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A Proustian Travel Guide: Lindsey Horvath

A Proustian Travel Guide: Lindsey Horvath

A Proustian Travel Guide: Lindsey Horvath

From Portugal to Palm Springs, the West Hollywood mayor talks ideal getaways, advocacy, and the daily motions of running one of the country's most gay-friendly cities.

Name: Lindsey Horvath

Profession: Mayor of West Hollywood

Location: West Hollywood and Santa Monica

Where did you take your last trip?

Locally and most recently, I went to Palm Springs. My most recent international trip was to the Azores, which are a collection of islands off the coast of Portugal. The trip was my gift to myself after the election.

What was your best memory from that trip?

Well, my friend Colleen and I were in a beautiful garden and saw this amazing vista as we were walking in a small community. I do speak a bit of Portuguese and so I asked one of the locals where the nearby lookout point was. An older gentleman said, “Just go down this path, turn right, and you'll see it.” And so we proceeded to go [down the path] and were in the middle of what looked like a farm area, as there were goats and cows and so forth. So we kept on going forward, took the right turn the local told us about-and there it was. You would have thought you were in Fiji or Hawaii! We kept on walking to what became the foot of the cliff, where we noticed these cute little homes right on the water, and it was all undeveloped. And I thought to myself, “Wow! This is what peace must feel like!” It was the definition of peace and quiet.

Which local celebrity and or notable West Hollywood person would you most want to share a hotel room with, and why?

Oh, gosh! I am such a private person—sharing a hotel room is big thing! I would have to say my friend and mentor, who used to actually be in this office, Abbe Land. She’s now the executive director of the Trevor Project. She is a lot of fun and one of my best friends, and I really enjoy spending time with her, so it would probably have to be her.

What destination feels like home away from home?

Well, I'm originally from Ohio, so that is home in a way. We moved to Las Vegas when I was in high school, and I lived there for about seven years. My brother still lives there now, so when I go to Vegas that, too, is sort of a home away from home. But when I'm not in WeHo I would have to say that Palm Springs feels closest to it, which is probably why I like going there so much.

Which do you prefer? Plane, train, or automobile?

I would say the train. I love trains and I take the train to see my dad down in San Diego. I wish we had a more extensive Metro system in place here in Southern California—that definitely is something I am working on in my role as Mayor.

Where is your next non-work related adventure?

Well, because I am Mayor I try to be here as much as I can. However, I would like for my next adventure to be in New York City. I often go there for work but it’s such a fun place to hang out. I don't know if I could ever survive living there, I must be honest, but I love going there to visit.

Less than a year ago, West Hollywood celebrated its 30th year of city hood. How significant was that to the city and to you personally?

It was a very significant milestone for our city and for me personally. I'm a young mayor of 33yrs of age, and many people often say that I am just slightly older than the city! I often think of where a city is at that age, where it has yet to go. Clearly, we have a lot to celebrate after thirty years, but we have a lot of opportunity ahead of us, and I am really excited about our future.

You have set out to make We Ho an age friendly community. Can you comment on where your motivation for this pursuit stems from?

I come from a very big family in the Midwest, and grew up around my grandparents and great grandparents. Shortly after moving to We Ho I learned that we were a naturally-occurring retirement community (NORC). Between 20% and 25% of our population identifies as seniors, and so we are a community that needs to care for our elders. When looking back at a community like West Hollywood where LGBT folks came to seek refuge, many times people had to leave their immediate families, and therefore didn't have an extended support system. So we want to make sure that as a City when the traditional support system isn't there, our City and community will be able to provide those resources and connect people to services they need as they get older.

What do you feel is the least but understood aspect of being a public servant-whether in the capacity of councilperson or your current role as Mayor?

Well in We Ho, our City Council is part-time, and then we all have full time jobs. I actually own my own company as a marketing and advertising executive. People in this community are very engaged and expect our Council to be very responsive to their needs, and we do our best to do that. And I believe that elected officials should be held responsible by our community to make sure they are doing the job that they are supposed to do. That said, it’s really a full-time job, so perhaps what’s least understood is the sheer amount of work that has to be done in the short amount of time that is available.

You’re a global coordinator for One Billion Rising, a campaign brought on by the V-Day organization, which seeks to end violence against women and girls across the planet. What fuels your passion to take on such a role?

Well, one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. The sheer magnitude and level of violence that women and girls face is what called me forth into this cause. I personally feel that we have to address what is a global epidemic. We see it surface in so many ways, whether it’s violence that stems from war, to sexual assaults on college campuses, to domestic violence and how some of those issues affect same-sex couples. When such a large population is plagued by violence, simply because of their gender, we all have a responsibility to try to tackle the issue.

What role, if any, do you feel the media and entertainment industry as a whole can play in depicting women and girls in more positive ways?

The media has a critically important role in showing women and girls in more positive roles. I think as time goes on we are seeing more and more people demand different types of content. And with the advent of new studios, such as Netflix and Amazon, who both seem to be opening up their doors to new creators and new content, we will have the opportunity to tell different stories.

What is a typical day look like for you, outside of your mayoral stomping grounds?

I work either in my home office or in my creative office in Santa Monica. I work with graphic designers, art directors, and creative directors. I produce photo shoots and make sure that all of our marketing and advertising campaigns are on time and on budget. I also work with the press or media depending on the needs of the project. I have to say that I am surrounded by a great team of talent that I have worked with for a decade now, so I am very lucky to have been able to continue those relationships and build a nice community that is very strong in their creativity.

As Mayor of West Hollywood, what is one aspect of the city that you are super proud of?

One aspect would have to be the way We Ho responded to the AIDS crisis, which was like no other community out there. When people saw what felt like an entire generation of their friends dying before their eyes, they weren't sure whether they were going to make it as a community. So for the folks who were fortunate enough to survive and live to tell their stories and reach old age, that was something the gay community didn't dream of at that time. Now, to be able to live in a community where you can live longer and age in place remains one of my key goals. This is certainly one of the reasons why I push so hard for West Hollywood to be age-friendly.

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