JOHN DURAN 🇺🇸 Why I’m supporting Anthony Portantino for Congress

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What to do in the 30th Congressional seat, which includes West Hollywood? Like many deep blue areas, we have some very good candidates all running for the same seat.

Congressmember Adam Schiff is a friend. I have known him since he was a U.S. prosecutor. He’s smart and tenacious. America got to know him during the impeachment hearings of Donald Trump. I am wholeheartedly supporting him for U.S. Senate, and I know he will be great for California and our U.S. democracy.

But what to do about his replacement? This is a great seat that stretches from West Hollywood all the way to Burbank and Sunland. Adam has occupied this seat for 20 years and served us well. Odds are that his replacement will be there for the next 20 years. It has most of the movie studios in it, a large Armenian community, and a sizable LGBT community, including the areas of West Hollywood, Hollywood, and Silver Lake.

I know Ben Savage and think he’s a great guy to have coffee and chat with. I know openly gay Armenian Jirair Ratevosian—who is a physician and an inspiring candidate. I know Mike Feuer from his days in the State Assembly and think he is a solid politician also. And I have sat with Laura Friedman and her family at concerts of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Really—an embarrassment of riches. I sent contributions to a few of them and wished them all well.

But I have to endorse and support my friend, State Senator Anthony Portantino. I have known him since the 1980s. His late brother was on the Board of Directors of the LIFE AIDS Lobby with me. This was back in the days when dying from HIV was a weekly reality for so many of us. His brother published the “Gay Times” down in San Diego. We became friends, and he said, “You gotta meet my brother Anthony!” Which I did… And we have been friends for decades.

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I once dreamed that my friend Peter Scott, who was on the MECLA (Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles) Board in the 1970s, would become our first gay Assemblyman and then first gay Congressman from West Hollywood. He was a handsome, brilliant attorney with a Texas drawl. But AIDS took Peter away—along with his husband, David Quarles. And so many of the gay men of the 70s and 80s, who would have become the elected leaders of today, perished. This pushed the younger generations of the horrible 80s to the front of the line. We still suffer from the PTSD but laid the foundation for marriage equality with the cement mixed from the blood and tears of the 80s.

There are LGBT candidates in this race: Dr. Ratevosian, trans woman Maebe A. Girl Pudio, and Sepi Shyne. But I have to be loyal to the friends who have shared the trenches with us over the decades of struggle. Those straight allies who showed up to help us fight AIDS when it was not a popular thing to do—deserve my deepest gratitude and support.

Anthony Portantino has been a champion on LGBT issues. A warrior on Choice and always endorsed by Planned Parenthood. A strong gun control advocate not afraid of the NRA. And besides being right on all the issues—he is just a good guy to sit down and have some pizza and beer (well, diet Coke for me) with a long discussion about life, politics, and anything else that we want to shoot the sh*t over.

Someday we will have an LGBT member of Congress from the WeHo area. Maybe I will get to see it. But in the meantime—I am all about putting a loyal champion in the 30th Congressional District who will defend Israel, defend choice, defend LGBT issues, and push us forward towards a more just and equitable society. State Senator Anthony Portantino is my guy. Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to vote on March 5th, and then again at the runoff in November!

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About John Duran
John Duran, a criminal defense lawyer, served on the West Hollywood City Council for 20 years, 2001-2020.

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JJ in WeHo
JJ in WeHo
8 days ago

The government of Israel does not need “defending” since it has enjoyed the unwavering military support of the United States. So that description of Mr Portantino’s positions gave me pause. If defending Israel means support without real conditions, then Portantino has lost me. Israel seems on a fast road to a self-destructive apartheid, with one preferred ethnic group dominating the indigenous population. The U.S. whines about settlements but continues to fund the project of expansion from the River to the Sea.

hifi5000
hifi5000
13 days ago

John Duran knows what he is talking about.He has the experience and local knowledge. I am sure some on here will gasp after reading Duran’s column,but the city needs a steady hand,not one who will say it will be a privilege to talk to her.

Kevin
Kevin
13 days ago

Thanks John. Now I know who not to vote for.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
14 days ago

I’m voting for him because he looks like me and likely has my best interests at heart. Isn’t this the standard way of voting nowadays?

08mellie
08mellie
14 days ago

No on Schiff & Portantino. Too progressive, too dangerous.

Stephen
Stephen
15 days ago

One of the few times I agree with every word Duran said. Will look into Portantino. Lots of good candidates from which to choose, correct. And Adam Schiff (hopefully) will continue doing phenomenal work as a U.S. senator

Scott Sigman
Scott Sigman
15 days ago

Schiff district the hardest since lines change fro Weho to Weho haters in Glendale. The Armenian crowder protesting nastily.
Giving Trump trouble is good by me.
Already voted and already received at depository.

Drew Pokorny
Drew Pokorny
15 days ago

Thanks for sharing your perspective and context. Always helpful!

Joshua88
Joshua88
15 days ago

I don’t support Schiff or Portantino and don’t think friendship is a remotely important criteria.

Support someone who think wars suck and genocide sucks even more.

In California, in the Democratic party and with progressives, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t support LGBTQ+ rights.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
14 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Of course Democrats support LGBTQ equality today; Portantino was always there for our community as that is just part of his personality and he always had the courage to be open with his support. I support Portantino because he is not just the usual progressive; he is an innovative and non-ideological problem solver with a proven record of compassion. Apart from his stellar support of LGBTQ rights, he is a leader in healthcare access, gun control and the environment . Of the Democrats in the race to replace Adam Schiff, I think Portantino will be the ONLY candidate who will… Read more »

Elgin
Elgin
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Right Steve. Finally, someone who can make peace between Israel & the Palestinians?? Good luck finding a just & humane end to the war in Gaza. Another pipe dream whose time has come & gone. After at least 75 years of conflict & death & Netanyahu’s declaration that Israel will do “whatever it takes”. refuses to consider a dual state & whose behavior has become genocidal. Donald Trump declared that “if anyone can bring peace to the middle east, it’s Jarad Kushner.” Even though Portantino’s intentions may be sincere, he, or any other member of the House, would have about… Read more »

John Kaiser
John Kaiser
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

If he was truly for peace, Portantino would join Jirair Ratevosian and Maeybe who are the only two progressives who have called for a ceasefire. And both are queer. Wake up people!

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
15 days ago

I part company with you on Adam Schiff who is a pathological liar!

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
15 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Don’t you support that psychopath (proven loser) running for president? You’re one to talk.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
15 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

If my only option is a woman who would be in prison if not for her last name and connections, or a senile perv with a lot of explaining to do regarding his own likely criminal behavior, then … yes!

He did give us the best economy ever, the lowest unemployment for minorities ever, the Abraham Accord, the ….. oh why go on, … you’re not capable of getting past the “R” after his name.

Joshua88
Joshua88
14 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

You seem to have completely ignored or conveniently forgotten what the economy and employment were like in 2020 during COVID, before Mr Biden took over.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
14 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Your operative words are … during COVID!

You can’t seriously believe that Biden had anything to do with the recovery that was nothing more than people going back to the jobs that had been closed in the pandemic.

Joshua88
Joshua88
14 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

My point is that Trump’s great economy and employment numbers were destroyed by his utter incompetence in handling the global pandemic that hit our country.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
14 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

He did make a mistake in taking the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, but I wouldn’t call that incompetence on Trump’s part. No one knew what we were dealing with at the time. In hind sight only those people who were at high risk should have been isolated while the rest of the country could have gone on with their lives and the damage to our economy would not have happened. Although most people don’t know it because it has hardly been reported, but Fauci has recently been totally discredited and he has either admitted to having given bad advice… Read more »

Joshua88
Joshua88
13 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Those ridiculous press conferences.
Masks and vaccines.

I rest my case.

David Reid
David Reid
13 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

It concerns me you are a resident and voter. There are so many other cults available and some based in sanity.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
13 days ago
Reply to  David Reid

If you and I were to engage in a discussion on issues I highly doubt you could hold your own. You would quickly reduce your input to name calling and insults because you would have run out of anything substantive to say. The only news you ever hear is that which confirms your bias and you dismiss anything else.
You would be surprised (and dismayed) at just how many of us cultists there are here in WeHo.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
12 days ago
Reply to  David Reid

If you and I were to engage in a discussion on issues I highly doubt you could hold your own. You would quickly reduce your input to name calling and insults because you would have run out of anything substantive to say. The only news you ever hear is that which confirms your bias and you dismiss anything else.
You would be surprised (and dismayed) at just how many of us cultists there are here in WeHo.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
15 days ago

I’m not convinced yet. The only thing that this walk down memory lane tells me is that he’s supportive of LGBTQIA2S+ folks. There are many other issues that affect the people of West Hollywood, this isn’t the only one.

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