City of WeHo Announces Events to Commemorate Harvey Milk Day

The City of West Hollywood will mark the third annual Harvey Milk Day with several special events on Monday, May 21, 2012 and Tuesday, May 22, 2012. On Monday, May 21, 2012 at 6:30 p.m., during the regularly-scheduled West Hollywood City Council meeting, the book, “The Harvey Milk Story” will be presented to local West Hollywood-area elementary schools in the Council Chambers at West Hollywood Park, 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Immediately following, a Jeff Tsuji-designed Harvey Milk banner will be unveiled. “Perhaps more than any other modern figure, Harvey Milk’s life and political career embody the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement,” said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang. “At a time when society forced many to lead closeted lives, Harvey Milk dared to hope for a time when LGBT people could live openly, freely, equally.

WeHo City Council Reacts to Obama’s Support for Marriage Equality

After more than 27 years as a City and fighting each day for the rights of the LGBT community, the members of the West Hollywood City Council today expressed their profound elation that President Barack Obama has endorsed marriage equality. The following are the statements from members of the West Hollywood City Council:“President Obama has done more for LGBT equality than any other President in history – Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes, Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, and now, marriage,” said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang. “His record over the past 3 ½ years in office has demonstrated a strong commitment to equal rights for all Americans, including equal rights for the LGBT community. “We, the LBGT community, must now show our strong commitment to ensure that he is reelected as our Nation’s leader,” added Mayor Prang. “It has always been our hope that the President would come to view this as the civil rights issue that it is,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land.

City Hall Issues Statements on DA Credit Card Investigation

A story appeared in the Los Angeles Times last week talking about an inquiry by Los Angeles County prosecutors into credit card use at City Hall, in particular by Councilmember John Duran. The spending on the City Hall credit card was first brought to light by local resident Ed Buck around the last election.  The spending amounts are generally small meal tabs at local restaurants.  There were a few larger bills that raised eyebrows, however, including an expensive meal with officials from the Sheriff’s Department, and the purchase of expensive pens and grocery store gift cards as gifts for City Hall employees. West Hollywood Patch reported that Duran has set up a legal defense fund. On Saturday, City Hall issued two statements in response to the Times article and it appears they are saying the investigation is over.  There seems to be a bit of conflicting information, however. One statement says, “The District Attorney has not informed the City of the specific allegations being made against Councilmember John Duran, so the City cannot comment at this point on the District Attorney’s inquiry.”

City of WeHo Condemns Shahs of Sunset Reality Show

The West Hollywood City Council has passed a resolution condemning the new reality television show “The Shahs of Sunset” for perpetuating negative stereotypes about Iranian-Americans.  The show, which is produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions, airs on the Bravo Network, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. “The show depicts negative stereotypes of the Iranian-American community,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “Negative stereotypes disseminated about any group should raise concern as this can lead to discrimination and, in extreme cases, even violence,” continued Councilmember Heilman. The resolution condemns the new show for perpetuating negative stereotypes and inaccurate depictions of Iranian-American culture and traditions, urges Bravo Network and Ryan Seacrest Productions to cease the promotion of these negative and offensive stereotypes of Iranian-Americans on the show. The City of West Hollywood is located in close proximity to the area represented in Shahs of Sunset and has many residents of Iranian descent.  Many of them and others have raised concerns about the show’s perpetuation of negative Iranian-American stereotypes.

City of WeHo Kicks-Off “Stop Door Spam” Campaign

Are you tired of unwanted advertisements left on your front door? To reduce the amount of annoying advertising left on resident’s property, the City of West Hollywood has created a “Stop Door Spam” campaign. Unfortunately, unsolicited advertising materials left at residential doors, front porches or door knobs can be a nuisance and lead to neighborhood litter and sidewalk trash. In addition, the West Hollywood Municipal Code prohibits distributing advertising materials on private property. “If you’re like me, you too hate arriving home with your hands full, only to find that you have to dig your way through the marinade of advertisements, either shoved in the door jamb, wrapped round the doorknob, shoved under the door or secured to your mailbox with a rubberband just to get to the lock on the door,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Jeffrey Prang.

Zipcar Bringing Car Sharing Back to West Hollywood

Car sharing is once again coming back to the City of West Hollywood after a short hiatus.  This time around, the City is entering into a formal partnership with Zipcar, perhaps the best known name in car sharing programs, to place cars at five different locations. “West Hollywood is a city that has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to urban planning and citizen/resident services,” said Mayor John J. Duran. “Zipcar is one of those initiatives that fit right into West Hollywood’s approach to smart urban planning and living.”

As an environmentally friendly transportation option, Zipcar will help to reduce West Hollywood’s carbon footprint.  National studies have shown that each car shared takes 15 privately owned vehicles off the road, and that vehicle miles traveled per driver is reduced almost 50 percent when car owners switch to car sharing. “The partnership we have forged with Zipcar is designed to give residents and visitors an option when they have a need for a car for a short period of time,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman.  “The program is very popular in a number of locations in the country and in Southern California. We hope it will be equally successful in West Hollywood.”

“We’re thrilled to launch this new Zipcar program in West Hollywood and congratulate the City Council on their commitment to embracing innovative transportation options for the city,” said Dan Grossman of Zipcar.  “The Zipcar program in West Hollywood comes as a result of strong member demand in the greater Los Angeles area, and we’re excited to be able to serve our West Hollywood members through our brand new office on Cahuenga Boulevard, which we just opened this past December,” continued Grossman.

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.

Library Opens Blending Style, Tech and Community

The New West Hollywood Library officially opened on Saturday with an open house and dedication featuring bestselling author Jackie Collins and remarks by Mayor John Duran and other members of the City Council. Other speakers included Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Other guest speakers will include West Hollywood City Manager Paul Arevalo; Los Angeles County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd; author and member of the West Hollywood Library Fund Christopher Rice; and Jennifer Parker of Vanity Fair. The library was already being met with lavish praise in advance of the opening. Christopher Hawthorne, the Architecture Critic for the Los Angeles Times wrote on Friday, “The new library across from the Pacific Design Center strikes an appealingly upbeat tone, borrowing from various architectural influences to become one of the most impressive public pieces in the region in a decade.”

Military Gay Ban Ends, Weho to Celebrate on Tuesday

The City of West Hollywood, LAMBDA Legal and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network will host a celebration in recognition of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama formally signed a certification to end the discriminatory military policy, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. After almost 18 years, the Pentagon on Tuesday plans to formally repeal DADT. The community will gather today from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at West Hollywood Park (on the west lawn off Robertson Boulevard) to reflect on the end of this era of military discrimination. Speakers at the celebratory event will include West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Jeffrey Prang; Don Davidson, LAMBDA Legal; and Tom Carpenter, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Jackie Collins to Join Dedication of New Weho Library

The City of West Hollywood announced that best-selling author Jackie Collins will be the Special Guest Speaker at the dedication ceremony for the new West Hollywood Library. The Dedication and Grand Opening of the new library will be held  on Saturday, October 1, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood. The Dedication Ceremony will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. on the West Hollywood Park Plaza. Ms. Collins has written 27 novels, all of which have appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list and sold more than 400 million books worldwide which have been translated into 40 languages. Eight of her novels have been adapted for the screen, either as films or television mini-series.