West Hollywood: From Conception to 30

West Hollywood's first City Council, elected Nov. 29, 1984. L-R Alan Viterbi, Steve Schulte, Mayor Valerie Terrigno, John Heilman and Helen Albert.They say that a year in a dog’s life is equal to seven in a human’s life. But what about a year in a city’s life?

The City of West Hollywood this year is celebrating its 30th birthday, which technically makes it relatively young. But each of those 30 years has been filled with more activity than one would expect in such a small town (1.89 square miles and a little more than 34,000 people). One could argue that West Hollywood is approaching middle age, and with vigor.

As busy as West Hollywood seems now, with almost 1,500 new housing units under construction or being planned along with half a million square feet of retail space, in some ways no year was busier than 1984, the year of the city’s incorporation. It was on Nov. 29 of that year that voters turned out to adopt a measure that established West Hollywood, until then an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, as its own city. The measure passed in a two-to-one vote. That same day voters elected a City Council whose gay majority — Valerie Terrigno, Stephen Schulte and John Heilman (who still serves on the Council) — was the first in the country and drew attention from around the world. Other members elected to the first Council were Helen Albert and Alan Viterbi.

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