With the Women’s March just around the corner, we’re starting to hear more of the same buzz words. Everyone says we need to support women, but no one says HOW they plan to support women. We just passed the constitutional right to reproductive care in California, which is incredible! But there are women all over the country who don’t have that luxury, and live in states where not only are their rights not going to be protected, but their elected leaders are actively trying to take more of them away.
West Hollywood has always been a leader in the nation, and now it’s time to step up to the plate and become leaders again.
All around the country, women are now going to have to travel across state lines to receive medical care and make decisionsthat they should be able to make at home, with the privacy of their own doctor. The Supreme Court reversed Roe V. Wade, and we don’t have power of the Supreme Court, so what can West Hollywood do?
I have a proposition. I want West Hollywood to do more than just say they support women, I want us to do something to support them. We’re a city of tourism, full of hotels. The Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOTs) from those hotels provide 75% of our city’s annual revenues, and they’re expensive.
I want the city to pass an ordinance that would waive the TOTs for anyone that’s traveling to California to receive reproductive medical treatment that they aren’t able to receive in their home state because of the sickening laws that are being passed every day. If you’re in one of those states and you have to travel somewhere to receive reproductive services, you’re looking at the following costs:
-Ubers/lyfts/rental cars to and from the airport and to and from your appointments
-Time off of work
-And so much more, depending on your situation – childcare, animal care, medication, you name it.
West Hollywood was founded on being a welcoming city to those who were marginalized. It started off, and still is, a safe haven for the LGBT+ community. There’s another group of marginalized people that West Hollywood can stand up for – the right wing’s newest and favorite target – women.
Will waiving TOTs on these stays make all of the difference in the world? No. Is it an extraordinary amount of money? No. Can people take advantage of the situation? Sure. But could it make a difference and provide someone a chance at receiving the medical treatment they need that can’t get at home, that could end up changing the course of their life? Absolutely.
It’s not groundbreaking, it’s not going to change the world, but it’s SOMETHING. And it shows the whole country, shows the whole world, that we, West Hollywood, support women, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that if their rights are going to be infringed upon somewhere else, that theydamn well aren’t going to be infringed upon in West Hollywood. We’re here for you, we stand behind you, and we’re going to do everything we can to help you.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t do the research, and I don’t know how the TOTs were originally passed. If they were passed by an act of council, then council has the ability to pass an ordinance to waive TOTs for people in those situations. If the TOTs were passed by a ballot measure, then there would have to be another ballot measure, for the residents to decide, if we wanted to waive those TOTs.
We could continue this effort by providing rides, creating a network of people who are willing to host patients, waiving rental car taxes if they rent from a place in West Hollywood(again, I didn’t do the research, waiving car rental tax would have happen however they were originally passed – council vote or ballot measure), there are so many possibilities. We have a strong community here, I know you have ideas, and I want to hear them.
Together, we can show the world that West Hollywood TRULY supports women, and we do more than just talk the talk, we walk the walk.
You can donate to the Women’s March by going to this link: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/womens-march-dona