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West Hollywood City Council members voted 4-1 to pass an approximately $3 million financial contribution as part of the city’s co-sponsorship of Christopher Street West’s 50th annual L.A. Pride celebration.
On Feb. 3, the city council received a review and analysis of L.A. Pride financials from previous years, obtained a planning update for the event and considered requests from CSW for the city’s contribution to the event. CSW’s financial requests focused on use of city parks and facilities, public safety, and costs related to traffic control services, according to a staff report.
The same report notes that, due to public safety, the city’s contribution to the parade has increased from approximately $500,000 in 2015 to $1.2 million in 2018, and just over $2 million in 2019.
“Over the years this increase is due to a number of factors including enhancements to safeguard against intentional acts and accidents at the event, increased sheriff contracts costs as well as increased coverage areas with the addition of Pride on the Boulevard last year,” said Community and Legislative Affairs Manager John Leonard.
Of the $3 million, approximately $2.4 million will go toward public safety, $200,000 for traffic control services, $200,000 for costs related to Pride on the Boulevard production, $115,000 for costs related to CSW’s use of the Pacific Design Center, $30,000 to distribution of a citywide community mailer and $30,000 toward additional parking enforcement.
Mayor Pro Tempore Lindsey Horvath said that it’s important that they make sure that people feel safe to come and be themselves at Pride.
“We asked L.A. Pride to go out to the community and ask them what is important that they want for Pride,” Horvath said. “We could run Pride how we run Halloween and hire a producer and make it an event that doesn’t have the kind of… it’s a fun event, but what Pride has is a spirit, and a soul and a community connection because of all the input.”
The council deliberated and removed an additional $40,000 related to costs for Metro employee parking relocation, CSW’s use of West Hollywood Park basketball courts and CSW’s production of a trans brunch.
In previous years, the last three requests were not subsidized by the city, according to CSW.
Horvath and Councilmembers John Duran, John Heilman and Lauren Meister voted to support most of CSW’s requests, while Mayor John D’Amico voted against the motion, stating he was uncomfortable spending $3 million on one event.
“There are too many other critical human services needs in our community that $1 million could be put toward,” D’Amico said.
However, Duran commented on the significance of supporting CSW’s financial requests for the 2020 L.A. Pride celebration.
“There are some collateral benefits to the city that come with the association of Christopher Street West,” Duran said. “Some of it that we can’t reduce to dollars and cents.”
Among other recommendations approved was another $128,000 from unallocated General Fund Reserves for the cost-related park construction and expanded footprint of the festivities.
“The $3 million that we are being asked to contribute is something more important,” Duran said. “It’s immeasurable in terms of where we position West Hollywood in the communities of Southern California and how we position LGBT people in where we are at this time of our movement.”
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