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    Debate on Educating About Pot Gets Hot at WeHo City Council

    Debate on Educating About Pot Gets Hot at WeHo City Council

    Wed, Feb 22, 2017 1 Comment

    A proposal to fund an effort to educate people about the possible danger of marijuana to children and pets turned into a heated debate at last night’s City Council meeting.

    In her proposal, Mayor Lauren Meister noted that the city was a supporter of Proposition 64, which was approved by voters in November and will let people grow and possess marijuana for personal use.

    “There are many benefits to legalizing marijuana, including eliminating the black market associated with its use, alleviating pressure on courts for marijuana-related offenses, and providing local governments with the ability to regulate and tax marijuana-related activities,” Meister’s proposal said. “However, marijuana intake can be dangerous for children and pets. The proposed education campaign is intended to inform the public of these potential dangers and remind…

    WeHo City Council Looks for New Locations for LA Pride Festival

    WeHo City Council Looks for New Locations for LA Pride Festival

    Wed, Feb 22, 2017 1 Comment

    The City Council last night instructed city staffers to explore the possibility of further subsidizing the financially troubled Christopher Street West (CSW) and guaranteeing CSW access to city streets and West Hollywood Park for its annual L.A. Pride events through 2019.

    It also asked city staffers to take steps to keep the Pride festival off Melrose Avenue by negotiating with the Pacific Design Center (PDC) and the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to see if CSW could use their properties for festival events. As much as 55% of the West Hollywood Park area typically used for the festival will be closed during its redevelopment. Metro owns the bus depot property on Santa Monica Boulevard near San Vicente and the PDC has a large plaza on San Vicente Boulevard.

    Mayor Lauren Meister expressed concern about…

    WeHo Saw $6,620 in Vehicle Burglaries Last Week

    WeHo Saw $6,620 in Vehicle Burglaries Last Week

    Tue, Feb 21, 2017

    Below is the weekly crime report from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station that calls out incidents in WeHo from Feb. 13 to 19. The list also includes each case number.

    Feb. 13

    Aggravated Assault – Other Weapon (Suspect Arrested). 8400 block Sunset Boulevard at 11:30 p.m. A women was hit in the back of the head by a rock thrown by a male transient. Deputies responded, located and arrested the suspect. #00817

    Grand Theft. 9000 block Elevado Avenue between 10 p.m. and 9:15 a.m. An unknown suspect removed a jacket from a vehicle parked in an unlocked vehicle storage area and both vehicle headlights. Loss $2,400. #00822

    Vehicle Burglary. 9000 block Santa Monica Boulevard between 7:40 p.m. and 9:50 a.m. An unknown suspect smashed the rear passenger’s side window and removed a bag containing a laptop and checks from underneath…

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    California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Address New Lane Splitting Law

    California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Address New Lane Splitting Law

    Fri, Nov 18, 2016 4 Comments

    While it’s been practiced and accepted by law enforcement agencies in California for decades, lane splitting has never officially been declared legal or illegal. The controversial and highly debated practice was officially legalized on August 19, 2016, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 51 into law. Many motorcyclists insist lane splitting is safe, […]

    Former WeHo Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads No Contest in Off-Duty Killing

    Former WeHo Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads No Contest in Off-Duty Killing

    Tue, Feb 21, 2017

    A former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleaded no contest today to second-degree murder for the off-duty shooting death of his son’s neighbor in Sylmar nearly five years ago.

    Francisco Gamez Jr., 45, was immediately sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison following his plea to second-degree murder for the June 17, 2012, killing of Armando Casillas, and the attempted murder of a second man who escaped injury, according to Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon.

    Gamez had been set to go on trial March 1 in connection with the killing. Gamez confronted Casillas and another man after Casillas fought with the deputy’s 20-year-old son, who called his father, according to the prosecutor.

    Gamez was arrested in November 2012 by detectives from the Los Angeles Police

    Tonight WeHo’s City Council Will Be Getting Into the Weed, Not the Weeds

    Tonight WeHo’s City Council Will Be Getting Into the Weed, Not the Weeds

    Tue, Feb 21, 2017

    Mayor Lauren Meister has been criticized for “getting into the weeds” when she takes a lot of time to quiz city staffers about the details of proposals before the West Hollywood City Council.

    But tonight Meister will be “getting into the weed,” with a proposal that the city develop a campaign to educate people about the potential risks of marijuana to children and pets. The approval last year of Proposition 64 will allow adults to legally grow, possess and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes. It is expected to result in a major increase in marijuana sales.

    An item from Meister on the council agenda notes that “there are many benefits to legalizing marijuana, including eliminating the black market associated with its use, alleviating pressure on courts for marijuana-related offenses, and providing local governments with the…

    Not Registered to Vote? Do It Now! Deadline Is Tonight

    Not Registered to Vote? Do It Now! Deadline Is Tonight

    Tue, Feb 21, 2017

    Election? What election? Yes, there’s another one. It is on March 7 to fill two seats on the West Hollywood City Council. And while we won’t be choosing a president, we will be choosing two of the five people who make decisions that in one way or another can affect everything from our rent to crosswalk safety to what we’ll have to pay the next time we forget to turn the wheels of our car when parking on a hill.

    But today’s most important news is: You have to register now. Voter registration for the March 7 election closes at 11:59:59 PST tonight.

    If you aren’t yet registered to vote (you can check here to see if you are), the fastest way at this late date is to register online.

    To register to vote in California, you must be:

    — A United States citizen,
    — A resident of California,

    As the WeHo Council Election Nears, the Fight Gets Intense (And a Bit Nasty)

    As the WeHo Council Election Nears, the Fight Gets Intense (And a Bit Nasty)

    Tue, Feb 21, 2017 4 Comments

    With the West Hollywood City Council election only 16 days away, efforts to defeat the two incumbents are ramping up, with at least one of them taking a nasty turn.

    The most prominent opposition is in the form of an independent expenditure committee named the West Hollywood Money and Politics Committee (WeHoMAP). It is supporting challengers Cynthia Blatt and Steve Martin and opposing incumbents John Duran and John Heilman.

    One of WeHoMAP’s organizers is Scott Schmidt, the former campaign manager for Mayor Lauren Meister. While Meister has not endorsed anyone in the March 7 election, she has donated to the Blatt campaign. Blatt is known for her opposition to development in West Hollywood and has praised Meister for also opposing what she sees as overdevelopment in the city. Political insiders have identified Bill Resnick as a major…

    Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to  WeHo’s Sidewalks

    Billboard Companies Take Their Fight to WeHo’s Sidewalks

    Mon, Feb 20, 2017 5 Comments

    It can be annoying to watch your trash can overflow with those mailers touting candidates in the March 7 WeHo City Council election. Then there even more mailers about the L.A. County Unified School District election. With candidates portrayed as “the Billionaires’ Puppets,” a headline saying “FBI seizes LAUSD records related to troubled iPad program” and an anti-Steve Zimmer mailer titled “Making of a Scandal” that creepily alludes to the “Making of a Murderer” documentary, at least those are entertaining.

    But now it’s not just your trash cans. Two battling billboard companies are stopping voters on West Hollywood’s sidewalks asking them to sign petitions. One petition, backed by Regency Outdoor, demands the City Council reconsider its Feb. 6 approval of the Ace Outdoor Advertising billboard at the Rainbow Room on Sunset Boulevard….

    WeHo Taking More Than 8 Months to Prep Event Financial Transparency Rules

    WeHo Taking More Than 8 Months to Prep Event Financial Transparency Rules

    Mon, Feb 20, 2017

    City Hall expects to present to the WeHo City Council in April a recommendation to address the issue of event producers’ reluctance to provide budgets or other financial information to the city that was raised by Mayor Lauren Meister in July 2016.

    That recommendation would come only weeks before the June L.A. Pride parade and festival, which sparked controversy over the non-profit parent’s lack of transparency that prompted Meister in July of last year to ask city staffers to develop policies and procedures for special events. Those policies and procedures were supposed to include requirements for agreements or contracts, financial disclosure and collection of data to evaluate the events.

    Given the late preparation and presentation of the policies and procedures it is not clear that the financial disclosure requirement and any…

    WeHo Solicits Suggestions from Small Businesses in Online Survey

    WeHo Solicits Suggestions from Small Businesses in Online Survey

    Mon, Feb 20, 2017

    As it reviews options for supporting small businesses in West Hollywood, City Hall is seeking input from small business owners through a survey.

    The survey, which is available online, will be open through next Sunday, Feb. 26.

    In an announcement of the survey, the city said it will help to “prioritize initiatives that are most important to the small business community. Examples of prospective initiatives that the city’s Economic Development Department and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Small Business Task Force have identified as being potentially useful to small businesses are:”

    — Issuing business licenses that allow of extended hours of operation beyond 2 a.m., thereby superseding the need for conditional use permits that are costly and time consuming to obtain;

    — Streamlining the permit process and reducing…

    WeHo Mayor Meister to Host Sheriff’s Capt. Perez and Community Over Coffee

    WeHo Mayor Meister to Host Sheriff’s Capt. Perez and Community Over Coffee

    Mon, Feb 20, 2017

    West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister will host a “sunrise discussion” on Wednesday with West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station Capt. Holly Perez and members of the community.

    The event will take place at 8 a.m. at Dialog Café, located at 8766 Holloway Drive at Palm Avenue.

    “If you live or work nearby, please join us,” Meister said in an announcement of the event. “I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to meet our sheriff’s station captain and our city’s public safety staff members to discuss what’s going on in the neighborhood.”

    The City of West Hollywood contracts with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement. The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station is located at 780 N. San Vicente Blvd. at Santa Monica.

    In Case You Missed It: WeHo’s Senior Valentine’s Day Dance

    In Case You Missed It: WeHo’s Senior Valentine’s Day Dance

    Sun, Feb 19, 2017 2 Comments

    In case you missed it (and we did), the video above by Larry Block captures the happy spirit of West Hollywood’s 21st annual Seniors Valentine’s Day Dessert & Tea Dance.

    The event, at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park, featured music by the Great American Swing Band, and of course lots of dancing.

    Take a look at the video above and put in it your calendar for next year.

    West Hollywood West Neighbors Object to Moving Pride to Melrose

    West Hollywood West Neighbors Object to Moving Pride to Melrose

    Fri, Feb 17, 2017 18 Comments

    UPDATE: CSW board member Craig Bowers has informed WEHOville that the Pride parade and festival will not move to Melrose Avenue.

    Bowers said the parade will remain on Santa Monica Boulevard.

    “We are not shifting the Festival to Melrose Ave.,” Bowers said in an email. “More precisely we have asked to use the space at the intersection of Melrose and San Vicente for the Festival.

    “There will be NO Festival programming SOUTH of Melrose Ave. There will be NO Festival entrance at San Vicente and Melrose Ave. Pedestrian access on BOTH sides of Melrose Ave. will remain intact during the Festival weekend.”

    Crescent Heights Methodist Church Is Sold for $4.5 Million

    Crescent Heights Methodist Church Is Sold for $4.5 Million

    Fri, Feb 17, 2017

    The Crescent Heights United Methodist Church building, which was closed in 2011, has been sold for $4.5 million.

    The sale, currently in escrow, was announced by Malcolm Bennett, CEO of International Realty and Investments. Bennett’s firm has managed the building and the pastor’s house adjacent to it since the United Methodist Church closed the church. The purchaser, who has not been identified, was represented by Jack and Steven Ravan of South Park Group Commercial Real Estate.

    The decision by the UMC’s California-Pacific Conference to close the church was acrimonious. The church’s pastor, Scott Imler, refused at first to leave the property. Imler accused Methodist leaders of closing the church because he advocated for legalizing marijuana and because it had a largely gay congregation. But United Methodist leaders noted that the…

    WeHo Screens ‘Tweakers,’ a Documentary Chronicling a Dangerous Drug in the Gay Community

    WeHo Screens ‘Tweakers,’ a Documentary Chronicling a Dangerous Drug in the Gay Community

    Fri, Feb 17, 2017

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of the heavy rain, the City of West Hollywood has cancelled tonight’s screening of “Tweakers.” It will announce a new date soon.

    “Tweakers,” a documentary based on a book by Frank Sanello that chronicled the devastating impact of crystal meth addiction on the lesbian and gay community, will be screened on Feb. 17 at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers.

    The screening celebrates the 10th anniversary of the documentary, created by Jimmy Palmieri, Yvette Sotelo and Sue Sexton and of the Tweakers Project, which Palmieri formed.

    The screening begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and seating is limited. Those who want to attend can register online. Parking is available in the five-story structure behind the Council Chambers building at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica, and is free with…

    Employee Invokes Deputy Scandal in Suit Against City of WeHo

    Employee Invokes Deputy Scandal in Suit Against City of WeHo

    Fri, Feb 17, 2017 10 Comments

    A city employee who was disciplined for misusing city parking passes and at one point fired is suing the City of West Hollywood, alleging that senior city staffers have abused him because he testified on behalf of former City Council deputy Ian Owens in his lawsuit against the city.

    In his 46-page lawsuit, filed in December in L.A. Superior Court, Brendan Rome makes a long list of other allegations. In addition to firing him because he testified in the Owens lawsuit, he alleges the city has done everything from discriminating against him because he is HIV positive to telling people that he is a “thief” to assigning him to a job at a city “maintenance yard” where he was exposed to asbestos.

    Rome began working with the City of West Hollywood on a part-time basis in 2001 and became full time in 2002, working in the Community…

    WeHo Restaurants Closed Today in Honor of ‘Day Without Immigrants’

    WeHo Restaurants Closed Today in Honor of ‘Day Without Immigrants’

    Thu, Feb 16, 2017 4 Comments

    Several West Hollywood restaurants today joined businesses across the United States in closing as part of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest against Donald Trump’s promises to deport undocumented people from this country.

    Among those restaurants are Gracias Madre, known for its Mexican vegan cuisine, and WeHo Bistro, whose owner is French, along with Kitchen 24, which, as its name implies, is open 24 hours a day and attracts a large number of tourists and members of the West Hollywood gay community.

    Day Without Immigrants is a grassroots campaign that led to carpenters, plumbers, cooks and other immigrant workers — whether documented or not — staying home from work to demonstrate the impact that deporting such people would have on the economy. As part of the protest many people refused to go shopping or attend school.

    No…

    Justin Bieber Allegedly Gets Into It in WeHo (Again)

    Justin Bieber Allegedly Gets Into It in WeHo (Again)

    Thu, Feb 16, 2017 2 Comments

    Justin Bieber got into fights at a pre-Grammy’s party at West Hollywood’s Serafina restaurant early last Sunday morning according to an allegation by the restaurant’s head of security.

    Sheriff’s deputies who responded were told that the young singer had gotten into two separate altercations at around 2 a.m., which is closing time for alcohol service. The security guard said he broke up the fights and asked Bieber to leave. Bieber refused and remained at the restaurant. The guard told deputies that he then saw Bieber argue with a man and head-butt him.

    Bieber’s friends pulled him away according to the guard and they left Serafina. The other men left before deputies from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station showed up. The man who was head-butted had said he didn’t want medical help or to file a police report.

    The TMZ gossip site…

    Mayor Meister Will Ask City Council to Consider Barring City Dealings with Donald Trump

    Mayor Meister Will Ask City Council to Consider Barring City Dealings with Donald Trump

    Thu, Feb 16, 2017 20 Comments

    Mayor Lauren Meister will ask the city council on Tuesday to consider barring the City of West Hollywood from doing business with any hotel, real estate company, financial institution or investment firm in which Donald Trump or his trust has a stake.

    Meister also will ask the council to reconsider the city’s relationship with Wells Fargo Bank given its funding of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline and of some of Trump’s real estate ventures.

    Mayor Lauren Meister
    “When I was elected, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits POTUS from receiving any benefits outside his or her salary,” Meister said in an email to WEHOville. “This item prohibits the city from being an accessory to any potential violations of the Emoluments Clause. Further,…

    Oops! WeHo’s Beach Nation Likely Won’t Be Back After All

    Oops! WeHo’s Beach Nation Likely Won’t Be Back After All

    Thu, Feb 16, 2017 14 Comments

    Looking to dine and drink on the beach? Maybe you need to go to Malibu.

    WEHOville published a story yesterday http://wp.me/p2Ph78-gpH quoting a minority owner of Beach Nation who said that our city’s sandy outdoor dining spot isn’t going away but is temporarily closed for renovations. This morning, however, Paul Kalt, the majority owner of Beach Nation, called to say that the return of Beach Nation is highly unlikely.

    Kalt, whose Kalt Property Management is a contractor that invests in restaurants, said he hasn’t decided what will replace the current restaurant and coffee bar on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sweetzer.

    “At this point, what is likely is that it will be a new concept,” Kalt said. “It’s most likely it won’t be Beach Nation.”

    Kalt said the City of West Hollywood is reviewing requests for…

    Opinion: Access to Affordable Healthcare is a Right, Not a Privilege

    Opinion: Access to Affordable Healthcare is a Right, Not a Privilege

    Thu, Feb 16, 2017 10 Comments

    Like many people in the City of West Hollywood, I read the morning news each day, stunned by the headlines out of Washington D.C. I shake my head in disbelief when I hear the President talk about healthcare.

    Here are my questions to the President and his party:

    — Why wouldn’t you want all Americans to have access to healthcare?
    — Don’t you want the best for the people you’re representing?
    — Don’t you want children to be born healthy and seniors to be well enough to age in place?
    — Don’t you want to do not only “the right thing,” but also what’s most cost-efficient?

    We’ve recently seen Congress take steps to roll back healthcare through its budget reconciliation process and one of the first executive actions taken by the President during his first days in office served to codify his intent to dismantle…

    Beach Nation Isn’t Sinking. It’s Under Renovation

    Beach Nation Isn’t Sinking. It’s Under Renovation

    Wed, Feb 15, 2017 2 Comments

    No, Beach Nation hasn’t been washed away.

    Yes, it is closed for now. But the popular outdoor restaurant and coffee bar on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sweetzer will be back at it in a few months.

    Michael Berman of Schoos Design, an owner of Beach Nation, said the City of West Hollywood has approved its plans for building out a full kitchen and adding an outdoor eating counter.

    Beach Nation opened on that desolate lot in May 2014. A story published in WEHOville at the time described it as the opposite of paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, which was Joni Mitchell’s famous description of what happened to Alla Nazimov’s Garden of Allah at 8152 Sunset Blvd. at Crescent Heights.

    Beach Nation opened with a front yard filled with white sand, creating a beach-like atmosphere that allowed visitors to…

    $25,275 in Stolen Goods:  Another Expensive Week for Negligent WeHo Car Owners

    $25,275 in Stolen Goods: Another Expensive Week for Negligent WeHo Car Owners

    Wed, Feb 15, 2017 2 Comments

    Below is the weekly crime report from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station that calls out incidents in WeHo from Feb. 6 to 12 5. The list also includes each case number.

    Feb. 6

    Vehicle Burglary. 600 block Robertson Boulevard between 12:05 and 1:45 a.m.. The rear passenger’s side window was smashed and a backpack, clothing, cologne, and phone charger were taken from the front seat. Loss $1,000. #00680

    Feb. 7

    Residential Burglary. 8800 block Rangely Avenue between Jan. 7 and Feb. 9. A bicycle was taken from the garage. Loss $2,000. #00696

    Vehicle Burglary. 8700 block Melrose Avenue between 11 p.m. and 1:45 a.m. The front driver’s side window was smashed and a backpack and IPad were taken from under the back seat. Loss $1,500. #00703

    Vehicle Burglary. 8700 block Shoreham Drive between Jan. 7 and Feb. 9. A pair of…

    WeHo Chamber Announces ‘Women in Leadership’ Winners

    WeHo Chamber Announces ‘Women in Leadership’ Winners

    Wed, Feb 15, 2017 2 Comments

    Anna Paola Snaidero will receive the Phyllis Morris Award on March 22 at the 22nd annual Women in Leadership awards ceremony in West Hollywood.

    Snaidero’s Snaidero USA is a design firm based in Torrance. Other recipients will be:

    JD Disalvatore, the lesbian activist and filmmaker;
    Patti Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence, the Los Angeles-based non-profit that campaigns against domestic violence;
    Pamela Magette, executive director of PAWS/LA, the animal welfare nonprofit based in downtown Los Angeles;
    Maria Shtabskaya, a financial advisor in the Beverly Hills office of Morgan Stanley.

    It will take place on March 22 from 6 t0 8 p.m. a Woven, the rug store at 8674 Melrose Ave.

    The selection committee included members of the Women’s Advisory Board, a WeHo Chamber of Commerce representative and West Hollywood…

    Serious Crimes in WeHo Increased Modestly in January

    Serious Crimes in WeHo Increased Modestly in January

    Wed, Feb 15, 2017

    Serious crimes reported in West Hollywood last month were up a modest 2% from January 2016, according to a report by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

    The report lists 168 serious crimes last month compared to 164 in the same month last year. The largest percentage increase was in the Center City area, which runs from La Cienega Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue. The report lists 42 serious crimes in that area last month, an increase of 35%

    The largest number of Center City crimes involved vehicle burglaries, with 13 reported. The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station has issued a statement advising residents not to leave items in their cars, whether parking on the street or in a garage.

    Vehicle burglaries on the city’s Eastside, which stretches from Fairfax to La Brea, were down 33% with a total of 8. Petty thefts, the stealing…

    Popular Salt & Straw Ice Cream Shop Opens Friday in WeHo

    Popular Salt & Straw Ice Cream Shop Opens Friday in WeHo

    Tue, Feb 14, 2017 1 Comment

    Salt & Straw, the ice cream shop known as much for its around-the-block lines on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice as for its frozen dessert, is opening in West Hollywood on Friday.

    Salt & Straw is moving into the space at 8949 Santa Monica Blvd. at Robertson that once housed Starbucks. It will be the fifth Los Angeles location for the Portland, Ore., based company. At least in its early days it is likely to attract the sort of crowds that stood in long lines to enter the Shake Shack on Santa Monica Boulevard after it opened in last year.

    “We’ve been continually inspired by all the communities like West Hollywood that make this city so vibrant, and are looking forward to becoming a part of the neighborhood fabric,” said Kim Malek, who in 2011 founded Salt & Straw with her cousin, Tyler

    The new location was designed by Andee…

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