Council Poised to Ban Sale of Fur Clothing

Weho could become the first city in the country to prohibit the sale of such apparel.

Will West Hollywood become the first city in the nation to ban the sale of fur apparel? That is one of the questions before the City Council at its meeting Monday night.

In May, the council members  Knowing they would be creating a precedent that other cities may follow, the council instructed City Hall staffers to carefully draft an ordinance. Monday night, the panel will hear a report about the impact of the proposed ban and review the language of that ordinance.

Councilman John D’Amico, who sponsored the ordinance, is excited about making West Hollywood a destination for cruelty-free/animal-welfare events and establishing the city as the humane capital of the United States. He championed the fur-free cause during his election campaign and made it his first piece of legislation after joining the council in March. 

“This is an opportunity to export an idea to the rest of the world,” D’Amico said during a recent interview. “Fur Free West Hollywood has the potential to generate a lot of interest in this idea of fur apparel. I think it has an opportunity to generate interest in a good way.”

D’Amico believes that wearing fur may be a necessity for keeping warm in some parts of the world, but not here.

“Wearing fur as clothing is about vanity here in Southern California,” he said. “You don’t need to wear a fur coat to stay warm. You buy it for vanity. That’s why it’s necessary to make it a ban on apparel items.”

D’Amico hopes the fur ban will get people talking about the issue. “This is really about being human, about thinking humanely and being careful about the world we live in,” he said.

Businesses affected

D’Amico is aware the ban will have an economic impact on businesses that carry fur apparel. “I don’t minimize the potential to affect those businesses adversely,” he said. “It provides an opportunity to ring a bell all around the world.”

He points out that people wanting to buy fur apparel can still go to stores in Beverly Hills or Los Angeles.

The number of stores in West Hollywood affected by the ban is unclear. Initially, D’Amico said there are only five or six shops in the city limits that sell fur apparel. Later, he reported back saying he had just gotten statistics saying that 46 percent of clothing stores in the city would be affected by the ban.

Weho Patch contacted the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to confirm how many stores sell clothing items with fur. However, the chamber declined to help, saying it only provides such information to members.

The ban does not apply to furniture items that have fur. When asked about that distinction, D’Amico said it is because of the presence of the , home to many renowned furniture designers.

“Fur in furniture is sold in the design rooms of the PDC around the world,” he said. “It’s part of a worldwide system for selling furniture and decorator items that we didn’t want to inhibit.”

As for leather products, D’Amico is not interested in extending the ban to those items. “I don’t think it’s useful to ban leather,” he said. “There’s a societal acceptance that those kinds of products are more utilitarian than the color of a jacket.”

Other items on council agenda

The fur ban is just one of many items on the council agenda. Also scheduled is a vote on the controversial three-story, 52,000-square-foot proposed for the old Tower Records site at 8801 Sunset Blvd.

The council will also vote on the , which will guide development in the city for the next 25 years.

Additionally, it will hear an appeal of the . That proposed restaurant at 7984 Santa Monica Blvd. was approved by Community Development Director Anne McIntosh in July over the objections of some residents who said the 3,500-square-foot restaurant does not have adequate parking to meet its code requirements. Those residents, led by Ed Buck, are appealing her ruling.

The council will also make decisions about two mid-city condominium projects. At 1264 Harper Ave., a developer wants to demolish a two-story, 14-unit apartment building and replace it with a four-story, 14-unit condominium complex. At 7914 Norton Ave., a developer wants to demolish a one-story, 10-unit apartment complex and build a four-story, eight-unit condominium building.

The City Council meeting is Monday at 6:30 p.m. in . This will be the final meeting held in the auditorium. Starting Oct. 3, the council will begin meeting next door in the City Council Chambers in the new library.

To read the full council agenda, click here.

Sharon Carz September 19, 2011 at 05:17 PM
This is absurd!!!
dnb September 19, 2011 at 05:48 PM
So fur is horrible, but for societal reasons, leather is fine. Oh, and we don't want to upset people in the design centre! What a bunch of hypocrites. The gang of four never fails to disappoint. I wonder how the good ladies and gentlemen of the east side will feel about this silly little ban. It was the russian vote that put these clowns back in office.
allegra September 19, 2011 at 07:08 PM
The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t give information to the press unless it’s a member? I wonder if the Chamber withholds info to the L.A. Times too, since, they’re, obviously, not a member.
Ali September 19, 2011 at 08:56 PM
@ dnb - not all of the Eastside is Russian. Speaking as a non-Russian eastsider, I think this ban is ridiculous. Just another ploy to get in the national news (and be laughed at by the rest of the country). As for the Chamber of Commerce not giving info to the press, well that is just ludicrous. That is what Chambers are supposed to do - publicize their members and argue against measures that will harm their members. More apartment building tear-downs and more condos? It is apparent that Abbe Land was talking out her butt when she told me to my face that she wants to maintain the older housing stock and preserve the rent controlled housing.
Paul September 20, 2011 at 06:20 AM
No other city will follow suit with Peter Pan city decision. Nobody REALLY give a rats ass at whatever WH does. They might come watch the fags a the Halloween carnival but that's about it.
joninla September 21, 2011 at 03:58 AM
OK Mr. Law Professor John Heilman, could you please tell us and also explain How The City of West Hollywood HAS THE AUTHORITY/POWER/RIGHT/CONTROL to create a law that prohibits the sale of legal products sold that are not under any Federal or State created Department of Control such as ATF (alcohol, tobacco, firearms) or the FDSA or any other such product that is sold or prohibited from sale or regulated when sold. Further under under what same Authority have you acted when voting to approve a law that prohibits a person from engaging in an otherwise legal activity and include "Punishment" is there is a violation of this act. I mean: DOES THE CITY NOW HAVE THE RIGHT TO CREATE A CRIMINAL LAW. A Law that would apply to for Individuals who are in the United States but happen to be within the most awkward boundaries of West Hollywood that impedes, restricts, prohibits, controls and punishes THE BASIC RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES? I was unaware a local municipality could arbitrarily choose to make whatever they may have a whim "illegal in our town". Are we some isolated deep south town with no supervision being run by 'numskulls & idiots' educated by the School of Life under the Confederate Flag and the genes of inbred hicks? I am against fur as much as the next person and a far left liberal, but SOMETIMES I guess it is necessary for even me to sound like Michele Bachman because of the actions of the City Council of WeHo.
joninla September 21, 2011 at 04:12 AM
Let me put it this way: Why are we the VERY FIRST CITY IN THE UNITED STATES TO PASS SUCH A LAW? The 'Fur Issue' is not new. In fact it is a major very old and ongoing passionate isssue not just in the United Sates, but Many other Civilized Wester Countries. WeHo - despite it's exaggerated 'liberal government' is in fact NOT THE MOST PROACTIVE OR SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS CITY IN THE UNITED STATES. If it were possible for a City to Ban Fur as has been voted now and approved in West Hollywood, WHY HAS NOT ONE OTHER CITY IN THE U.S. ALREADY DONE SO. (or even tried). I am no genius (far far from it) nor do I have much more than an awareness of the Political System ... BUT DON'T CITIES USUALLY MAKE AN ISSUE LIKE THIS ..... IN A FORMAL 'PROCLAMATION' OF THE OPINION AND FEELINGS OF THE CITY FOR THE 'DESIRE' TO HAVE THIS CITY TO BE ONE DAY, A 'FUR FREE CITY'. Isn't that kina the way Citys make their desires to control something they have no authority whatsover to legislate known? I think the Council may just have voted to enact a piece of Legislation that violates all sorts of issues and could lead to MASSIVE LEGAL COSTS FOR THE CITY were the fur industry in the mood 'To make an example of West Hollywood' for the purose of making it legally adjudicated (via a massive law suit) that the fur industry can't be stopped by a tiny group of rash acting local elected officials who have let their power go to their heads and skew rational actions?
joninla September 21, 2011 at 04:30 AM
One more perspective. Before this monumental vote, exactly how many people did the formal "Impact Analysis" indicate would be affected by this new law? There was a formal analysis of the impact of this new law, both the Costs & Benefits to the City and the Financial loss in terms of number of people and business ...... and the estimated number of Sales of Fur that would be reduced by such a law ??? Wasn't there before voting to pass this ban??? Call me crazy (I am sure I am) but I am guessing there will be STATISTICALLY ZERO reduction in Fur Sales within the boundaries of West Hollywood by the enactment of this vote to Ban Fur Sales. I don't get out, but just how many furriers are there in the city? Has TARGET come out with a new line of "Real Discounted Fur"? Are the homeless all the homeless a whole lot better dressed these days? Is the City Known for High End Retail? Well ... Yes ..... But not for Fur. I DO doubt you could find any other city with a HIGHER MEDIAN SALE PRICE or NUMBER OF SALES PER CAPITA for a bathroom fixture or kitchen remodeling. But FURRIERS? That's the City of Beverly Hills 'THING'. Is the 'no brainier' vote that EVERYONE WOULD AGREE ON .... A not very well thought through PUBLICITY STUNT? I saw it on the Evening News. WOW! Or is this a 'Smoke Screen' Story for a current or upcoming city extravagance coming up that will make the City look not so good in this economic crisis????
joninla September 21, 2011 at 04:55 AM
SORRY EVERYONE TO BE SUCH A DOWNER ...... Let's put this behind us and get geared up for the OPENING OF THE NEW LIBRARY ON OCT 1. If this tiny little ban was top news on tv and was written up in the Times .... A CITY OPENING A NEW STATE OF THE ART PUBLIC LIBRARY SHOULD MAKE IT TO THE NATIONAL EVENING NEWS - ECONOMY ON BRINK OF DOUBLE DIP RECESSION .... BUT ONE LITTLE CITY HAS FOUND A WAY TO NOT ONLY AVOID ANY FINANCIAL DOWNTURN .... THEY ARE THE JUST SPENT (how many millions was it) TO BUT NOT JUST A LIBRARY .... BUT A STATE OF THE ART COMPLEX WITH TENNIS COURTS ON TOP!!! I am sure the official West Hollywood PR department has this one down and we will be ALL OVER THE NEWS/PRINT/INTERNET with pride come October 1st. Maybe Obama will show up as a photo op of HOW TO NOT JUST SURVIVE BUT THRIVE in this economy. Good Going City Council - 25 uninterrupted leadership has really made West Hollywood 'The model of Pride' and a model for the rest of the Country to run government. all that and .... low crime? ooops no. all that and .... high employment? ooops no all that and .... fewer homeless? oooops no. well overall - the Residents of the City Have it all and as this vote here shows, has an Proactive Moral Compass and desire to DO MORE FOR EVEN THE ANIMALS above and beyond the fulfilled basic needs of the Residents. Good vote Council. This needed a 7 hour media covered weekly Council Meeting.
joninla September 21, 2011 at 04:58 AM
To answer your question re abbe land - YES!
Paul September 21, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Who cares? How many lesbians or gay men wear fur? I love animals! If people want a fur coat etc.... just go to BH or outside of our tiny little city.
Ali September 21, 2011 at 10:47 PM
The merchants care and they pay taxes. If this ordinance were truly serious, leather and fur accessories would be included, but it is only fur clothing as I understand it. We are known for high-end fashion boutiques that draw people from all over bringing in tax revenue to our little city. I wouldn't be surprised if many of those boutiques relocate to Los Angeles or Beverly HIlls due to this ridiculous law.
joninla September 22, 2011 at 01:27 AM
I do seriously belive any such "law" that the City would attempt to create and ratify as part of the City's Municipal Code would be a serious violation of basic powers under State and Federal Law. If actually passed, the Fur Industry could easily attempt to open a fur boutique and if the City by some means finds a way to enforce the law, there will be a ripe case and the issues will be brought to Court and the City will be required to expend huge amounts of City Funds defending a case that is such a Constitutional violation, that it will be struck down and there will be legal precedent ensuring no other City will ever try this again. (I would be surprised if there hasn't already been a definitive ruling - Something the Senior Council member, JOHN HEILMAN, as a Law Professor either already knows or would be publicly humiliated (within the legal profession) for being so stupid to try such an improper action and abusing his power as a duly elected government official. The job of 'Mayor' generally comes as a surprise to most first time winnners really is to support, encourager, facilitate and BRING BUSINESS (and the tax revenu therefrom) TO THE CITY. West Hollywood's 'Hostile Business Attitude' and actions is such an anomoly that it is yet another red flag that warrants a formal investigation and charges of corruption against the member be prosecuted.


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