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    HomeNewsPHOTOS: City of West Hollywood Swears In Mayor John Erickson and Vice...

    PHOTOS: City of West Hollywood Swears In Mayor John Erickson and Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers

    West Hollywood’s new mayor, John Erickson, and Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers drew a large crowd of supporters during the City of West Hollywood’s annual city council reorganization and installation meeting and oath of office ceremony on Tuesday, January 16, 2023. The City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room was filled with both supporters and some detractors, and the lobby area was bustling with attendees.

    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
    West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    The event, while kept simple, had some surprising elements. Unexpectedly, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath began the night with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by a performance by Pickle Drag Queen of “Over the Rainbow”, and LA County District Attorney George Gascon was among the dignitaries to congratulate the new mayor and vice mayor. Mayor Erickson’s eye-catching hot pink suit, later complemented by a sash bearing the word “Mayor” across his torso, added a touch of flair to the occasion. There was even an outfit change for the reception upstairs.

    West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    Surrounded by family, Mayor Erickson delivered a heartfelt speech after being sworn in by his niece, Emma Tenhagen. Reflecting on his childhood in Wisconsin and his journey to find acceptance in the LGBTQIA+ community in West Hollywood, Erickson expressed gratitude to those who contributed to his path to becoming mayor. He thanked a long list of individuals, starting with his two best friends, sisters, and city leaders who played a role in his journey.

    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    “I keep coming back to the angst and the dreams of a little boy who rode his bike everywhere and Ripon, Wisconsin, from the library to his grandmother’s house to Ben Franklin, our local pharmacy where he usually charged upwards to $20 of candy to his grandmother’s account, always dreaming of someplace else and always scared. People in Ripon would realize he may was different. But in thinking of that little boy I want to acknowledge some people that are responsible for him becoming and sitting in this seat tonight. And not just another young statistic that we might read about.”

    West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    Erickson also expressed his deep connection to West Hollywood and his commitment to maintaining the city as a haven for LGBTQ individuals.

    Byers, sworn in by former Santa Monica Councilmember Gleam Davis, expressed excitement about building bridges and addressing the challenges facing the community, acknowledging the role of West Hollywood as a sanctuary.

    West Hollywood Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    Outgoing Mayor Sepi Shyne was recognized for her outstanding contributions during the past year with a plaque and a proclamation given to her by the council.

    In her comments, council member Shyne spoke of the deep honor it has been to be the mayor of West Hollywood, an honor she never imagined as an immigrant from Iran who didn’t obtain legal documents until she was 16. She also expressed feelings of loneliness during her tenure as mayor.

    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    Other dignitaries included Los Angeles Assessor and former West Hollywood Mayor and Jeffrey Prang, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and a spokesperson from the office of Congressman Adam Schiff, to name a few.

    The meeting did not come without critics, specifically community member Annie Jump Vicente, who sat in front of Mayor Erickson’s family, including children, and vocally opposed the council throughout the meeting using curse words, giving the council the middle finger and booing. Vicente criticized the city, claiming that West Hollywood is not a sanctuary city for transgender people and that trans individuals could not afford to live there. She also played a video snippet depicting a confrontation with a Block by Block ambassador.

    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    Trans activist Bamby Salcedo, the President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, shared a different experience in the city of West Hollywood during her public comments. She thanked council member Shyne, Mayor Erickson, and Vice Mayor Byers for their support personally and within the trans community.

    “This is what an effective government looks like,” she said. “…I just want to make it public that you are an inspiration to me. You all are an inspiration to many of us and a reflection of the possibilities of our communities. Thank you for your vulnerability, for sharing your stories, and for being a beacon of hope, especially in these times of marginalization, oppression, and attacks in our communities. I am looking forward to continuing to work with the City of West Hollywood, ensuring continued support for our community.”

    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    The ceremony concluded with photo opportunities before everyone made their way upstairs for a reception at the West Hollywood library, where refreshments, finger foods, and candy were served. As a gift to celebrate, artist Sküt (Scott Lewallen) gave everyone in attendance a free 4×6 art print of “Soaring Joy” a work of art he created for the occasion.

    A rainbow-layered cake marked the end of the reception, and the celebration continued in the rainbow district at local bars.

    Photos by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
    Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES
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    Paulo Murillo
    Paulo Murillohttps://wehotimes.com
    Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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    Jimmy palmieri
    Jimmy palmieri
    Offline
    2 months ago

    Unfortunately I was not able to attend Mayor Erickson’s/Vice Mayor Byer’s swearing in. I did, however view it from home. It seemed so happy and full of love and friends. I kept hearing some maniacal screams and profanities coming from the audience. The kind of nonesensical yammering that bellowed out of Linda Blair’s room , in, The Exorcist. Vile, loud and attention seeking. Thankfully, after a bit, the demonic noise settled down and I was able to clearly view the evening and hear Weho’s business at hand. From Mayor John Erickson. And Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers.

    C'mon Sense
    C'mon Sense
    Offline
    2 months ago

    Comedy hour yet again in Weho.

    ConcernedAF
    ConcernedAF
    Offline
    2 months ago

    Very strange how Erickson brought his poet boyfriend up to stand next to him while he got sworn in. I’m not aware of anyone else bringing their spouses to get sworn in. Do we know if them dating got him the poet laureate position? Very strange.

    Richard Maggio
    Richard Maggio
    Offline
    2 months ago

    Only one pathetic individual created an ugliness with swearing and coarse language, which should absolutely not be tolerated, especially with children in the audience, freedom of speech is extremely important, however there must be consequences for those who take it to an extreme level. There is an old, saying, good manners, never go out of style.

    ConcernedAF
    ConcernedAF
    Offline
    Reply to  Richard Maggio
    2 months ago

    She behaved like garbage that night. What’s gross about her is the same rules don’t apply. She exercises her freedom of speech, but tell her to F*uck off and she gets all angry and starts screaming transphobia. If Annie Jump had one ally, she last that person that night. I always sort of felt bad for her, but that changed after her attention grabbing BS at that ceremony. I’m not a fan of the terrible three, but to subject those little girls to watch their uncle receive that kind of abuse was low. Annie if you’re reading this, congrats. Everyone… Read more »

    tired of
    tired of
    Offline
    Reply to  ConcernedAF
    2 months ago

    she behaves like garbage every time she steps foot in chambers- because she is desperate for attention

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