The City of West Hollywood will host two community forums — one in July and one in August — to get feedback regarding the annual LA Pride festival and parade in West Hollywood.
The first forum will take place next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, located at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. The second forum will take place on Aug. 17 at 6:30 p.m., also at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium.
This year’s Pride festival was controversial because of a decision by Christopher Street West (CSW), the non-profit organization that puts it on, to recast it as a music festival. Lesbian and transgender people were particularly upset at CSW’s plans to scale back time and space devoted to them in order to accommodate musical performers. CSW said its goal was to draw more “millenials” to the event.
CSW also angered some members of the LGBT community with its decision to raise the Pride festival ticket price by almost half. The organization backed away from some of its plans when LGBT groups threatened to boycott the event
“We scheduled these forums so that the community has an opportunity to provide meaningful input,” said Mayor Lauren Meister. “The first community forum will focus on LA Pride 2016 — likes, dislikes, and challenges that the city, CSW and community members faced along the way. The second community forum will focus on the future of LA Pride in West Hollywood. We hope that people participate and that the discussions are productive.”
The second forum likely will include a presentation of options developed by city staffers. Meister and Councilmember John D’Amico have been meeting to discuss ideas with Chris Classen, president of CSW, and Craig Bowers, its most influential board member, along with Scott Schmidt, Meister’s former campaign manager and council deputy, who now works as a consultant for CSW.
In addition to community feedback, meetings will also include a discussion about potential impacts of construction for the second phase of the West Hollywood Park redevelopment.