OP/ED: It’s not racist to say Nika Soon-Shiong is hurting West Hollywood

“To put that responsibility solely on the shoulders of one commissioner is rooted in racism,  sexism and othering of people in community who have a different point of view, and it’s  unacceptable.” — West Hollywood Councilmember Horvath during the Regular City Council  Meeting of Monday, April 4, 2022. 

My senior year at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, I  co-founded a LGBTQ film festival. Our guest artists included Tony Award-winners Terrence  McNally and Joe Mantello. I even got New Line Cinema to donate a 25th anniversary print of  Pink Flamingos for the show and our archives. It was a great success. When the Raleigh News  and Observer asked Senator Jesse Helms about our film festival (which included a documentary  about him) he refused to comment on what “those people” do. I think we all know what he meant  by “those people.” A sitting United States Senator called me a faggot. At best. And now a West  Hollywood Councilmember has called me a racist.  

I am against the proposal passed by the Public Safety Commission to cut ten deputies from our  Sheriff’s contract. This idea originated with Commissioner Nika Soon-Shiong and she is the  driving force behind it. I am against it because it is a bad idea during a time of rising crime.  That does not make me a racist, it makes me a realist. Sorry, not only a racist but apparently a  misogynist who practices othering too.  

West Hollywood is a special place where the LGBTQ community can be free and safe because it  was made for us. I grew up gay in rural America in the 80s and 90s so I know what it is like to  feel unsafe because of who you are while just walking down the street. My husband and I have  chosen to live in West Hollywood for 17 years largely because we know the value of the safety it  promises for us as gay men.

When my area of West Hollywood on the eastside started to become  unsafe, I started a neighborhood watch group for my street. Since then, things have gotten worse.  A few weeks ago, a man was stabbed in the chest on my block.

Within half a mile of me there  has been at least one murder, another stabbing, at least one rape, and more, within the last year or  so. Yet the supporters of Commissioner Soon-Shiong’s proposal have flooded social media with  misrepresentations of the level of crime, and even outright denials that it has increased at all. 

At the city council meeting where Councilmember Horvath called me a racist misogynist guilty  of othering, she herself attempted to brush off the severity of the crime wave by saying that many  of the felony robberies are just cell phones being stolen and that this is only a felony now  because cell phones cost more than they did years ago.

See, it only appears that serious crime is  up because what the criminals are stealing from you costs more than it used to. Also, that term Follow Home Crimes “… suggest people are being followed to their homes. But in speaking  with the Sheriff’s Department before this meeting, they indicated it’s not that people are being  followed home, they’re being followed when they leave an establishment. Wording matters.”

This is what an ideological decision in search of reasoning looks like. Being followed by a  criminal in West Hollywood apparently doesn’t matter unless they make it all the way home with  you. 

Safety is a LGBTQ right. Security is a LGBTQ right. If I’m beaten up in my community because  I’m gay or because someone wants my wallet, it feels pretty much the same. Even if they do it on  my way home and not at my home. 

Using the Councilmember’s logic should I accuse her of homophobia? After all, she is  underplaying the level of danger to me in what is supposed to be a safe haven for queer people. And she is doing this to justify what is at best an ill-timed cut to the police who are here, in part,  to keep us all safe. No. I don’t believe she is a homophobe any more than I believe I am a racist  or a misogynist.  

But I am guilty of othering. Othering is a nifty neologism because it can mean so much that it  can be effectively tossed around to fit many a situation of outrage. 

John A Powell says that “Othering is not about liking of disliking someone. It is based on the  conscious or unconscious assumption that a certain identified group poses a threat to the  favoured group.” I grew up poor. I’ve been hungry.

We didn’t even have a car or a telephone for  years when I was a kid. In this case I, me, my family, my neighbors, are the “favoured group”  and Commissioner Soon-Shiong, as the daughter of a billionaire with sudden power in my city  government, and a fervent desire to implement changes in that government which I feel will  make my group less safe, is the “threat.”  

I have good cause to be wary of the children of privilege in power. I always assume they are  given these positions not because of merit but because of the wealth into which they were born.  I’ve lived through W. I’ve lived through Trump.

If they had been born poor, or even middle  class, no one would have ever even heard of them. Despite the immense damage they have been  able to do once in power they do not have the ability to have attained their positions in the  world if it were not for the wealth and power given to them at birth.  

We do not need a WeHo Ivanka.  

Actions matter. Are my “othering” assumptions about Commissioner Soon-Shiong wrong? So  far, her actions tell me they are not. Let me make clear that while I find her proposal  misguided, I do not see her as a threat. I am just quoting the definition of othering in using that  word. 

But I would like an apology from Councilmember Horvath.

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About George Nickle
Nickle is Co-Captain of the WeHo Eastside Neighborhood Watch Group. He and his husband have lived on Norton Ave. in West Hollywood for 17 years.

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[…] “WeHo Ivanka” by one West Hollywood activist, Soon-Shiong, a Stanford grad, was appointed to the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety […]

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago

The fact that we have to have an Op-Ed about this is peak 2022…or leftism…or West Hollywood.

It is not racist to say the person driving the insane train is driving the insane train.

Chloe Ross
1 month ago

Nika Soon-Shiong IS Asian American; she is the daughter of a billionaire and he owns a newspaper of influence.They are both who they are.. The attitude in terms of what is okay to mention (when it’s construed as GOOD and what is RACIST, when it NOT GOOD) is situational crap. If she was not rich, and not Asian I doubt a comment would be made. It is a sad fact that this planet – coughing drying,melting, used and abused, is now discovering the facts about the “haves and the “have nots”. And their various ethnicity iThey exist in every country.… Read more »

Madness
Madness
1 month ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

Thanks for making the comment which alludes most on this site. Getting immersed with ad hominem attacks serves no purpose to anyone. Stick to the facts folks, challenge and discard false information find solutions and move forward.

We as a community have problems to solve and scrutinize folks seeking office or appointment. Until we wake up there will be more of the same petty, divisive self interest causes perpetually disguised as sheep.

Madness
Madness
1 month ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

Eludes…….spell check alarm🙄

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

If Nika Soon-Shiong was conservative and spoke out against the riots and in defense of, say, Kyle Rittenhouse, attacking her positions and even her character would not be “racist” or “sexist” to the average denizen of this city.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago

Congratulations, she tweeted your comment. If she didn’t before, and she probably did, she thinks we’re a joke. She really has no desire to serve the people of West Hollywood as a commissioner.

Davedi
Davedi
1 month ago

It’s racist to have a difference of opinion with anyone outside your race. Okay to be more specific, if you are white, then anyone of a different race. It doesn’t go both ways. Try and keep up with progressives will you.

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Davedi

This is transphobic because I said so. I have no proof but will use this to libel your character and destroy your life because you don’t support the Current Thing.

Reid Tucker
Reid Tucker
1 month ago

It’s incredible to me to see this site swing so far right that we get these opinion articles defending what is clearly racist remarks directed at an Asian woman. Color it however you want but the core of these attacks are racist.

Chloe Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Reid Tucker

Left to right. How old are you. Remove the ethnicity…okay. Might as well remove the gender too. Is she straight or gay or other -let’s get rid of that. short, tall. What does she wear. Schooling, religion? This is the why the ball is rolling down the planet so everyone can’t be anyone unless you adjectivize it completely. And her parents? What about them. Leftist, rightist, religious —oh maybe Presbyterian? Dental work? Hairstyle. Do they bite their nails? Pets? This can go on and on and on. Right and left used to.be fairly straightforward – and not all that charming;… Read more »

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

How dare you brush your teeth!

Madness
Madness
1 month ago
Reply to  Chloe Ross

Thanks again Chloe for stepping into this. So agree and was thinking how the insults and epithets are the hallmark of lazy minds and flawed persons. Social media has advanced this useless technique and position creating an atmosphere of useless dialogue until it is no longer useless but as we see on a national and international scene exceedingly dangerous. It’s the breakdown of society word by work. We’ve seen it before and have not learned so we use the same lethal technique again in search of magical solutions. Several years ago the office manager of an exceptional architect asked my… Read more »

Mark reese
1 month ago

Isn’t Nikki’s strategy to redirect the money to effective solutions? The status quo isn’t working. Why throw more money at it? How about a new contract for police serviced from, say, Huntington Beach? She is correct….and yes her family is rich. But who cares? She is correct. Stop wasting money and funds on dictatorial law enforcement. I demand democracy in law enforcement. This city is rich and influential. There is no excuse.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mark reese
WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark reese

You don’t get it. West Hollywood needs more police not less!

disagree
disagree
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark reese

You don’t sway me with these trite arguments. Chances are that your friend is wrong and the rest of are right on this.

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark reese

LOL

Kevin
Kevin
1 month ago

Thank you so much for voicing the feelings that I think so many other of we residents share!

Joe
1 month ago

If someone steals a cell phone or anything else from you, regardless of what it costs they should be arrested for a felony.

Follow from an establishment or follow to your home? Who cares? Both are a violation of that person violates you.

Get the criminals off the streets

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Since most cell phones cost north of $1,000, it’s a felony regardless. Lower the threshold to $600 and recall George Gascon.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

What an annoying idiot. I swear to God, her generation is going to get us all killed with their naivety. She really has blood on her spoiled hands at this point.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

LOL. So true.

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

I wish they were naive. They’re cultists, and they’re doomsday cultists at that, but rather than preparing for and trying to survive it, they want to bring it down on our heads!

Danny
Danny
1 month ago

Here is the dude who identified and caught the terrorist yesterday. Not one of the 35,000 cops that eat up billions of tax payer dollars.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CcTVPOfgwiE/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Crime stoppers
Crime stoppers
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

What a ridiculous post. Frequently ordinary citizens come forward and participate in solving crimes. Would you be one of the individuals advocating general gun ownership so residents could take public safety into their own hands? Hoards of individual vigilantes, that would be nice, and you soon would be. calling the police/sheriff for protection.

When we are in our way to a generally lawless society that is exactly the wrong time to limit law and order.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

Who provided the services needed to trace the rental van key found at the scene to the rental van that was in the name of the alleged shooter and thus locate photos to share with the public? I applaud the citizen who acted on the result of the work of sworn officers. That’s exactly why law enforcement puts out that information. The system worked. A man called in a tip and the police arrested him.

Huey Long
Huey Long
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

None of the subway cameras worked. Because for the past 8 years New York was run by one of the worst mayors, a socialist Democrat, just like Lost Angeles. Of course someone found the guy. Who turns in murderers, witnesses. Who is paying you off… Oliver, Erickson or Horvath? Oliver looks like he doesn’t have a job and we know Horvath has been living off handouts by her old crony developers.

Crime stoppers
Crime stoppers
1 month ago
Reply to  Huey Long

Please get your facts straight. The statement about the cameras is false. Please find a credible news source and remember it. It may save your life someday.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Huey Long

Huey, how are things up there in Simi Valley?

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

What an asinine comment.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

None of the news reports say a thing about this guy. The suspect himself called the police and told them where he could be found to be picked up.

Facts straight
Facts straight
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

In addition to Zach who didn’t catch the perp but recognized him, the shooter called himself in because he’d been identified by the police. Do you think criminals should identify and arrest themselves?

Your anger at police officers seems deep and misdirected. Wonder what you do and how often you put yourself in harms way to protect other people.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2022/04/13/us/brooklyn-subway-shooting-wednesday/index.html

Davedi
Davedi
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

Oh, so we don’t need police because a concerned citizen helped out in this case. That is a rarity. Watch the news and take a look at how many people just stand around and whip their phones out during attacks on innocent people.

alex
alex
1 month ago

Monday Night was the WeHo Public Safety Commission … I am still recovering from listening to the commissioners. Most commissioner were fighting the use of security cameras which in WeHo I believe are at 1 intersection. Beverly Hills has 1,900 security cameras. NYC Yesterday could not have reconstructed the crime … I really would hope that Public Safety Commissioners would do Sheriff Ride Alongs and start to understand how we can prevent future crimes rather than fight the system we presently have to protect our city.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  alex

Yes, the more cameras the better. I don’t know why they are hell bent on protecting criminals.

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

That’s exactly it. They are hell bent on protecting criminals and protecting their voters.

Last edited 1 month ago by WehoFan
Davedi
Davedi
1 month ago
Reply to  alex

Duran was against them too. But he was more scared of getting caught on camera going down on some stranger in the park.

First Amendment
First Amendment
1 month ago

Yesterday, in the Ramada Inn garage, there was a homeless guy screaming. I saw another incident at CVS. The guy was threatening people. Obviously, these are people who should be in an institution. But the totally corrupt state of California has done nothing about this. Except spend money to civil servants who do absolutely nothing. So what we saw on Monday night at the safety commission was just a lot of blabber and claptrap from the Woke appointees. Two of them who have barely lived here over a year. The city is not an insane asylum except for the citizens… Read more »

Evelyn Goode
Evelyn Goode
1 month ago

That’s because NIka will hide behind her family bodyguards, and Horvath will have moved on to her County seat – both safe from the insanity the will have brought forth on West Hollywood.

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