OPINION | WeHo can’t fight anti-abortion zealots while supporting Block by Block

As the aftershocks of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade ripple across America, West Hollywood is taking a stronger stance in opposing legislation that runs contrary to the common values of its residents. 

In 1993, WeHo became the first city in the nation to declare itself pro-choice. Council has since taken aim at states such as Texas that have “anti-abortion laws, egregious voting rights restrictions, and legislation that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression” through resolutions that deter the city from doing business or traveling there.

But as WeHo leaders proclaim their progressive bona fides and the city cuts ties to conservative parts of the country, little attention has been paid to the Block by Block program and its origins in deep red America. 

Block by Block, which provides the security ambassadors the city has entrusted with the public’s safety, is owned by Mydatt Services, Inc., based in Nashville, Tenn.

Tennessee has some of the country’s strictest limits on abortion. Voters there passed a law in 2020 that bans abortions after a heartbeat can be detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy. Tennessee also requires people seeking an abortion to attend two physician appointments 48 hours apart, leaving virtually no window of opportunity for providers to offer abortion care. With Roe v. Wade struck down, the new law is finally going into effect this coming August.

WeHo recently redirected millions in tax dollars from the Sheriff’s Department toward Block by Block, which will add 30 ambassadors to its force over the next two years.

Block by Block and Mydatt Services are subsidiaries of SMS Holdings Company, a 20-year-old corporation with ties to Republican candidates and causes.

“Now more than ever before, we must take seriously our commitment to being a pro-choice city,” Councilmember Lindsey Horvath said when Roe v. Wade was struck down last month. “I will stand strong with our community … and fight like hell against life-threatening forced pregnancies and to ensure women’s rights and safety are protected.”

But will she? 

How can WeHo proclaim itself a champion of women when the organization it’s trusting to handle public safety is so problematic?

If Horvath and the city are serious about their commitment to protecting a woman’s right to choose, they must immediately rethink their relationship with Block by Block, whose parent company is based in a state that is intent on restricting bodily freedom and endangering vulnerable women.

And if WeHo is to remain America’s shining progressive city on a hill, it must back up the lofty soundbites of its elected officials with real action, and put its money where its mouth is — in this case, far away from the Block by Block program.

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Davedi
Davedi
29 days ago

Why are we worried about this? We need to add another color to the flag. Or maybe a symbol.

CP Danish
CP Danish
1 month ago

Anti-abortion zealots? Now that’s a real doozy. It’s the left and their childlike insistence that murdering a baby should somehow be a right afforded to anyone just by throwing a temper tantrum which is radical and zealous. How tragic that today’s Democrats/Progressives etc. have literally no capability of linear and consequential thinking and that they think they can justify any item on their goodie list by falsely claiming it is in the constitution. They are like angry pubescent teenagers! And no, this isn’t anyone trolling. Wake up and realize there ARE conservatives in Weho and in the gay community as… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by CP Danish
Randy
Randy
1 month ago

This is an opinion piece, listed as such. Who wrote it?

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
1 month ago

It’s pretty obvious what you are doing here, Shame on you.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

No woman who wants a safe and legal abortion is going to be denied one. In some states she might not be able to get it on her lunch break, and it might mean hopping on a Greyhound bus, but she will be able to get it.

The only thing that has changed is that SCOTUS determined that this is a state’s rights issue and should never have been decided in a federal court. They merely corrected that error.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

If you live in the deep south, you could potentially be spending more than 24 hours on that Greyhound bus. If things go as conservatives want them to, you won’t be able to get an abortion, without extreme restrictions, from about Missouri, to Virginia, and everything below that. Everything. You might live in Alabama, or Arkansas, and have to make a several hundred mile trip to Chicago, or New York City. Maybe not quite that far. But very far. And you might not make enough money to even pay for the gas, let alone the time off. Regarding abortion, and… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

This has nothing to do with fairness, nor does it have anything to do with the personal feelings about abortion. It has to do with being true to the Constitution. Abortion rights cannot be found in federal law but is clearly an issue to be considered by the states. The state legislatures will probably decide how their state will deal with abortion until it can be brought to a vote by the people who will then determine, by majority vote, how their state will operate going forward from there. Consider this example to illustrate: If the lady down the street… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Gimmeabreak
Live up to your name
Live up to your name
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Your comments on this topic are ignorant and trivialize the impact. The Supreme Court overturned 50 years of precedent and now has issues because it is not up to states to individually define when life begins. Women have and are being denied the right to abortions across the country. Your lunch break comment is also ridiculous. Many women have reasons that traveling out of state is an issue including being working mothers and working multiple jobs. Some need an abortion because of abuse and/or rape. Do you think it is easy to just pick up and disappear for a couple… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

See my Reply to Randy above.

Yes, I am adding something new to this topic. Everybody else is being emotional, but I am explaining the law. Your premise is wrong.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

Good grief. Nice job worrying about the wrong thing.

Eastside Straight Girl
Eastside Straight Girl
1 month ago

I really don’t care where Block by Block originated from….I care about results! So many people on this paper have made fun of them, trashed them, and have downright made them look like fools. Until you have lived on the Eastside of WeHo and actually experienced the extreme high crime, the elements of the homeless with all that it entails…shall I get graphic?, no I won’t but until you actually watch the transformation like I did over the years, you will not be convinced that they are & have been so helpful to our community. The Eastside was overtaken a… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Eastside Straight Girl
Jim herron
Jim herron
1 month ago

If Mydatt Services in Nashville is found to have generous financial donations to abhorrent conservative politicians and causes, this should course our so called progressive Trinity, implementing decisions that effect our citizens public safety to take a stand much like Chase and other corporations did in divesting in Diamond mining in Africa perpetrated on the backs of near slave labor conditions. Congrats on the editorial shining light on a potential minefield of issues.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim herron

They haven’t. Go to open secrets and you’ll see they explicitly say the organization hasn’t donated a dime. Only employees or even just *family members* of employees have donated any money.

Good grief
Good grief
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

What’s the difference it’s like the Mani brothers or Jason Iloulien family bundling dollars and saying its separate. They are all lily white republicans in deep red territory surely we can do better .

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Good grief

What’s the difference?!

There are people donating to republicans in every corner of the country. Our neighbor to the west overwhelmingly voted for Trump in 2020. Should we boycott Beverly Hills too?

Davedi
Davedi
29 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

If you look at their beautiful city maybe they were onto something.

West
27 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Wtf I love greeneyedguy now

Curious
Curious
1 month ago

Is it possible for wehoville to confirm the other instances where West Hollywood has banned travel or business with Florida or Texas or other places that do not support abortion rights or gay marriage, or trans rights. It’s incredible that Sepi Shyne and Lindsey Horvath would vote to defund our sheriff and send our public safety dollars to communities that do not support our values.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago

I don’t think this is a great argument. Villanueva is definitely a Republican, as are many people in law enforcement, and they could use the same logic to defund. Or, someone could say that they’re all Republicans, but at least Block by Block doesn’t have deputy gangs.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Villanueva’s pockets are not being lined. Block by Block is a profit-making corporation. It matters where public money is being spent in profit-making private enterprises where executives have values anathema to what this city and this council hold out as community values of West Hollywood.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Completely understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think this is the best route right now. I think we should focus on the approach being used to improve safety, and Block by Block isn’t exactly effective, regardless of who it’s owned by. Maybe that’s not how politics work, and I’m missing something though.

Weho is a joke
Weho is a joke
1 month ago

Checking the website they are pickers up of garbage in other cities. These are not cops and they don’t have any special training.

BlueEyedGayWasp
BlueEyedGayWasp
1 month ago

The “Ambassadors” concept is everywhere and even on Los Angeles rapid transit in liberal Southern California. The argument over the orientation is ridiculous. What about Planned Parenthood? Should it be abandoned because of its founder, the so-called racist Margaret Sanger? As for Roe, Councilmember Sepi Shyne wanted to name the West Hollywood Library after Justice Ginsberg. But considering all the hullabaloo and grandstanding by political activists in WEHO regarding the recent Supreme Court decision, Shyne most likely wouldn’t be making that proposal today. Justice Ginsburg thought Roe was the wrong case to settle the abortion issue. She would have preferred a… Read more »

West
1 month ago

Great addition to the discussion. Sanger was even featured on weho street banners during womens history month as recently as last year.. alongside Michelle Obama & Hilary Clinton (while both Clintons’ ties to Epstein were all over the media). Notably, Melanie Trump, the first immigrant First Lady, was excluded.

Does CC truly care about reflecting our residents’ values, or just thrusting their own political partisanship down our throats?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  West

There were two immigrants who were First Ladies. Louisa Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, was the first. Melania was the second. All other First Ladies were born in the US or in one of the thirteen original colonies. Louisa was also not included in the banners. It would be a curious exercise to see who selects the honorees in any number of WeHo PC/Woke campaigns.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Let’s hope one of the banners is for Ruth Williams, our longest serving Public Safety Commissioner. Unfortunately Ruth’s outspoken opposition to de-funding the Sheriff will probably render her ineligible.

West
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Thanks for correction. I think WAB oversaw the selection

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  West

“Melanie Trump” 🤣
Why do you think this city would ever acknowledge someone has vile as her?

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Okay, what did Melania do?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

I was thinking West counted Mrs. Trump’s exclusion as a good thing…..

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  West

West, I appreciate that you keep reminding us that history is messy.

West
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Thanks for your civility Steve

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