The rainbow flag will remain atop West Hollywood City Hall through the end of the year, but may be taken down after that according to City Manager Paul Arevalo.
The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to defer to Arevalo’s discretion about flying unofficial flags on a government building.
“Sometime early next year, I’ll meet with city staff to decide about the rainbow flag [on City Hall],” Arevalo told WEHOville.
The city has an ordinance allowing for officially recognized flags – the American flag, California flag and City of West Hollywood flag – to be flown on governmental buildings.
However, in June, the rainbow flag — a gay pride symbol — replaced the West Hollywood flag atop the City Hall building at 8300 Santa Monica Blvd., at Sweetzer Avenue, after resident Larry Block, a candidate for City Council in the March 2015 election, suggested the city fly it on City Hall and Councilmember Jeffrey Prang concurred.
That decision drew praise from many who said it was long overdue, that it was like a welcome mat for gay people. Others criticized the move, saying the flag of a political movement does not belong on the City Hall building, not even in a city known for its gay activism like West Hollywood.
Councilmember John Duran was one of those who opposed the idea.
“Government buildings should only have official flags,” said Duran during Monday’s meeting. “These are what unite us.”
Arevalo said rainbow flags will continue to fly permanently on flagpoles in the medians along Santa Monica Boulevard between La Peer Drive and La Cienega Boulevard, the area considered the Boystown gay entertainment district.
In addition, the prisoner-of-war/missing-in-action flag, which is officially recognized by the U.S. Congress, flies permanently at the Sal Guarriello Veterans’ Memorial fountain on Santa Monica Boulevard at Holloway Drive.
During November, the transgender unity flag is flown for Transgender Awareness Month at City Hall and in front of the West Hollywood Library.
As part of the discretionary power the council gave Arevalo, he can decide on flying other unofficial flags at City Hall for special occasions and to fly the flag at half mast in recognition of a tragedy or someone’s death.