Council adds Block by Block patrols but delays vote on more Sheriff’s deputies

With crime at the top of West Hollywood residents’ minds, City Council voted on Monday night for increased presence and patrolling by the Block by Block ambassadors — but not by the Sheriff’s Department.

Agenda item 5D originally called for the reinstatement of two positions on the Sheriff’s Entertainment Policing Team — a sergeant and a deputy — that were slashed as part of COVID-related budget cuts last year.

Councilmembers Lindsey Horvath, John Erickson, Sepi Shyne and John D’Amico all expressed reservations about dedicating additional funds to the Sheriff’s Department. They pointed to the highly publicized allegations of overbilling by the department that surfaced last summer, and a requested audit of the billing records that has not yet been produced.

“We still don’t know where our dollars are being spent for taxpayers,” Erickson said. “How do you reckon giving the Sheriff’s Department, which refuses to comply with the inspector general, $600,000 extra which we don’t know where we’ll be going or if they’re being accounted for appropriately?”

“I think we all have some issues with the sheriff,” Mayor Lauren Meister said, “but I don’t think that we should be taking that out on our residents, our community, our business community or our local sheriff’s station.”

“Unfortunately for me, our relationship with the LASD is not working,” Shyne said. “Throwing money at it when that’s not the solution is not going to help.”

D’Amico noted the recent verifiable criminal incidents happening in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, but suggested overblown fears were driving the perception of rising crime in West Hollywood.

“In our city there seems to only be an increase in fear,” he said. “There hasn’t actually been an increase in crime. I know — I speak to business owners and they point to endless amounts of things that are seemingly worse, seemingly more terrifying.”

“There continues to be a narrative that says that areas around us are unsafe and thus we must feel unsafe,” said Horvath. “There’s a lot of misinformation and a lot of hearsay that is contributing to people’s fear, and that fear is real, but it’s based on misinformation.”

They also cited the council’s recent special meeting on safety, during which they directed city staff to make a number of recommendations on how to improve security issues within the city. Staff is scheduled to present their recommendations, which include budget proposals, at the beginning of next year.

After discussion, Horvath made a substitute motion that allowed the council to vote on the Block by Block portion of the item, but postponed a decision on the Sheriff’s Department portion until city staff’s security presentation.

Mayor Lauren Meister, the author of the proposal in its original form, disagreed with the move.

“I felt it was important to raise this issue now because people are not feeling safe,” Meister said. “I think it’s fair for our constituents to know how we voted on this item.”

The council voted unanimously to pass Horvath’s motion. 

The city will spend $2,000 on overtime hours for the Block by Block ambassadors over the holidays. Council will decide whether or not to spend $600,000 for the additional Sheriff’s Department positions at their next meeting in January. 

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WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago

These people are corrupt. Weho deserves better.

Joshua88
Joshua88
6 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Please pay attention.
According to the LAT, Mr D’Amico got it right.
The fear is real but the increase is in perception, not reality.

Lynda
Lynda
6 months ago

Crime is a major issue in West Hollywood. It should not be trivialized.

JF1
JF1
6 months ago
Reply to  Lynda

You’re asking a lot from a council whose biggest concern is getting additional colors painted on our crosswalks. VOTE. THEM. OUT!

Dawn
Dawn
6 months ago

Lol, yes, you just need more security “ambassadors”. That should solve the problem… Maybe call Lori Lightfoot for advice. She’s doing wonders in Chicago. Or Mayor Breed of San Fran-nasty. Oh! I almost forgot Libby Shiff over in Oakland. Heard it’s much safer there, too… These leaders need to buck up and refund the police. Admit their 2020 defund the police experiment had direct consequences. Since Kamala had done such a stellar job at addressing the root causes of illegal immigration, maybe we can ask her to get the root cause of liberal city explosion of violence. But we already… Read more »

JF1
JF1
6 months ago
Reply to  Dawn

Spot. On. Even the mayor of San Francisco (because things have gotten so bad there) has changed her tune and is now talking “tough” on crime. (she even swore when addressing the media to appear even tougher, lol). First they destroy things and then try and look like they’re coming in and saving the day by reversing their stance on their own disastrous policies.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
6 months ago

99.9% of West Hollywood residents agree with the city council.

I am allowed to make up statistics like other commenters if I want 🙂

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Learn to grow up.

Consciousness
Consciousness
6 months ago

The individuals who control this city exhibit very little consciousness beyond their own personal orbits. Obsessed by their self congratulatory gestures, not one has the sophistication required as a public servant or at the very least, authenticity to acknowledge what they do not know. A complete course on the Classics should be required notably The Stoics from the school of Hellenistic Philosophy. It’s never too late to adopt humility and become informed.

Left Field
Left Field
6 months ago

$600,000 to help protect tourists on the Sunset Strip is a drop in the bucket. compared to the damage of one bad news story.
The city should already know how the tax dollars are being spent.

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
6 months ago

Block patrols! So what happens if the block patrol faces some guy with a gun? They won’t have time to ask “is that gun registered?” Buffoons is right, when it comes to the West Hollywood City Council. Very dangerous buffoons. They don’t subsidize the police because they are so caught up in the Woke nonsense. Unisex “no urinal” Toilets, $100,000 for reparation study to satisfy the self serving Sepi Shyne agenda…etc. there are for lease signs everywhere when it comes to businesses, Who’s going to pay for all this? The SHE!! Dump the neighborhood watch patrols which will probably happen… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Michael Grace
greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Grace

Uh oh, you forgot to comment under one of your many pseudonyms.

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
6 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Get real, you don’t represent anybody in the city except you and the buffoons on that City council. Especially the SHE. Two neurotic hicks, majoring in gender studies, from the Midwest and a transplant from Iran. They aren’t stakeholders in West Hollywood. Their only investment is pushing forth a lot of unpopular ideas. Shyne Horvath and Erickson share the honor of being possibly three of the most loathed politicians in California. By the way, do you do John’s nails?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Grace

All of this unhinged hate is not healthy.

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
6 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Hate? The SHE aren’t worth anything except pity. Since they hardly make the “C” list when it comes to viable career politicians. Sad, so sad.

Mr Green Eyes; Is it true that John Ericsson wearing red nail polish because of the Christmas holidays?

JF1
JF1
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Grace

Yup.

West
West
6 months ago

Throw them ALL in The Hague. 5 less human rights criminals on our streets! Cheap and easy.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
6 months ago

The voters get what they deserve. Weho voters typically vote for the person who sends the most flyers in the mail, so people should not be surprised we have ended up with five of the most hypocritical, selfish and just plain dumb people on the planet. It’s hard to say which one is the very worst but I would have to say it’s a tie between Erickson and Shyne. And then I think about Horvath, maybe it’s her. She’s about to have a rude awakening when the people in L.A. get a good look at her record. I had some… Read more »

voter
voter
6 months ago

Horvath, Erickson, and Sloppy Shyne have made so many bad decisions for the city that I have lost count. With Mayor Meister as the sole informed council member, I expect more crime, more homeless, and NO solutions.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 months ago

I am not sure that spending $600,000 to add two positions to the Sheriff’s Entertainment Policing Team is an effective use of tax dollars so I would hope our Public Safety Division has other suggestions that might make our neighborhoods safer. I am a block captain for the Eastside Neighborhood Watch so maybe I am biased; I don’t think the resident’s concerns are over blown. I do have concerns that some of our Council members seem tone deaf to an issue that may be unwelcome at City Hall. I think if we had an in person public forum the City… Read more »

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I completely agree with you. I moved to City Center a year ago. I was living in the heart of the Eastside, for 25 years, as you know. I never got this Block-by-Block safety ambassador thing. What authority do they have? Since their presence in the Eastside, I believe crime has risen. So, of course, let’s add more to an ineffective group.

Off-topic, next up is the silly idea to rename the West Hollywood Library can’t wait to hear our council’s rationale on this one. Love RBG but really?

Last edited 6 months ago by Michael Dolan
West Hollywood Library
West Hollywood Library
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

Los Angeles aptly named a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library in Hollywood after Will and Ariel Durant whose contributions with the 11 Volume Story of Civilization was a remarkable and lasting piece of valuable information for the community and beyond. The branch is often used for public meetings benefiting all. Given that, it would be hard to conceive of a single individual worthy that would embrace the entire community other than The West Hollywood Library.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

Block by Block is a presence on the street that has made a difference. I witnessed an incident at Astro Burger last week were one of them effectively dealt with a confrontation with an angry homeless person last week. I do think they make our streets safer at night just by their very presence. But as you point out, their authority is limited.

JF1
JF1
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I haven’t seen them in my neighborhood in years. Literally. Years.

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

You’re not biased. Crime is a major issue in Weho.

Priorities
Priorities
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Au contrails Mr. Martin, spending $600,000 for entertainment Policing appears to be a “look good/ feel good”gesture in favor of protecting revenue streams in that sector primarily catering to tourists, leaving residents nearly out of the equation. These are not responsible priorities.

John
John
6 months ago

Tragically Shyne’s comment is laughable and just enforces she is totally out of her depth in being able to engage with different agencies to resolve public concerns.

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