OP/ED: The hijacking continues

Since my Op-Ed “The hijacking of West Hollywood” was published more than a week ago, much has happened in West Hollywood politics.  There has been tremendous community interest in maintaining public safety at the current levels, or indeed increasing expenditures toward public safety.  There was a contentious city council meeting that included several issues that need to be clarified.

Jared Knowles of Civilytics, the company on which the Public Safety Commission seems to have relied for data that drove their hasty motion to defund the LASD contract by nearly 17% (or ten of sixty sworn employees), was invited by Lindsey Horvath to answer questions posed by the council.   Note that neither Dr. Knowles, nor his report were vetted by city staff.  Knowles gave a reasonably academic-sounding defense of his methodology and his motives but failed to disclose his clear motive as a proponent of national defund-the-police activities and organizations.  Dr. Knowles was asked by Mayor Meister to explain who paid for his services.  Knowles attempted to suggest that he was merely a “blue collar guy” who provided his analysis pro bono.

Among his other work, Dr. Knowles authored a highly biased report entitled “Cops Don’t Stop Violence.”  Read it for yourself and form your own opinion on whether Knowles is an impartial data interpreter.   Researchers in academia have no bias or agenda other than truth.  Dr. Knowles is not an academic.  Nika Soon-Shiong’s Twitter echo chamber clearly connects the dots between her and DC-based Alec Karakatsanis (who has a highly manufactured twitter echo chamber of national defund “coalitions”) and Jared Knowles.   In fact, Knowles acknowledged the assistance of Karakatsanis on page one of his report.  Who in their right mind can believe Dr. Knowles’ assertions that he is just a blue-collar guy with no bias, as he attempted to portray himself to the city council?

It appears that the Public Safety Commission relied in large part on Knowles’ data to rush to pass a motion to reduce the funding to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department by ten of sixty sworn deputies.  Did Nika Soon-Shiong dupe four of her colleagues on the Public Safety Commission with Knowles’ biased data, or were they in on the fraud perpetrated on West Hollywood?  One commissioner, Robert Oliver, attempted to explain his yes vote on the motion to defund but failed miserably in his double-speak comments to council.  I posed a question directly to him to inquire if he was duped, or if he was in on the fraud.  Those are the only two options. I got no response.  Oliver seeks a seat on the West Hollywood City Council.

In a clearly scripted exchange, Sepi Shyne asked Director of Public Safety Kristin Cook about the recent report ranking West Hollywood as one of the least safe cities in California.  Cook appeared to draw a paper from her stack and recited a prepared response to Shyne’s question.  Fascinating.  The exchange between Shyne and Cook questioned the report’s authors for their clear economic interest but did not question the veracity of the data, much of which comes from the FBI.

The agenda is clear, it’s not about holding the LASD accountable to a legitimate audit, but rather it is to defund.   Mayor Meister’s question to Ambrose Brooks clearly established that when she asked, “Ambrose, I have a question for you.  If we’re able to fund $3.4 million or $4 million to social services without reducing the sheriffs, are you OK with that?”   Brooks responded in the negative with highly qualified conditional caveats.

Let me be very clear.  They are attempting to conflate issues and use a legitimate exercise in accounting and audit to justify a radical fringe social agenda. They further attempt to muddy the narrative by seemingly pinning crime on homelessness, and thus their fix of increased spending on social services as the magic cure to our increased sense of feeling unsafe in our community.  We all know that there are multiple sources of crime, including by the homeless, by people who live here, and by people who come to this city to cause harm.  

We can offer these out-of-town, out-of-state and even out-of-country agitators many more millions of dollars for social programs, but their goal remains to defund the entity we entrust to keep us safe.  Their agenda is not about us, the residents of West Hollywood, it is about a national agenda for which West Hollywood is being used as a Petri dish.  I hope you will join me in standing up to say no.  We can have public safety AND we can increase funding for important and humane social programs for the unhoused in our community.

Will the city council rely on the biased analysis of a twitter echo chamber, completely unvetted by city staff, or will they take direction from us, the people who live across the street, in the neighborhood, and in the same city that they, too, call home.

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About Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg has been a resident of West Hollywood for 30 years.

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Rose
Rose
21 days ago

You DON’T cut Law Enforcement without having not just a plan, but an up and running alternative (be it policy, oversight or other form of local law enforcement)

A report or not, There must be action to address any/all issues before Horvath just cuts number of Law enforcement for WeHo

Mark H
Mark H
1 month ago

In a simple straight forward and effective way, you highlight the absurdity of what is going on with some council members and others at city Hall.
Thank you, Alan, for laying this out for everyone to read and clearly understand.
Frankly, I’m in disbelief and frustrated that we are even having this conversation.
I have never regretted a vote I’ve made, but I am regretting two now. I won’t make that same mistake again. I appreciate though that there are a couple cool heads on council and constituents like you with which to work.

West
1 month ago

During the course of my victims advocacy and grassroots activism, I’ve regularly engaged with PSC and even had a standing application for nearly four years.
Horvath and her ilk have relentlessly attempted to discredit me while blatantly perverting and co-opting issues I’ve been on the vanguard of. They have abused their positions to retaliate against any competent person that dare reveal them for the frauds and cowards they are.

No Fix It
No Fix It
1 month ago
Reply to  West

Please focus on your own well-being before trying to fix others.

West
1 month ago
Reply to  No Fix It

Good advice for all of us, anon

Last edited 1 month ago by West
Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago
Reply to  West

Perhaps you need a hobby.

West
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Love or hate me.. all that matters is that constituents are empowered to hold public servants accountable, for their electioneering and cronyism, and erosion of democratic processes.

Last edited 1 month ago by West
Wesley McDowell
Wesley McDowell
1 month ago

Everyone is so caught up in using the phrase defund the police, a term that no one is really taking seriously, rather than looking at how effective the high cost of the law enforcement we’re paying for really is. There has been no reduction in funding and yet there is a perception that there’s a rise in crime. Even the sheriff’s department statistics showed that most of the crime that we have is property crime and not personal. We need to keep the emotions, and personal epithets out, out and think rationally rather than just knee-jerk reactions.

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago

Tell that to the city council.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago

BRAVO, Alan!! Shyne, Erickson and Horvath along with their appointees are the worst thing to happen to our city in its history. Thank you for your commitment to our city and for opening our eyes to what is really going on.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

As a litigator I don’t even think Knowles qualifies as an expert witness; he is clearly partisan and he only sees “facts” though the lens of his political beliefs. If the Council members are so foolish as to engage him and embrace his conclusions, that is on them, City staff should not have to waste tax payer time and money dealing with this imposter. If you were not convinced that this defunding scheme is muddle headed, just watch the last Council meeting and listen to all of the out of town supporters the Council rounded up to testify. They were… Read more »

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Yes!

Jose
Jose
1 month ago

This is from 1991:
West Hollywood Citizens for Better Police Protection, which sponsored the ballot measure, argues that a city department would give residents more control over law enforcement and staffing. Critics, including much of the city’s political Establishment, claim that a switch would be too expensive.”
Here we are facing this issue with even greater urgency again, 31 years later.

Public Safety Commission Tonight
Public Safety Commission Tonight
1 month ago

Public Safety Commission meets tonight @ 6:00pm Viewable on Zoom/City Site. Plenty to comment upon.

Breach of Public Trust
Breach of Public Trust
1 month ago

Dump Kristin Cook. She’s just another overpaid worthless bureaucrat. Talk about overpaid civil servants. West Hollywood city hall is a cash cow for anyone who couldn’t survive in the real world. Time to investigate the entire corrupt city. The kickbacks, the pay for play, And on and on.

Ruth Williams
Ruth Williams
1 month ago

Your article was very concise and appreciated. First of all it should never have been agendized for discussion since it was not on the Agenda for discussion so the vote should not have taken place. Alan, I love your comments and would definitely give you my vote. And/Or I strongly suggest you put in a request to be on the PSC should a vacancy occur and if not for the November election.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago

Alan, thank you for the thorough research. “Will the city council rely on the biased analysis of a twitter echo chamber, completely unvetted by city staff, or will they take direction from us, the people who live across the street, in the neighborhood, and in the same city that they, too, call home.” – I don’t know that they will look at it that way. D’Amico requested an independent audit. I hope that is what they go off, and I hope that “us,” are also open-minded enough to review the results of that audit, which is necessary. I’d like to know… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

Currently our total social service budget is $5million; staff has proposed an additional $3.2 million to fund a new program that is supposed to be 24/7 when it has not been established that this program will be live up to the inflated expectations. While I am sure this program will provide some valuable benefits to some homeless people, but as one Public Safety Commissioner who opposed the de-funding stated, this is an outreach sending people to non-existent or overburdened programs so it is not likely to keep people off the street premanentaly. But we should start this program with maybe… Read more »

Public Safety Horrors
Public Safety Horrors
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Recent observations have revealed that the Socisl Services Program seems to be a glorified bureaucratic referral service. a DIY for folks in need, but fail to take responsibility for accomplishing their stated objectives. Their budget is $5Million and it would be nice to see an accounting or audit. They do not appear to be capable of any if the efforts “the defunders” purport them to be. To the contrary, the community had, at least 15-20 years ago the tools and framework for an effective swath of neighborhood eyes on the street and familiarity with law enforcement. It has evaporated, possibly… Read more »

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

Look at what the leaders of the defund movement did with the hundreds of millions of dollars they raked in. They bought a lavish real estate portfolio, including a $6 million dollar compound in Studio City, where they enjoy champagne and charcuterie and laugh while robberies and murders have skyrocketed.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10694547/BLMs-LA-mansion-bought-3-1m-sold-six-days-later-5-8m.html

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