The West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) voted “nay” on recommending the renaming the West Hollywood Library after late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a teleconference meeting this past Thursday, July 8th. The vote was 5-3 not in favor of recommending the name change.
Outgoing Co-Chair of LGAB, Robert Gamboa, drafted the ordinance to read that LGAB supports the renaming of the library after the Supreme Court Justice, but then voted no on the motion.
One of the biggest issues that came up in the meeting was the lack of community engagement in making the decision to rename the Library after RBG (the names of Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera came up at a West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board meeting).
“I started the motion in the affirmative, yes we support, but it was voted no, and I even voted no in own motion,” Gamboa told WEHO TIMES. “That was just so we could get the process through. We had to give city council a decision one way or another and I don’t think a non-position vote would have sent the right message.”
Gamboa stated that board members have deep admiration and respect for RBG, however, some members feel there should be more community engagement deciding on the name change.
The West Hollywood City Council requested LGAB discuss the naming request for the West Hollywood Library and provide input as solicited by the City’s Public Facilities Commission (PFC), which will hold a public hearing on the name request at an upcoming public meeting of the PFC in the fall of 2021.
On December 21, 2020, the City Council voted to submit a request to the City Clerk to rename the West Hollywood Library the “Ruth Bader Ginsburg West Hollywood Library” in honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; directed staff to follow the procedure as outlined in the City’s Naming Policy Guideline and determine if Los Angeles County has additional naming policy requirements; and directed staff to return with the City’s Naming Policy for review and possible revisions.
Under the terms of the lease agreement with the County of Los Angeles to operate the West Hollywood Library, the following covenant applies as it pertains to naming of library facility:
City may name the library facility and/or any portion thereof; provided, however, that (1) the name of the library facility must include the words “West Hollywood”, (2) any name shall not include the commercial name or logo of alcoholic beverages (including beer), tobacco products, firearms, gaming, or any other naming restrictions mutually agreed to by City and County, (3) any name shall be subject to the approval of County, such approval not to be unreasonably withheld. (4) The exterior signage of the Library Facility must include the words “County of Los Angeles”.
On June 9, 2021, the PFC, in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Naming Policy, elected to seek input from the following City Commissions, Advisory Boards and Task Force:
• Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission
• Historic Preservation Commission
• Human Services Commission
• Public Safety Commission
• Disabilities Advisory Board
• Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board
• Russian Advisory Board
• Senior Advisory Board
• Transgender Advisory Board
• Women’s Advisory Board
• Social Justice Task Force
Per the Naming Policy, the Commissions/ Advisory bodies have 60 days to respond. Currently, the PFC is only considering the submitted naming request and its designated input period is July 5 to September 2, 2021. Each City body is requested to provide relevant input as it pertains to the current request, that will be forwarded to the City Council to assist in making its final decision.
The evaluation and recommendation can be consolidated as a regular agenda item or through an Ad Hoc Committee process with the final recommendations to the entire body. The final evaluation and recommendation shall be forwarded to the PFC in the form of approved minutes or by memorandum.
The public can give their input via a city survey at: https://wehoforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/NamingSurvey