Fearing a lawsuit, WeHo drops sexual orientation requirement from guaranteed income program

West Hollywood city officials have decided to remove a requirement that applicants for the city’s new guaranteed income pilot program identify as LGBTQ because it likely violates the California constitution.

City staff will present at City Council’s meeting Monday a revised overview of the program, which will give a limited number of senior WeHo residents a $1,000 no-strings-attached cash stipend every month. The revised program keeps the other three criteria: age, income level and residency.

The dubious legality of the sexual orientation requirement seems to have caught the city off guard, according to the staff report:

In March 2022, the City became aware that the pilot, as it was created and supported by a government entity, was susceptible to legal challenges due to the inclusion of LGBTQIA criteria as an eligibility requirement to participate. Although the City could engage in a legal battle over the contested eligibility requirement, the implications of litigating such a challenge had to be considered.

Having LGBTQIA identification as an eligibility requirement for the pilot could potentially violate the California Constitution as sexual orientation is a protected suspect class in our state. This means that when a law or government-funded program treats persons differently based on sexual orientation, those laws and program are subject to an exacting standard known as strict scrutiny (even if the law is intended to benefit that protected suspect class). Guaranteed income is an emerging area of policy making, with many nuanced components, and there is no direct case law on this issue. However, based on analogous legal situations, negative and unintended outcomes from litigation are probable. On a community level, a decision to engage in a legal battle could have the additional unintended consequence of causing harm to the community members the pilot was created to support.

Therefore, the City Attorney, City staff and pilot partners recommend that the City Council revise the pilot to include three of the four original criteria (residency, age and income level) in order to satisfy the legal obligations, protect potential participants, and move forward with a program that serves community members in need of financial support and stability.

With tremendous collective frustration and disappointment that we are unable to advance the original pilot, City staff and partners are suggesting a modified path forward: to move forward with a revised pilot designed for older adult West Hollywood community members living on a low income.

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Leslie Hope
Leslie Hope
12 days ago

Not surprised. I wondered how they were going to pull off that obviously discriminatory requirement that some woke idiot dreamed up. Why not just make it available to anyone who meets the income requirement and hold a lottery?

In Addition to Perception of Discrimanatory
In Addition to Perception of Discrimanatory
11 days ago
Reply to  Leslie Hope

On the agenda tomorrow evening item 2-I on consent recommending $200,000 expenditure to an organization ultimately administering $400,000. for an effort benefitting potentially 25 individuals. The non-profit is believed to be JFS who has an eye popping budget as a “referral service” as per Medical-Cal for senior services. Where does all the money go?

Stevie
Stevie
13 days ago

Finally, somebody besides the hired help and freeloaders getting monetary handouts.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
13 days ago

Is anyone in West Hollywood officialdom, including the city attorney, versed in the United States Constitution? As in the recent brouhaha over forced pronoun usage in violation of First Amendment free speech rights, this affront to anti-discrimination laws lays bare the naivete of amateurs at the helm of what should be sound municipal governance. One of those amateurs is a member of the California State Bar and presumably knows the Constitution. I doubt previous councilmembers who are also licensed attorneys (Messrs. Duran and Heilman) would have given in to performative wokeness at the cost of adherence to ethical professional behavior.… Read more »

chloe ross
chloe ross
12 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Mr. STrasburg. You a voice of reason. This is a brilliant post.

WehoFan
WehoFan
13 days ago

Get these crazy people out of city hall!

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
13 days ago

FYI: There are UBI programs in the following states: Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina, Washington, Colorado, Georgia, Alaska, Louisiana, and New York.

The following California cities/counties have some form of UBI: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Compton, Marin County, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Stockton, and Palm Springs,

Last edited 13 days ago by greeneyedguy
Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
13 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

The issue is not UBI, it is the non-discriminatory application thereof.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
13 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Many people take issue with the idea of UBI in general. It’s all over the comments section when there is an article about this program.

I’m just letting people know it’s not some “woke SHE radical” policy.

Rick H.
Rick H.
13 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Of course it is. It only occurs in woke she radical jurisdictions.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
13 days ago
Reply to  Rick H.

Wow, who knew that so many European countries and U.S. states are all “she radical jurisdictions” lol

Sunset Sue
Sunset Sue
14 days ago

it should be LGBTQIASDP
lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, queer, intersex, asexual, straight, disabled, poor!
Too many letters??? I think so too!
I think this is getting ridiculous!
Why can’t we just say EVERYBODY is included and eligible???

JF1
JF1
14 days ago

duh. Someone gets paid to think these stupid ideas up?

:dpb
:dpb
14 days ago

When did West Hollywood become a welfare state? What are the eligibility guidelines for this hand-out? The city is now providing guaranteed income for which will only serve to entice the homeless to West Hollywood. The city council won’t address homelessness, won’t put sheriff’s on the streets to protect those that can afford to live here. If this city to follow through and finish the projects it starts (ie: Weho park is still not fully open, but a haven for the homeless) maybe there’d be some cash left over to protect the citizens with law enforcement and find a solution… Read more »

JF1
JF1
14 days ago
Reply to  :dpb

Since this new regime took over our city. VOTE. THEM. OUT. (and don’t replace them with more of the same mindset).

WehoFan
WehoFan
13 days ago
Reply to  JF1

Yes! They all need to go.

Foolish Idea
Foolish Idea
14 days ago

This was a foolish idea to begin with. The proponents apparently didn’t realize the red flag and thought they could simply introduce a new type of discrimination disguised as benevolence. The actions of the current city attorney are questionable. With City Atty Mike Jenkens, at least he openly admitted he was making things up as he went along challenging the courts to prove otherwise. Atty. Langer does not appear alert.

Joël Huxtable
Joël Huxtable
14 days ago

The actual intent of Universal Basic Income is that there are no requirements. UNIVERSAL. The intent is that all citizens receive it. Young/old, rich/poor, male/female, etc — Universal Basic Income

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
14 days ago
Reply to  Joël Huxtable

I think this was a pilot program to target people that were most at risk for poverty here in West Hollywood (50+ LGBT folks)

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Right; this is NOT meant to be Universal Basic Income; it is meant to only help people in very desperate need.

Say What?!
Say What?!
14 days ago

What’s the “IA” in LGBTQIA? Hard to keep up.

Foolish Idea
Foolish Idea
14 days ago
Reply to  Say What?!

Apparently “Intersex”and “asexual”. Will Merriam Webster be publishing a new edition? Hard to keep up with the world of the self involved.

voter
voter
14 days ago

This is great news. I support this new form of social welfare to a certain extent, but to limit the funds to people claiming to be lesbian or gay was destructive.

And now some accountability for the council members who tried to violate our constitutional rights! Who will be the first to apologize?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
14 days ago
Reply to  voter

This will be a great program that should have always have been based upon need rather than sexual orientation. I had always questioned the basis for limiting the program to LGBTQ people and I got a lot of rather unsatisfactory answers. It seemed like pandering. I would love to see this program expanded to take in the 1 or 2% of the lowest income people in West Hollywood who struggle with their monthly rent and would have no real place to go if evicted.

JF1
JF1
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I totally illegal to base on sexual orientation.

Foolish
Foolish
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

There has been a program in place with social services for folks in need. These neophytes may have presumed they could embellish it with a payoff for LGBTQAI er al while making it seem benevolent. It was not. It was prejudiced.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  Foolish

While I don’t discount the pandering aspect of this proposal, these sorts of programs have proven to fill a critical gap that is not filled by any existing West Hollywood program. What this program can do is keep people in their rent controlled apartments as we don’t have enough very low income affordable units available. This program can keep a lot of long term tenants in their home rather than on the streets. Other cities have put together really successful programs so I hope people will take a look at this program with an open mind.

Does This Add Up?
Does This Add Up?
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

$250,000 to administer a $400,000. program for 25 lucky residents. Additionally the administrative non-profit operates on a huge budget from the City of WH for ostensibly referral services funded by Medical-Cal. Likely needs a closer examination of the administrators.

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