John Duran

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John J. Duran
2007 John J. Duran cropped to head and collar.jpg
Duran in 2007
Member of the West Hollywood City Council
Assumed office
March 6, 2001
Preceded by Paul Koretz
Personal details
Born John J. Duran
Nationality United States
Residence California
Alma mater California State University, Long Beach (B.A.)
Western State University (J.D.)
Profession Lawyer

John J. Duran is an American municipal politician and a member of the city council of West Hollywood, California.[1][2]

Political career[edit]

Duran was elected to the City Council on March 6, 2001. He succeeded outgoing City Council member Paul Koretz who was elected to the State Assembly. He had previously served on the city's Rent Stabilization Commission. Duran has a long history of involvement with the LGBT community.[3]

West Hollywood Council Member John J. Duran (center) at the 2007 Equality Awards benefit for EQCA.

One of Duran's stated concerns is alcohol and drug recovery in West Hollywood. Duran secured the site for the West Hollywood Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center. Duran also initiated a series of town hall meetings on crystal methamphetamine that has served as a model for other communities impacted by the epidemic.[1]

Duran is currently advocating for the historic preservation of the Sunset Strip[4] and the eventual creation of a Rock 'n' Roll Museum.

An openly gay man,[5] Duran is a founding board member of ANGLE (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality). Duran also served as President of the Board of Directors of Equality California ("EQCA"), now the nation's largest statewide LGBT civil rights organization. In addition, Duran is a past board member of the ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Duran has also worked to defend human rights.[5] His legal cases include Kolcum v. Los Angeles County, where he successfully sued Los Angeles County for denying medication to inmates with HIV/AIDS. Duran defended the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center during the medicinal use of marijuana controversy.[6] In 1998 he won the first test case of medicinal marijuana defense since the passage of California's Proposition 215. Other successful cases for Duran include People v. Green where he successfully defended a defendant charged with felony assisted suicide. He also served as legal counsel for ACT UP in the late 1980s, was the trial attorney for the Los Angeles Needle Exchange Program and has defended the first amendment rights of numerous protestors.[1]

Duran was identified as one of the 20 Most Influential Members of the gay community by IN LA Magazine.[7] He is one of the very few HIV-positive elected officials in the United States.[1][8]

Duran is also known as a strong advocate for the arts. He is a founder of the West Hollywood Chorale, sings in the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and collects paintings and Disney memorabilia. Duran is currently writing a history of the gay rights movement in Southern California.[1]

Sexual Harassment Case and “Deputygate”

Council assistants, known as “deputies,” once served as full-time employees to the part-time West Hollywood City Council members. In 2015, Ian Owens, the deputy to Councilmember John Duran accused John Duran of sexual harassment. The city’s insurance carrier settled the case with a $500,000 payout to Owens. John Duran and Owens originally met in April 2012 via Grindr, a hook-up app for gay men, and had a sexual encounter. Duran failed to disclose this sexual encounter with Owens to human resources. The scandal became known as “Deputygate.”[9]

Duran's relationship with Owens has been a major focus in the wrongful termination case of another council deputy, Michelle Rex, who says the city retaliated against her and fired her because she supported Owens' claims of mistreatment. Rex lost that suit in a jury trial in May 2017, but testimony during the trial revealed that Duran had made a sexually derogatory comment about Elyse Eisenberg, head of the West Hollywood Heights Neighborhood Association, in an email exchange with Owens. In testimony before a jury, Owens alleged other sexually improper behavior by Duran at City Hall. [10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mayor Pro Tempore John J. Duran". City of West Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-10-23. 
  2. ^ "West Hollywood Calls for Impeachment". Speak Out California Weblog. 2007-07-22. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  3. ^ "Full Biography for John J. Duran". 2005-03-08. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  4. ^ "The City of West Hollywood to Hold Historic Preservation Celebration at the Sunset Tower Hotel on Wednesday, May 30, 2007". 2007-05-29. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  5. ^ a b "QRD 1994 Candidate Profiles: John Duran". Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  6. ^ "Marijuana: West Hollywood Passes "Lowest Priority" Resolution". Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  7. ^ IN LA magazine Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Scott, Lucile (June 2005). "A Positive Campaign". POZ. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  9. ^ Mills, James F. (2017-05-25). "Everything You Need to Know About West Hollywood's "Deputygate" Scandal". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2018-05-23. 
  10. ^ Branson-Potts, Hailey. "Testimony gets steamy in lawsuit against City of West Hollywood". Retrieved 2018-05-23. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Koretz
West Hollywood, California

Succeeded by