WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city is taking steps to reaffirm its commitment to its core values and to work tirelessly to defend the fundamental rights of community members as Donald J. Trump takes office in Washington, D.C.
In December, the City Council took several actions to respond to the incoming administration, which included:
• Reaffirming the city’s core values of respect and inclusion for all people.
• Directing the city manager to convene a staff working group to respond to proposed actions by the new administration that contravene the city’s core values.
• Authorizing the city’s mayor and city manager to send letters opposing proposed appointees who have a history of supporting programs and policies which are contrary to the city’s core values.
• And increasing the city’s programming about threats to civil rights and civil liberties faced by members of the West Hollywood community.
“West Hollywood is founded on celebrating people for who they are and we will continue to set an example through our core values, our policies and our actions,” Mayor Lauren Meister said. “In West Hollywood, we treat people with respect, dignity, and thoughtfulness. In West Hollywood, we don’t tolerate intimidation, harassment or violence. And, in West Hollywood, we pull together when we face adversity.”
Meister has been collaborating with a team of City Hall staff members to send letters of concern to the chairs and ranking members of U.S. Senate committees during confirmation hearings to express profound objections about several key nominations, including: Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, Rep. Tom Price as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. Additional letters will be sent as additional Senate hearings move forward.
“Regardless of what happens in Washington, West Hollywood will remain a beacon of inclusion and equality,” Mayor Pro Tempore John Heilman said. “As a city, we have reaffirmed our core values and our commitment to women and girls, to a full array of reproductive health care, and to equality — full equality — for the LGBT community. We are prepared to fight to protect the rights of our residents.”
The city has begun monitoring proposals by the incoming administration that could negatively impact LGBT residents, people with disabilities, seniors, people of color, immigrants, women and others who have been negatively targeted.
“We will continue to do what we do best — defend our residents and the values we cherish,” City Councilman John D’Amico. “Though the immediate future may seem grim, we cannot survive on ‘us’ against ‘them.’ I am optimistic that good people will continue to act in responsible ways to secure and maintain a place in America for everyone. And West Hollywood will continue to lead the way.”
More than 40 percent of residents in the city are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and many LGBT people are alarmed about new Vice President Mike Pence’s virulent opposition to LGBT equality and his belief that homosexuality can be “cured” by the discredited concept of reparative therapy.
The city also has a long-standing commitment to supporting women, being the first city in the nation to declare itself pro-choice and it has continually supported state and federal legislation protecting and advancing women’s reproductive rights and access to health care.
“Mr. Trump made it very clear he intends to go after Roe v. Wade and I hope that gay men in West Hollywood and elsewhere realize that Roe v. Wade is, in fact, the lynchpin that holds our equality together,” City Councilman John J. Duran said. “Without privacy rights under Roe v. Wade, the struggle for LGBT liberty, equality and the freedom to marry would not be available to us today. We’re prepared to do battle once again and we hope that young people link arms with those of us who’ve been around for a while longer, so that we all stand strong during the upcoming years.”
“The incoming administration is building a team that has the potential and the desire to undermine our most fundamental human rights,” City Councilwoman Lindsey P. Horvath said. “The most powerful thing that we can do is be West Hollywood — be exactly who we are and show everyone what a model city and what a model community looks like.”
The city has declared that it will remain a sanctuary city and that it will not participate in any effort to deport immigrants living or working in the city. That includes directing the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station not to provide assistance to federal agencies who are attempting to harass, arrest or deport undocumented workers or immigrants.
In the upcoming months, the city will offer programming to focus attention on threats to civil rights and civil liberties faced by members of the community and officials said the city will continue fighting vigorously to protect the lives and well-being of its residents, community members and people across the nation and the globe who identify with West Hollywood’s core values.