Council Votes to Create WeHo Version of Rainbow Flag for City Hall

city hall rainbow flag
Rainbow flag at WeHo City Hall. (Photo by Jon Viscott)

In a move to settle the ongoing rainbow flag controversy, West Hollywood’s City Council voted unanimously tonight to adopt a new city flag that incorporates the rainbow colors.

This new city flag will have a white background and a rainbow-colored logo in tiny square blocks representing the shape of the city. It will replace the current city flags with a blue background and white blocks flying throughout the city.

“I’m so happy; the rainbow will now fly all over the city as part of the city flag,” said resident Larry Block, who has been pushing to get the full rainbow flag back flying over the City Hall building ever since it was removed on Jan/ 8. “This is a big win for the LGBT community.”

The rainbow-colored logo in the shape of the city is already an official logo of the city; the Council adopted it more than a decade ago. It’s currently seen on L.A. County Sheriff’s patrol cars  assigned to West Hollywood and some other city documents.

“The rainbow flag over City Hall is an important part of who we are,” said Councilmember Jeffrey Prang. “This is a good compromise [to incorporate the rainbow city logo into the new city flag.”

City Manager Paul Arevalo is not sure how long it will take to get these new flags made, but said they would be flying as soon as possible.

With this vote, the Council hopes to put to rest the controversy that erupted when the rainbow flag was removed from the top of the City Hall building at 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer, after flying there for six months. Removal of that flag sparked a heated debate not just among West Hollywood residents, but also from gay activists across the globe. Mainstream media also covered the controversy with the Los Angeles Times and local television and radio outlets devoting stories to it.

Councilmember John D’Amico was pleased the removal sparked lively debate in the city. “The personal is again political,” he said.

The rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBT rights, first went up in June 2013, Gay Pride month, when Block urged the city to put it up on City Hall as a symbol of welcome for gay people. Councilmember Jeffrey Prang concurred that it should be there, and the flag was flying atop the building two days later. Block has subsequently announced his candidacy for City Council in the March 2015 election.

Councilmember John Duran, one of four  gay members of the Council, was absent from that June meeting as he participating in the annual AIDS LifeCycle bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Upon his return, Duran repeatedly voice his opposition, saying the rainbow flag should not fly over City Hall and that only official flags – the U.S., California, and City of West Hollywood flags – should be there.

In November, the City Council voted unanimously to turn the matter over City Manager Paul Arevalo, who is heterosexual. While it was Arevalo who opted to take the flag down, the councilmembers took the brunt of the criticism, with many people saying removing the flag was evidence that the city was turning its back on its gay roots. Forty percent of West Hollywood’s population is composed of gay men, and the city long has been known for its acceptance of LGBT people.

At Monday’s meeting, Duran continued to argue against the full rainbow flag flying over City Hall, but voted to support the compromise flag design.

The Council also voted to add  flagpoles to fly the rainbow flag and the transgender flag in Matthew Shepard Triangle on the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard at Crescent Heights Boulevard.

  1. What happened to the rainbow flag on Santa Monica Blvd,(upon entering WEHO from BH). That’s gone, as well. And what is wrong with the international rainbow flag? Why does there have to be compromise? A compromise with who, we were here first! And now when WE have made it prime real estate, there is an issue with our flag! Let the flag be, compromise,

  2. Rainbows abound in West Hollywood and incorporating the rainbow flag into the flag of West Hollywood makes it a truly inclusive symbol. I applaud Council on the move and hope it puts an end to the gratuitous press on a subject that takes focus away from the truly important issues and concerns that directly impact our day to day lives: public safety, over development and parking, to name a few.

    I was proud to see the Council take the moral high road on this and not succumb to the deliberately malicious personal attacks made by a constituent as a foray into the political arena. Although these play to our emotions, such rhetoric is nothing more than blatant character assassination for the purpose of gaining publicity and garnering support. It is a “paralipsis”; a devious way to deny what has already been said by emphasizing a point while seeming to pass over it and a strategy often employed in political speeches to make a subversive attack on an opponent.

    The rainbow flag is iconic as it symbolizes a passionate commitment to equality. In our free society, it is our right to speak up and participate in the process and also our responsibility to question the intentions of the person who sparks the debate, especially when that person is seeking public office. So with 13 months to our next local election, are we hearing the impassioned concerns of an altruistic activist or the blustering assertions of an aspiring politician? The voters will decide!

  3. This is like the epitome of farcical small town politics. My god, we have bigger fish to fry. Can’t wait to see what huge, pressing issue we’re all forced to confront next is. Quick: someone check and see if the coffee in City Hall is fair trade and locally sourced!

    Proud gay liberal Democrat here. But man… we have more important things to talk about than a local municipal flag. Like affordable housing, traffic and encouraging businesses to locate in Weho.

  4. This is the perfect compromise! But wait…now the Transgendered have their own flag? I thought the rainbow flag included the transgendered?

  5. Great compromise, I also suggested they make this move as well. Why on earth was the flag blue and white before. We should only be using the rainbow city logo that is seen all over the City. It will also help make the flag more marketable than the boring blue version.

  6. Sorry for the mostly-same duplication, but for the first time ever of my posting here, these comments did not appear when the site refreshed. Now I KNOW to wait and return!

  7. “The rainbow-colored logo in the shape of the city is already an official logo of the city; the Council adopted it more than a decade ago. It’s currently seen on L.A. County Sheriff’s patrol cars assigned to West Hollywood and some other city documents.”

    Why didn’t SOMEONE on our overpaid, useless city staff make this known long ago? Manny got it right. What a city!

  8. “The rainbow-colored logo in the shape of the city is already an official logo of the city; the Council adopted it more than a decade ago. It’s currently seen on L.A. County Sheriff’s patrol cars assigned to West Hollywood and some other city documents.”

    In exact agreement with Manny!!! Why didn’t that fact make its way to us? Would’ve shortened this whole episode. That’s our overpaid, useless city staff for you!

  9. Great move. However, since Paul Arevalo said he isn’t sure how long it will take to get these new city flags made, Arevalo should fly the rainbow flag above City Hall until the new city flags are ready.

  10. It would have been nice if we knew months ago that the rainbow colored squares (not the white squares in the current flag) were 14 years ago established as the official logo of the City….Knowing that months ago would have saved us from hearing a lot of nonsense.

    This new flag makes sense.

  11. The LGBT community is now woven into the official West Hollywood flag to fly all over the city. Thanks to everybody for your input and support.

  12. An excellent action by the City Council. We, the citizenry are pleased with the return of the City flag to City Hall!

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