Gay Activist’s Goal on Police Nearly Achieved
The City of West Hollywood lost a good friend April 16 with the death of gay activist Christopher Fairchild.
It is with great sadness that I must take exception with Chris’ obituary, which was published in The Times on April 24. While noting that Chris bankrolled the recent ballot initiative to create an independent police department in West Hollywood, the obituary referred to the drive as an “ill-fated” effort that had been prompted by a dispute over the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s handling of a gay demonstration.
You are wrong on both counts. First, the West Hollywood police initiative was narrowly defeated in November. The margin was 53% to 47%, hardly a disaster worth the “ill-fated” label.
Second, the initiative was actually prompted by years of discrimination by the Sheriff’s Department against gays and lesbians. The initiative came about because the city has no control over how many officers protect its streets at any given time, and because the sheriff’s price tag increases annually at twice the rate of inflation.
These are some of the reasons the police initiative will be back before voters in 1994. And with its passage, Christopher Fairchild’s dream--his legacy--will finally and accurately be realized.
Amirault is chairman of West Hollywood Citizens for Better Police Protection
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