It won’t be a rainbow flag, but it will be a flag with a rainbow of colors if the West Hollywood City Council on Monday approves a staff recommendation to use a multi-colored city logo on a white background as WeHo’s official banner.
If approved, the proposal is likely to bring to an end a contentious debate over whether or not the city should fly the rainbow flag, an LGBT symbol, atop City Hall. The debate started in June, when Larry Block, owner of the Block Party apparel stores and a recently announced candidate for the West Hollywood City Council, asked the Council to put up the flag to commemorate LA Pride. The flag was taken down on Jan. 8, sparking a debate about whether it was appropriate to permanently erect such a symbol of LGBT pride. On the one hand, supporters of the rainbow flag argued that 40 percent of West Hollywood’s population was composed of gay men and another four percent of lesbians. On the other hand, opponents, the most prominent of whom was City Councilmember John Duran, who himself is gay, argued that putting the LGBT flag on City Hall might seem exclusionary to some of the 60 percent of West Hollywood residents who are heterosexual.
At its Feb. 3 meeting, the Council voted to request that city staffers investigate the idea of using a multi-colored city logo on West Hollywood’s official flag and displaying the rainbow flag and a transgender flag at the Matthew Shepard Memorial at the intersection of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights boulevards.
The proposal that will be considered Monday would reserve the top of City Hall for the U.S. California and West Hollywood flags, with a fourth halyard installed to display government or non-government flags from time to time at the discretion of the city manager.
Going forward, the city would:
- Display the Prisoner of War / Missing in Action flag on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW /MIA Recognition Day (in September) and Veterans Day on flag poles that will be erected on Sweetzer Avenue while the city’s automated garage construction project is underway. Those two flag poles also will display the U.S, California and City of West Hollywood flags.
- Continue to display the U.S., California, City of West Hollywood and POW/MIA flags at Sal Guariello Veterans Memorial.
- Continue to display the federal, state and city flags on two poles, each carrying two flags each, at Plummer Park. The POW / MIA flag now flown there would only be flown on the holidays noted above.
- Continue to display the federal, state and city flags at West Hollywood Library.
- Continue to display the federal flag on one pole on Santa Monica Boulevard and the Lambda gay flag on two poles.
- Erect a new flag pole to display the rainbow flag and a transgender flag at the Matthew Shepard Memorial at the intersection of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights boulevards.
- Continue to display the federal and state flags at the northeast corner of Crescent Heights Triangle, which is at its intersection with Santa Monica Boulevard.
- Continue to fly the federal and state flags at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s station at Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente.