Opinion: Public Safety and Transportation Commissions Need to Work Together Over Pedestrian Safety

Opinion: Public Safety and Transportation Commissions Need to Work Together Over Pedestrian Safety

Meetings of the city’s various boards and commissions are open to the public and fun to attend. These boards and commissions are a liaison between the public and the West Hollywood City Council. At a grass roots level your voice can be…

Editor’s note: We believe debating the issues relevant to our city helps foster an informed and engaged community, and that’s why we invite you to submit guest commentaries to editor@wehoville.com. Selected pieces will run below. Opinions, commentary and other essays posted in “Let’s Discuss” are wholly the view of the author. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of WEHOville.com.

Opinion: What Is the Identity of the Eastside of West Hollywood?

Opinion: What Is the Identity of the Eastside of West Hollywood?

Mon, Jan 16, 2017 7 Comments

If you are like me, in the last several years you have driven around Los Angeles and noticed these single-lot buildings being bought up and torn down, and these tall, eyesore boxes going up to replace them. They are blanketing L.A. with no real architectural design, nothing that speaks high-end originality or has a “wow […]

Opinion: Should We Restore the WeHo City Council Deputy System?

Opinion: Should We Restore the WeHo City Council Deputy System?

Mon, Jan 02, 2017 19 Comments

t has been eighteen months since the West Hollywood City Council voted to eliminate the five council deputies. The decision to dismantle the council deputy program that had existed since the founding of the city was rushed, made during a period of what can most charitably described as a highly charged period of political stress. But over the last several months I have heard more people questioning the wisdom of that vote and asking if the residents of West Hollywood have been well served by that decision.

At the time, eliminating the deputies seemed like a solution to the ongoing dysfunction on the third floor of City Hall. People were shocked by the deputies’ salaries, which had escalated in recent years and seemed excessive. While I made a rather lonely public argument that the council should not make a decision in haste,…

Opinion: In WeHo’s 2017 City Council Election, Experience Counts

Opinion: In WeHo’s 2017 City Council Election, Experience Counts

Thu, Dec 15, 2016 39 Comments

Larry Block argues that experience is needed to be a viable City Council candidate.

A Celebration of Community at Ed’s Coffee Shop

A Celebration of Community at Ed’s Coffee Shop

Wed, Dec 14, 2016 5 Comments

For 30 years the inimitable and engaging Danny Munoz has been serving customers at Ed’s

WeHo’s First Traffic Light-Synchronized Pedestrian Crosswalk is Open

WeHo’s First Traffic Light-Synchronized Pedestrian Crosswalk is Open

Tue, Dec 13, 2016 13 Comments

The City of West Hollywood has installed the first of a series of pedestrian crosswalks with stoplights on Santa Monica Boulevard.

The crosswalk, between North Orange Grove Avenue and North Ogden Drive, was activated on Wednesday last week. It replaces two unlighted crosswalks, one near Orange Grove and the other near Ogden.

The stoplight at the crosswalk can be activated by a pedestrian, who must push a button on a pole on the sidewalk. The light is coordinated with the traffic light at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue to the west. City Engineer Sharon Perlstein said that coordination is necessary to keep traffic moving efficiently.

Perlstein said there are four more crosswalks with traffic signals in the works, all along Santa Monica Boulevard, the major traffic thoroughfare in West Hollywood. One…

Opinion: It’s Time to Bury the Word ‘Homophobia’

Opinion: It’s Time to Bury the Word ‘Homophobia’

Mon, Dec 12, 2016 2 Comments

With the blood from the massacre in Orlando barely dry, let me strongly state that the word “homophobia” is wimpy, a misnomer, and needs to be retired. When it was introduced in 1969, the new word had a modicum of relevance. It quickly became the word to explain gay oppression, but no longer. Gay people are more awake now.

The word “phobia,” meaning “fear,” belongs to the lexicon of clinical psychology, not sociopolitical discourse regarding social privilege and societal change. The word “homophobia” trivializes and obfuscates what is really happening to gay people in the United States and globally now and historically. It says nothing about the source of a system that breeds gay and lesbian genocide.

I suggest “homophobia” be replaced by the words “the ideology of heterosexual supremacy,” a…

Opinion: City Government 101 — a Guide for the West Hollywood City Council

Opinion: City Government 101 — a Guide for the West Hollywood City Council

Wed, Dec 07, 2016 9 Comments

CHAPTER I: PROMOTING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

The West Hollywood City Council has begun to go dark on the residents it represents.

Beginning in August, the City Council reduced its meeting schedule from twice a month to once a month, dramatically increasing the size of its now-monthly agenda. These days it’s not unusual for a City Council meeting to go to midnight or later, which means citizens who take time to come and comment on matters important to them usually give up and go home instead. (After all, they have to go to work the next day.) Given that there is only one meeting a month, often more residents than usual show up at the beginning of a meeting to offer public comments. Mayor Lauren Meister’s response has been to cut the comment period from two minutes to as few as 60 seconds.

If a City Council meeting that can run as…

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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, […]

Opinion: WeHo Must Ensure that Its General Plan Will Protect the City’s Character

Opinion: WeHo Must Ensure that Its General Plan Will Protect the City’s Character

Tue, Nov 22, 2016 18 Comments

The Planning Commission seemed exasperated. Residents near the proposed four-story development on Flores Street were hoping to mitigate the impacts of the massive project on their neighborhood. They complained of the ugly, prison-like design, inadequate street setbacks, the impact on street parking and the fact that the developer was able to build a fourth story merely by including a single affordable unit in the project. A woman worried about feeling claustrophobic as the project would block her view. One member of the commission seemed particularly annoyed, wearily reminding the public that “you can’t protect a view”.

It was hard not to be sympathetic to the neighbors who were concerned about the negative impacts the project would have on their street. Like folks all over West Hollywood they feel besieged by new, out-of-scale…

WeHo’s John Duran a Recipient of LGBT Latino/a Activist Award

WeHo’s John Duran a Recipient of LGBT Latino/a Activist Award

Sun, Nov 20, 2016

West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran is one of 41 recipients of this year’s Honor 41 Awards, which acknowledge Latino/a activists in the LGBT community.
Honor 41 is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote positive images of the Latino/a LGBT community and bring that community together online.

“41” has long had a negative connotation in Mexican culture. The Honor 41 website notes that it has been used to label someone as a “maricon/joto which in English translates to calling someone faggot/gay.”

That stems from an incident in 1901 known as the “Dance of the Forty One. Police in Mexico City raided a private party reportedly attended by some very influential people. Of the 41 people at the party, at least half were said to be “wearing elegant ladies’ dresses, wigs, false breasts, earrings, embroidered slippers,…

Opinion: Why Won’t the WeHo City Council Speak Up on What Matters?

Opinion: Why Won’t the WeHo City Council Speak Up on What Matters?

Wed, Nov 16, 2016 12 Comments

Will banning the sale of meth pipes in West Hollywood help reduce the use among our city’s gay residents of one of the world’s most addictive and destructive drugs?

Maybe yes. Maybe no. There are arguments on both sides that are worth a listen. But one thing is clear: The proposal for a ban raised on Monday night by Patrick Shandrick of the city’s Human Services Commission and Estevan Montemayor of the Public Safety Commission will promote a long-needed discussion about something that affects more West Hollywood lives than do poorly lit crosswalks.

The debate over the proposed ban also illuminates the strange unwillingness of our City Council to publicly tackle the meth issue and other controversial local subjects. As has been noted before, our elected officials will vote to condemn the dog meat market in Yulin, China, or the…

Opinion:  Democrats, I Did What You Asked, and It Still Isn’t Enough

Opinion: Democrats, I Did What You Asked, and It Still Isn’t Enough

Thu, Nov 10, 2016 7 Comments

When my significant other told me about Bernie Sanders as his campaign started, I dismissed his claims that this guy sounded like “the real deal.” I was dismissive of him and told him that Clinton was going to be the nominee and that she would be president. Boy was I wrong. The more I listened […]

WeHo Reacts to the Trump Victory, and Words of Inspiration from One of the City’s Founders

WeHo Reacts to the Trump Victory, and Words of Inspiration from One of the City’s Founders

Thu, Nov 10, 2016 15 Comments

It’s no surprise that most residents of a city like West Hollywood, incorporated in 1984 to protect the rights of renters and LGBT people, are reeling from the results of Tuesday night’s presidential election.

Jason Farone, known for his comedic video series every Thursday, took to the streets in West Hollywood last night to capture the reaction of our community to Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump as president.

As you’ll see in the video above, most still feel shocked and horrified, while a few say they are going to pick themselves up and move forward.

Meanwhile, City Councilmember John Heilman, one of the activists who helped incorporate West Hollywood as a city in 1984, reached out to City Hall staffers with a message of inspiration. That message, in its entirety, is posted below:

“Hi Everyone.

“I know many people at…

Opinion: Dealing with a National Disaster

Opinion: Dealing with a National Disaster

Tue, Nov 08, 2016 22 Comments

As a young adult I was devastated when Ronald Regan defeated Jimmy Carter for the presidency. I was outraged when Al Gore’s victory was stolen by George W. Bush. But none of these emotions quite equal the sense of loss, disorientation and fear that I have for our future in a Trump Presidency. This is […]

Case No. 06303 – The Bicycle Thief – a Drama with No Resolution

Case No. 06303 – The Bicycle Thief – a Drama with No Resolution

Fri, Oct 28, 2016 2 Comments

Sometimes I wonder if there is not an entity somewhere pulling strings and pushing levers so that we humans can raise our eyebrows at what we may call coincidence or even serendipity. Try this one on for size.

First note -Once a week I check the Aspen Times website, keeping an eye on events in that little town where we own a small condo. The second item I came upon read: “Cops: Arrest may solve rash of high end of Aspen bike thefts .” The man arrested was tied to thefts of bikes, which he then advertised for sale on eBay. That would be good news for many of the locals who now use their bikes more than their cars.

Second note – Earlier in the day I had been going through a box of VCR tapes and testing to see if they were still playable. The last one I looked at was “The Bicycle Thief,” a great classic Italian film from…

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