ALAN STRASBURG: Residents, now is the time to speak up

The City Council will debate, consider, and vote on the CityManager’s two-year budget proposal at Monday’s regular meeting. If history is prologue, this meeting will be inundated with comments, both written and in-person, purporting to represent this community.  Those voices will yell and scream about “community demands” to reallocate $3.2 million from the public safety budget to social services.  The community’sdemands can only be ascertained by listening to those who live and vote in West Hollywood.

The commentary that follows is general in nature, and many of the dots are connected and names are used in my previous op-eds, https://wehoville.com/2022/04/01/op-ed-the-hijacking-of-west-hollywood/ and https://wehoville.com/2022/04/11/op-ed-the-hijacking-continues/

The narrative in this city has been consumed in recent months by lies, manipulations, mischaracterizations and personal agenda of folks who have lived in this city for five minutes, or do not even live within our borders.  When challenged on the geographic genesis of many of the form letters that have been sent to council in recent meetings, one public safety commissioner admitted to me that she does not check the addresses of those who respond to her nifty call-to-action kits she posts in her Twitter echo chamber. Such an exercise would yield an inconvenient truth.

The art of their debate seems to be to conflate and obfuscate.   The LASD has gangs, they say, so defund WEHO—how about investigating the gangs?   The LASD has a public relations staff and budget, so defund WEHO?  The LASD has solved only two cell phone thefts—so defund WEHO by cherry-picking that one statistic?  There are more examples of the rapidly changing justifications for their defund campaign.  I think it all comes down to one person who has a personal beef with Alex Villanueva, so let’s defund WEHO and use our public safety as a pawn in that personal vendetta?  It is complete bullpucky.

There are plenty of outside forces complementing those efforts, including a DC-based lawyer with a national agenda for which the current WEHO crisis is a perfect petri dish, and a “data scientist” who attempted to foist upon this city what he and his organization claim to be “unbiased” reports, and whose connections to radical toxic ideological forces outside of West Hollywood make clear his own political agenda.  There is evenone regular agitator at council meetings who does not live in West Hollywood who steadfastly refuses consideration of proposals that we can maintain the public safety budget AND increase social services spending.

Unlike the Twitter echo chambers of the invading forces, I’m not going to provide a fill-in-the-blank form letter, but I implore you to share your thoughts at publiccomment@weho.org, including sharing anecdotes from your own conversations with friends and neighbors.  Use your name, highlight how long you’ve lived here, and share your real address if you’re comfortable doing so.

On Monday evening, the entire council has a chance to show its true colors.  Will they listen to and represent the interest of us, the residents of West Hollywood, or will they be duped into doing the bidding for those forces outside our borders who do not live our daily experience.

It is time to put to rest the civic angst occasioned by the ill-informed motion to defund, indeed, even public safety commissioners have expressed a change in tone since their votes for the motion to defund.  It’s time to move forward as the solidly progressive-leaning community that we have always been.  It’s time to demand that outside agitators and the five-minute crowd have a modicum of respect for the people who built this city and worked their entrails off to create spaces for all, and to ensure those spaces are safe for all.

Stay informed on the machinations of the manipulators, including, sadly, those in the city bureaucracy.  Know what’s happening in the city bureaucracy and connect the dots and follow the money.  Make your voice heard, today and always.

Will council do the right thing, or will they exacerbate the civic angst and sow increasing division in our tiny 1.9 square mile hamlet?  Speak up!

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

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Eastside Straight Girl
Eastside Straight Girl
1 month ago

City after city across this great country have proven over & over again that defunding the police departments DOES NOT WORK! In fact, crime has gone up because of it, which has forced these cities to reinstate the police departments and put MORE funding to combat crime. This is a typical far left tactic to keep us in fear, take away our rights away as citizens, all along putting the rights of the mentally ill & criminals first & foremost above & beyond the law abiding citizens. We are suppose to take the brunt while they continue their experiment on… Read more »

VOTE IN NOVEMBER
VOTE IN NOVEMBER
1 month ago

We need to vote in November for the candidates that have supported fully funding the sheriffs all along and have vowed to RE-FUND the sheriffs Those candidates are Meister, Duran and Martin. This will undo what the current council’s vote that defunded the sheriffs.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 month ago
Geoffrey Buck
Geoffrey Buck
1 month ago

The city council is doing its best in making the city not a place to visit, come to shop. or make a business. Defunding the police , inviting the homeless into the heart of the city, increasing the sales tax to 10.25%, mandating the highest minimum wage in probably the country, and more. With Gascon a the District Attorney. Criminals know they won’t be held accountable. You don’t need a degree in economics to know that these policies are not just hurting economic development but the very lives of Weho residents. People who vote to continue these policies are voting… Read more »

Ols Fashioned Police Work
Ols Fashioned Police Work
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Buck

Everything you stated is correct. Unfortunately folks preaching these discordant policies have apparently never lived in a fully functioning community. Current City staff and certain council members parrot these claims as staff functions in silos while being residents of other areas and the negligent council members are preaching their own misguided policies being maladjusted from the get go. They are simply interested in winning the us vs. other controversies.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Buck

West Hollywood voters voted in the sales tax increase, in 2020. The city put it on the ballot, but people didn’t have to vote for it, if they didn’t want it. It passed by 73%, a huge margin.

Last edited 1 month ago by Randy
Larry Block
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

We were told by the city council and city manager at the time that if we did not approve the measure, with the funds for weho, the county would levy the funds and west hollywood would lose out. That premise has proved untrue so far.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Larry Block

I don’t remember that part. Of the 17K people who voted for it, how many pay attention to city politics, watch Council meetings, etc.? A small percentage. This seems to be how it was sold to the residents. I don’t remember how it was described on the ballot, or in the voter guide. They said it would be used for: Addressing homelessness Expanding health and mental health services Retaining local businesses and jobs Keeping public areas clean and safe Maintaining HIV and AIDS health services Supporting disaster preparedness Sounds like a bunch of bull. I wonder if they increased budgets… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Randy
Larry Block
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

Yes…for those who listened close to the video tape, then City Manager Paul Arevalo presented it as a do it or lose it proposition.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  Larry Block

yup,

Randy
Randy
1 month ago

Why can’t we leave the Sheriff contract budget alone, or maybe even increase it? And increase funding for social services. I believe the city revenue has gone up, and closed the budget gap that they proposed last June. Also, inflation has created a situation where the city gets more sales tax revenue.

There are many issues with our local Sheriff department that should also be dealt with. People have been begging for foot patrols, or bicycle cops. Especially in the late night hours. There are other problems as well.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago

Bravo, Alan. BRAVO!!! 👏👏👏

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

While I want to think that the City Council will have enough common sense to follow the City Manager’s prudent recommendation regarding staffing of the Sheriff, it is hard to say how they will respond to the full court press we are going to see tomorrow night by the “De-Fund the Sheriffs” crowd. At minimum the City Council should at least restore Sheriff’s staffing to the pre-COVID levels in order to insure the safety of residents and the visitors who insure we have a healthy budget. If we were serious about public safety we would be trying to create Sheriff’s… Read more »

Old Fashioned Police Work
Old Fashioned Police Work
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

SF DA was recently recalled after pushing a similar strategy. WEHO could use old fashioned police work which was generally effective.

City Meetings & City Hall Not Fully Open
City Meetings & City Hall Not Fully Open
1 month ago

Please notice Item 2.E. on the City Council Agenda Monday evening that allows for continued use of Teleconference Meetings for the City Brown Act Meetings under AB361 as the Statewide Emergency is stated to “still exist” as it relates to state and local social distancing.

Question is if the city is still in a State of Emergency, why is it most apparent with the functioning of City Hall and related meetings and not out in the general public? They apparently claim that they do not have the infrastructure in place to do otherwise.

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