Councilmember Abbe Land Named CEO of Trevor Project

Today, The Trevor Project announced the selection of its new Executive Director and CEO, Abbe Land, following an extensive nationwide search. She will begin her tenure in March with The Trevor Project, the nation’s leading provider of crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. She succeeds interim CEO David McFarland. “Abbe brings an exceptional skill set as an effective organizational leader, a visionary in providing support to under-served populations and as an elected official,” said Ricky Strauss, Interim Chair of the Board of The Trevor Project. “Her experience in assisting youth and being an advocate for LGBT issues will fortify The Trevor Project and those who depend on its services.”

Land is joining the organization from her position of co-CEO of The Saban Free Clinic.

It Gets Better, RuPaul’s Drag Race Party at Interior Illusions

The ‘It Gets Better Project’ kicked off Pride Weekend on Friday night with the grand opening of the new flagship location of Interior Illusions in West Hollywood. Interior Illusions recreated its signature lounge from the popular Ru Paul’s Drag Race series for guests to take photos and videos for the It Gets Better Project, a worldwide movement that was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives could reach. Contestants from Drag Race made special appearances as well, including Raven, Tammie Brown, Eddie Debarr, Lorayne Love. Other notable attendees included Odain Watson, Jeff Lewis, Greg Travis, Nik Kai and Jonathan Plummer. The It Gets Better™ project also had representatives attending the event who were selling paraphernalia with proceeds benefiting the organization.

Housekeepers Speak Out on Work Dangers on Thursday

In light of the sexual assault report by a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York last week, and a similar report filed at the Pierre Hotel in New York, Hotel housekeepers are planning a press event on Thursday at the Andaz in West Hollywood to speak out about the dangers of their profession. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, was arrested in New York City and charged with the sexual assault of a housekeeper who entered his Sofitel hotel suite. Although Strauss-Kahn has not yet entered a plea, he has denied all charges. The world of hotel work is largely a hidden world. The grittier aspects of this work—the work of scrubbing toilets, changing sheets, and encountering guests alone behind closed doors—are the hidden foundation on which an sphere of luxury and comfort are built.

But because of the controversy, other housekeepers now are coming forward with their own stories, which reveal a pervasive pattern of harassment and unsafe working conditions for the women—predominantly immigrants—who work as hotel housekeepers.

Live Nation and Groupon Partner for Hot Ticket Deals

Beverly Hills based Live Nation today announced that they have a formed a joint venture with Groupon to develop a new online ticketing deals channel, GrouponLive. GrouponLive will serve as a local resource for Live Nation events and clients of its global ticketing business, Ticketmaster. The site will be a “groundbreaking resource” for consumers to find high-value tickets to concerts, sports, theater, arts and other live events, while serving as a timely and effective way for merchants to sell more tickets. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Launch is planned in time for the summer concert season.

Planning Commision Angers Abbey Over Dancing Permits

The Planning Commission for the City of West Hollywood on Thursday night put off a decision on a request to allow dancing at The Abbey, angering the founder of the popular establishment. “I have supported the community and my customers for nearly 20 years,” said David Cooley, Founder of The Abbey. “It is disheartening how the City Planning Commission chose to treat The Abbey tonight.”

Cooley said that the commission refused to approve dancing and entertainment at The Abbey because the City Commissioners had not done their research and were unsure on how allowing dancing at The Abbey would impact parking. The Abbey is seeking to use 367 square feet of the 12,000 square foot facility for dancing. In addition to contacting the press, management for the venue took to Twitter and Facebook to alert their customers and the public to what they claim is unfair treatment and disrespect to someone who has done a tremendous amount for the community.

Founders of Sprinkles Cupcakes Ring Nasdaq Opening Bell

Food Network judge of “Cupcake Wars” and founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Candace Nelson, will visit the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City’s Times Square. In honor of the occasion, Candace and her husband, co-owner and founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Charles Nelson, will ring the opening bell for the stock exchange on Friday, signalling the start of the trading day. We’re not sure what the tie is with Nasdaq. The publicist for Sprinkles says that it is to celebrate the opening of Sprinkle’s first location in New York City. But we wonder if the stock exchange is wooing the fast growing company.

IAC’s CityGrid Acquires Social Media Company BuzzLabs

CityGrid Media, which is based partly at parent company IAC’s offices on the Sunset Strip, today announced the acquisition of Seattle-based BuzzLabs, a company that helps local businesses monitor their presence across the web. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. CityGrid Media also owns and operates properties including Citysearch, Insider Pages and Urbanspoon. The acquisition gives CityGrid the immediate ability to aggregate and analyze millions of pieces of content across its content and ad network—including reviews, articles, blog posts, check-ins, Likes and countless other real time streams of user generated content—producing an enormous repository of business sentiment, consumer insight and trending data for its publishers and million-plus merchants. “With the explosion of local, user-generated content on the Web, it is imperative our network of publishers has real-time tools to acquire new content and make sense of it for users in a way that’s immediately valuable to them,” said Jay Herratti, CEO of CityGrid Media.

City Studying Issues as Businesses Seek Extended Hours

via Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Prang’s newsletter

With many businesses requesting extended hours to operate past 2AM in our City, the City must begin discussions to weigh the benefits and costs involved in having a city that offers extended hours or is 24/7 vs. the budgetary issues and costs necessary for additional deputies. The current allocation of deputies is tapped at this point according to our Sheriff’s Captain, Kelley Fraser. She has stated that she would rather have her deputies out in the neighborhoods protecting the residents walking home or leaving the clubs rather than spent dealing with crowd control. Is it advantageous to the City and/or to the businesses to stay open 1 or 2 hours later?

Yogurt Stop Sued Over Height of Coat Hook in Bathroom

ABC7 reports that Yogurt Stop here in West Hollywood is named in one of hundreds of lawsuits by a disabled illegal immigrant man and convicted felon against small businesses. The man, Alfredo Garcia, alleges that the coat hook and mirror in the bathroom are placed too high under the Americans with Disabilities Act. “I think it’s an extraordinary abuse of the law. The law has a good purpose, and its abuse is outrageous,” attorney Gail Cooper-Folb said to ABC7.  She represents dozens of businesses sued by Garcia, including Yogurt Stop. “The city of West Hollywood has very strict guidelines when it comes to ADA,” said Yogurt Stop owner Misti Cooper.

Jesus-Loving Bev Hills Hedge Fund Shut Down By SEC

Halah Touryalai at Forbes reports that a Beverly Hills hedge fund has been shut down by the SEC before it was able to attract investors. According to the report, the SEC says that the fund’s principal, Elijah Bang, and salesperson Daniel Lee targeted retirees including university professors by promising annual returns of at least 12%. According to the SEC’s complaint, the fund was claiming to be run by “devoted Christians who believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit” in order to attract religious investors. Bang and Lee had already been banned from doing business in 2009 when the State of California suspended the IU Group’s business license. Read the full story at Forbes.com