No-Bias Clause in Contracts Backed

I wish to clarify several points made in (the June 2 Times) article regarding the Sheriff's Department contract with West Hollywood. It must be understood that the City Council is committed to keeping the Sheriff's Department serving as West Hollywood's police force. Overall, we are pleased with the quality of service, the respect for West Hollywood's various communities and rapid response time.

There are concerns, however, but the concerns are in no way linked only to the Sheriff's Department. They affect each and every contract we have with the County of Los Angeles.

As The Times has so ably covered, West Hollywood has declared itself a city committed to human rights. As part of this commitment, we have required that all city contractors sign a statement or clause of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation. In line with this policy, we have asked the sheriff's, lighting and other county departments to include non-discrimination language in their contracts. This was rejected by the county's chief administrative officer under the weak guise that the county won't sign contracts custom-made for individual cities.

I agree, and therefore urge the county to include this language in all contracts. It is important to understand that contracts with the sheriff and other county agencies have been or will be signed and there will be no discontinuation of services. However, their unwillingness to sign a non-discrimination agreement is not acceptable for the long term.

The struggle against discrimination toward blacks, Jews and women in the United States has not been resolved overnight, but we cannot let up in this important cause. We look to the county with hope for a sign of willingness to move forward and join us in battling prejudice against gays and lesbians in all county departments.


City Councilman

West Hollywood

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