Opinion by WeHoDaily publisher Darin Weeks
Wehoville has decided to publish the name, age and charges of individuals arrested in West Hollywood, and apparently of individuals arrested elsewhere who reside in or near West Hollywood.
[Editors note: the video attached to this post talks about mugshots and paid removal services, however Wehoville appears to only be publishing arrest records, NOT mugshots. And we DO NOT know the terms about removal services or if this is done for a fee.]
Simply driving with an expired license could get you arrested in West Hollywood, and your record might haunt you for decades if the information is put online. This could affect your ability to find work, housing or even your relationships.
It is a curious decision to post arrests for Wehoville publisher Henry Scott considering that he, himself, has claimed to have been unfairly arrested by West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies. While he has “come out” about this incident, others in the same situation might not have the platform or circumstances where they can brush off an arrest that becomes known. Even if they are later found not guilty.
There are myriad issues raised by this policy, the most troubling of which is that the data provider offers an “unpublish” service via its pages, and Wehoville’s implementation of the data theoretically allows the provider to add or remove information at will. Whether they have ever or would ever utilize that capability is unknown (see technical discussion later in this article).
Then there is the question about the terms for which a listing might be removed. We don’t know the specific criteria for removal for this provider, but we have read about removal services for mugshots being offered for a fee. Wehoville’s provider does not seem to offer any guidelines explaining who should or should not request a removal. They apparently welcome any request.
ALSO READ — VICE NEWS
When Your Arrest Photo Appears on a Mugshot Website
“Lawmakers are cracking down on sites like Mugshots.com and UnpublishArrest.com. At such a mushrooming online nexus of extortion and blackmail, will the legislation make any difference?“
We’re very troubled about this practice for many reasons, and this list is not even complete…
- Publishing has an immediate effect on an individual’s reputation and to a large degree is irrevocable, regardless of innocence, guilt or extenuating circumstances.
- It appears that under the right circumstances, an individual can have their name removed from Wehoville’s list. Is this editorially neutral?
- Does the removal involve money? Or favor higher income individuals, perhaps with resources to hire an attorney?
- Does this arrest publishing policy disproportionately impact people of color and homeless youth (which, especially in our area, are more likely to be LGBTQ+)?
- What about arrests for drugs and sex work? Should Wehoville aid in dissemination of arrest information that might last an individuals lifetime once unleashed on the Internet?
- Public shame and embarrassment, especially closer to home on Wehoville’s pages, would seem to increase the demand for “unpublish” and perhaps services offered or advertised via Wehoville’s data provider pages.
- Wehoville has ceded a large amount of control over these disclosures to an entity outside our community and beyond even their own staff and publisher. And that company, in theory (because of the manner of technical implementation), can add or remove information from Wehoville pages without Wehoville’s knowledge or consent.
- The LAPD fought Wehoville’s data provider or related/predecessor companies all the way to the US Supreme Court. We are still reviewing the litigation history but issues included commercial use of arrestee information. Our major law enforcement agencies do not appear to be in favor of widespread publishing of arrests prior to convictions.
- People can still be arrested in West Hollywood for reasons that are not entirely aligned with our community values. Our laws are not the only ones that govern. Or residents can be arrested outside of WeHo and then be listed in the ArrestLogs’s on Wehoville.
- Our local and state legislators have sought to limit the dissemination of arrest information and to provide ways for people to seal prior arrests. Wehoville aiding in publicizing this information to the world makes cleaning up the past more difficult.
- Finally, there are the obvious issues about simply even unbiased disclosure of this information — publishing can have serious repercussions on an individual not yet convicted of the related crime including problems with future employment, housing and even relationships. Some publications rationalize that to publish this information is in essence a non-judicial penalty or punishment.
How Data Provider Might “Unpublish” an Arrest
Coalition Appeals LA City’s Decision on La Brea Project
by Lucille Saunders, La Brea Willoughby Coalition President
La Brea Willoughby Coalition continues its fight to protect the quality of life, as well as the character and scale of the La Brea-Willoughby neighborhood in Hollywood by focusing on clarifying and enforcing all zoning laws. The coalition’s latest fight concerns the project located at 843 North La Brea Blvd. (See architectural rendering above.) The LA City’s December 17, 2019 approval of the project prompted the coalition to file its appeal on January 2, 2020.
The coalition is fully supportive of the project’s efforts to provide supportive housing for low-income or homeless Angelenos. Yet, the City is rushing to approve this project in an attempt to combat the housing crisis in Los Angeles. In the City’s haste to approve the project, valuable input from the surrounding community has been […]
The Bible Welcomes Every Color in the Gender Spectrum
Robyn J. Whitaker for The Conversation
“God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” is a line I’ve heard more than once in Christian circles. The Bible is often evoked to support so-called traditional views about gender. That is, there are only two binary genders and that is the way God intended it. But is this really the case?
Claims about gender in the Bible usually begin with the creation narratives. But the Adam and Eve story is also not as straightforward as it might appear when it comes to gender, namely because in English, we miss the Hebrew wordplay.
Adam is not a proper name in Hebrew, but rather the transliteration into English of a Hebrew word a-d-m. Using the imagery of God as potter, “the adam” is a humanoid being created out of the adamah (the earth).
Biblical scholar Meg Warner writes we might best translate this person as “earth creature”. The first human appears genderless.
In fact, gender roles are only introduced into the story when a counterpart is made for the earthling, when this human being is separated into two. At that point, they both become gendered: “Eve” is called woman (ishah) taken from the man’s (ish) rib.
Some Christians have read a gender hierarchy into this text as Eve is called a helper – or “helpmate” in the old English versions – for Adam. This term, “helper”, does not indicate a subordinate status. It is a word frequently applied to God in the Bible, and so without any sense of inferiority.
On the sixth day, God created a gender spectrum
There’s no doubt traditional male-female gender roles are common in the Bible. After all, this is an ancient text that reflects the values of the societies from which it emerged.
In these societies, masculinity was the ideal and polygamy not uncommon. This makes it all the more astonishing there are moments of gender subversion and gender diversity found within the Bible’s pages.
Another creation story is found in the very first chapter of Genesis 1. It states:
God created the human in God’s image, in the image of God s/he created him; male and female God created them.
At first glance, this might seem obvious: God made two different, discrete sexes. But if we look at this line in its context, we see this creation account follows a poetic structure made up of a series of binaries that indicate the breadth of God’s creation: light and dark, seas and dry land, land creatures and sea creatures.
In the structure of the Genesis poem, these binaries are not discrete categories, but indications of a spectrum.
The sea and dry land merge on tidal plains. Some animals inhabit both land and sea. Darkness and light meet in the in-between spaces of dusk and dawn. God didn’t create night or day, but night and day, inclusive of everything in between.
If we apply this same poetic logic to humanity, a case can be made for sex and gender diversity built into the very fabric of creation. A creative diversity categorically called “good” by God.
Intersex and asexual affirmations
Queer and feminist scholars have highlighted other moments of gender subversion in the biblical text.
For instance, Jacob is “smooth” and “stays in the tent” – traditional female attributes in the ancient world. Yet he is chosen over his hairy, hunter brother to lead God’s people. Rabbi Jay Michaelson describes Jacob as “gender non-conforming”.
Megan DeFranza is a theologian who works on the place of intersex people in Christianity. While acknowledging that intersex is a modern term, she argues we find traces of intersex persons in the Bible in the language of eunuchs.
Jesus’ comment in Matthew 19:12 that “some are born eunuchs” is acknowledgement he was aware of intersex people and passes no judgement on those who don’t fit traditional male-female sex categories. In this passage, Jesus both affirms heterosexual marriage as well as intersex and asexual persons.
This is not an isolated case of affirmation. Isaiah 56 speaks of God being pleased with eunuchs who come to the temple and in Acts 8, a eunuch is fully included in the new Christian community through baptism. In neither case is change required of them before they can join the community in worship.
Being an ancient text, the Bible obviously doesn’t use the same language nor reflect contemporary understandings of gender, including transgender or intersex persons.
So we cannot simply pull a sentence or two from the Bible as if it offers the final word on sex and gender. Not only does the Bible reflect a pre-scientific worldview but also because the multiplicity of voices will never be captured in this kind of proof-texting.
What we can say is that the Bible affirms in various ways the potential goodness of all humanity and the inclusion of those who diverge from male-female gender norms.
While many churches remain unsafe places for transgender and gender-diverse people, it is imperative to highlight these subversive moments in an otherwise patriarchal text that challenge narrow perspectives, both then and now.
This article is part of a series exploring gender and Christianity
Robyn J. Whitaker is a Senior Lecturer in New Testament, Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity.
The Conversation publishes knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence from academics and researchers in order to inform public debate with facts, clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.
California’s Local Governments and Schools Are in Economic Distress
by Dan Walters for CalMatters
CALIFORNIA — California’s economy has been booming for most of this decade and has generated a cornucopia of tax revenues for state and local governments.
The state has benefited most, because it collects income taxes. Californians’ taxable incomes have been soaring, especially for those atop the economic ladder, whose tax rates also have been increased.
The state has shared much of its multibillion-dollar windfall with schools, as required by the California constitution, increasing per-pupil spending about 50% in recent years.
Nevertheless, many school districts are in financial distress due to declining enrollment, unsustainable, irresponsible salary increases and, finally, state-mandated increases in payments to the California State Teachers Retirement System to offset its unfunded pension liabilities.
Last week, state Auditor Elaine Howle reported that audits of three big school districts revealed that state aid meant to enrich the educations of poor and English-learner students has often been diverted to cover budget holes.
Many school districts have asked voters for tax increases to close their budget gaps, most commonly through “parcel taxes,” which are levied on real estate. And the California School Boards Association is sponsoring a 2020 ballot measure that would hike personal and corporate income taxes to raise about $15 billion a year for schools.
Schools, however, are not the only local governmental agencies in fiscal distress. Cities, which receive almost no state aid and depend largely on local property and sales taxes, are also feeling the pinch for many of the same reasons.
Prior to issuing her report on schools, Howle released another revealing study on the fiscal health of California’s nearly 500 cities, highlighting those in the worst straits.
Generally, most in trouble are small cities, either in rural areas or in urban cores, whose residents have low incomes. No. 1 on the list is Compton, whose travails have been well documented over the years.
However, there are also a few larger cities that Howle highlighted, such as Oakland, No. 13 on the statewide list, and San Diego, deemed to be one of the top three “fiscally challenged” cities in its region.
The ratings are based on several factors, including liquidity, debt burden, financial reserves, revenue trends and retirement obligations. It’s clear that the last one looms very large.
The California Public Employees Retirement System saw its trust fund plummet in value during the Great Recession as its pension obligations mushroomed, leaving it with only slightly more than 70% of the assets needed to fully pay promised pensions and — so far, at least — unable to recover fully from its investment losses.
Therefore, CalPERS has been ramping up mandatory payments from local governments to reduce what it calls its “unfunded actuarial liability.” Cities get hit the hardest because they employ large numbers of police officers and firefighters who have the highest pensions and therefore the highest pension costs.
It’s not unusual for contributions for employees in so-called “safety systems” to reach 50% of payroll, and CalPERS has told city officials they will continue to climb.
Throughout the state, cities have asked their voters for tax increases, usually sales taxes but sometimes parcel taxes, to close their budget gaps with mixed results. But tax increases are particularly difficult to pass in communities with large numbers of low-income residents.
Howle’s report not only shines some much-needed light on municipal finances but includes an Internet portal for Californians to check on their own cities. And sunshine is the best disinfectant for bad management.
Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. Walters has written about California and its politics for a number of other publications, including The Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor. He also has been a frequent guest on national television news shows, commenting on California politics.
This article is produced as part of WeHo Daily’s partnership with CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.
County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family
Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day
WeHo Webinar: Loneliness, Isolation, Depression, and Anxiety During Pandemic
Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions
White House Gift Shop Selling Coronavirus Commemorative Coins
Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate
Beverly Hills Votes To Resume Plastic Surgery Despite Coronavirus Pandemic
Anderson Cooper Reveals He’s a Dad, Welcomes New Baby Boy
Madonna: I Have Antibodies … Gonna Breathe in COVID-19 Air
Trump Thinks Armed Michigan Protesters Are ‘Very Good People’
21 Workers Test Positive for Coronavirus at Rock n Roll Ralphs
Residents of Whitley Ave Hold Dance Party From Windows, Balconies
Laurel Canyon Hosts Porch Concerts Amid Stay Home Order
WeHo’s Leslie Jordan Gains 3.5M IG Followers During Quarantine
‘Safer at Home’ Extended to May 15, Face Covers Required in Public
‘Project Runway’ Star Michael Costello Converts Factory to Produce Masks
Lisa Vanderpump Says Two Sides to Coronavirus Impact on Dog Adoptions
Strip Club Forced to Close After Busted by Local News
Extremist Groups Encourage Members to Spread Coronavirus to Police, Jews
LA’s Original Farmers Market – Business Booming During Pandemic
This Just In…
- County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family
- Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day
- WeHo Webinar: Loneliness, Isolation, Depression, and Anxiety During Pandemic
- Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions
- White House Gift Shop Selling Coronavirus Commemorative Coins
- Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate
- Beverly Hills Votes To Resume Plastic Surgery Despite Coronavirus Pandemic