WeHo City Council Stalemates on What to Do About Gay Pride

LA Gay Pride 2013
LA Gay Pride 2013

After months of discussion and negotiation about making improvements to the annual LA Gay Pride parade and festival, the West Hollywood City Council tonight reached an impasse on what to do.

The council rejected a proposal to allocate $150,000 to expand the city’s own gay Pride festivities, with some members objecting that it wasn’t clear what benefit that would bring to the city.

The proposal was made by the city’s Department of Human Services and Rent Stabilization in response to a request by the council in January for specific ideas for expanding the annual Pride event. That request came after Councilmembers John D’Amico and John Duran, named by the council as a subcommittee to deal with the issue, spent months negotiating with Christopher Street West (CSW) the non-profit organization that stages the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival in June, to find ways to improve the event. The Pride parade and festival have come under heavy criticism for its poor quality.

Unable to reach agreement with CSW on proposals such as rebranding LA Pride as West Hollywood Pride, getting the city more involved in recruiting celebrities for the Pride event and improving Pride programming, D’Amico proposed the city create more of its own Pride programming. The Department of Human Services and Rent Stabilization also suggested rebranding the city’s existing “One City One Pride” cultural events as “West Hollywood Pride.” The proposed $150,000 appropriation would have increased the total costs to the city of the annual Pride parade and festival to $1,038,000.

Councilmembers Jeffrey Prang and John Heilman said that if the city were to appropriate money for additional programming there should be an obvious benefit, such as increasing hotel occupancy. Heilman proposed that the city staff come back to the Council with proposals for developing high quality events and contracting with an event promoter to stage them and that the Duran / D’Amico subcommittee work with city staffers and Visit West Hollywood, the city’s tourism bureau, to develop an event to be staged on Thursday night before Pride weekend.

But his proposal, which won the support of Mayor Abbe Land, failed with Duran abstaining and Prang and D’Amico voting against it.

Duran said the city had an obligation to spend additional money on improving the Pride events, all of which are staged in West Hollywood, if it wanted to counter complaints that Pride is ” tired and ragged.” He said such improvements were necessary if LA Pride is to attract visitors from across the country as does the annual New York City Pride event. Duran declined to continue serving on the subcommittee, saying Heilman’s proposal was “a motion to do nothing.”

Heilman also objected to a staff proposal to extend the closure of Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and San Vicente boulevards, where the Pride parade takes place, to create a “Pride Community Area” where local non-profits could present themselves to parade attendees.

Without sufficient votes for passage, Heilman’s motion was tabled and, in effect, so was the city staff proposal.

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Larry Block
Larry Block
8 years ago

The city spends over a million dollars subsidizing Pride that comes out to $50 bucks a head if 20,000 people attended the festival. I think that translate’s into FREE ADMISSION for local residents who pay the taxes!

Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
8 years ago

West Hollywood Pride has degenerated into an excuse for the Bridge & Tunnel crowd to get wasted on our streets. Just like Halloween. It is ALL about public drunkenness. I bet if we cancelled it nobody would even cry.

Jim Chud
Jim Chud
8 years ago

I think the biggest improvement that could happen is to put the event out to bid to other organizers. How much more money does CSW need to basically do the same thing every year? I would love to see a detailed accounting of where they spend money, and what the salaries are – I simply can’t believe that you can’t buy more with a million bucks these days.

wehogoer.
wehogoer.
8 years ago

Pride LA needs improving, no one doubts that. Anyone with a chance to do something else avoids the parade and the festival. It’s all private parties and events. Last year, I did the Universal Studios party and it was the highlight of the weekend. It was warm, welcoming, a true sense of community-everyone was having fun. FUN! I tried the Pride festival on Sunday. I don’t mean this in the demeaning way it’s going to sound, but it was a ghetto. I honestly had several incidents that made me fearful for my safety, so i left. I went home and… Read more »

90069
90069
8 years ago

Having multiple prides is not the way to go. LA is notorious for its sprawl and difficulty for tourists to get around. It would be a disaster to expect people to bop around the entire City for a weekend to enjoy the pride experience. I also think the SFV already has its own pride. D’Amico and Duran had the right solution. Put more money into the event, which will provide: higher caliber celebrities, additional road closures (more public space like Robertson, Melrose, San Vicente north of SMB), additional festival area (rent the PDC courtyard), higher quality music acts, better lighting… Read more »

Todd Bianco
8 years ago

@Dan W – I’ve said the same thing before in comments when this issue has been discussed in WeHoVille. CSW should outsource a pride event in (1) Silver Lake/East Hollywood, (2) Downtown LA and (3) Studio City – The Valley (just my choices). The main parade and festival can still be in West Hollywood, but there are plenty of very talented party promoters in LA that could produce a profitable event in each of these often-neglected locations when it comes to Pride. It would take some work to reach out to people living in these areas to get their ideas/input… Read more »

Just me
Just me
8 years ago

Bring pride to Downtown L.A.

Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
8 years ago

From what I understand, most people who actually live in West Hollywood gave up on Pride a long time ago and fly elsewhere. It’s all Bridge & Tunnel these days from the IE and Valley.

Dan W.
Dan W.
8 years ago

I say this with total love for West Hollywood, but maybe the whole concept of having Pride wholly centered within the City of West Hollywood and not including parts of the City of Los Angeles too is a mistaken concept. In New York, San Francisco and Toronto, the whole city seems more involved, not just Greenwich Village, the Castro and Church & Wellessey. In Manhattan, the pride parade goes down Fifth Avenue first. In San Francisco, it goes down Market Street. In Toronto, the parade goes down Yonge Street, which would be like running the parade down Wilshire Blvd. The… Read more »

Wesley McDowell
Wesley McDowell
8 years ago

Ditto! When will they get the message? Maybe CSW is finally listening. They’ve said nothing so I guess we have wait until June to see if they can find a grand marshall that is really that and not some celebrity wanna be who just shows up for the gig, but otherwise doesn’t do anything for our community. And that’s just for starters!

Todd Bianco
8 years ago

Unfortunately, this decision essentially kicks the can down the road yet another year. When left to its own devices, CSW doesn’t seem able to deliver on any of its promises of a better parade, a festival worthy of a $20 admission fee, better entertainment or even a more relevant, high profile grand marshal. I’m disappointed that no action was taken.

shawnflannigan
shawnflannigan
8 years ago

seems duran has become quite the little baby lately—-i used to like him—-i think it’s time for him to move on to a election elsewhere, winnable i mean

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