Los Angeles County Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women’s Health Collaborative, and the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education & Research Center will host a free virtual screening via Zoom of the documentary film, Patient No More, followed by a panel discussion with special guest speakers on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

The film will screen at 4 p.m. and the panel discussion will follow at 5 p.m. The panel discussion will stream on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel. Register for the Zoom event at https://bit.ly/Pride2022-PatientNoMore.

This program is presented as part of the City’s WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival

The Patient No More documentary explores the barriers that LGBTQ women navigate across healthcare systems and how the never-ending hunt for affirming care affects their lives. Focused on centering the experiences of queer and female-identified people, the film features the voices of 17 LGBTQ women who are health experts and patients. 

The panel discussion will be moderated by Janet Pregler, M.D., Professor of Clinical Medicine, General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research, Director, Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center, and Iris Cantor Endowed Chair in Women’s Health, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Pregler is one of the founding members of the LA County LBQ Women’s Health Collaborative.

Film Screening will Take Place on Wednesday, June 15; Film Screens at 4 p.m., Followed by a Panel Discussion at 5 p.m.; Panel Discussion will Stream on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel

The panel will feature Filmmaker Diana Fraser and panelists will include Angela Boger, Program Director, LA County Department of Public Health, Office of Women’s Health; Allison Cerezo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Counseling, Clinical & School Psychology, UC Santa Barbara; Kaiyti Duffy, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Los Angeles LGBT Center; and B.J. Rimel, M.D., Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai.

The panel participants will reflect on what actions need to be taken to make the healthcare system work for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women; the importance of intersectionality in considering health care; and how allies and supporters can work with lesbian, bisexual, and queer women to advocate for reducing health inequities and improving overall care.  

Women’s health advocates, healthcare providers, health administrators, researchers, academics, policy experts, LGBTQ health supporters, and thought-leaders in this space – as well as leaders from community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, social service agencies, government agencies, and civic organizations – are all encouraged to register and attend.

The LA County Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health Collaborative grew out of the 2007 Women’s Health Summit, sponsored by the LA County Office of Women’s Health. At that time, lesbian and bisexual women’s (queer was added later) health was identified as a priority issue, specifically the health disparities faced by this population.

In 2008, the West Hollywood City Council adopted the Lesbian Health Bill of Rights, crafted by the City’s Lesbian Visibility Committee. Soon thereafter, the City of West Hollywood and the Office of Women’s Health convened a meeting of local stakeholders in lesbian and bisexual women’s health. Recognizing the need for sustained focus in addressing these health disparities, the LA County Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health Collaborative was established in 2009.

In 2019, the Collaborative changed its name to the Los Angeles County Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women’s Health Collaborative. In addition to the development of educational materials, trainings and conferences, the Collaborative has compiled a Research Guide, a compilation of academic research on LBQ women’s health and continues to be updated with synopsis and support from the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education and Research Center.

The guide provides easy and credible references for researchers, academics and other interested parties. The Collaborative also previously conducted focus groups with under-represented lesbians and bisexual women – including women of color, veterans, seniors, and youth – to solicit their healthcare opinions and experiences.

The data from these focus groups has served as an important part of the foundation for improving cultural competency training opportunities for health care providers and administrators. For additional information about the Collaborative, please visit LA County Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer Women’s Health Collaborative.

For registration information, a full schedule, and details about event, please visit www.weho.org/calendar.For more information, please contact Jenny Ivanova, City of West Hollywood Strategic Initiatives Specialist, at (323) 848-6302 or at [email protected].

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

June is HIV Prevention Month

The City of West Hollywood has declared June 2022 as HIV Prevention Month and, in May 2022, approved a Resolution to join the Global Fast-Track Cities Initiative. Each year, the City of West Hollywood declares the month of June as HIV Prevention Month, which provides an opportunity to increase awareness of community programs and the City’s HIV Zero Initiative.

With its Resolution, the City joins the Global Fast-Track Cities Initiative, a global partnership between cities and municipalities around the world and four core partners: the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC); the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); and the City of Paris.

Mayors and other city officials designate their cities as Fast-Track Cities by signing the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending the HIV Epidemic, which outlines a set of commitments to achieve the initiative’s objectives towards getting to zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths. More than 350 cities across the world have signed the declaration to galvanize action among cities and municipalities, to share best practices, and to promote efforts to end HIV-related stigma.  

The City of West Hollywood joins a consortium of other LGBTQ+ friendly cities and municipalities in the United States and globally to share best practices and engage in bidirectional exchanges that seek to promote the rights of all LGBTQ+ communities, including LGBTQ+ people living with and affected by HIV, irrespective of age, ethnicity and race, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.

HIV has affected West Hollywood’s community and the nation in a myriad of ways since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) described five cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported more than four decades ago on June 5, 1981. The City recognizes that some of the challenges in responding to HIV then are still challenges today.  

The City of West Hollywood has historically supported efforts to facilitate equitable access to and utilization of HIV prevention, testing, care, treatment, and ancillary support services that respect the dignity and human rights of its citizens living with and affected by HIV. The City, in collaboration with community-based organizations, deliver critical services to its community members, including testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, biomedical interventions, reproductive health services, health education, transgender advocacy and economic empowerment, and support programs for people living with HIV aged 50 and older.

Resolution Affirms West Hollywood’s Commitment to Ending the HIV Epidemic

The onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic had a significant impact in West Hollywood. The disease’s elevated infection rate among gay men caused a devastatingly high number of deaths in the City. The City of West Hollywood was one of the first government entities to provide social services grants to local AIDS and HIV organizations. The City sponsored one of the first AIDS awareness campaigns in the country in October 1985 and the City’s response to the AIDS crisis has been recognized as a model for other cities, nationally and globally. The City actively participates in the development of programs that can bring awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and services to people living with HIV/AIDS and the City has announced its vision to become an ‘HIV Zero’ city.

The City is currently implementing its HIV Zero Initiative Strategic Plan. For additional information about the City’s HIV Zero Strategic Plan, please visit www.weho.org/hivzero. Watch “Getting to Zero” on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel to learn more about the City of West Hollywood’s HIV Zero vision: https://youtu.be/LAR-pqY6CyY. For more information, please contact Derek Murray, Social Services Program Administrator, at [email protected] at (323) 848-6478.

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

West Hollywood Secures Conditional Homekey Grant from the State to Establish an Interim Housing Program

The State of California has awarded the City of West Hollywood a conditional Homekey grant in the amount of $6,007,661 to address the capital and operating expenses for a proposed plan to convert the Holloway Motel site into an interim housing and supportive services location for people experiencing homelessness.

At its regular meeting on Monday, June 6, 2022, the City Council of the City of West Hollywood unanimously approved a Resolution approving the purchase of the Holloway Motel property, located at 8465 Santa Monica Boulevard, with $4,200,000 (plus closing costs) in unallocated reserves set aside in West Hollywood’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The Resolution initiates a purchase and escrow process.

Closure on the sale is subject to negotiation and preparation of a development agreement with the property owner, which will require Planning Commission review and approval by the City Council at a future public hearing. This follows prior approval, in December 2021, of $2,800,000 in unallocated reserves set aside in West Hollywood’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund dedicated as a local match to operating expenses at the proposed interim housing site.

The City of West Hollywood is committed to engaging with the community and to providing opportunities to share detailed information about the proposed project and to collect feedback from residents and businesses. Staff members from the City’s Strategic Initiatives Division will host several meetings about the proposed project. Two upcoming meetings about the proposed Holloway Motel/Homekey Housing Program will take place virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. One meeting will take place at 12 p.m.; the other meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Community members are encouraged to attend either session; information presented by the City will be the same content at each meeting. Details about Zoom sign-up are provided on the City’s website calendar at www.weho.org/calendar.

The City’s Homeless Initiative addresses homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response and works in close partnership with the City’s contracted and collaborative nonprofit social services providers, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, and Los Angeles County agencies.

The work of the Homeless Initiative is guided by the City’s Five-Year Plan to Address Homelessness in Our Community, which was approved by the West Hollywood City Council in 2018. The plan was developed based on extensive engagement with the community, and with funding support from LA County Measure H. The plan remains critically important in directing the local response to homelessness.

At its December 20, 2021 meeting, the West Hollywood City Council gave authorization to City staff to apply for a Project Homekey grant from the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

The proposed Holloway Motel/Homekey Housing Program envisions the purchase of the Holloway Motel to be updated, rehabilitated, and operated as an interim housing program, that will provide a comprehensive program for people who are experiencing homelessness to move off the streets with case management and supportive services, with the goal of identifying and securing permanent housing. Interim housing would typically provide a stay of up to 90 days to stabilize community members and assist them with getting the necessary care and resources to find permanent housing.

The project plans would call for considerable physical improvements to the site and operations would include appropriate security measures and 24/7 onsite staff.

The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing comprehensive assistance to people who are experiencing homelessness in the City.

A survey conducted of West Hollywood residents in November 2021 by FM3 Research, found that 90 percent of respondents ranked homelessness as a very or somewhat serious issue (72 percent “very serious” and 18 percent “somewhat serious”) making this one of the most significant issues of concern for the community. The survey also found strong support among residents for interventions to address homelessness.

Of those surveyed, 79 percent of respondents supported increasing the prioritization of “Supportive Housing, including homeless services, within City limits” (52 percent “much more of a priority” and 27 percent “somewhat more of a priority”). 76 percent of respondents supported increasing prioritization of “City-funded temporary shelter beds and homeless services provided within City limits,” (50 percent “much more of a priority” and 26 percent “somewhat more of a priority”).

To report concerns about a community member who is homeless, call the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative Concern Line at (323) 848-6590. If the concern requires time-sensitive assistance during nights or weekends, please call the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850.

For more information about the Homeless Initiative, please contact Corri Planck, City of West Hollywood Strategic Initiatives Manager, at (323) 848-6430 or [email protected]. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/homeless

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

City of West Hollywood Historic Resources Survey June 2022

The City of West Hollywood’s Current and Historic Planning Division has moved to Phase 2 of updating the 2008 historic context statement and historic resources survey for multi-family residential properties. Staff has completed a draft of the historic context statement as Phase 1. The 2008 statement and survey included 2,100 properties constructed before 1961. Phase 2 of the current project includes a reconnaissance survey of approximately 2,400 residential properties constructed before 1982 within the R2, R3, and R4 multi-family zoning districts.

Members of the community are invited to learn how to participate in the survey by attending the virtual Multi-Family Residential Historic Resources Survey kickoff community outreach meeting Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at 6 p.m. via Zoom at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81517648718; Meeting ID: 815 1764 8718. 

Reconnaissance surveys, commonly known as windshield surveys, document the physical qualities of the property, but make no formal evaluation as to a building’s significance, integrity, or eligibility to local, state, or national registers. In general, surveys usually begin at the reconnaissance level. After additional research and identification of property types, a smaller number of properties are selected for time-and-research-heavy Intensive surveys. An intensive survey requires more research and documentation of a property, and most significantly, results in the evaluation of a property’s eligibility for local, California, or National listing. Evaluation can apply either to individual properties or to properties within the context of a historic district. 

2,400 Multi-Family Residential Properties Within R2, R3, R4 Districts Constructed Prior to 1982 will be Part of the Survey

Regularly updating historic resources surveys helps to ensure that properties that may have achieved significance since the time of the prior survey are not overlooked and also documents changes to the built environment that occur over time to better inform local planning and preservation efforts. Survey updates also provide an opportunity to identify and recognize properties associated with a broader, more complete history of a community.

The survey will be taking place in the R2, R3, and R4 multi-family zoning districts, as shown on the City’s zoning map. Members of the community are invited to share their knowledge of residential properties in these areas that are: important to the local community; associated with important events, individuals, organizations, and places related to the history of multi-family development; and, constructed after 1982 but may now be of exceptional historic significance. Community input will help the City of West Hollywood identify significant properties that embody the City’s heritage. 

For a list of properties that are already designated for their historic significance, please see the City of West Hollywood’s Register of Cultural Resources at www.wehopreservation.org/designated-cultural-resources/.

For more information contact Antonio Castillo, City of West Hollywood Senior Planner, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6854.

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

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Bouncer at Heart WeHo arrested in brutal beating of gay stylist

Anyone with questions or information about this incident is encouraged to contact the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station

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Captain William (Bill) Moulder, commander of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station speaks with KTLA about the beating of 54-year-old Albert Jimenez last month outside of Heart WeHo nightclub. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – An arrest has been made in the brutal beating of gay hair stylist Albert Vasquez, 54. According to a statement by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a security guard at Heart WeHo was identified, arrested, and charged with battery causing great bodily harm.

The statement by LASD reads as follows:

On Friday, April 05, 2024, at approximately 10:40PM, the victim attempted to enter a nightclub in West Hollywood. The suspect, who was working as a security guard, did not allow the victim entry due to the victim not having proper identification. Both the suspect and the victim engaged in a verbal and physical altercation, in which the suspect punched the victim once in the face. The victim fell to the ground and was transported to a nearby hospital.

The suspect was identified and arrested for battery causing great bodily injury.

Vasquez’s sister, Gloria Jimenez, tells WEHO TIMES that a detective at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station reached out to the family earlier today, and she can confirm that the beating happened in front of Heart WeHo. She also said one of their bouncers was arrested.

The family will be allowed to view the surveillance footage to see exactly what happened on Friday night, April 5, 2024, when Vasquez was found in a pool of his blood with two head fractures, bruises to his lungs, a black eye, and scrapes and bruising to his arms and legs.

“They reached out to me and said an arrest has been made,” said Jimenez. “We kept saying it was Heart WeHo and it happened at Heart WeHo and it was one of their bouncers. We want to see the footage, and we’ll be able to see it because we are family, so we can determine exactly where to go from there. We’re glad an arrest was made, and we’re going to take the next step necessary. We don’t know what that step is. He’s still recovering. We don’t know how long his recovery will take. We don’t know.”

Family, friends, and supporters of Albert Vasquez were relentless in getting the story out to the media, and they pressured the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to step up the investigation. They also demanded that Heart WeHo release video footage from that night.

Heart WeHo complied and released the following statement:

“Heart WeHo remains deeply committed to the safety and well-being 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.”

According to authorities, Heart WeHo was asked not to release the footage to family until authorities were able to investigate the footage first.

Jimenez’s sister points out that Heart WeHo turned over surveillance footage to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station on Monday, ten days after the incident occurred.

Doctors discovered a second skull fracture on the other side of Vasquez’s head ten days after he landed in the hospital, according to his family. They also discovered that his lungs had bruising after the fact, which went unnoticed throughout his stay at the hospital.

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However, despite his newly discovered injuries, Albert seems to be on the mend. 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.

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 questions or information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station Detective Lombera at (310).
358-4028.

The link to GoFundMe campaign is here: (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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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West Hollywood

City of West Hollywood is hosting a Public Safety Open House

The open house is an opportunity to engage as a community to prioritize safety and well-being along with WeHo Public Safety partners

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WeHo Times/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Paulo Murillo | The City of West Hollywood is partnering with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, Block By Block Security, Los Angeles County Fire Department and Public Safety Commissioners for a Public Safety Open House on May 1, 2014, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Plummer Park, Room 5 at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The open house is an opportunity to engage as a community to prioritize safety and well-being along with our Public Safety partners.

The event is being billed as an informal meeting to interact with Public Safety partners and Commissioners, learn about available resources, and discover ways to actively contribute to keeping West Hollywood a safe place for everyone. The event will also be serving pizza, salad, and refreshments, with vegan options available.

The Public Safety Commission was created on September 18, 1989 and is comprised of five (5) members, appointed by individual Councilmembers, and two (2) members appointed by the Council as a whole (at-large). Each member of the Commission shall serve a two-year term commencing March 1st following a general municipal election. Members shall be residents of the City and shall not be officers or employees of the City. The Commission shall meet no more than once monthly, and if a member of the Commission is absent for any reason for more than three regular meetings in any twelve-month period, the office of such member shall be vacated.

The Public Safety Commission shall evaluate and recommend mechanisms involving public safety issues, assist the City Manager’s office and City Council in strengthening community response to emergencies, evaluate and make recommendations to City Council regarding neighborhood livability and domestic violence prevention.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station is part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and provides essential law enforcement services for the community. If you need to file a crime report online, you can do so through the SORTS system. Captain William Moulder leads the station, ensuring safety and security for residents and visitors alike.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) provides firefighting and emergency medical services for the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County, California, as well as 59 cities through contracting, including the city of La Habra, which is located in Orange County and is the first city outside of Los Angeles County to contract with LACoFD

Block by Block Security Ambassadors is a program in the City of West Hollywood that provides a highly visible uniformed presence at the street level. The program was first established in 2013. The ambassadors are deployed on bicycles or on foot along major streets, alleys, City parking lots, and residential neighborhoods. They work in collaboration with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to provide supplemental safety services. The ambassadors provide safety escorts, conduct foot and bicycle patrols, and offer helpful guidance to community members and visitors.

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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. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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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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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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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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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.

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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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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

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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David Cooley makes emotional exit as owner of The Abbey WeHo

Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo

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Actress & singer Jennifer Lopez with David Cooley, the founder and now former owner of The Abbey WeHo in January of 2024 at an event honoring Cooley. (Photo Credit: The Abbey WeHo/Facebook)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – David Cooley, the founder and former owner of The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey, made a tearful exit on his last day as owner of two of West Hollywood’s most iconic nightclub on Thursday night. He officially turned over the reins over to new owner Tristan Schukraft.

The final hurrah was a low-key affair. According to a witness, at one point all the bartenders lined up to bid their former boss a final farewell, but Cooley took too long to come out from the back, so they eventually went back to work.

David Cooley’s Final Day at the Abbey – Photo courtesy of Edgar Alvarez

Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo. The crowd clapped and cheered, and people can be heard thanking him as he made his final exit.

@wehotimes David Cooley, the founder and former owner of The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey, made a tearful exit on his last day as owner of two of West Hollywood’s most iconic nightclub on Thursday night. He officially turned over the reigns to new owner Tristan Schukraft. The final hurrah was a low-key affair. According to a witness, at one point all the bartenders lined up to bid their former boss a final farewell, but Cooley took too long to come out from the back, so they eventually went back to work. Video captured by longtime patron Edgar Alvarez shows a tearful Cooley hugging his staff and patrons as he made his way out of The Abbey WeHo. The crowd clapped and cheered, and people can be heard thanking him as he made his final exit. As a joke, and perhaps a final nod to Cooley’s longstanding relationship with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, a sheriff’s deputy vehicle waited for him out front and then whisked him away in a dramatic exit while people on the sidewalk waved goodbye. #wehotimes #wehonews #wehocity #weho #westhollywood #wehonightlife #westhollywoodnightlife @The Abbey ♬ original sound – WEHO TIMES

As a joke, and perhaps a final nod to Cooley’s longstanding relationship with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, a sheriff’s deputy vehicle waited for him out front and then whisked him away in a dramatic exit while people on the sidewalk waved goodbye.

The Abbey Food & Bar and The Chapel at The Abbey were sold to entrepreneur Tristan Schukraft—a technology entrepreneur turned hotelier, nightlife aficionado, and well-known member of the West Hollywood LGBTQ+ community.

The Abbey and The Chapel add to Schukraft’s portfolio of businesses that enrich the LGBTQ+ community across the United States, which includes MISTR, the largest telemedicine provider of free online PrEP and long-term HIV care serving all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. More recently, Schukraft acquired and is in the process of reimagining Tryst and Circo, LGBTQ+ hotel and nightlife venues in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“I’m excited to build on the legacy that David Cooley created over the last 33 years at The Abbey. David built a small coffee shop on an unknown side street into one of the most famous gay bars in the country, if not the world. This is both an honor and a significant responsibility,” explains Tristan Schukraft. “I plan to respect and honor The Abbey’s history while bringing new ideas that reflect our evolving LGBTQ+ community and my personal approach to hospitality. We’re not just maintaining a legacy business and an international landmark; we’re adding to the future of LGBTQ+ nightlife.”

David Cooley’s last day at The Abbey WeHo truly marks the end of an era.

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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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Cyndi Lauper is Lifetime Ally Icon for WeHo Pride Parade 2024

WeHo Pride 2024 will kick off on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 with the José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day

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WeHo Times/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD | The City of West Hollywood and WeHo Pride producer JJLA today announced that Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning artist Cyndi Lauper will be the WeHo Pride Parade’s Lifetime Ally Icon.

Renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to music, activism, and LGBTQ advocacy, Cyndi Lauper epitomizes the ethos of pride, inclusivity, and resilience. WeHo Pride will honor Lauper for her work in bringing the LGBTQ community and social justice issues to the forefront, as well as expanding queer representation in mainstream pop culture.

“Cyndi Lauper embodies the spirit of inclusivity, unity, and vibrancy that has defined West Hollywood throughout its history,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. “Her unwavering dedication to advocacy throughout the years, coupled with her unparalleled musical legacy, makes her a perfect fit for this moment in time as Lifetime Ally Icon as we celebrate WeHo Pride 2024.”

A tireless advocate for LGBTQ rights, women’s issues, and social justice, she co-founded True Colors United in 2008, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating homelessness among LGBTQ youth. In response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Lauper launched the Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights Fund, housed at the Tides Foundation, to support women’s rights and health. With a career spanning decades, Lauper has left an indelible mark, especially within the LGBTQ community. From her iconic hits like True Colors and Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Lauper’s repertoire resonates as a poignant soundtrack of the LGBTQ equality movement and beyond.

The WeHo Pride Parade will step off at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, 2024, beginning at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard, and will travel westbound along Santa Monica Boulevard into the heart of City’s Rainbow District to N. Robertson Boulevard.

Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the WeHo Pride Parade is free and open to the public, embracing LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress. The parade celebrates diversity, love, and resilience in the heart of West Hollywood. Each year, Parade Icons are selected for their significant contributions to the LGBTQ community, visibility, community involvement, and advocacy.

Pride Starts Here. For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.

WeHo Pride Weekend will take place from Friday, May 31, 2024 to Sunday, June 2, 2024 and, in addition to the WeHo Pride Parade, will include the free WeHo Pride Street Fair; WeHo Pride Presents Friday Night at OUTLOUD; the OUTLOUD Music Festival; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the Dyke March; and more.

WeHo Pride will kick off on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 with the José Sarria Drag Pageant on Harvey Milk Day. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival will take place from Friday, June 14, 2024 to Sunday, June 16, 2024. WeHo Pride celebrations will include a diverse array of LGBTQ community group programming from May 22 to June 30 as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.

Additional information about WeHo Pride 2024 is posted at www.wehopride.com. OUTLOUD Music Festival information is posted at www.weareoutloud.com. Follow @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook and follow @officiallyoutloud on Instagram and Facebook. Sign up for WeHo Pride text updates by texting ‘Pride’ to (323) 848-5000.

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. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City 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 gay. The City has advocated for nearly 40 years for measures that support LGBTQ individuals and the City is in the vanguard of efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. #WeHoPride @WeHoCity

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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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Neon dog gets forever home on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood

WeHo CLASSIC is BACK! The Neon Dog is fully restored & installed at its new forever home at William S. Hart Park & off Leash Dog Park

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Neon Dog West Hollywood (Photo by Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A City of West Hollywood CLASSIC is BACK! The Neon Dog is fully restored and installed at its new forever home on The Sunset Strip by the entrance of William S. Hart Park & off Leash Dog Park.

On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission unanimously approved the proposed Neon Dog project for installation at William S. Hart Park, a property leased by the City of West Hollywood, but owned by the City of Los Angeles. There were three reviews that went before the city of Los Angeles to obtain the full permission to install the project.

Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

The neon dog was connected to Collar & Leash. On January 21, 2020, the City Council accepted a gift of the neon dog sign from Joseph Chan and Charles Chan Massey. The neon sign was restored and conserved very much like the Rocky & Bullwinkle sculpture that is also on display on Sunset Boulevard.

@wehotimes A City of West Hollywood CLASSIC is BACK!!! The Neon Dog is fully restored and installed at its new home on The Sunset Strip. On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission unanimously approved the proposed Neon Dog project for installation at William S. Hart Park & Off Leash Dog Park, a property leased by the City of West Hollywood, but owned by the City of Los Angeles. The neon dog was connected to Collar & Leash. On January 21, 2020, the City Council accepted a gift of the neon dog sign from Joseph Chan and Charles Chan Massey. The neon sign was restored and conserved very much like the Rocky & Bullwinkle sculpture that is also on display on Sunset Boulevard. #wehotimes #wehonews #wehocity #weho #westhollywood #neon #neonart #wehoarts #art #streetart #thesunsetstrip @weholove @Paulo Murillo @City of West Hollywood @CityofLosAngeles ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

The Neon Dog is a reconditioned, electrically rotating neon sign in the shape of a dog (10’6” high, 10’9” at its widest), and part of the City of West Hollywood’s Urban Art collection. The proposed project includes the installation of the Neon Dog atop a 12’-tall vertical support pole (with corresponding structural foundation and electrical connections) at the Park’s Sunset Boulevard entrance located between North Kings Road and North Sweetzer Avenue. The proposed art installation would located at a nook to the right of the park entrance. The sign will stand on long pole above arms reach, sitting at about 12 feet above ground. A trashcan and bench would be removed from the area.

Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
Neon Dog West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

The famous Collar & Leash neon dog sign was originally located at 8555, Santa Monica Boulevard. A crane removed it from the Collar & Leash parking lot on Tuesday, June 24, 2020. It was uninstalled and carefully placed in the back of a truck and was taken to Ontario California for much needed repairs in preparation to become a permanent art installation in West Hollywood.

William S. Hart Park & Off Leash Dog Park is a fenced-in park between Sunset Boulevard and De Longpre that allows dogs to play off-leash in a tree-lined space with mulch on the ground, located at 8341 De Longpre Ave, West Hollywood.

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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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