Renaming the Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board reveals long-simmering frustration

A move to rename the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board and put it on the road to becoming a commission left City Council poised to rethink the roles of the city’s many commissions and advisory boards.

After a lengthy discussion at their meeting Monday night, Council voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution that would change the name of the board.  The motion also directed staff to return at a later date with an ordinance for consideration which would create an LGBTQ+ Commission which would go into effect when the current terms end on February 28, 2023. 

The LGAB was created in 1989, and the latest move to shed the dated name in favor of something more inclusive began last December.

The board itself chose “LGBTQ+ Advisory Board” as their new name.

At the same time, a proposal to upgrade the group from an advisory board to a commission started taking shape.

West Hollywood has nine commissions and six advisory boards. The commissions are more prestigious and powerful, with specific decision-making responsibilities that are codified in the city code, and varying levels of quasi-judicial authority. 

As a commission, the LGAB would be handed some of that authority — for instance, in reviewing contracts. Advisory boardmembers routinely say their groups are toothless and their purpose is muddled because City Council glosses over their work and ignores their recommendations. 

While the Councilmembers all supported the name change, some were more hesitant to greenlight the promotion to commission, and they showed mixed feelings about the rollout. Councilmember Lindsey Horvath’s opposition to the upgrade was strongest. She insisted that handing additional power to a particular demographic could open a Pandora’s box, with other demographics demanding equal treatment. 

If the LGAB could transition into a commission, Horvath wondered, then what was the point of having advisory boards?

Co-chairperson Jackie Steele was livid with Horvath over what she claimed was the city’s neglect of the queer community.

“To say ‘Why do we have boards and commissions? Why even do this?’ Lindsey Horvath, I am so shocked, I’m appalled, I am absolutely disgusted,” Steele said. “Not just at that, your physical reaction, your physical, emotional reaction! This is an LGBTQ+ advancement conversation. You didn’t even know we had a policy subcommittee. Yet you’re talking about what this board can or can’t do, does or doesn’t do, you clearly don’t know the work we’ve done or the roadblocks that we hit. The bottom line is if you’re going to be an ally, you do it by making sure you create space for people.”

Horvath responded diplomatically.

“I’m glad we have representation,” she said. “If the distinction between advisory boards and commissions creates inequity, then I want to eliminate that entirely.”

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WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
1 month ago

Bryan Erickson, the fact that you problematically compared progress and inclusion to McDonalds, Walmart and Apple speaks to your lack of intellect and lack of being dialed in to matters involving the LGBTQ+ community around you!

Bryan Erickson
Bryan Erickson
1 month ago

Please read this… I know it’s long… Sorry The more the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, etc. group changes its name and logos, the more unrecognizable the group becomes to the world. It has also allowed the group to become the target of redicule and marginalization. The excessive name changes make the group look wishy-washy and indecisive. As a result the group’s effectiveness and hard-fought-for power has become diluted. For the group to be a true force for change and equality, it needs to concentrate on presenting focused, united front. Take for example icons such as McDonald’s, Walmart and Apple, they… Read more »

Revamp Commissions & Boards
Revamp Commissions & Boards
1 month ago

Whoa! It takes quite a vivid imagination to extrapolate all of those possibilities from comments essentially advocating a higher degree of ethics and scholarship of those participating in commissions and boards. The immediate focus was PSC and as of the recent City Council meeting, members of the LGBTQIA community engaged in rather disturbing behavior. It you were to reflect on the comments and align them with the behavior exhibited, you may get the point as to how off base and disrespectful the behavior was to its own community and the general public. Likewise the PSC had its disturbing moments. Reviewing… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

LOL. Relax Francis

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

I don’t need to relax, Karen. I’m simply providing receipts and obviously you have misconstrued ‘receipts’ with needing to relax. Girl, BYE.

Jimmy Palmieri
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

good grief

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
2 months ago

What about the straight constituents of WeHo? This is heterophobia.

Revamp Commissions & Boards
Revamp Commissions & Boards
2 months ago

Why doesn’t Weho appoint a Dog Commission and a Cat Advisory Board. who are also residents and must have voices within the city. We could then spend an inordinate amount of time and $$$ presenting awards. After all, these are the things that really matter.

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
1 month ago

One thing is certain, if there was a Dog and Cat Commission, I’d support that Commission in their authorizing Animal Control to take you straight to the pound!

Revamp Commissions & Boards
Revamp Commissions & Boards
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Resident

Thank you so such however I am actually a highly skilled horse.

Revamp Commissions & Boards
Revamp Commissions & Boards
2 months ago

We have become the “other”.

Jackie Steele announced at 6/6/22 CC Meeting that “Wehoville is a Queer City”

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
1 month ago

One Word: HOMEWORK

Revamp Commissions & Boards
Revamp Commissions & Boards
1 month ago

“Weho The Queer City “ vs. “The Other World”. Let the games begin!🙄

JRBirdsong
JRBirdsong
2 months ago
WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
1 month ago
Reply to  JRBirdsong

I respectfully disagree. The GLBT Historical Society is long overdue for considering a more inclusive name as well.

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
2 months ago

There are valid points being made here but I take issue with people who verbally assault LGAB members, other advisory board members and commissioners. Over the years, I’ve watched the meetings and know the great work they do. When watching the last meeting, it was brought up that we have current city council members who started out on LGAB. It is appalling for commenter ‘Revamp Commissions & Boards’ to say that people are just using it for their CV and LinkedIn. For you to reduce appointments to housewarming gifts for people who are looking for ‘power’ shows how uninformed and… Read more »

Revamp Commissions & Boards.
Revamp Commissions & Boards.
2 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Resident

Please re read the comment. You have likened it to a bitter piece of trolling which is incorrect. The comment was prompted by careful following of and participation in commission hearings as well as City Council on specific issues for several years and have lamented the lack of educated perspective. While there are highly qualified, professionally accredited individuals living in Weho loathe to become involved with others that don’t share high standards. Not sure what your standards might be but often people place high value on that because they are accustomed to accomplishing definitive goals in reasonable time frames.

Revamp Commissions & Boards
Revamp Commissions & Boards
2 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Resident

One can easily review the agendas on line, minutes not posted, and see for them selves the number of issues these folks claim need an appreciably higher degree of recognition. The agendas and time devoted to issues, that for a well informed board would be efficiently accomplished, are troubling. They took nearly 12 meetings to discuss the Rainbow Key Awards. Unsure what substantive issues they feel more time and illumination is necessary to cover. Given the fairly aggressive voices speaking at the council meeting on Monday seems out of proportion and based on angry personal grievances. Ms. Steele commented words… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago

I think much of the anonymous commentary fails to recognize that whatever structure or name exists, the ultimate authority rests with the city council. Neither a commission nor an advisory board can make policy, enact legislation, spend public dollars, make final decisions or independently drive programs. All boards and commissions are and always will be subordinate to the elected council. A commissioner or a board member who disagrees with the ultimate decision made by the ultimate consensus decision making authority has two options. One is to lobby their appointer and the second is to resign if they feel they are… Read more »

Revamp Commissions & Boards
Revamp Commissions & Boards
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Thanks for your important comments. The entire Commission & Advisory Boards system needs to be strengthened. Folks use it as an identity and often list it first on their CV’s or LinkedIn accounts but don’t understand the seriousity of the position AND the ethical behavior required. Often I have requested applications and cv’s via public records and been horrified by the lack of articulation and preparedness for the position. If these folks want more power, they should bring more credibility and have the city manager take an active interest in oversight. Often the council members are the weak link awarding… Read more »

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
2 months ago

This story is from a blogger angle and not from a journalism perspective.

It fails to mention the full context of this discussion during last night’s meeting. There were other public comments made that supported Jackie Steele and Council Members who voted for the Board to transition to a Commission.  

Our community should attend LGAB (LGBTQ+ Advisory Board) meetings. Be informed on what is discussed – before making disparaging comments that are inaccurate and unkind. You might be surprised at how much LGAB does for our community. I’m thankful for their service.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Resident

It’s quaint how y’all keep trying to reduce the important role that WEHOville plays in civil discourse by attempting to discount it as a mere blog, yet, y’all keep participating. I’m glad you do.

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
2 months ago

Valerie Please do your research. If you had, you’d be aware that the proposed transition would take place next year when Ms. Steele’s term is up. Instead of throwing insults, research Ms. Steele’s vast community service. You may be inclined to support her rather than attack. Regarding your comment about D’Amico – while I’m not a supporter of him, I applaud him for putting forth a motion that provides more agency and support to a Board that would have the ability to actualize the many great things they advise on. Jimmy Palmieri Thank you for your service and insight. I’ve attended several LGAB meetings during… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Resident

Some might see the ability to both criticize and compliment the same person as an exercise in intelligent thought process, but clearly I missed the part of my classical liberal education that demanded that I engage in absolutist, ideological fringe thinking. We have the anonymous trolls of WEHOville to fulfill that intolerant, cancel-culture role. Kudos, and I don’t even know your eye color.

Marna
Marna
2 months ago

We ask you, the WeHo Residents, if you don’t want us to be a commission, but stay an Advisory Board, no problem, but HELP us put pressure on the City Manager, David Wilson to give us more ability. Help us do all that we want to do for our community

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
2 months ago
Reply to  Marna

Marna, As a long time (and elderly) resident of WeHo, I am fully aware of the governmental process. I attended the meetings in person and have watched them online during the pandemic. When you get to be a person of a certain age, you see a lot. You learn a lot. I fully support the transition to a Commission. I am disgusted that the two straight identifying people on City Council, mind you, who were the same two individuals dancing on a gay Pride float the day before, had no problem denying agency to the gay community the very next… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
2 months ago
Reply to  Marna

it’s not necessary . the city manager has work to do.

Marna
Marna
2 months ago

I do understand that this could open up a pandora’s box, but maybe it’s time to get rid of advisory boards and switch to commissions? The frustration level and the blocks we’ve experienced on LGAB has been horrific. We want to do work that protects Domestic Violence victims in our community but have had hit roadblocks from the city. We want to do work that protects violence against our LGBT+ residents and visitors as they work, live and party in our city but have hit roadblocks from the city. We want to raise awareness that GAY MEN have experienced rape… Read more »

Weho Mary!
Weho Mary!
2 months ago
Reply to  Marna

Hi Marna, after watching last night’s meeting, I think there’s a way we can look at advisory boards and commissions that would make everyone happy. I think of commissions as tackling a particular set of issues, and an advisory board giving a voice to a certain group of people. In your example, LGAB would let everyone know that gay men can be victims of rape, and the Public Safety Commission would advise on ways that the Sheriff department could address this better in their response. Not perfection, but could be a way that everyone is effective in their roles, and… Read more »

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
2 months ago
Reply to  Weho Mary!

Hi WeHo Mary,

Thank you for your kindness to the board members who serve us. From what I’ve learned by watching the meetings, there are LGAB subcommittees. The intentionality is that the subcommittees can push some of the advice forward. That’s obviously not happening given what we all heard last night. What I find disgusting is that in my heart of hearts, I believe the Mayor and Horvath want to get the queer vote – but don’t want queers to have a seat at the table.

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
2 months ago
Reply to  Marna

Marna,

Commissions make City Council members more accountable. LGAB should have been a commission twenty years ago! Mayor Meister and Lindsey Horvath are flexing their power dynamics. Both of these officials see you and everyone else on your Board as token subordinates. There were many microaggressions on full display last night by both of these straight identifying officials. I’ve supported Meister for years and she won’t be getting my vote in this upcoming election.

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