May 31, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Is West Hollywood Sin City in the Making?

First, there was prop 64, the historic law that made the recreational purchase of marijuana legal on the streets of West Hollywood. Now, a new measure could make it possible for the city’s bars and restaurants to sell alcohol until 4 a.m., extending the city’s nightlife two hours past the traditional 2 a.m. sale limit.

Democratic San Francisco Senator Scott Weiner introduced the bill earlier this year as a modification to an older version from 2017.

“Last year we had huge support for extending hours for bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, and this renewed effort builds on that support,” Weiner said in a statement. “Nightlife is central to the culture and economy of many of our cities, and they should be empowered to choose to extend alcohol sales hours if they choose. This bill offers a nuanced and responsible approach to give cities local control to make this determination.”

If passed, SB 905 would go into effect on January 1, 2020, allowing West Hollywood bars to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. It’s up to the West Hollywood City Council to approve the measure.

The new late-night law, also known as “LOCAL” (Let Our Communities Adjust Late-Night) will extend to five cities in addition to West Hollywood: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Long Beach.

Most local lawmakers view the bill as a positive change, an amendment to some of the archaic leftover prohibition laws of the early 20th century.

“Cities should be able to choose for themselves whether extending nightlife hours would make sense for a community,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. “This bill would give us the tools to look more closely at what is best for public safety and our economy, and to make those decisions at the local level.”

“California is a diverse state with cities and neighborhoods that have different needs for nightlife, and we shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all closing time,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “Last year we had huge support for extending hours for bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, and this renewed effort builds on that support. Nightlife is central to the culture and economy of many of our cities, and they should be empowered to choose to extend alcohol sales hours if they choose. This bill offers a nuanced and responsible approach to give cities local control to make this determination.”

Some citizens, like L.A. Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, believe that the LOCAL measure will bring more commerce and financial stability to smaller cities within Los Angeles. This could be a help for places like San Francisco and West Hollywood in particular, whose status as sanctuary cities pits them against the federal agenda under Trump’s administration. The thought is that the more independent local commerce and local governments can become, the better off they’ll be when it comes time to fight back against federal measures trying to limit or change their sanctuary status.

However, other members of the West Hollywood community see this measure as a problem. With weed newly legalized and bars staying open later, many citizens fear that SB 905 will bring out West Hollywood’s dark side, in the form of drug scandals, mysterious deaths, and other issues plaguing WeHo’s gay community. Just a week ago, the death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, who died of a meth overdose at Democratic donor Ed Buck’s house last summer, came back into the headlines after new allegations surfaced about the donor’s crystal meth habit. A few weeks before that, the news of Discovery Channel star Joel Taylor’s death by overdose aboard a West Hollywood-based Atlantis Cruise line pulled even more attention toward the developing issue of drug use and sex work in the Creative City. With the rest of the country undergoing an opioid crisis leading to more deaths each day in rural areas, the problems of West Hollywood are less discussed by journalists, or otherwise written off as the natural byproduct of a “party” city lifestyle.

While all these questions were in the air before the legalization of marijuana in the beginning of the year, the new bill raises questions about what will happen to the city’s moral fabric in the late after hours.  According to a report on the West Hollywood website WeHoBytheNumbers.com, the city is home to 234 active alcohol retail licenses as of late 2016, making it the city with the highest number of liquor alcohol retailers per square foot in the state of California.

Related Posts

Apply for New Affordable Senior Housing at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s McCadden Campus

February 28, 2020

February 28, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has announced that applications for new affordable senior housing will be accepted by the Los...

WeHo Opens Nominations For 2020 Rainbow Key Awards

February 18, 2020

February 18, 2020

Nominations will be Accepted Until Thursday, February 27 By Staff Writer The City of West Hollywood is gathering nominations for...

Honoring National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day at the ONE Archive

February 4, 2020

February 4, 2020

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is on Friday, February 7. In the LGBTQ+ community, HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects gay black men...

IN PHOTOS: WeHo Dodgeball at Sin City Classic LGBTQ+ Sports Festival

January 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

Hosted annually by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA), Sin City Classic brought together the United State’s finest athletes last weekend for three...

City of WeHo Accepting Clothing Donations for LGBTQ+ Youth as Part of MLK Day of Service

January 20, 2020

January 20, 2020

Today, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the City of West Hollywood encourages citizens to volunteer...

Recent West Hollywood Property Listings

January 19, 2020

January 19, 2020

Thinking of buying a house in West Hollywood? With a population under 40,000 and an area of just under 2...

WeHo Dodgeball at the Sin City Classic LGBTQ+ Sports Festival

January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

Hosted annually by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA), Sin City Classic brings together the United State’s finest athletes for a...

Sin City Classic Sports Festival has Los Angeles Roots

January 14, 2020

January 14, 2020

For those who cannot wait every two years for an iteration of the Olympics, or every four years for Gay...

LA’s Only Known Trans Nightlife Event Just Got A Little More Fierce

January 13, 2020

January 13, 2020

Heavenly Bodies is Los Angeles’ only known monthly transgender nightlife event featuring live performances hosted by trans model and activist, Sasha Colby.  Proceeds...

Honoring Timothy Dean One Year Later

January 8, 2020

January 8, 2020

An intimate gathering was held Tuesday, Jan. 7 at West Hollywood Park to honor the 1-year anniversary of 55-year-old fashion...

City of WeHo to Host Clothing Drive for LGBTQ Youth

January 4, 2020

January 4, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will host its eighth annual clothing drive for the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Services...

West Hollywood, Long Beach Earn Top Marks in 2019 Equality Index

December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019

2019 was a great year for the LGBTQ+ communities in West Hollywood and Long Beach.  Both cities earned a score...

LGBT Center to Host Viewing Party for Tonight’s 2020 Democratic Debate

December 19, 2019

December 19, 2019

No sure where to watch the chaos of the next 2020 Democratic Candidate debate? The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s got...

Data Shows LA Pride 2019 Brings Nearly $75 Million in Revenue to Greater L.A.

December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019

This year’s LA Pride festival generated almost $75 million in economic output for greater Los Angeles.  On Tuesday, December 10,...

WeHo Art Exhibit: What is Queer Photography

December 4, 2019

December 4, 2019

Masculine, feminine, non-binary, gender-fluid – all perspectives tell our story. ROUND HOLE SQUARE PEG 4 is a juried photography exhibition...