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WeHo to swear-in Shyne, Mayor & Erickson, Mayor Pro Tempore

The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard

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Graphic via City of West Hollywood

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood will Swear-In Sepi Shyne as Mayor and John M. Erickson as Mayor Pro Tempore on January 9, 2022 as part of of the City Council Reorganization and Installation Meeting and Oath of Office Ceremony.

The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. [Click Here for Digital Invitation]

At its regular meeting on Monday, December 19, 2022, the City Council of the City of West Hollywood voted upon selection of the City’s next Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore: Sepi Shyne will become the next Mayor and John M. Erickson will become the next Mayor Pro Tempore.

Incoming Mayor Shyne and Incoming Mayor Pro Tempore Erickson will be sworn-in at the City of West Hollywood’s annual City Council Reorganization and Installation meeting and oath of office ceremony, which will take place on Monday, January 9, 2023 at 6 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. A reception will immediately follow at the Pacific Design Center, located at 8687 Melrose Avenue.

The meeting, ceremony, and reception are free and open to the public. Limited validated parking will be available at the West Hollywood Park five-story structure; additional validated overflow parking will be available at the Pacific Design Center.

The meeting and ceremony will be live-broadcast and streamed as part of the regular City Council meeting and will be available by tuning into Channel 10 on Spectrum within West Hollywood, by visiting the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv, or by visiting the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv.

In addition, City Council meetings can also be viewed on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku streaming platforms by searching “WeHoTV” within the search functions of these services.

Biographical:

Sepi Shyne made history in November 2020 when she was elected to the West Hollywood City Council. She became the first out LGBTQ Iranian elected anywhere globally and locally became the first woman of color elected to the West Hollywood City Council. Her election also ushered in West Hollywood’s first female-majority City Council. Shyne’s priorities include advocating for affordable housing, protecting renters and social service programs, social justice, small business revival, and bringing the people’s voices to West Hollywood City Hall.

Shyne received her Bachelor of Science from San Jose State University with a double concentration in Accounting and Management Information Systems and a Minor in Drama with an emphasis in Directing. She received her Juris Doctorate with a specialization certificate in litigation from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco.

As an LGBTQ+ and civil rights leader for more than 20 years, her leadership has helped secure equal rights for all. Before her election to the West Hollywood City Council, Shyne served on the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (now LGBTQ+ Advisory Board), on the City of West Hollywood’s Business License Commission, and on the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Advisory Council, on which she continues to serve. Additionally, she has led many boards and organizations, including the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles and as a Board of Governor and Steering Committee leader with the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles.

Shyne is a Co-Organizer of WeHo Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a community group created during the pandemic to help get resources to seniors, people with disabilities, and people in immunosuppressed households via social media and volunteer check-in calls. In every board and organization she has led, she has recruited and elevated women and people of color to leadership positions to create more diversity, inclusion, and equity.

John M. Erickson was elected to the West Hollywood City Council on November 3, 2020 with the commitment to uphold the city’s founding vision for a forward-thinking, diverse, and tolerant community.

Erickson first planted roots in West Hollywood in 2010 when he was selected to intern for the West Hollywood City Council. The internship set him on a path that connected his work for social and economic justice with his passion for public service. He went on to become Council Deputy to former Mayor Abbe Land and then served as a staff member at West Hollywood City Hall working to advance policies, initiate programs, and increase awareness around LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, the environment, and civic engagement.

After leaving City Hall, Erickson served as a Legislative Representative at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and is currently the Interim Vice President of Public Affairs, Communications, and Marketing at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

The immediate past Vice Chair of the City’s Planning Commission, Erickson’s priorities on the City Council include overcoming COVID-19 through sensible health practices and economic recovery; creating more affordable housing and protecting renters’ rights; reducing traffic through alternative transportation strategies, fighting climate change and making our city more sustainable; and implementing policies that make the city truly free of prejudice and welcoming to all.

Erickson has earned a reputation as a fearless, tenacious, and effective voice for those who need one. His advocacy work includes serving as a National Board Member of the National Organization for Women and President of the ACLU Southern California. In 2017, he became Governor Brown’s appointee to the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and served as an organizer for both the Resist March and the historic Women’s March Los Angeles. He serves on the Board of the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation. Erickson was part of the End Statute of Limitation on Rape (ERSOL) Campaign, which overturned California’s statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault in 2016.

Erickson received his Ph.D. in American Religious History from Claremont Graduate University and a Dual-Master’s Degree from Claremont Graduate University. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a B.A. in English and Women’s Studies.

Parisa Parnian was selected by incoming Mayor Sepi Shyne to provide an original artwork for the City of West Hollywood’s 2023 City Council Reorganization and Installation event invitation.

“The Phoenix bird represents incoming Mayor Sepi Shyne both as a symbol of her ‘rising out of the ashes’ and taking flight, as well as a nod to her Iranian heritage: the Phoenix bird is part of Persian mythology. The background of sparkly palm trees silhouetted by the sun references the iconic West Hollywood skyline. And the collective of raised fists represents not only the City of West Hollywood’s history of inclusivity and progressiveness, but also incoming Mayor Shyne’s commitment to equity and advocacy for the community she serves,” Parnian said in a statement.

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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.

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

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West Hollywood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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West Hollywood

WeHo trans activist Annie Jump Vicente arrested for felony assault

Jump facing a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge for allegedly striking a Block by Block Ambassador on the head with a flashlight

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West Hollywood resident and trans activist, Annie Jump Vicente, shown here in this file photo, speaking before the WeHo City Council.

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – West Hollywood resident and trans activist, Annie Jump Vicente (also uses the alias Annie Vicente Jump) was arrested on Thursday, February 15, 2024 and is facing a felony assault with a deadly weapon (245 PC) for allegedly striking a Block by Block Ambassador on the head with a flashlight.

Captain William (Bill) Moulder the commanding officer of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station stated that a second suspect is outstanding as of the publishing of this piece. Detectives are continuing to actively investigate this case.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Inmate Information Center, booking number 6762311 states that Jump was arrested on February 15, 2024, at 2:00 a.m. by West Hollywood Sheriff Deputies and booked at 2:45 a.m. She was released the following day.

A source familiar with the incident tells WEHO TIMES that Ms. Jump (who was booked as male) assaulted the Block by Block ambassador near Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Vista Avenue.

Full details on the incident are not yet available, however Jump has a court date scheduled for March 7, 2024.

Jump_Booking Record Details – Inmate Information Center

Ms. Jump spoke during public comment Tuesday night at a regular city council meeting to tell her own version of what happened that night.

“As I’m sure you heard by now, one of your security ambassadors, or goons as they are, crossed paths with me,” she said tearfully. “He’s actually, he then sexually assaulted me and battered me. He beat the shit out of me. And then he had me arrested and charged with a felony. I was asked about my genitalia by the deputies. I was assigned male, though my identification states I’m female. They put me with the men. Imagine what it’s like to be a trans woman incarcerated with men. Unfortunately, you can’t.”

She alleged that this is not the first time Block by Block assaulted her. “Security ambassadors touch me. They violate me and they punch me and if you recall from your inauguration [Mayor] Erickson, I played a video where one of your city paid goons threatened to kill my dog. She was unfortunately there that night on Valentine’s Day and she had she was an absolute angel. She was so scared and helpless to get around. I had to get her out of there before they killed my dog.”

Twitter account @TransinWeho believed to belong to Ms. Jump posted an edited video she had with a Block by Block Security ambassador. In the video, she is shown aggressively confronting and following a security ambassador as he tries to flee the scene.

Jump was also arrested by West Hollywood sheriffs on December 7, 2022, and charged with a misdemeanor for blocking deputies from entering her building responding to a domestic violence call. Jump was arrested and charged for violation Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC which makes it a crime to willfully resist, delay or obstruct peace officers or EMTs who are performing their official duties—however, a Los Angeles County District Attorney Charge Evaluation Sheet dated December 21, 2022, concluded that “the defendant’s total conduct cannot be characterized other than a refusal to consent to a request to enter her apartment. Such conduct cannot constitute grounds for a lawful arrest or subsequent search and seizure… Refusal to stand aside and permit a requested entry, even when officers… had a right to force an entry… cannot constitute a violation of section 148.”

She has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), ten individual West Hollywood Station LASD deputies (referred to as Doe LASD Deputies in the lawsuit), as well as the County of Los Angeles.

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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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The Abbey Food & Bar faces suit over alleged breach of contract

The lawsuit alleges multiple causes of action, including breach of written contract, money had and received, accounting, and conversion

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The Abbey Food and Bar in West Hollywood - WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A legal development concerning the Abbey Food & Bar, located at 692 N Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, has revealed that 3 Corners Holdings LLC, a California-based limited liability company, has filed a lawsuit against Abbey Restaurants and Bars USA LLC, its Delaware counterpart Abbey Restaurants and Bars USA-LA LLC, Cocorio Inc., and ten unnamed defendants.

The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, alleges multiple causes of action, including breach of written contract, money had and received, accounting, and conversion.

The plaintiff, 3 Corners Holdings LLC, asserts that it entered into a written profit interest agreement with the defendants on August 15, 2010. The agreement stipulated that Abbey Restaurants and Bars USA-LA LLC would pay 3 Corners Holdings LLC a 25% share of the “Operating Cash Flow” of The Abbey WeHo, formerly known as the best gay bar in the world. This arrangement was to continue until the defendants or their affiliates no longer owned a direct or indirect interest in The Abbey.

However, 3 Corners Holdings LLC alleges that despite their adherence to the agreement’s terms, the defendants have “failed and refused, and continue to fail and refuse,” to pay the owed profits interest, resulting in damages of no less than $1,600,000. Furthermore, the complaint accuses the defendants of failing to provide necessary documents requested under the agreement’s audit rights, thereby breaching the contract and depriving the plaintiff of its entitled profits.

The legal battle sheds light on the complex financial and operational dynamics between The Abbey, a cornerstone of West Hollywood’s vibrant nightlife, and its stakeholders. The lawsuit also underscores the complexities of managing partnership agreements and profit-sharing models in the hospitality industry.

Legal experts suggest that the case could have broader implications for how profit interest agreements are structured and enforced in California’s competitive restaurant and bar scene. “This lawsuit highlights the importance of clear and enforceable contracts in business partnerships,” said Daniel Medyoni, an attorney representing 3 Corners Holdings LLC. “It also serves as a reminder for companies to diligently uphold their financial obligations to their partners.”

Additionally, The Chapel at The Abbey WeHo was sold to Tristan Schukraft, a notable figure in the LGBTQ+ community and an entrepreneur with various business interests. This sale marks a significant change in ownership for these iconic West Hollywood venues.

Furthermore, allegations of druggings and sexual assaults at The Abbey have resurfaced, highlighting concerns about patron safety at the venue. These legal and public issues present a complex picture of the current state of affairs surrounding The Abbey Food & Bar.

As the case progresses, it will undoubtedly be closely watched by legal and business professionals for its potential to set precedents in contract law and partnership agreements within the hospitality industry. The defendants have yet to publicly respond to the allegations.

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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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Drag Queen Story Time: A new season begins in WeHo

Drag Story Hour is a Series of Saturday-Morning. Story Time Readings by Drag Performers for Children of All Ages

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The West Hollywood Drag Story Hour series is produced by Pickle the Drag Queen, who was recently appointed as the City of West Hollywood’s first Drag Laureate. Pickle is one of only two Drag Laureates in the United States.( Photo Credit: Drag Queen Story Time with Pickle)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood begins its 2024 season of Drag Story Hour on Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 11 a.m. featuring drag performer Miss Barbie-Q at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The program is free to attend, RSVPs are not necessary.

Drag Story Hour is a series of Saturday-morning story time readings by drag performers for children of all ages presented by the City of West Hollywood in partnership with West Hollywood Library. The program aims to create a safe and welcoming space for children and their families to explore the beauty of diversity, acceptance, and self-expression.

All 2024 season Drag Story Hour events are scheduled to take place on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. Mark your calendars for future 2024 Drag Story Hour events: Saturday, April 13, 2024; Saturday, June 29, 2024; Saturday, August 10, 2024; Saturday, October 5, 2024, 11 a.m.; and Saturday, December 7, 2024. Check the LA County Public Library calendar of events for updates.

Drag Story Hour was created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco in 2015. In 2017, the City of West Hollywood, through its Arts Division, funded the first Drag Story Hour at West Hollywood Library, which is part of LA County Public Library.

The West Hollywood Drag Story Hour series is produced by Pickle the Drag Queen, who was recently appointed as the City of West Hollywood’s first Drag Laureate. Pickle is one of only two Drag Laureates in the United States.

The City of West Hollywood delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Arts Grants for Individuals and Nonprofit Arts Organizations, City Poet Laureate, Drag Laureate, Free Theatre in the Parks, Library Exhibits and Programming, Summer and Winter Sounds, WeHo Reads, WeHo Pride Arts Festival (formerly called the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival), and Urban Art Program (permanent public art). More information at: www.weho.org/arts.

For more information, please email [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.


Drag Story Hour is a Series of Saturday-Morning
Story Time Readings by Drag Performers for Children of All Ages

For More Information Please Visit: go.weho.org/dragstoryhour

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WeHo LASD Sheriffs respond to two separate vandalism rampages

WeHo LASD deputies found themselves pursing and apprehending two men in 2 separate violent vandalism incidents Saturday night

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LASD Deputies arrest a suspect who went on a rampage Saturday evening in WeHo's Rainbow District. (Photo by Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Minutes after West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies cleared a chaotic situation at a local Bank of America on Santa Monica Boulevard, where a man went on a violent rampage through local businesses before breaking a window and engaging in a standoff with WeHo deputies, another incident unfolded involving a man wielding a hammer. The man smashed the glass of a Metro bus shelter and then threatened other community members.

Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

At around 5 p.m., Sheriff deputies apprehended the suspect on Robertson Boulevard near The Chapel at The Abbey. He was eventually tased to neutralize him for the safety of law enforcement. Paramedics were called to the scene to check on him before he was removed from the scene.

Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

“We don’t know what’s happening tonight,” said one deputy. “There must be something in the water. I hope this is not the result of a bad batch of drugs, because that’s two incidents back-to-back where the individuals decided to smash things.”

@wehotimes Shortly after West Hollywood Sheriff deputies concluded a standoff at Bank of America on Santa Monica Blvd, at roughly 5pm, they were called to the scene of a separate incident down the street on Robertson Blvd, where a man wielding a hammer smashed a Metro bus stop shelter and threatened community members. He was tased in front of The Chapel at The Abbey. Paramedics tended to the individual who also seemed to be having a psychotic episode. #wehotimes #wehonews #weho #westhollywood #lasd #lasdweho #wehocrime #rainbowdistrict #wehocity ♬ original sound – WEHO TIMES

No one else was reported hurt in the incident.

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Remember, if you see something, say something. Anonymous tips can be reported to Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. Anyone with information can also submit a tip at https://www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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

The purpose of Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers is to prevent and reduce crime by fostering a partnership among the community, law enforcement, and the media to offer anonymity and cash rewards to anyone providing information leading to an arrest.

Crime Stoppers encourages community members to assist local law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime by overcoming the two key elements that inhibit community involvement: fear and apathy.

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

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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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One Institute hosts exhibition featuring works by LGBTQ+ students

Chair of the LA County Board of Supervisors Lindsey Horvath, WeHo Mayor John Erickson, & WeHo Vice-Mayor Chelsea Byers attended

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WeHo Mayor John Erickson takes a selfie with LGBTQ+ students during the One Institute History Within Us event (Photo Credit: WEHO TIMES)


By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – One Institute hosted “History Within Us,” a one-day exhibition showcasing creative research projects by six LGBTQ+ high school student leaders from the Institute’s 2023-24 Youth Ambassadors for Queer History program on Saturday, January 29, 2024, at One Gallery in West Hollywood. Each student made a presentation describing their projects before a packed room.

Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Lindsey Horvath, City of West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson, and City of West Hollywood Vice-Mayor Chelsea Byers, presented each student with certificates of recognition for their efforts.

One Institute History Within Us Event – WEHO TIMES
One Institute History Within Us Event – WEHO TIMES

Led by Programs Manager Trevor Ladner, “History Within Us” is part of One Institute’s Youth Ambassadors for Queer History program. The goal is to ignite LGBTQ+ high school students’ passion for queer and trans history through in-depth archival research, field trips, workshops, and conversations with LGBTQ+ scholars, activists, artists, and community leaders. Utilizing materials from the digital collections at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, as well as the insights and skills they gain throughout the semester-long program, students are encouraged to create a final project that showcases both their creativity and historical knowledge.

“I’m so deeply grateful to be in a community that values inclusivity and invests resources in queer and trans youth,” said Ladner. “It’s crucial for young LGBTQ people to have these kinds of spaces, inside and outside of school, where they can find mentorship and friendship, learn about the challenging and joyful parts of our history, and find pathways of opportunity.”

One Institute History Within Us Event – WEHO TIMES

“Walking around this room and seeing history, seeing our experiences, and seeing everything lived out through our current generation, our future generation, our past generations, but always coming out and remembering our history–that’s what the City of West Hollywood has done so well,” said Mayor Erickson. “We’re going to keep doing that with the support of One Archives… We are dedicated to preserving our history and pushing it forward. This space matters, and that’s my brother’s faces pattern.”

“I think it’s more important than ever that we have a connection to our history,” said Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers. “I’m really grateful that it’s another set of young leaders in our community that are helping us forge a deeper connection to our past so we can better move forward. The creativity that we see on these walls is inviting us into it, and I think that’s important because the work ahead is serious.”

One Institute History Within Us Event – WEHO TIMES

“Thanks to the One Institute for making today possible,” said LA County Chair Horvath. “This is so inspiring and moving. We had the opportunity to work with One Institute on a very beautiful project from the beach you may have visited, what is sometimes known as Will Rogers Beach, but we know it as Ginger Rogers, now officially signified by beautifully painted lifeguard towers, in partnership with the One Institute with plaques that captured highlighted moments of our LGBTQ history in Los Angeles County and up the beach. We thank you for your partnership and making it not just something that people can see but an actual experience and understanding of history. The more we create opportunities like these to really understand what the history has been a can help inform and support our future in ways that we know and in ways that we’ll never understand but are so critically important.”

One Institute History Within Us Event – WEHO TIMES

“History Within Us” included a digital zine on lesbian publications in the 1960s and 1970s, an investigation into the impact of corporate funding on grassroots LGBTQ+ activism, and a deep dive into LGBTQ+ student organizations in colleges and high schools, among others. The installation also included a “Letters to ONE” display, featuring students’ responses to archival letters sent by ONE Magazine readers in the 1950s and 1960s. Visitors were invited to view the exhibition while enjoying light refreshments, including rainbow and transgender flag-colored conchas from the LGBTQ-allied Los Angelitos Bakery.

Rainbow and transgender flag-colored conchas from the LGBTQ-allied Los Angelitos Bakery

Learn more about Youth Ambassadors for Queer History at oneinstitute.org/youth-ambassadors-for-queer-history.

About the Projects

“Queerly Important: Exploring the Impact of Queer Student Unions” by Cora, 15, is an interactive photo gallery that examines how LGBTQ+ student groups— such as the Gay and Lesbian Student Union at Los Angeles City College or Project 10 in LAUSD— have served as vital resources for inclusivity, expression, education, and support of LGBTQ+ youth from the 1960s to today.

“Follow the Money Trail” by Luca, 15, is a visual presentation that explores funding of LGBTQ+ movement from the 1980s to the present, questioning how sources of LGBTQ+ funding today, such as large corporate grants, have impacted movement goals compared to the grassroots fundraising of activists such as ACT UP Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Dear Robert” by Jojo, 16, is a poetry series that probes various perspectives and ethical questions in the case of Robert Rosenkrantz, who— as a Calabasas High School student during the anti-gay hysteria of the 1980s AIDS crisis— was incarcerated for murder in 1986 after fatally shooting a homophobic bully, his case garnering national LGBTQ+ attention through an article in The Advocate.

“Forever Queer: The Hidden Rainbow Inside of Neverland” by Star, 17, is a visual art series that celebrates the trailblazing performance of Maude Adams— actress, production designer, and lesbian— who originated the role of Peter Pan on Broadway in 1905, a story which itself continues to inspire young, queer imagining.

“Here Before Us” by Joshua, 18, is an ofrenda, or altar, honoring the storied lives of queer Latinx individuals and institutions in California, including candidate and drag queen José Sarria, activist and journalist Jeanne Córdova, the popular nightclub Circus Disco, and Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos.

“Those Lesbians are Everywhere” by Sophie, 18, is a digital zine that celebrates lesbian activism and identity in the 1970s through 1990s through an exploration of queer women’s publications, including The Lesbian Tide and Kitchen Table Press, as well as the role of lesbian organizers in political groups, such as the National Organization for Women and ACT UP Los Angeles.

Learn more at oneinstitute.org, and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @oneinstitutela.

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

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

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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

WeHo Pride 2024 Opens Participant Application Portals, Multifamily Property Inspection Pilot Program, West Hollywood Receives Grant from SCAG

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

WeHo Pride 2024 Opens Participant Application Portals for WeHo Pride Street Fair, WeHo Pride Parade, & WeHo Pride Grants for Community Organization Pride Events

WEST HOLLYWOODThe City of West Hollywood has opened the application portals for its WeHo Pride 2024 celebration in May and June. 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 @ WeHo Pride music festival and Friday Night at OUTLOUD.

The WeHo Pride Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2024 and Sunday, June 2, 2024 and will celebrate Pride with 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 a community stage, highlighting the LGBTQ+ community. The Street Fair is a family-friendly event and 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, no later than April 16, 2024. Food vendors interested in participating in the event can reach out to [email protected] for more information. 

WeHo Pride Weekend: May 31 to June 2 

Friday Night at OUTLOUD: May 31

OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride: May 31 to June 2

WeHo Pride Parade: June 2

WeHo Pride Street Fair: June 1 to June 2

Women’s Freedom Festival & Dyke March: June 1

WeHo Pride Arts Festival: June 14 to June 16

WeHo Pride Community Group Events: May 22 to June 30

Updates and Details are Available at www.wehopride.com

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, no later than April 15, 2023. Get creative and think outside of the box! The WeHo Pride Parade welcomes floats, bands, drill teams, dance teams, entertainment entries, marchers, and more. 

WeHo Pride celebrations during WeHo Pride Weekend and during May and June 2024 will include a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration. The City of West Hollywood invites community groups to take part in WeHo Pride 2024. Through an application and review process, community groups may apply to request City funding for an independent Pride event, produced entirely by the group or organization under the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Pride brand. If selected, your event will enter into a co-sponsorship agreement with the City and be a part of the City’s Official WeHo Pride program, occurring between May 22, 2024 and June 30, 2024. Applications can be found here, and must be submitted by February 29, 2024. 

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.

City of West Hollywood to Begin Proactive Multifamily Property Inspection Pilot Program

The City of West Hollywood’s Neighborhood and Business Safety (NBS) Division Code Enforcement team works to maintain neighborhood livability by being responsive to complaints and concerns received from the community. The NBS Division is responsible for enforcing all provisions of the City’s laws and ordinances, as governed by the West Hollywood Municipal Code and it actively addresses community concerns about a variety of regulated issues. 

Beginning in February 2024, the City’s NBS Division will begin conducting proactive and systematic inspections of multifamily properties in West Hollywood. This will include low-income housing and inclusionary units within multifamily properties. Two Code Enforcement Officers will be assigned to this proactive pilot program and will perform outreach to property owners and tenants before inspections are completed. The proactive pilot program will begin on the Eastside of the City and will gradually move west across the community.

The goal of the proactive multifamily property inspection pilot program is to inspect multifamily properties once every three years to ensure City rental housing properties are being maintained in compliance with West Hollywood Municipal Code standards. A multifamily property in West Hollywood is considered a building with three or more units. 

Inspections will be initially focused on exterior property conditions (e.g., landscape, carports/parking areas, paint, fences/gates, roof, doors, etc.) and common areas of multifamily properties, such as hallways, courtyards, staircases, elevators, recreation rooms, etc. Code Enforcement Officers assigned to the proactive multifamily inspection pilot program will also be checking for any potential vacation (short-term) rental activity being advertised at a property they are currently inspecting. Vacation (short-term) rental concerns that are reported to the City’s NBS Division outside of the proactive multifamily inspection pilot program will continue to be responded to responsively.

Additionally, as part of the outreach process for the proactive pilot program, Code Enforcement Officers will be posting flyers in the mailrooms and common areas of multifamily properties, informing tenants of the ability to voluntarily schedule inspections within the interior of their own units. Interior inspections of tenant units will only occur as part of this proactive pilot program if a tenant schedules an inspection directly with the Code Enforcement team assigned to multifamily inspections. Interior inspections of tenant units that are performed when a tenant reports an issue in their unit to the City’s NBS Division outside of the proactive multifamily inspection pilot program will continue to be responded to normally. 

If a tenant voluntarily schedules an interior inspection of their unit as part of this proactive pilot program, assigned Code Enforcement Officers will be checking for habitability concerns such as plumbing leaks, lack of heat, lack of hot water, deteriorated electrical outlets, and missing or inoperable smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. 

Code Enforcement Officers assigned to the proactive pilot program will also be checking multifamily properties with five or more units or with 16 or more units for various noticing requirements in compliance with the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). These required RSO notices provide tenants with emergency numbers to contact, information about protections related to eviction, harassment, and rent limits, and business hours for onsite managers. 

Tenants interested in getting their units inspected from the proactive multifamily inspection team, when the team is conducting inspections at their property as part of the pilot program, may contact the City of West Hollywood’s Neighborhood and Business Safety (NBS) Division at (323) 450-7115 or at [email protected]. The City’s NBS proactive multifamily inspection team will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. excluding holidays.

Community members who may have concerns about noise, property maintenance, vacant properties, construction, zoning (short-term rentals and land use activities), and impediments in the public right-of-way (sidewalk, parkway, alley, or street) are encouraged to reach out to the City’s NBS Code Enforcement team by submitting a Service Request, which is a first step in investigating potential violations of the West Hollywood Municipal Code. The primary goal of Code Enforcement is to gain voluntary compliance so that residents and businesses better understand their responsibilities in maintaining their properties and preserving quality of life.

Service requests may be submitted on the City’s website at www.weho.org/servicerequest or by using the City of West Hollywood Official App, which may be downloaded on an Apple device from the iOS App Store or as an Android App on Google Play; search for “West Hollywood Official App.”

Complaints or questions may also be submitted through the Code Enforcement hotline at (323) 848-6516 or email at [email protected]. When reporting a complaint, please include the address, the day of the week, and the approximate time when the issue was observed. If you wish to receive a call back, please also leave your contact information.

For more information about the City’s proactive multifamily inspection pilot program, please contact Eugene Alper, the City of West Hollywood’s Code Enforcement Supervisor at (323) 848-6432 or at [email protected].

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

For More Information, E-mail [email protected]

City of West Hollywood Receives Grant from SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments, to Expand Approaches for Achieving Affordable Housing

The City of West Hollywood has received a $150,000 funding award from SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments, which aims to support the City’s efforts to achieve housing goals. Funding is part of SCAG’s allocation of $45 million in Lasting Affordability Program funding in support of 14 innovative housing finance projects across Southern California.

The $150,000 SCAG grant for the City of West Hollywood will be dedicated to a feasibility study for the creation of a community land trust within West Hollywood. The City’s Long Range Planning Division will explore the creation of a community land trust to expand approaches for achieving affordable housing and affordable homeownership. The anticipated outcome from forming such a community land trust includes progress toward meeting the City’s objective of creating 500 new affordable housing units by 2029.

The Lasting Affordability Program is one of the three funding areas in the Programs to Accelerate Transformative Housing (PATH) program, which is part of SCAG’s REAP 2.0 Program Framework. REAP 2.0 is a statewide grant administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) that aims to accelerate progress towards state housing goals and climate commitments. It makes $45,000,000 available to support programmatic level investments in housing trust funds, community land trusts, and catalyst funds. 

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and nearly 19 million residents. SCAG undertakes a variety of planning and policy initiatives to plan for a livable and sustainable Southern California now and in the future.

For more information about SCAG’s regional efforts, please visit www.scag.ca.gov

For more information about this project and Long Range Planning in the City, please contact Francisco Contreras, the City of West Hollywood’s Long Range Planning Manager at (323) 848-6874 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Presents Xvarnah by Artist Shaghayegh Cyrous and  Child of the Screen by Artist Nathan Hirschaut As Part of the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

The City of West Hollywood announces the debut of the next exhibitions in the City’s Moving Image Media Art (MIMA) program. Xvarnah, a short film from artist Shaghayegh Cyrous makes its worldwide debut on the Streamlined Arbor billboard, locate at 9157 Sunset Boulevard, and will air at the top of, 20-minutes past, and 40-minutes past every hour for 3½ minutes. Child of the Screen, a short film, from artist Nathan Hirschaut will debut on the Invisible Frame billboard, located at 8743 Sunset Boulevard, and will air at the top of every hour and 30-minutes past every hour for 5½ minutes. Both works will be on exhibition from Thursday, February 1, 2024, through Thursday, May 30, 2024. 

MIMA is an ongoing exhibition series of moving image media artworks on multiple digital billboards at various locations along Sunset Boulevard. The goals of the MIMA program are to foster cultural equity, expand accessibility, inspire conversation, and enhance the human experience of the Sunset Strip. The historically significant building that sits at the base of the Streamlined Arbor at 9157 Sunset inspires artwork as an authentic reexamination of cultural identity, by amplifying the voices of those silenced and marginalized. 

Xvarnah translated from the 12th Century means glory of light and the divine illumination of truth in the search for justice. Dancing is forbidden in Iran; it’s recognized as too fertile a breeding ground for female consciousness. The artist believes that Xvarnah is what will ultimately prevail: life, freedom, and the light of truth. 

Shaghayegh Cyrous is an Iranian American multi-media artist based in Los Angeles. Cyrous earned an M.F.A. at California College of the Arts and a B.F.A. in visual arts from the Science and Culture University of Tehran. In 2023, Cyrous received recognition by the Cultural Inclusion Foundation as one of 40 ‘Culturally Diverse Women Making a Difference.’ Cyrous is a 2021 Gold Art Prize finalist. She has exhibited and performed internationally at venues such as Tehran MOCA, British Museum in London, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin, Germany, Anchorage Museum in Alaska, and Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

The Invisible Frame billboard, located at 8743 Sunset Boulevard displays artwork that addresses issues of transparency, inclusion, privacy, and media.

Child of the Screen is Nathan Hirschaut’s charming tribute to early silent film, extrapolating the concept of a human parented and puppet-mastered by a giant hand. Enchanting and eerie, Child of the Screen asks do we control our screens, or do they control us?

Nathan Hirschaut began his artistic career as a dancer and choreographer, graduating with honors from Julliard in 2020. Most recently, Hirschaut founded 10+ Multimedia Productions, a media incubator specializing in the creation of experimental films that have been recognized at the Short Shorts Film Festival, Tokyo; Dance on Camera, Lincoln Center, NYC; and Dance Camera West, Los Angeles. Nathan’s films have been featured on NPR, and in The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times

The Moving Image Media Art Program (MIMA) is a City of West Hollywood exhibition series administered by the Arts Division, as part of its Art on the Outside Program, and is presented with the Sunset Arts and Advertising Program. MIMA offers artists the opportunity, and the funding, to create immediate, and ambitious works of art that engage with the unique visual landscape of the Sunset Strip. 

MIMA enables artists to occupy, contest, and play with the definition and uses of public space and manifest moments of connection and spectacle. Artists exhibited in the program are selected from the MIMA Prequalified List, a rolling, open-call for moving image media artists, curators, and non-profit arts organizations, with applications reviewed bi-annually by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, in May and November. The MIMA Prequalified List includes a diverse list of artists of all career levels; from emerging to internationally recognized. Visit www.weho.org/community/arts-and-culture/visual-arts/mima for more detailed information.

The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Arts Grants, City Poet Laureate, Drag Laureate, Free Theatre in the Parks, Human Rights Speaker Series, Library Exhibits, WeHo Pride Arts Festival, Summer Sounds + Winter Sounds, Urban Art (permanent public art), and WeHo Reads. For more information about City of West Hollywood arts programming, please visit www.weho.org/arts.  

For more information about MIMA contact Rebecca Ehemann, City of West Hollywood Arts Manager at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6846. 

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

City of West Hollywood’s 2024 ‘WeHo Reads’ Series “Creative Intersections” Launches in February

The City of West Hollywood launches its WeHo Reads 2024 literary series with three Spring events. The theme for this WeHo Reads season is Creative Intersections.

The series opener WeHo Reads: Inspirations and Intersections will take place virtually on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This Black History Month event features authors celebrating their inspirations and examining how their work intersects with literary luminaries. Questions explored will include: How do breakthrough writers pave the way for a more inclusive publishing landscape? How do contemporary writers want their work to be received? Where do literary legacies and ambitions intersect?

Participating writers will include: Rachel Howzell Hall, the bestselling author of multiple crime novels, including What Never Happened; Lisa Teasley, author of Fluid: Stories and librettist of The Passion of Nell, commissioned by the Long Beach Opera; Jervey Tervalon, an award-winning poet, screenwriter, lecturer, and dramatist, who is the author of Monster’s Chef and All the Trouble You Need; and Tamika Thompson, a writer, producer, and journalist, who is the author of the speculative fiction collection Unshod, Cackling, and Naked.

This online event will take place on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehoarts. Members of the public can RSVP and be sent a direct link to view the event by visiting the WeHo Reads webpage on the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehoreads.

Other upcoming spring events include:

  • WeHo Reads: In-Person Poetry Spa and Program, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Respite Deck of the West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center, located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. Celebrate National Poetry Month and lounge with a poet at the City’s 2nd annual Poetry Spa Day at the Respite Deck of the City of West Hollywood’s Aquatic and Recreation Center at West Hollywood Park. From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., explore poetry at “spa stations” such as Feng Shui Poetry, Poemaroma (essential oils), Lotus Poetry (origami), and other poetic experiences. At 7:30 p.m., gather at the steps to hear all the poets share their words. Poetry Spa is a concept created by Brian Sonia-Wallace during his term as 2020-23 West Hollywood City Poet Laureate. This year’s event is curated by current West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng, and the spa stations and poets include:
  • Terry Wolverton, author of eleven books, including her latest, Season of Eclipse, hosts the Poemaroma spa station.
  • A. K. Toney is a griot, writer, musician, and educator who hosts the Listening Libations spa station where attendees get to mix poetry with soothing sounds.
  • Brian Sonia-Wallace, author of Poetry of Strangers hosts the Poetry Bath spa station.
  • Pride Poets members Timothy Nang will host the Lotus Poetry spa station and Jose Rios will host the Poetry Bingo spa station.
  • West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng, author of Braided Spaces, hosts the Feng Shui Poetry spa station which guides attendees through the Five Elements.

This event is open to the public and free to attend; RSVPs are requested at www.weho.org/wehoreads.  

  • WeHo Reads: Asian Pacific Diaspora Talk Story will take place in-person on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Hear from a panel of poets and writers during Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month as they share their stories, connect across the diaspora, and discuss what it means to be from the Asian-Pacific diaspora. Musical guest Jett Kwong opens this event celebrating the panel of Asian/Pacific American authors (to be announced). This event is free to attend, and RSVPs are requested at www.weho.org/wehoreads

WeHo Reads is the City of West Hollywood’s literary series presenting authors of interest to the West Hollywood community since 2013. Past participants have included: André Aciman, Andrew Rannells, Arlene and Alan Alda, Armistead Maupin, Bianca Del Rio, Bryan Fuller, Carrie Brownstein, Charles Phoenix, Charles Yu, Chris Kraus, Danez Smith, Dasha Kelly Hamilton, David Ulin, Eileen Myles, Eloise Klein Healy, Emma Donoghue, Erwin Chemerinsky, Henry Rollins, Imani Tolliver, Jacob Tobia, James Sie, Lester Graves Lennon, Josephine Giles, LeVar Burton, Lillian Faderman, Lloyd Schwartz, Lorna Luft, Luis J. Rodriguez, Lynell George, Lynne Thompson, Michael York, Michelle Visage, Myriam Gurba, Natalie Goldberg, Natasha Deón, Nina Revoyr, Patrisse Cullors, Patt Morrison, Peter J. Harris, Randa Jarrar, Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, Ryan Gosling, Ryka Aoki, Sarah Silverman, Seymour Stein, Shonda Buchanan, Stephen Chbosky, Tananarive Due, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, and Walter Mosely.

WeHo Reads 2024 is presented by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division and is produced by BookSwell, LLC, , a literary events and media company dedicated to lifting up writers from historically excluded communities. All events are free to attend.

For additional information about these events and to RSVP, visit www.weho.org/wehoreads.

For more information about WeHo Reads, please contact Mike Che, City of West Hollywood 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 is Getting the Word Out About Cryptocurrency Fraud and Scams

The City of West Hollywood is launching an effort to help inform community members about how to protect themselves from cryptocurrency fraud and scams. Cryptocurrency is digital currency acquired through an app on a phone, a website, or at a cryptocurrency Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Bitcoin and Ether are some of the most well-known cryptocurrencies, but there are many others. Scammers may use cryptocurrencies because they do not have the same legal protections as credit cards or debit cards, and payments usually cannot be reversed.

Here are some tips to avoid cryptocurrency scams:

  • Only scammers demand payment in cryptocurrency. No legitimate business or government agency will demand any type of payment with cryptocurrency; that is a scam.
  • Never pay a fee to get a job. If someone asks for upfront payment to secure a job with cryptocurrency or any other type of payment; that is a scam.
  • Never mix cryptocurrency and online dating. If a potential online date asks for cryptocurrency or wants to “help” invest in crypto; that is a scam.
  • Do research on companies and organizations before investing or sending money to avoid falling victim to an illegitimate company or website. When companies or websites (fake or not) have look- or sound-alike names to well-known organizations, the potential confusion created for consumers is real. Attempting to take advantage of such confusion is a tactic employed by bad actors looking to profit from unsuspecting consumers.

The State of California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has announced the launch of a Crypto Scam Tracker to help Californians spot and avoid crypto scams. The tracker details apparent crypto scams identified through a review of complaints submitted by the public and allows California consumers and investors to do their own research and prevent harm to themselves and others. The site features a database that is searchable by company name, scam type, or keywords to learn more about the crypto-specific complaints the DFPI has received. An accompanying glossary aims to help consumers better understand common scams. As reports of new crypto scams emerge, the DFPI will continually update this tracker to promptly alert and protect the public.

Cryptocurrency is Digital Currency Acquired Through a Phone App, a Website, or at a Cryptocurrency ATM

For community members who believe they have been a victim of a scam or fraud, or hear about a scam that is currently not listed on the Scam Tracker, please notify the DFPI immediately by filing a complaint with the DFPI online at https://dfpi.ca.gov/submit-a-complaint or by calling toll-free: (866) 275-2677.

For more information, please contact Anita Shandi, the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Manager at (323) 848-6446 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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RuPaul Pays tribute to West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip

RuPaul’s Drag Race revealed the cast of 14 new queens for the show’s season 16 competing for the show’s 16th regular-season crown

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RuPaul standing on Sunset Boulevard in front of giant billboard promoting the new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16, which premiered on Friday, January 5, 2024. The billboard is above Pink Dot, located at 8495 Sunset Blvd. (Photo Credit: RuPaul/Instagram)

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – In an Instagram post, dated January 5, 2024, RuPaul Charles, the star and host of RuPaul’s Drag Race reminisced on his love for The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood dating back to his childhood in the 70s.

“In the ’70s, my family knew how much I loved the brilliant billboards that lined the Sunset Strip,” wrote RuPaul on his official Instagram account. “When we drove up to LA, they would drop me off on the corner of Fairfax and Sunset Boulevard, and for hours, I’d walk up and down the Strip, captivated by the dazzling billboards featuring icons like Cher, Donna Summer, and Diana Ross. I’d pray that one day, l’d be among them. Dreams come true, and although I’ve had billboards here before, each new one feels like the first. DragRace 16 returns tonight, and remember, If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

A photo shows RuPaul standing on Sunset Boulevard in front of giant billboard promoting the new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16, which premiered on Friday, January 5, 2024. The billboard is above Pink Dot, located at 8495 Sunset Blvd.

RuPaul’s Drag Race revealed the cast of 14 new queens for the show’s season 16. Competing for the show’s 16th regular-season crown, a $200,000 prize, and the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar across the two-part premiere is an eclectic mix of drag styles from around the country, including season 13 star and All Stars 8 finalist Kandy Muse’s drag daughter, season 14, who was Miss Congeniality winner Kornbread’s drag sister from the House of Jeté.

The show’s two-part premiere introduced a new twist, as two groups participate in maxi challenges divided into themes: MTV’s Spring Break and the Queen Choice Awards. Following the talent show performances, the queens will be tasked to Rate-A-Queen and rank each other’s performances. This will determine the tops and bottoms of the challenge. The new episodes are followed by regular episodes of Untucked.

RuPaul’s Drag Race – Season 16 – TV Series | MTV

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Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist. His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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

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WeHo’s Mayor-elect John Erickson shares his vision

Mayor-elect John Erickson sat down with WeHo Times Editor Paulo Murillo to reflect on his upcoming taking office and the challenges he faces

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City of West Hollywood Mayor Elect John Erickson. (Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/WeHo Times)

Editor’s note: The City of West Hollywood’s Mayor-elect John Erickson sat down with WeHo Times Editor in Chief and Publisher Paulo Murillo to reflect on his upcoming taking office and the challenges he faces.

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Mayor Elect John Erickson will be sworn in as Mayor of West Hollywood and council member Chelsea Byers will be sworn in as Vice Mayor during the city of West Hollywood’s annual city council reorganization and installation meeting and oath of office ceremony on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. at 6 p.m., at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

Mayor-Elect Erickson granted WEHO TIMES an interview as he prepares to assume the gavel. In the interview, he discusses his love for West Hollywood, the challenges he anticipates as mayor, what we can expect at his upcoming swearing-in ceremony, and details about the city’s upcoming 40th-anniversary celebration.

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Your journey began as a WeHo City intern in 2010. Did you think you’d one day be planning your swearing-in ceremony as the new Mayor of West Hollywood?

I’ve been having a wonderful journey on self-reflection on my time in the city. I still will never forget sitting in, then former council member and Abbe Land’s office, where it was my little de facto place, and working on my first staff report. I remember attending my first event which was the grand opening of the City of West Hollywood library. I knew then what I fully realize now which is that I love this city. So much. It has presented, not just a home for me, you know, as a gay boy from Ripon, Wisconsin, but for so many other people. We call it home and it’s a special place that I love dearly. I want to make sure that I’m working every day tirelessly on behalf of the people that live here so they have a great life.

What does the title of Mayor of West Hollywood mean to you?

Well, it’s a great honor and privilege. I know the title is ceremonial. But the work that we have ahead of us in 2024, with not only a humongous election for our country, but I think a turning point for our nation in the way, and maybe even our local city. I’m looking forward to helping navigate and being a calming voice in that sense. Being Mayor to me means the simple nuts and bolts, responding to constituents, ensuring our businesses are getting all that they need and deserve, and ensuring that we continue our progressive stance for issues that are being attacked throughout the country. But also running efficient meetings, and making sure people have their time to say what they need to say and feel heard, and just making sure that my colleagues know that I’m there to back them up and support them and that we’re really getting to the issues that are impacting our community and we’re having great discourse.

Do you anticipate more scrutiny when you become mayor?

I always anticipate scrutiny because we live in a democracy, right? Not everyone is supposed to be happy, and if they are all happy, well, then maybe we’re doing our jobs perfectly, but that’s never the case. Then there are just people that are out there that don’t agree with some policies or maybe just the progression that we’re trying to get, and so scrutiny is always welcome. I am not perfect, but scrutiny for the purpose of hurting and just trying to attack should never be welcomed, because we should have discourse in this city, which we do, and when we work through all the noise, we actually get to a beautiful, beautiful place.

Do feel your experience as Mayor Pro Tem has been good practice for you as you step into being mayor?

Serving as the last Mayor Pro Tem of the City of West Hollywood–I say that jokingly—you are Mayor in waiting. You step in when the current mayor might not be able to be present. It helped as a nice warm up and I’m so thankful to my colleague Mayor Shyne for her guidance and compassion. I also had a little bit of a warm up by seeing people like now Supervisor Lindsey Horvath as mayor, Councilmember Lauren Meister as mayor, John Heilman as mayor, when I was his intern, Abby land, John D’Amico, Jeff Prang… I stand on the shoulders of these giants in our community and if I can do them any justice, and represent their legacy, and the tenure of our community in any way that they have, and make them proud, then I hope I’m doing a good job.

What challenges do you anticipate in leading the council meetings?

Running an efficient meeting is always the most important thing, so I intend to hopefully keep that going as our current Mayor Sepi Shyne did. We were always out by 11:30pm which was wonderful. We are there for six hours and we only meet twice a month. There are a lot of pressing issues, so we have to make sure we’re doing the nuts and bolts of the community. I intend to continue to aim to ensure that every one that comes to speak is heard. People are calling us when something’s happening with their landlord, the street is unpaved, the water main broke, a tree fell, and it’s our job to respond to them. When I was sworn in, the thing I said most in my speeches was that I was going to work every single day to ensure that when you email me, you know you have a voice at city hall, and I believe I’ve fulfilled that promise. I intend to work even harder as mayor, because my job as mayor and as a council member in the city is to ensure that the city knows that they have someone working tirelessly for them.

How do you plan to handle individuals who disrupt the people’s work at council meetings?

There is a process that is set before us that we legally have to follow. I know our constituents have always reached out to me to let me know about some problematic issues. And what we have to do is make sure people are equally treated but that does not mean they get to disrupt the public business. I intend to ensure that when warnings are given, they are followed through and sadly if that means expelling an individual or people from a meeting because we cannot get the business of the city done. Sometimes that has to happen as you saw me do earlier last year. But I think the most important thing that we always have to do is, how do we balance it make sure people’s free speech is still being heard? We can’t police speech. That’s not what we’re here to do. Sadly, people might not like that people use colorful language, but how they intend to address the council is critical. They are to address the mayor and the council and we have to make sure that those rules are followed. I intend to make sure that I’m running a welcoming ship, but a strict ship. I am, after all, a Wisconsinite, but it’s also about respect.

Have you ever been concerned for your safety during council meetings?

I will say I have received several death threats since being elected. I think that the level of how accessible we are is very different. The night of Transgender Remembrance Day two years ago, when there was the horrible shooting at Q Bar in Colorado Springs, I received messages saying, ‘we see you at Hi Tops. We’re gonna shoot you. You better watch your back.’ I had to take it very seriously, but I still got up and stood on that platform at Rocco’s and said, here I am. I’m here to fight for my community. I think luckily, they are separate actors, but they’re encouraged by people that want to propagate hate, and sadly those people exist in our community. We have to do our best to balance that but I will meet with anyone. Maybe that’s good or bad. But if you don’t like me, I will still sit down and have a cup of coffee with you and figure out what’s wrong. We might not always agree, because I have my viewpoints, and you have yours. And I truly do believe because it is my Wisconsin nature that we can talk through anything and I think I’ve helped to be able to demonstrate that and for a while here while being elected.

What are some of the big-ticket items that you and your colleagues plan to tackle in 2024?

Well, it’s nuts and bolts. We are to make sure our trees are trimmed, our sidewalks are paved, our streets are not full of potholes, but it’s also bigger issues. It’s public safety and community safety. How do we continue to ensure West Hollywood is an open and accepting place for everyone, especially in light of recent attacks on our drag community, on our transgender nonbinary siblings, on LGBTQ rights across the globe? How do we remain a safe haven for abortion access and ensuring that individuals who can get pregnant know that West Hollywood does have the capability to support and defend you? And then how do we also ensure that our business community is thriving, and all the other issues that are important to me, the arts, the sober community–that’s why every year I’ve sponsored the sober New Year’s party, because we need to do that. I’ve gone to Washington to advocate for our community and brought back funding for the log cabin. We’re going to be able to have an amazing community-based center that continues to provide life-saving treatment. The city is growing. Councilmember John D’Amico said something that always sticks with me: ‘Cities are never finished.’ Some businesses are going to close, more are going to open, streets are going to change, people are going to leave, and people are going to move in, and how do we make sure West Hollywood is still that shining city on a hill? And that’s something I intend to always have moving forward.

What does your family think about you being Mayor of WeHo.

My family as has always been one of my biggest supporters. I left Wisconsin after graduating and went to grad school right away out here in California and my whole family lived back there. I consider that my home, but ultimately, West Hollywood became that home, that safe space, that special place that so many of us just know and love. It’s interesting seeing my nieces and nephews grow up and asking my niece to swear me in over Christmas. She says like, wow, my uncle is gonna be the mayor. I think if I can do anything right from afar, it’s to show the younger generation and my nieces and nephews that you may grow up in a small town, but that doesn’t mean one day you can’t be the mayor of a city that you love more than anything and the sky’s the limit.

Let’s move on to your swearing-in ceremony. What can we anticipate on your big night?

I want to keep the ceremony efficient. It’s going to have a very big community feel. I love this community so much and I intend to have my priest at St. Victor’s do a benediction. I’ve invited the Rabbi from Kol Ami to be there. Our amazing drag queen, Pickle, is going to be there as well. My niece Emma is going to swear me. She’s my oldest one. She’ll be flanked by my other nieces and nephews, so I’ll be sworn in by my family who I don’t get to see as much because they’re back in Wisconsin. I think anyone that follows me on social media knows I’m a very adamant uncle, and brother, and son, and I love my home state of Wisconsin. We’ll have speeches from dignitaries, public comment, and then let’s go upstairs to the second floor of our beautiful West Hollywood library and let’s just all gather and community and have an amazing time.

Do you plan to run for re-election?

I intend to run for re-election.

Are you seeking higher office in the near future?

I’m running for re-election because I want to continue to serve the City of West Hollywood, a place that’s welcomed me here for so long. I love this city and it’s my number one focus.

You’ll be mayor during the city’s 40-year-anniversary. Are you already thinking about what that celebration will look like?

I will be 39. I’m one year younger than the city’s formation. It will be about remembering our history and challenging ourselves for the future. West Hollywood does it better than any city in Southern California. I stand behind that, because I think we truly do try to balance every end of this spectrum that we call life. I’m really looking forward to seeing what our amazing city staff have in store for us ahead of the 40th anniversary. This is going be hopefully an amazing time for all of us to come together and just be the ones be there together in community.

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

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

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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Annual city council reorganization incoming Mayor & Vice-Mayor, Reducing Speed Limits, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service plus more

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

West Hollywood is Informing Landlords about the Los Angeles County Rent Relief Program

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out about a recent announcement from Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) regarding the availability of $68,666,000 in grants to qualified landlords with property located within Los Angeles County, excluding the City of Los Angeles, through its Los Angeles County Rent Relief Program.

The City of West Hollywood is in Los Angeles County and this program will provide direct financial assistance to landlords to help them mitigate the detrimental economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that may result in tenants’ inability to stay current on rent.

Grant awards may be used to cover eligible expenses incurred from April 1, 2022 to present on a rolling basis. Eligible expenses include qualifying unpaid rental debt and any other substantiated related expenses, such as utilities.

While any eligible landlord can apply, those who meet specific criteria outlined on the County’s website will be prioritized.

For eligibility criteria, required documents, tips for applying, and instructions on how to complete and submit the application, please visit the LA County Rent Relief website at https://lacountyrentrelief.com.The City of West Hollywood’s Rent Stabilization Division provides resources, tools, and information for tenants and landlords in the City of West Hollywood.

For more information, please contact the Rent Stabilization Division at (323) 848-6450 or at [email protected].

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

West Hollywood to Host Rainbow Key Awards for 2023 Nominees

The City of West Hollywood and its LGBTQ+ Commission (formerly the LGBTQ+ Advisory Board) will host the City’s annual Rainbow Key Awards ceremony to recognize people and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community.  

This year’s Rainbow Key Awards, which will honor the nominees selected in 2023, will be held in person on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 7 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Additional information for this free event, including registration details, is available by visiting the City’s website at www.weho.org/rainbowkey. For those unable to attend, the event will also be live streamed and recorded for viewing on the City’s WeHoTV channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv

Every year, the City’s LGBTQ+ Commission selects nominees from a public process. This year’s Rainbow Key Awards honorees, though held in 2024, will honor the 2023 nominees who were selected by the former LGBTQ+ Advisory Board. These honorees are:

  • Bert Champagne, a volunteer in the community who has worked for AIDS Walk LA for more than 32 years, served as a Board Member of the California Lesbian Project, and has volunteered for more than three decades at Project Angel Food. Bert currently is the Vice President of Sheryl Lee Ralph’s DIVA Foundation and has been part of DIVAS Simply Singing for more than three decades.
  • Nahshon Dion, a multi-talented artist, author, producer, and host of TRANSBRATIONS, a YouTube show.
  • Reverend Stephen Pieters, a gay pastor in West Hollywood who became well-known for his extensive AIDS activism after his own AIDS diagnosis in the early 1980s. His soon-to-be-published memoir, Love is Greater than AIDS: A Memoir of Survival, Healing, and Hope, will chronicle his life story. Sadly, Rev. Pieters passed away in 2023, and this award will be presented to his family posthumously. 
  • Steven Reigns, West Hollywood’s inaugural Poet Laureate, whose writings focus on the gay experience and people with HIV. He has taught poetry workshops across the country to LGBTQ youth groups and people living with HIV.
  • Brody Schaffer, a young, 8-year-old dancer who inspires other children to be themselves by fiercely dancing on his social media channels and other dance projects, including TV ads and Nickelodeon programming. 

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, bestowing more than 170 awards since the event’s inception. Previous honorees have included activists, artists, civic leaders, educators, community organizations, and many others. Contributions, whether by an individual or a group, can be in many forms, including the arts, community action, humanitarian action, sports, medicine, armed services, leadership potential, benefit to the global LGBTQ+ community, and more. 

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 more significant 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+. The City has advocated for more than three decades for measures to support LGBTQ+ individuals and has been in the vanguard of efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level.

For additional information about the Rainbow Key Awards, please contact Moya Márquez at (323) 848-6574 or at [email protected] or visit www.weho.org/rainbowkey.

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

Meeting will be Available for Viewing on the City’s Website at
www.weho.org/wehotv and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/wehotv

The City of West Hollywood invites the community to its annual city council reorganization and installation meeting and oath of office ceremony. John M. Erickson will become the next Mayor and Chelsea Lee Byers will become the next Vice Mayor.

The meeting and ceremony will take place on Tuesday, January 16, 2023 at 6 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. A reception will immediately follow at the adjacent West Hollywood Library on the second floor. The meeting, ceremony, and reception are free and open to the public. Limited validated parking will be available at the West Hollywood Park five-story structure.

The meeting and ceremony will be live-broadcast and streamed as part of the regular City Council meeting and will be available by tuning into Channel 10 on Spectrum within West Hollywood, by visiting the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv, or by visiting the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv. In addition, City Council meetings can also be viewed on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku streaming platforms by searching “WeHoTV” within the search functions of these services.

At its regular meeting on Monday, December 18, 2023, the West Hollywood City Council voted on the selection of the City’s next Mayor and Vice Mayor and adopted a Resolution to change the Mayor Pro Tempore title to Vice Mayor as a local preference, moving forward.

West Hollywood City Councilmembers serve for a term of four years and are elected at large. The City Councilmembers annually select members to serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore (now Vice Mayor); these positions rotate among the Councilmembers.

About Incoming Mayor John M. Erickson – John M. Erickson, current Mayor Pro Tempore, was elected to the West Hollywood City Council on November 3, 2020, with the commitment to uphold the city’s founding vision for a forward-thinking, diverse, and tolerant community.

Erickson first planted roots in West Hollywood in 2010 when he was selected to intern for the West Hollywood City Council. The internship set him on a path that connected his work for social and economic justice with his passion for public service. He went on to become Council Deputy to former Mayor Abbe Land and then served as a staff member at West Hollywood City Hall working to advance policies, initiate programs, and increase awareness around LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, the environment, and civic engagement.

After leaving City Hall, Erickson served as a Legislative Representative at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and is currently the Vice President of Public Affairs, Communications, and Marketing at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

A past Vice Chair of the City’s Planning Commission, Erickson’s priorities on the City Council include overcoming COVID-19 through sensible health practices and economic recovery; creating more affordable housing and protecting renters’ rights; reducing traffic through alternative transportation strategies, fighting climate change and making our city more sustainable; and implementing policies that make the city truly free of prejudice and welcoming to all.

Erickson has earned a reputation as a fearless, tenacious, and effective voice for those who need one. His advocacy work includes serving as a National Board member of the National Organization for Women and President of the ACLU Southern California. In 2017, he became Governor Brown’s appointee to the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and served as an organizer for both the Resist March and the historic Women’s March Los Angeles. He serves on the Board of the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation. Mayor Pro Tempore Erickson was part of the End Statute of Limitation on Rape (ERSOL) Campaign, which overturned California’s statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault in 2016.

Erickson received his Ph.D. in American Religious History from Claremont Graduate University and a Dual-Master’s Degree from Claremont Graduate University. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a B.A. in English and Women’s Studies.

About Incoming Vice Mayor Chelsea Lee Byers – Chelsea Lee Byers, current Councilmember, was elected to the West Hollywood City Council on November 8, 2022.

Byers first became connected to the City of West Hollywood through the Women’s Leadership Conference. This connection led to many program partnerships with the City, including Women Manifest (2016), the Cannabis Education Forum (2015-2018), collaborative film screenings, panels, and more. While working with United Way’s Everyone In campaign, Byers engaged with City Social Services and Strategic Initiatives to bring educational programming to the community on homelessness and housing solutions. She currently works as Director of Programs and Partnership with Women’s Voices Now and is a core team member with Beautiful Trouble.

A past Vice Chair of the City’s Human Services Commission, Byers’ priorities on the City Council include social service delivery, climate-change mitigation strategies, and emergency resiliency efforts, creating more affordable housing and resources for renters; enhancing the streetscape for improved pedestrian and cycling experiences while reducing vehicle-dependency, and community building and policy implementation to ensure West Hollywood is an inclusive community for all.

Byers serves on the Board of Directors for National Women’s Political Caucus as the Vice President of Education and Training for NWPC California. She is a board member of Abundant Housing Los Angeles and President Emeritus of the Westside Young Democrats.

Byers has participated in a number of fellowships including the Housing Policy Leadership Institute, New Leaders Council, Art for LA Activate Program, National Council for Jewish Women’s Advocacy Program, and the James Lawson Institute.

Byers studied at Universidad Internacional Cuernavaca, Franklin University Switzerland and received her B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Northern Arizona University.

For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s City Council Offices at (323) 848-6460.

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

City of West Hollywood will Engage Community in Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with a School Beatification Volunteer Event and Virtual Donation Drive

The City of West Hollywood will continue its tradition of joining hundreds of communities across the country in a National Day of Service to commemorate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day federal holiday. On Saturday, January 13, 2024 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the City of West Hollywood encourages community members to participate in the West Hollywood Elementary Beautification Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event, located at 970 N. Hammond Street. West Hollywood residents, visitors, and community members are invited to take part in this Day of Service. Volunteers will perform various landscaping, clean-up, painting, and other beautifying tasks at the school. 

Details are available on the City of West Hollywood’s Community Engagement and Volunteer Opportunities website page at www.weho.org/volunteer and there is a link to a registration volunteer portal on that page. Volunteers are requested to register in advance and must be 13 years of age or older to participate. All registered volunteers will receive confirmation and check-in details.

This year’s City of West Hollywood Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will also include a two-week virtual donation drive to benefit the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative. It will run from Friday, January 12, 2024 through Wednesday, January 31, 2024. Visit www.weho.org/vounteer for details; donations can be made directly online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/homeless

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day federal holiday was designated as a National Day of Service by Congress in 1994. Each year, the City of West Hollywood participates in this call to action. For more information about #MLKDay of Service activities and recognitions across the nation, please visit Martin Luther King, Jr., National Day of Service | AmeriCorps.

For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event, please contact Larissa Fooks, the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator, at (323) 848-6413 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood is Reducing Speed Limits on N. Fairfax Avenue and on Fountain Avenue, West of Fairfax Avenue

The City of West Hollywood is in the process of reducing the speed limits on N. Fairfax Avenue and on Fountain Avenue, west of Fairfax Avenue from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour, based on the results of a recently conducted Engineering and Traffic Survey (E&TS).

New speed limit signage will be installed, and new speed limits will be enforced beginning in early 2024. Speed limits in California are governed by the California Vehicle Code (CVC), which states that an E&TS must justify the speed limit on all streets other than local streets if enforcement of the speed limit involves using radar or any other electronic device.

Within the City of West Hollywood, 24 street segments are not classified as local streets, and these streets require an E&TS to justify the posted speed limits. The City of West Hollywood recently retained a traffic engineering consulting firm to prepare a 2023 survey. The State of California guidelines for setting new speed limits, revising existing speed limits, and/or maintaining existing speed limits include the following items: prevailing speeds as determined by traffic engineering measurements; collision records for the most recent two years; and roadway, traffic, and roadside conditions not readily apparent to the driver (i.e., pedestrian activities, bicycle routes, on-street parking, proximity of schools, land use adjacent to the roadway, etc.).

The survey results indicate that the posted speed limits for 22 of the 24 street segments that were evaluated will remain unchanged. The study indicates that the speed limit should be reduced on two street segments: N. Fairfax Avenue between the north and south City boundaries (at Fountain Avenue to the north and Willoughby Avenue to the south); and at Fountain Avenue between N. La Cienega Boulevard and N. Fairfax Avenue. To comply with State law, the posted speed limits on these two street segments will be reduced by 5 miles per hour, from 35 mph to 30 mph. These findings were approved by the West Hollywood City Council in adopting a Resolution at its regular City Council meeting on Monday, October 16, 2023.

For more information, please contact Richard Garland, City of West Hollywood Principal Traffic Engineer, at (323) 848-6457 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood’s ‘2024 Winter Sounds’ Free Indoor Saturday Evening Concert Series Kicks off in January

The City of West Hollywood 2024 Winter Sounds Free Indoor Concert Series will take place on select Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. between Saturday, January 27, 2024 and Saturday, February 24, 2024 at The Sun Rose performance venue at Pendry West Hollywood, located at 8430 Sunset Boulevard. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the concerts begin at 7 p.m. Early arrival is suggested. 

The Concert Series will kick off on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 7 p.m. with three-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek. She reigns as one of the most creative voices of her generation, and one “who may well turn out to be the next important jazz singer” (LA Times). She has collaborated with jazz legends Fred Hersch, Billy Childs, Kurt Elling, and more, and has six critically acclaimed albums under her belt.

The next concert in the series will feature the gifted multi-instrumentalist Julius Rodriguez on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 7 p.m. Julius Rodriguez combines his jazz training with his passion for R&B, gospel, and hip-hop. He initially grabbed audiences’ attention touring with A$AP Rocky, Kurt Elling and Charlie Hunter, as well as by working on projects with Meshell Ndegeocello, Kassa Overall, Brasstracks, and others. In 2022, he made his solo debut for Verve Records with the album Let Sound Tell All.

The Winter Sounds Concert Series finale on Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 7 p.m. will feature keyboard maestro, vocalist, composer, producer, arranger, and astral traveler Brandon Coleman. A regular fixture with Babyface, Donald Glover, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington, Coleman represents a new chapter in the evolution of jazz and funk fusion. Following the release of Resistance in 2018, Coleman embarked on a 30 city tour supporting Flying Lotus, laying his interplanetary grooves down for eager audiences.

The City of West Hollywood’s 2024 Winter Sounds Free Indoor Concert Series is organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. Winter Sounds concerts are free and guests must be 21 years of age and older to attend. RSVP is recommended. RSVP does not guarantee admittance. Seating is first-come, first-served, limited to availability. Early arrival is suggested. $15 validated valet parking at the Pendry is available for attendees. Street parking may also be available, read local street signage. Rideshare is suggested. For additional information about the performers and to view the series, please visit www.weho.org/wintersounds

For more information about Winter Sounds please contact Joy Tribble, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Specialist, at (323) 848-6360 or at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Encourages Community to Weigh-In on Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements Around Potential Metro Stations

Metro is studying the proposed Northern Extension of the Metro K Line, which would provide new rail connections to, from, and through West Hollywood, including up to three stations in the City.

The City of West Hollywood is complementing that effort by conducting a Rail Integration Study (RIS) to ensure that future rail service is thoughtfully integrated into the City while supporting sustainability goals and community expectations. The current phase of the study focuses on improving multimodal transportation and providing safe routes to and from planned stations to maximize access, ridership, and use of future stations in West Hollywood. 

The City has audited a half-mile area around each potential station to explore potential pedestrian and wheeled access improvements. Now, the City is soliciting input from the community through its new Engage WeHo digital engagement tool to confirm those findings and share additional suggestions with the project team. The project team will evaluate community feedback and suggestions to inform a draft first/last mile plan, which will be presented to City advisory boards, commissions, and the City Council. The City will transmit the approved plan to Metro and incorporate it into future updates to the City’s Capital Improvement Plan and other mobility planning documents that guide future infrastructure investments.

The City invites residents, businesses, and frequent visitors to share their feedback and suggestions on Engage WeHo to inform the plan’s development.  The survey is open now and will remain open through Wednesday, February 7, 2024. Participants can provide input through an online form on any of the three stations proposed in West Hollywood as well as the Citywide bicycle network.  Interactive online maps are also available to allow participants to place suggestions for improvements directly on online maps. While Metro has not yet decided upon how many stations will serve West Hollywood, pedestrian and bicycle improvements identified for any of the proposed station areas may be relevant regardless of the final route Metro selects as the City continually works to improve safety and mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Learn more and take part in the survey at engage.weho.org/metroFLM.For more information, please contact David Fenn, Senior Planner, at (323) 848-6335 or [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Host a Screening of Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog Followed by a Conversation with Writer/Director Lynn Roth in Recognition of International Holocaust Day of Remembrance

The City of West Hollywood will host a film screening of Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog in recognition of International Holocaust Day of Remembrance. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film’s writer and director Lynn Roth. This free event will take place on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 6 p.m. in the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. RSVP is requested at https://shepherdfilmscreening.splashthat.com

Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog chronicles the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog, Kaleb, a beloved German Shepherd, during the 1930s in Germany. The film is based on the award-winning and bestselling novel The Jewish Dog by Asher Kravitz and tells the story largely from the dog’s perspective. The film was released both nationally and internationally and has been featured at many film festivals, including the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, where it won Best Feature Film. 

Lynn Roth is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. She also directed the award-winning feature film The Little Traitor based on famed Israeli novel Panther in the Basement by Amos Oz, which starred Alfred Molina. As well as serving as executive producer for the highly acclaimed series, The Paper Chase, Lynn has the distinction of being the first female showrunner for a dramatic television series.

The City of West Hollywood has a long history of commemorating victims of the Holocaust as part of recognition of a Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, Yom HaShoah. Yom HaShoah is observed as the day of commemoration for the approximately six-million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust because of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories. The City of West Hollywood is home to many Holocaust survivors and family members of Holocaust survivors.

In addition to Yom HaShoah, in November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated January 27 each year to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945.

In addition to recognition of International Holocaust Day of Remembrance, the City of West Hollywood regularly co-sponsors film screenings and discussions to bring awareness to human rights issues as part of its Human Rights Speakers Series, which encourages communities within West Hollywood and beyond to learn about and discuss human rights issues in a shared cultural and educational experience. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/hrss

For more information about this event, please contact Jennifer Del Toro, the City of West Hollywood’s Community and Legislative Affairs Supervisor at (323) 848-6549 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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