City to Get Input about What Future of LGBTQ Pride in West Hollywood Should Look Like

christopher street west, la pride, west hollywood
LA Pride Parade (Photo courtesy of Visit West Hollywood)

UPDATE: The WeHo City Council on Monday night postponed consideration of this item until its Dec. 7 meeting so new councilmembers Sepi Shyne and John Erickson can weigh in on it.

Now that Christopher Street West has announced it will no longer use West Hollywood as the site for its yearly LA Pride festivities, the City of West Hollywood is taking the first step toward creating its own LGBTQ pride celebration by hiring a research company to get community input about future prides.

Monday night (Nov. 16), the West Hollywood City Council will be asked to approve a contract with MIG, Inc., a West Coast-based research company, to conduct visioning workshops, a community survey and individual interviews and report back what the future of pride observances in West Hollywood should look like.

The cost for these services is $216,000 over a two-year period, with $135,000 of it to be paid this year.

A city-sponsored pride 2021 celebration is NOT expected to occur as coronavirus-pandemic induced social distancing requirements and ban on large group gatherings likely will not be lifted by June 2021.

Thus, the report MIG produces will guide the city in its planning for a pride 2022 celebration.

In the first phase of its work, MIG proposes to conduct a community survey to get input from residents about pride. Similarly, it will interview city officials, city staffers and key stakeholders who have been directly involved with pride celebrations in the past to get their input.

Additionally, it will do focused discussions with various boards and commissions including the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, the Transgender Advisory Board and the Public Facilities Commission.

Next, MIG plans to do visioning workshops with community members “to define a vision for LGBTQ expression in the City, and to identify potential programming ideas for a Pride celebration,” according to a staff report.

Once it has collected that information, MIG will produce a report with its recommendations for what a West Hollywood Pride celebration should look like. The deadline for that report is June 30, 2021.

From that report, the city will begin to plan for a pride 2022 celebration. Construction in West Hollywood Park is scheduled to be completed by June 2022, so the entire park should be available for use.

The second phase of MIG’s services will involve evaluation of that pride 2022 celebration including individual surveys and group discussions.

For 40 years since 1979, Christopher Street West (CSW) held its LA Pride festivities in West Hollywood. Those festivities included the pride parade down Santa Monica Boulevard as well as the pride festival in West Hollywood Park.

LA Pride 2020, which would have been LA Pride’s 50th anniversary, was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the city covered the public safety costs of the pride events and provided free use of the park, there was often a strained relationship between city officials and CSW officials. Those tensions waxed and waned over the years, but the city and CSW always managed to work together.

However, this year, the tensions escalated to the point that CSW announced in July that it would take its LA Pride festivities out of West Hollywood. No word on exactly where CSW will host future LA Prides, but most observers believe it will be in downtown Los Angeles.

Residents who want to make comments about the MIG contract and/or future WeHo pride celebrations are invited to call into the City Council meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. on Monday (a change from the previous 5:30 p.m. start).

Those who want to make a comment by telephone during the meeting are asked to email City Clerk Yvonne Quarker at yquarker@weho.org no later than 4 p.m. on Monday to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Please include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling and what you wish to speak about.

Then, dial into the meeting ten minutes prior to the start. You will be placed on hold in the virtual meeting room until it is your turn to speak. The dial-in number is (669) 900-6833 and the meeting I.D. is 974 8186 3267, followed by the # symbol.

The City Council meeting can be viewed live on the WeHo TV portion of the city website (www.weho.org). Additionally, it will be broadcast on Spectrum Cable Television’s Channel 10 within West Hollywood’s borders. The meeting will also stream live on YouTube, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV and Roku by searching for “WeHo TV.”

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Jason K
Jason K
17 days ago

I don’t know if we need to rush into spending 250K on the research, but in the grand scheme of the cities 140 million dollar budget, I think it is a worthwhile exercise at some point the future with a properly vetted company. If we don’t do it before the next pride happens everyone will just complain that it didn’t come out the way they wanted it to.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
17 days ago

West Hollywood Park will be completed by June 2022? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Andrew d.
Andrew d.
17 days ago

It’s. A. Parade.

entry forms. Approval. Parade.

not invading Normandy. Not launching Apollo 11. Not launching the first Mars expedition.

Its. A. Parade.

WeHo Mary
WeHo Mary
17 days ago
Reply to  Andrew d.

When your life is nonprofits and politics and you define yourself solely on being gay, it’s the most important thing in your life. It’s the only time when you’re getting maximum attention. That’s why they make this process as complex as possible.

Randy
Randy
17 days ago
Reply to  Andrew d.

It’s also a festival. That lasts for three days. That is where the controversy has been. Read below.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
16 days ago
Reply to  Andrew d.

Yeah, that was what it was like 50 years ago. Now it is a $5 million dollar event. But I like that you are sending us a reality check.

hifi5000
hifi5000
18 days ago

Considering the city is under the gun with lower tax revenues and the uncertainty when the pandemic will end,I say hold off voting on a contract until next year,so that residents have a better idea of what is to be done with Pride and any future celebrations.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
18 days ago

CSW was on a good path to righting its ship when a confluence of events and circumstances created conditions which maligned their noble efforts. Now with the city bureaucrats, combined with elected egos, and an overpaid consulting gig, what can possibly go wrong? Not one of the digits in the alphabet soup will ever be fully satisfied, and the yellers and screamers in each will make this an event worth completely ignoring.

RJ C
RJ C
18 days ago

Knowing our City Council, I think it’s important to ask if they’ve done their due diligence, and does anyone that works for MIG, Inc. have ties to CSW… and yes, I agree they should postpone spending a quarter of a million dollars of city money on what amounts to a SurveyMonkey…

:dpb
:dpb
18 days ago
Reply to  RJ C

I completely agree with you.

Jay
Jay
18 days ago

I was sorry to hear, earlier this year, that CSW had decided to pull L.A. Pride from West Hollywood. My experience with their celebration over the decades was certainly mixed, but it seemed like they were getting back on track in 2019. What started out as an inexpensive community fair and dance party became increasingly commercial, expensive, and exclusionary, with VIP components. The year that it morphed into a not-so-gay, pricey, over-sold music festival that disturbed the neighbors until late in the night was a low point. Fortunately, with a change in leadership to one that was more community responsive,… Read more »

Steve Too
Steve Too
17 days ago
Reply to  Jay

CSW will be able to submit a proposal if the city uses the RFP process for festival organizers.

Their monopoly on the festival for decades has led to the current state of affairs.

An open, transparent bidding process benefits the city and its residents.

Kitty
Kitty
18 days ago

Shouldn’t the city council postpone the approval of this contract until the two new councilmembers are seated? Especially since this is planning for Pride in 2022 so there’s time to wait a few weeks, and because the council will have its first lesbian member, she might have other ideas that should be considered, which will then impact how the next pride engages the lesbian community, something it has always had a hard time doing.

Manny
Manny
18 days ago
Reply to  Kitty

At Monday’s council meeting there will no decision made about programing future Pride events. It’s just a vote for hiring a company that will do community outreach and solicit ideas. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time and opportunity to put in your two cents.

:dpb
:dpb
18 days ago
Reply to  Manny

The vote should be made with the newly elected council not now. Why the rush, does Duran or Hellman have ties to MIG? Wait to vote once the two new council members join the council

Kitty
Kitty
18 days ago
Reply to  Manny

I meant they should wait until even moving foward with this company. $216,000 for a survey about an event that might not even be able to happen in 2022 seems like a lot of wasted money, given a pandemic has turned our city into a ghost town and lots of folks are scared about paying rent and being evicted.

Manny
Manny
18 days ago
Reply to  Kitty

That’s a better reason than the one on your original comment.

JF1
JF1
18 days ago
Reply to  Kitty

agreed.But they have to spend the money that just got when we all approved a raise in our taxes. waste.

RJ C
RJ C
18 days ago
Reply to  Kitty

agree

Last edited 18 days ago by RJ C
:dpb
:dpb
18 days ago
Reply to  Kitty

I also completely agree with you.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
18 days ago
Reply to  Kitty

Totally agree Kitty. That’s a LOT of money. The city claims they are poor and didn’t lay off any staffers like the rest of the world. Why can’t these mostly high paid city staff do this work? It’s not brain surgery. I’ll bet they have ties to a certain someone who’s trying to shove the contract through before leaving. Hold the vote!!

Jeffery Aubel
Jeffery Aubel
17 days ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

They did furloughs, no need to lay anyone off if the furloughs are done right.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
17 days ago
Reply to  Jeffery Aubel

Yes, agreed. How many furloughs did they do? Do you know?

Jeffery Aubel
Jeffery Aubel
16 days ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

They furloughed every staff member one day a pay period, and managers and directors to a %10-15 pay cut. This adds up to a lot of money and no one had to be laid off.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
16 days ago
Reply to  Jeffery Aubel

That seems fair.

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