West Hollywood Person of the Year 2023

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West Hollywood is home to lots of colorful characters.   We are a city of passion.   We are a city of ideals.  We are a city filled with hot debate.   And the two hottest debates of the year were ‘scooters’ and ‘sheriffs’

This years Person of the Year stood up for herself and the city she loves.   She spoke truth to power.   She is sassy, and smart.   A senior who formerly served on the Disabilities Advisory Board.   A 44-year resident of West Hollywood.    This year’s West Hollywood Person of the Year is Mikie Friedman.

Friedman had been a proud member of the Disability Advisory Board.   Originally appointed as an at-large appointee, she was re-appointed by former Council member Lindsey Horvath in 2020, Friedman was then re-appointed again to the DAB in 2022 as an at-large appointee.   At 76 years old Friedman is an amputee living her life with one arm and a heart of gold.

The issue of on-demand scooters affected many residents but those with disabilities, or in wheelchairs faced extra challenges navigating sidewalks in West Hollywood.   Once branded ‘the most walkable city’ the new city council has put scooter rights ahead of disabled rights to equal access.   Friedman, and the entire Disability Advisory Board voted unanimously to ask the city council to ban these scooters.   But it was a personal meeting between Friedman and Mayor Shyne that would change everything for the one-armed disabled resident.  https://wehoonline.com/2022/12/24/myra-friedman-resigns-disability-advisory-board-after-sepi-shynes-snap-back/

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Friedman who was doing her job as a member of the Disability Advisory Board advocating for equal access for those with disabilities and asked for a meeting with then Mayor Pro Tem Shyne.  Shyne double talked the amputee.   “There are good people on both sides” Shyne told Friedman.   When Friedman responded that Shyne sounded like Trump, – the Mayor put the amputee in her place.   “I will not be disrespected in that way”.   The DAB member was disappointed and taken back.   She then resigned from the board position she was proud to serve and took her voice to the public comment podium.   Unplugged and Unleashed the fearless Mikie Friedman spoke weekly at each city council meeting advocating against the on-demand scooter program, against the Outzones which hindered disabled resident’s ability to navigate the sidewalks and for the Sheriff’s deputies which were cut in favor of security ambassadors.

Friedman used levity and song to make her points.   In one public comment she played off a song Wouldn’t it be Lovely from My Fair Lady’. “All I want is to walk somewhere, Safe on sidewalks without a care.  No scooters anywhere!,  Oh wouldn’t it be lovely!”

Friedman moved to West Hollywood in 1979 before Cityhood.   She went on a game show, “Password Plus” and won enough money for her first and last month’s rent and a bed and a chair.   44 years later she still occupies the same apartment on North Clark Drive just above Sunset.   

During those early years her first job was a bartender at “Entourage” a French restaurant on 3rd, located next door to the Record Plant.   “All my regulars were rock and roll artists, engineers, and producers recalled Friedman.    She then moved to the Hamburger Hamlet working as a bartender and manager.  And then finally her former boss from her hometown of Chicago opened Ed Debevic’s on La Cienega.   That was her last job before her diagnosis with cancer that led to the loss of her arm.

But Friedman did not stop.   She went back to school to achieve her ESL (English as a second language) degree.   She taught for 17 years until her cancer returned which led to the loss of half her right lung.   But the relentless disabled resident never stopped living her life.   

In 2020 Friedman was cast in the ‘Vagina Monologue’s” a play sponsored by the Hollywood Now Organization founded by Lindsey Horvath.   The one armed Friedman played the role of the ‘angry vagina’ and brought the house down with laughter.  One month later in March of 2020 the nation began shutting down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tireless and spirited Friedman continues to advocate for those living with disabilities.   

 

 

 

 

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Joshua88
Joshua88
3 months ago

Congratulations!

Stephanie Harker
Stephanie Harker
3 months ago

Brava, Mikie! Well deserved. Thank you for finding your voice.

Nicholas Roybal
Nicholas Roybal
3 months ago

When this City and community needed a leader, fighter and someone to fill the void of Council leadership, Mikie led from her heart and brought everyone with her. It is this community power, often dismissed, shunned, ignored & forgotten, that creates lasting ripples of hope and change. Thank you for teaching and guiding us, Mikie. “Remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power…Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.” ― Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (We need to get a sash for… Read more »

Cathy
Cathy
3 months ago

BRAVA! What a PERFECT CHOICE for person of the year! Mikie inspires with every bit of her being!
Thank you Larry for choosing her.
YAY MIKIE! xo

STFU
STFU
3 months ago

Mikie Friedman brings a lot of spunk to the table. Combine that with thoughtfulness, wit, charm, eloquent prose, and an ability to belt one out and the choice for person of the year was clear. I believe that Mikie has changed the dynamic between representative public servants and the public they serve and represent. Bravo to Mikie, and good job WEHOonline!

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
3 months ago

Omg. Thank you, “WeHo Online” for being fair, respectful, and absolutely right for choosing Mikie Friedman, who I don’t know personally, but I know all about her great efforts. I swear to God that before seeing Mikie’s name, I assumed the winner was going to be pink-haired, nose-ringed, plus-size drag queen of color who identifies as a nonbinary, trisexual, dominatrix, yoga instructor who goes by “zi/zem/dodo bird/palytepous.” Thank you again for being fair and most of all, sane.

Last edited 3 months ago by BloodshotEyedGuy
Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
3 months ago

To DPB and URON,
Thank you so much for your vote of confidence in me, but I have no interest in running for City Council!. I will, however, work very hard to help George Nickle win one of those positions! If you don’t know him, get to know him! He is a terrific advocate that we should have representing us. He truly cares about the people of West Hollywood…and he is not now nor will he be indebted to big business, developers, or unite here chapter 11!

Uron
Uron
3 months ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

There is more than one seat available.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
3 months ago
Reply to  Uron

I was wondering if perhaps, Lynn Hoopengarner might want to run! She’s a great advocate, too!

:dpb
:dpb
3 months ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

I am behind George Nickle and I can support a Hoopengarner candidacy. Thank you, Mikie! Let’s get Lynn onboard.

Susan milrod
Susan milrod
3 months ago

Fantastic choice point we are so lucky to have her!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago

Mikie Friedman is never afraid to examine both sides of an issue, unlike the Mayor whose response to Friedman’s concerns was flip and condescending . As Mikie has repeatedly pointed out, the City has never come up with a workable plan to keep our sidewalks safe and walkable by keeping scooters confined to the street. “Transportation Equity” would seem to dictate that our sidewalks should be safe for pedestrians, particularly seniors and people with disabilities. Mikie’s community advocacy has been a breath of common sense at our Council Meetings.

hifi5000
hifi5000
3 months ago

The city definitely needs a person of passion and Mikie Friedman fits the bill.Congrats to Ms. Friedman being named as Person of the Year.Mayor Shyne does not know who she is dealing with.

resident
resident
3 months ago

I agree. Mikie is a real asset to West Hollywood and speaks for many like-minded residents. Best wishes to her in everything!

George Nickle
George Nickle
3 months ago

Mikie is an inspiration! No better person could have been chosen for all she has done for West Hollywood.

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