Vote not complete in hotly contested West Hollywood City Council election

Wed. March 9, 2011 5:29 AM by News Staff

Los Angeles, CA - Votes are still being counted in what could be one of the closest elections in the history of West Hollywood.

The "uncommonly bitter" City Council race in WeHo has been the focus of national coverage after the New York Times profiled the battle between "prosperity and urban development pitted against the city's history as a countercultural haven."

According to LA Weekly, approximately 930 provisional ballots still need to be verified and counted in the race for West Hollywood City Council.

Nine candidates were running and only three candidates will be elected. Six new candidates, all gay, hope to oust three incumbent council members. The challengers charge the current council members have encouraged gentrification pushing younger gays out.

Gentrification of gay neighborhoods is not uncommon nationwide, from New York City to Chicago's Boystown neighborhood, younger gay men and lesbians are locating less-expensive areas to live.

"In every city I've been to, I hear people say, ‘I wish this neighborhood was what it used to be,' " Don Reuter, the author of the book "Greetings from the Gayborhood" told the Times. "But at the same time, the gay community was asking for acceptance, and what they've gotten is acceptance."

West Hollywood, which was founded over 26 years ago by gay activists, differs from the other gay neighborhoods because it's a city with 35,000 residents - estimated to be 40% gay.