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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Los Angeles County, CA March 8, 2005 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for John J. Duran

Candidate for
Council Member; City of West Hollywood

This information is provided by the candidate

Mayor John J. Duran was elected to the West Hollywood City Council on March 6, 2001. His election was the continuation of a long and dedicated history of service to the West Hollywood community. From 2000 to 2001 he served as Vice-Chair of the West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Commission, adjudicating appeals for landlord tenant disputes and making policy recommendations on affordable housing and protection of tenants' rights. John also served as a volunteer attorney for the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) Legal Clinic.

A native Angeleno, John received his Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University in Orange County, and leads one of Southern California's prominent law firms on Gay and Lesbian rights and AIDS law. He has represented more than 1,000 clients with AIDS on issues ranging from discrimination to hate crimes. His current legal practice is criminal defense, specializing in crimes of addiction.

Throughout his career, John has worked to defend human rights. His many prominent legal cases include Kolcum v. L.A. County, where he successfully sued Los Angeles County for denying medication to inmates with HIV. He successfully defended the Cannabis Buyer's Club during the medicinal use of marijuana controversy. In 1998, he won the first test case of medicinal marijuana defense since the passage of California's Proposition 215. Other successful cases for John include Morton v. City of Costa Mesa, where he represented two Lesbians who were subjected to unlawful genital search to determine their gender. He also served as legal counsel for ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) in the late 1980's, was the trial attorney for the Los Angeles Needle Exchange Program and has defended the first amendment rights of numerous protestors.

John's defense of human rights extends outside of his legal practice into many activist and volunteer activities. He was a founding board member of ANGLE (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality) from 1989 to the present date. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Equality California, a statewide LGBT lobby organization. Since 1999, he has served on Wendy's Hope Advisory Board, a joint venture with City of Hope focusing on women with breast cancer. John also currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

John's awards and recognitions include the Labor Day L.A. Humanitarian Award which he received for dedication to human rights and AIDS activism. He was also recognized in 1991 by the California State Assembly for crafting California's legislative response to AIDS as the statewide co-chair of the LIFE AIDS lobby. He was also named the 1990 Los Angeles Gay Pride Man of the Year by Christopher Street West and Man of the Year in 1989 by Orange County's Gay and Lesbian Pride Celebration.

In October 2002, John was recognized by Being Alive, a coalition of people living with AIDS, for its leadership in HIV/AIDS services and for helping to improve the lives of the affected and infected with HIV. John is one of very few openly HIV positive elected officials in the nation.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: February 16, 2005 16:48
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