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Mayor Heilman Rebukes Target’s Political Contributions



We’ve been covering the issue of Target Corporation’s contribution to a political group supporting a candidate that has espoused anti-gay views and positions in Minnesota.

On Friday, the City of West Hollywood released the text of a strongly worded letter from Mayor John Heilman that was sent to Gregg Steinhafel, Chairman, President and CEO, Target Corporation, expressing strong opposition to Target’s political contributions to candidates who oppose equality to the LGBT community.

The full text of the letter is below.  For background, see our original post along with a follow up post about an apology issued by the Target CEO.

August 5, 2010
Gregg Steinhafel
Chairman, President and CEO
Target Corporation
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Dear Mr. Steinhafel,

I am writing on behalf of our community to express our deep concern over your recent political contributions to a candidate for governor who has expressed opposition to equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. This contribution is contrary to your stated corporate policies and your past practices of being an employer committed to full equality for the LGBT community.

Your company has stated publicly that the contributions were made because of your belief that the candidate is pro-business. This purported justification is unacceptable to our community for several reasons. First, when contributing to a candidate you need to consider the candidate’s entire record, not just their position on business related issues. I seriously doubt that Target would support a candidate for public office who was pro business but advocated racial segregation? Why then support a candidate who is purportedly pro business but has spoken out against equality for members of the LGBT community?

Second, if the primary goal of Target is to support pro business candidates across the country, there are plenty of candidates for public office who are in favor of both business and equality for the LGBT community. For instance, our City government has consistently been in the forefront of the fight for LGBT equality yet consistently in support of businesses such as Target. In fact, funds from our redevelopment agency helped build the structure where your store is located in our community. Our community welcomed you warmly into our City and we have partnered with you on several occasions. Thus, I am certain you can find candidates who are pro business and pro equality for the LGBT community.

Finally, despite your claim that you were supporting a pro business candidate, opposition to equality for any group in our society is ultimately anti-business. Full equality for all groups in our diverse society ensures that all members of our society have meaningful employment opportunities and the resources to contribute to our economy. A commitment to equal rights for all also ensures that businesses can draw on the skills and talents of those who are most qualified. By contrast, opposition to equality undermines economic and business growth.

A number of our local residents and organizations are calling for a boycott of Target and other selected actions against Target. These actions would not only be harmful to Target but they would likely be damaging to the goodwill you have generated in the past in our community. Until now, we have been able to point to Target as an example of a good corporate citizen and a company that has been steadfast in support of equality in the workplace. We are saddened to see this image tarnished by your serious misstep.

I understand that you will not be able to obtain a return of your contribution, but there are several specific steps you can take in an attempt to rectify the damage you have done:

  1. First, you need to acknowledge that the contribution was ill advised and that you made a mistake. Your responses to date have largely pointed out your company’s strong history of philanthropy and your strong record on equality within the workplace. While these past actions are certainly appreciated, they do not justify your support of a candidate who has expressed strong opposition to LGBT equality. In fact, your past actions supporting our community makes your current actions more hurtful to the community. Acknowledging that your contribution was not well considered will certainly be helpful in your efforts to control the damage in the community.
  2. Second, you need to adopt and adhere to a policy which precludes contributions to candidates whose values are not reflective of your corporate policy regarding equality for the LGBT community. As I indicated earlier, you would certainly not support a candidate who was purportedly pro business but who supported racial segregation or segregation of the sexes. You should not be supporting candidates who are opposed to equality for the LGBT community.
  3. Third, you should identify those responsible for the contributions in question and take appropriate corrective measures against them for making contributions which seem contrary to your company’s stated policies.
  4. While you cannot retrieve the contribution you have already made, you can make contributions of equal amounts to organizations which support candidates who are committed to advancing full equality for the LGBT community. The Human Rights Campaign is a national organization which supports candidates and lobbies on behalf of equality for the LGBT community. The Victory Fund is a national organization which supports open LGBT candidates for public office who support equality for the LGBT community. In California, Equality California is the main organization lobbying for equality for our community at the state level. At the local level, there are a number of other organizations you can support to counter your mistaken contribution. I would be glad to discuss some of the locally-based organizations you could support to help rectify the damage done to your corporate image.

I look forward to hearing your response. My community is eager to hear what tangible steps you will take to correct your misguided political contribution. Please know that there are numerous organizations and individuals in the LGBT community including myself who are willing to work with you in an effort to repair the damage you have done. I look forward to hearing your response.

John Heilman
City of West Hollywood

Cc: Board of Directors, Target Corporation
Matt Zabel, Vice President, Government Affairs, Target Corporation
Timothy R. Baer, Executive VP, General Counsel, Target Corporation
Michael R. Francis, Executive VP & Chief Marketing Officer,
Target Corporation

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RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic



Another LGBTQ+ Nightlife Destination Has Fallen Victim to the Pandemic

WEST HOLLYWOOD (L.A. Magazine) — Rage nightclub has been a destination for LGBTQ+ nightlife in the bustling Santa Monica Boulevard corridor of West Hollywood for decades. Now, nearly 40 years after first opening its doors, the club has announced it has permanently closed, yet another local business to collapse amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rage nightclub management lays some portion of the blame on their landlord, Monte Overstreet. The club’s now-former general manager, Ron Madrill, told Q Voice News that rent for the location was already “very high” prior to operations shutting down in March. He says he believes an impasse over rent payments may have contributed to Rage’s closure.

Overstreet also reportedly owns the space formerly occupied by neighboring bar Flaming Saddles Saloon, which also announced […]

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21 Workers Test Positive for Coronavirus at Rock n Roll Ralphs



Workers protest outside Ralphs in Hollywood where 21 have tested positive for coronavirus

HOLLYWOOD (KTLA) — Workers rallied Friday outside a Ralphs store in Hollywood where 21 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The group called on the store to take more aggressive action when staff test positive for the virus, and to ramp up efforts to protect the grocery store employees, who are considered essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

They said they speak for thousands of workers who are afraid they aren’t getting enough protection as the virus continues to spread countywide, infecting more than 24,000 as of Friday.

The Ralphs at 7257 W. Sunset Blvd. has had an outbreak involving several workers who tested positive for the virus, according to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, which lists businesses and […]

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‘Stay Put, Order In’ and Dine With Friends on Zoom, Says Mayor



WEST HOLLYWOOD — WeHo is home to some of the best restaurants in the world and our community members are used to gathering around restaurant tables and enjoying meals together. Now, there’s an opportunity to, instead, gather around kitchen tables at home and enjoy a meal (or many!) while supporting our local restaurants.

“One of the worst things about the Safer At Home directive is being disconnected from friends, neighbors, and the city around us,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “Don’t be alone if you don’t have to be – take advantage of the technology out there and invite a friend to Zoom in for Ziti or share some Farfalle over FaceTime.”

Mealtime is a wonderful opportunity to connect with friends, family, and loved ones using virtual teleconferencing technology, while partaking in your favorite delivered or takeout food.

City Encourages Residents to Support Local Restaurants During Safer At Home Orders

Many West Hollywood restaurants remain open and are offering takeout, curbside, and delivery meals, which are sensitive to social distancing during the emergency. The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to offer a directory of “Stay Put, Order In” eateries in West Hollywood, which is accessible by (click the “Stay Put, Order In” link!) or This list is updated daily.

“We need to start hanging out together, and talking, and seeing each other again. So, why not plan to #WeHoDinnerConnect this week – maybe Saturday at 8 p.m.? Or Sunday at 7 p.m.? Or even just 15 minutes of screen-to-screen gossip,” said Mayor D’Amico. “And you don’t have to cook a thing… local restaurants have meals and menus tailored to take-away choices and they’re ready to send food over to your house or make arrangements for you to pick it up.”

If picking up food, remember to wear face coverings, which are required to enter essential businesses.

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