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WeHoville’s red herrings
Op-ed by Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
Today our cross town rivals published the reddest of all red herring op-eds, insisting that the city’s electeds wake up and get to work on issues that news source has ginned up as urgent rather than continuing the city's vital working to create social change.
Being from elsewhere, hs apparently oblivious to the fact that West Hollywood is THE beacon on the hill for LGBT people around the world. He does not seem to understand how thoroughly West Hollywood’s tolerant, progressive governance and focus on people holds out hope for so many other people and communities that suffer from less enlightened leadership.
These are his red herrings – a whole school of them. He disdains protecting exotic/wild animals in an animal crazy town with a long history of animal compassion legislation – some of it pioneering.
Worst of all, though, he uses these red herrings (resolutions and protests which West Hollywood residents have grown accustomed to, and indeed insist upon), as a way to grind his personal political ax.
Now that LA Gay Pride has a newly refurbished and expanded festival grounds at West Hollywood Park, Mr. Scott would have us move the festival.
He apparently has little regard for young lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders or the desirability of "Gender-Inclusive" housing in universities and colleges, and does not see how passing a resolution supporting diversity is an important option for LGBT students, many of whom end up living in this city because they know West Hollywood cares about their well-being and leads the way for others.
He complains incessantly about their taking money from “outside” developers (who do big business inside WeHo, bringing scads of money and providing the city with enough dough to increase our social service funding when every other government in the country, federal; state; county and city, is cutting those services).
Has he never wondered why West Hollywood is so attractive to those developers, what makes people want to come here to live and work?
I have a clue for him; it’s not because we are workaday folk. West Hollywood is NOT Panorama City, a city that never lifts its gaze beyond its borders. It's becauswe we're world reknown for our social justice work, not for our campaign rules.
Mr. Scott says West Hollywood has better things to do than oppose oppression, as though the city was not formed in the crucible of oppression - but he couldn't know that, could he?
The brand new publisher in town, whose editorials have made some of the most uninformed claims I have seen in 14 years of reporting on this city (remember the editorial that accused the city of running a sex party because it had supported the Tom of Finland Foundation for 17 years?), also believes that, instead of protesting Russian oppression, the city should be dealing with the rampant problem of one – yes, one solitary consultant lobbyist – who worked to create the city and has worked closely as liaison between the city’s businesses and its pols ever since.
The publication immediately took sides with the city's inconsolably resentful activists and along withg that a dislike for John Duran, so they repeatedly took Mr. Duran’s campaign manager, Steve Afriat, to task for doing his job.
When John Heilman tried to push an “Anti-Steve Afriat” bill through the council, the body wisely slowed down the timeline and put the issue on the election back-burner until cooler heads could prevail.
While staff seeks ways to accommodate Mr. Heilman and the civic good, Mr. Scott is in some sort of hurry.
Is there a need to look at the sometimes incestuous connections that hold a very small town such as this one together? Of course we must be vigilant.
Vigilance differs from calls to make the city’s campaign finance laws stricter – and more personal - than any other municipality’s, however.
Mr. Scott apparently does not feel the same sense of, well, PRIDE in the city's LA Gay Pride parade and festival.
Same with the supposed “uproar” over CSW’s Gay Pride. One board member tosses off an idea, The publication's freelance reporter takes that idea out of context to make it look its worst, adds anonymous sources to complain about every other little thing wrong with Pride (you can’t please everybody all the time), and suddenly this news organ is fueling a move to have CSW move OUT OF WEST HOLLYWOOD.
The minor complaints and the comments expressing an interest in exploring the future that were made this year are nothing new to those of us who have watched the organization over the decades.
In 2000, CSW nearly fell completely apart; it was my article in Frontiers that alerted the community to the situation and ushered in the Rodney Scott era.
The festival and parade in following 12 years have improved immensely, but every once in a while some malcontents enamored with high rises or disgruntled about something or other will demand to relocate Pride.
Did the reporter look at precedents of the past 40 years to see how non-profit community boards burdened with the awesome responsibility of putting on a festival every year to weigh the relative influence of his charges?
Just one more point, Mr. Scott. You want the city to conform to your standards, or you would not be advocating so strongly for them. The branding study made note of the one single phrase that best represented the WeHo brand.