PUBLIC COMMENT: Why public safety matters to small businesses like mine

Dear Councilmembers,

My store BlockParty is located at 8853 Santa Monica Blvd, in between Mickys and Revolver.    For many visiting West Hollywood it is the main general store celebrating our City and all our Pride.   We used to be open 7 days a week till 2am.  

BlockParty is a retail shop, not a bar, no outdoor patio buffer zone, no security guards.   If we had to add a security guard at 30$ per hour we would just close.   The store needs to do $200 an hour to break even, the additional cost would make it close to $300 per hour.   Our customers, our tourists, — that come to our city, are not only drinkers.   Some want to walk around and stumble into what is left of the community village.   And the Public Safety issues have made it hard to stop open.   

I’ve also been outspoken about the Public Safety issues and most of you know me.   Not as BlockParty, or YMLA, or WEHOville, but as a resident.   And as a disabled resident you cannot walk down the street.    I do not think with my pocket, or those businesses, I think with my heart and as a resident.   And some of you put politics ahead of public safety.    A few weeks back I reached out to all 5 of your concerning the ‘high fear’ experiences in front of my shop, and three council members responded.    Lindsey Horvath and John Erickson did not care to respond.    And that is unacceptable to me.   So you saw me at Council and you will see me again as a Resident.   You cannot walk down the street anymore.   It is too congested.   Bikes, scooters, dogs on leashes, the homeless, and outzones, and no enforcement.  A potpourri of drunks and flamboyance that  is often unmanageable.   Adding social service workers is not going to help.   Let’s begin by cleaning up the street, and letting the people flow.    

After hours needs police patrols.

We are opening a new store .. YMLA.. next to Sweat Yoga.    Interviewing employees gets responses like. “I dont want to work in that area’,  and current staff has ‘opted out’ of nightshifts.    I have nightmares of the day a nut comes to the city with a gun and starts shooting.  It’s getting crazier and crazier.  

While this council wants to develop policies to manage the crowds, it is better to implement practices that respect the right of way for pedestrians.   We have to create a space that people feel safe.   The only way is to be visible with police on foot and accessible.  

It was just a few months back that a stabbing occurred on Santa Monica at Palm,- and despite the fights in front of my shop and blood on the concrete there was no sheriff available.   If there was a third incident perhaps at the Abbey… there would be zero response, – the night  team is small —the crowds are big.   This is not an issue you tweak.   This is an issue that needs to be addressed with overwhelming force and incredible safety visibility.   We need more bodies not less bodies.

Its pretty crazy that we support the hotel workers, the hospital workers, but not the sheriff.  A sheriff deputy making 150k is nothing compared to their responsibility.    Payroll increases should apply to Public Safety increases in the budget.    About a year ago on a check of the West Hollywood budget.. you would see a city bragging that it only spent 23% of its budget on Public Safety, – and the Sheriff,    Beverly Hills was spending 35% or its budget on the same.    As a general law city we spend much less on our Public Safety than other surrounding cities.   Lets not brag about spending less then our neighbors on Public Safety and start to fund the Sheriff and Public Safety Programs at 30% of the budget.   Put our Public Safety First.    

Thanks,
Larry

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:dpb
:dpb
9 months ago

Thank you, Larry. Well laid out and concise. I’ve lived in West Hollywood for nearly 17 years. I’ve not really had safety as a personal concern until the last year. Living directly behind Pavilions once was a treat, now it’s a constant struggle with the homeless, their panhandling, their mental illness, their aggression, their use of the our yards, pavilions shrubs and emergency exit areas and former Starbucks patio as their bathroom facilities, sleeping quarters and bathing area. Last week I was accosted by a homeless man on the side walk in the Pavilions parking lot (on Pavilions property) while… Read more »

Jack Freeman
Jack Freeman
9 months ago

How about the holes in the sidewalks, the tons of tripping safety hazards, the broken lights and trashed light poles, the sloppy street and gutter painting, the eery street lighting, tagging everywhere, the filthy everything? Do goverment people walk the streets every few days to check on this? Oh, and the Outzones – at least they are a barrier to the crazy vehicles zooming around (particularly the Ubers and such). Putting the cars back next to the sidewalks – just welcoming more troubles. Go out at night and see real-time

WEHO Grifters
WEHO Grifters
9 months ago
Reply to  Jack Freeman

Look who is running the city. MD plus SHE. They only care about satisfying their pathetic egos and schlepping through their agendas. Horvath probably survives on pay for play from Developers, Erickson does “PR” for planned parenthood, D’Amico works for UCLA, Shyne is a lawyer-mind reader, and Meister, I guess; in “business.” A collection of clowns and City Hall bureaucrats Civil Servants Management are making big bucks. West Hollywood is so f–ked up! 

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
8 months ago
Reply to  Jack Freeman

Did you know that you can report holes in the sidewalks, tripping, safety hazards, broken lights trashed light poles dirty anything and eery street lighting online? They even report back to you when it is fixed, You can also track the current status of all requests. I use it all the time. It’s a great way for us citizens to get involved. Be the eyes and ears or your street. https://www.weho.org/services/services/service-requests

Fini
Fini
9 months ago

Larry, you are so right! Every time I rent a car at Enterprise at the Ramada there are homeless screaming and shouting at the intersection and in the hotel garage. I don’t envy anyone with a business. You need major security just to keep from being attacked by nutters, robbed by gang members or being hit by scooters.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
9 months ago

I’m going to repeat what I wrote in a prior post: get rid of half the overpaid Sheriff Deputies who mostly sit around all day doing nothing, and hire maybe 30 to 50 security guards, at $30 an hour, to patrol all of the sidewalks. When the need arises, those security guards can call the Sheriff for backup. We don’t need $400,000 net approximate cost per year per Sheriff deputy standing around doing nothing, which is mostly what we have now. I appreciate Larry Block’s honesty in his piece. So the answer to “how do we pay for foot patrols”,… Read more »

WEHO Grifters
WEHO Grifters
9 months ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

The deputies used to gather at the French Quarter for a 50% discount breakfast. There used to be motorcycle cops; they’re gone. They used to be on Laurel Canyon handing out tickets. They’re gone. Look at the LA Chief of Police; he’s another piece of work. LA County is bastion of one political party running it: Democrats or professional politicians… the only job they can get (LIndsey Horvath). Cops, of course, don’t live in WEHO; they aren’t stupid. So they won’t have to shop at the overrated Gelson’s that used to be the equivalent of Jensen’s in Palm Springs or the… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by WEHO Grifters
Wacky Weho
Wacky Weho
9 months ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

We should cheap out on upfront hiring costs and save the money for the city to pay for the string of inevitable lawsuits.

Pennywise pound foolish hogwash.

Nothing Like Success in Weho
Nothing Like Success in Weho
9 months ago

Has Ms. Horvath convinced all these folks that she “as the Mayor of West Hollywood” singular inspired and deserves responsibility for the brilliant success of the laboratory experiments she eludes to in her KCRW interview? Would it be disingenuous for her to let folks believe that the endorsements have only made campaign contributions as one does towards colleagues? What is really going on here and what is her legitimate real life occupation? Has anyone in the public ever seen evidence of her Hollywood Marketing Projects?

https://www.lindseyhorvath.com/endorsements1

:dpb
:dpb
9 months ago

Horvath is a lair and trash. She pulls weasel words like racism out of her mouth at the podium when anyone disagrees with her. She blocks public feedback and refuses to participate in meaningful discussion about West Hollywood. The woman is a coward, a user and will not consider the City of West Hollywood nor its residents in her political plans.

Leslie K
Leslie K
9 months ago

Well said Larry. It’s time to get rid of the outzones, get the scooters off the sidewalk and most importantly, put more sheriff’s deputies on foot and bike patrol.

Manny
Manny
9 months ago
Reply to  Leslie K

Hear! Hear!

:dpb
:dpb
9 months ago
Reply to  Leslie K

Exactly

Michael G Labarbera
Michael G Labarbera
9 months ago

Let the naysayers say nay all they like…Larry is RIGHT.

Nothing Like Success in Weho
Nothing Like Success in Weho
9 months ago

This 45 minute interview with KCRW seems to give the impression that most of these issues and more have been handled in West Hollywood, a local laboratory and incubator for success.

https://laist.com/events/meet-lindsey-horvath-a-virtual-event-with-a-los-angeles-county-supervisor-candidate

carleton cronin
9 months ago

Cops on foot patrol ?
That means today’s deputies would need to learn some new skills. Though it was seventy years ago when I walked beat in London, I remember how to do it- and I’d be pleased to help instruct LASD.

Wacky Weho
Wacky Weho
9 months ago

Cor blimey guv’nor, ‘dem rapscalions be packing 9mm semiautos: call the bobbies!

alex
alex
9 months ago

Larry – thank you for speaking out … you are a retailer with a vast history who truly knows from daily interactions the opportunities WeHo has toward safety. I stand with you … Our Sheriff’s need to be supported and not defunded as certain members of the Public Safety Commission have suggested.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
9 months ago
Reply to  alex

For the record, at the Feb. 14th meeting, the Public Safety Commission voted 5 to 2 to cut $3.2 million from the Sheriff’s department’s budget which would result in the loss of ten deputies, approximately 15% of the deputies that patrol our streets. Only one Council member, Lauren Meister, has disavowed this recommendation which the the City Council is going to consider later this year. The fact that the other four Council members have been silent on this issue is troubling to say the least.

Randy
Randy
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Steve, Perhaps I’m naive, but I’m trying not to read too much into their silence.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
9 months ago
Reply to  Randy

As it was their Public Safety Commissioners who voted to defund the Sheriff and the Council members’ silence on this issue naturally makes people assume that they favor it. This is probably one of the most significant decisions that impacts the quality of life that we have seen in years so people are looking for assurances that the streets will be safe. If I was one of them, I would be letting people know where I stood.

Bastian
Bastian
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Including Public Safety Commissioner, Robert Oliver who is running for City Council in November, let’s make sure he doesn’t win.

Eastside Straight Girl
Eastside Straight Girl
9 months ago

People that do not have any idea what it takes to run a business will always be on board at racing prices but most business’s are still holding on by their fingernails to survive! Thanks for writing this article Larry. What nobody talks about is how many people are fleeing CA and that affects business’s like mine that is client based. I had 70 clients move out of CA in the last two years. When you have the choice of rising costs in everything here in the LA area, then you have the crime rising to numbers none of us… Read more »

michaelz
michaelz
9 months ago

So true….thank you, Larry

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