Tod Hallman, new chairperson of WeHo’s Public Safety Commission, chastised a recent WEHOville report on the past homicide conviction and prison sentence of one of the city’s top safety officials during City Council’s meeting Monday night.
Shea Gibson, the operations manager of the Block by Block security ambassadors program, was convicted of manslaughter in the late 1990s and served more than eight years in a Georgia prison. Councilmember Lindsey Horvath and other city officials have known this since at least Fall 2021, when an unnamed security ambassador informed them via email. The general public was left in the dark.
“When outgoing manager David Aguilar introduced me to Shea Gibson, I had full confidence that we were in good hands and he understood what was going on in our city,” Hallman told the Council. “And I ask that you let him continue, because this is important. Shea did his time. He paid his debt to society. And this recent hit job on him, I consider to be racist. As a black male who has lived in this city for over 30 years, it is racist. And for those who think this is West Hollywood and we don’t have racism — wake up. I’ve experienced it. This man deserves the right to go on with his life and be the amazing leader that he has been our security ambassadors.”
The WEHOville article made no mention of Gibson’s race, but it was used as source in separate stories published by national conservative media outlets that did.
It’s not the first time charges of racism have echoed through council chambers this year.
This past spring, Councilmember Horvath berated members of the public who questioned the wisdom and motives of her friend and appointee, Public Safety Commissioner Nika Soon-Shiong, as they pushed for a reduction in the sheriff’s budget.
“I find it disgusting the way that she has been vilified in local blogs and demonized for offering an alternative point of view,” Horvath said. “To put that responsibility solely on this on the shoulders of one commissioner is rooted in racism and othering of people and community who have a different point of view.”
During Monday night’s meeting, City Manager David Wilson read an official statement from the City of West Hollywood on Shea Gibson:
“Community Safety is the City’s top priority, and the city takes seriously its judiciary obligations to ensure that contract vendors meet legal requirements and ethical standards. … Regarding background checks, the RFP process by which Block by Block was selected, includes specific requirements for adherence to guidelines established by the US Equal Employment opportunity Commission. Block by Block has responded in a statement that it complies with state law in not taking into consideration criminal convictions older than seven years. The city respects Block by Block adherence to State Law on this matter.”
Former Councilmember Steve Martin, an advocate for the Block by Block program, thought Gibson had become entangled in the crossfires of a different debate — whether or not to decrease the sheriff’s budget.
“I don’t think you really have a handle on just how disappointed, angry and betrayed people feel,” Martin told Council. “We are not a poor city. We could have afforded to fully fund the sheriff and provide the Mental Health outreach team. We could have also expanded Block by Block. But we chose not to. That is not, in the public’s view, putting their safety first. That’s putting politics first. …. People are viewing it as, Block by Block is getting a break at the expense of the sheriff. And that’s probably not a good way to look at it, but that’s what’s going on. Because people don’t believe you. Your credibility on this issue is affecting your credibility on all issues.”
[…] history, many others came to his defense. The chairman of WeHo’s Public Safety Commission called the coverage racist. The story was later picked up by national conservative media such as Breitbart.com, further […]
Steve Martin’s comments quoted at the end of the article really sum up our local mood. His observation cuts through the visceral anger the council has brought upon itself with its recent decisions. Steve sure nailed how I’ve been feeling. He’s correct when he says the council has no credibility on these issues. I no longer believe or trust the council majority.
past homicide conviction and prison sentence DUH! It does not matter if a person is red, white, yellow, black or blue, if they have a past homicide conviction and prison sentence then they should not be in government! Period, They would be hard pressed to find a job with these benefits and salary in the private sector?
What do you expect from the progressive left that deems math racist along with showing up on time at work.
I think all this whitesplaining in the comments represents well the city I wrote about in a five part series outlining the city’s history as White’s Hollywood.
Bet y’all didn’t know that’s what you’re called below Pico and east of La Brea.
After seeing what my black husband went through in that town I will never again see that city as other than White’s Hollywood.
But it’s always fun to watch the whites squirm when they caught by their short curlies.
And ironically, this comment smacks of white entitlement and racism. Heal yourself!
It’s strange to find someone so caught up in themselves that they see anti-racist observations by white people about their black spouse’s experiences as racist.
I work diligently to fight racism. Most of my family suffers from the type of systemic and endemic racism (often subconscious) represented by these views.
I don’t know what color you are, because you hide your identity, but you might investigate the feelings that led you to decry observations of racism as racist.
Next time man up, put your big boy pants on and maybe, just MAYBE, someone will take your observations seriously.
You paint all white people, indeed an entire city as white racists because of past experiences of your husband. That is racist, and beneath anyone who truly believes in fighting the stupidity of color or race.
At the end of the day EVERYONE came from the same place and people….Africa.
Some left home earlier than others and changed a bit, but the blood and DNA is a 100% match.
There is a way to address racism without painting a group of people with the same stroke of the brush.
I don’t call the place Whites Hollywood, the POC living outside it see it that way. It’s a bastion of whiteness in a sea of diversity. Three percent of the city is Black. Almost 18% in Hollywood – six times as many. Do you have any idea why? Is it because West Hollywood is unwelcoming? Or because blacks don’t feel welcome? Gosh, same question! Being denied housing and services happens with great regularity in both West Hollywood and my new seaside community. There is an unofficial ban on renting to Black people south of 22nd St here. Just as there… Read more »
You may as well call it WATTS HOLLYWOOD
Aren’t YOU the racist!
You don’t even bother hiding it.
You only hide behind a made-up name because if people saw you on the street they’d spit on you for your yak-yak.
Not helpful or charming.
Perhaps you and your husband should try being charming and unauthentic. Carrying around a perpetual grievance is not an easy way to resolution. Try charm without attitude.
That was “ charming and authentic”…..
Perhaps you could walk in our shoes for one of those days of the 12 years we lived in West Hollywood and were denied services, discriminated against and watched closely in stores because of racist merchants…
Would find that charming, I would find that charming indeed.
Penny, or Patty, or Claude or Joe-bob
Oh dear God, we have a WHITE man who has become black because his husband is black (all you get is a small taste). Check your fake indignation at the border of delusionland. You think just because you are associated with a black person you can feel, or live the depth of racism in this country? You sound like a Klanner with your raw generalizations about an entire city or group of people. The “City’s History” or your Democratic Party’s history? How about you do a five parter on THAT! Hollywood and America has and is changing away from Democrat’s… Read more »
Can’t tell if you are white, Ian, or Buffy, or whatever your family knows you as. Hollywood has done much to overcome white bigotry – 18% of their population, higher than the 13% national rate – is Black. And yes, Democrats were once the party of slavery while Republicans were once the party of Black support. Times changed and people shifted party alliegances six decades ago based on civil rights. That’s sixty (60) years ago. I know racism when I see it. My hometown, which by now you know I wrote an extensive history of (it’s a vitally important settlement… Read more »
Another charming tactic instead of a solution. 🙄
Let’s discuss tactics versus solutions.
What solution exists in your reply?
You’ll need to spell that out because it doesn’t appear obvious.
Not here to tell people how to live their lives but trouble often starts on the inside and radiates outward. Some introspection is required. My grandmother once said “if the wrong people keep arriving at your doorstep one should consider what the doormat says”.
Let’s just agree that not even you think you’re a serious person.
If you thought you were a serious person, you would make your identity known to us.
What is it you’re ashamed of?
An aggrieved person always looking for trouble will find it and darken the lives of others along the path. Peace!
Anonymous trolls seldom expose their identity.
You do not see yourself as serious; why should I?
Perhaps you shouldn’t as you appear to be without any self respect.
Self respect begins with seff regard. I hold my thoughts in high enough regard that I’ll identify myself. You don’t seem to believe that your comments are serious enough to reflect your regard for yourself, so you won’t identify yourself. But let’s move on, as you seem to wish to litigate the matter thoroughly. You suggested that racist treatment was meted out because of a lack of charm. Since you have struck on the solution for the nation’s acknowledged problem of racism – Blacks need to be more charming – you should write an op-ed for a national news organ.… Read more »
Using the illustration of charm was a figure of speech. Unfortunately you have entirely missed the point enhanced by pontification and bringing in your “heavily credentialed artillery “. Try authentic introspection and you may find some peace and humility. ☺️
Hey Mr. Charming. Here’s a great example of how Blacks and poor people are not charming enough to get decent, equal treatment in America. “Be More Charming” is the new Black Lives Matter. “The line between abortion and pregnancy loss has always been blurry. But over the past few decades, the anti-abortion movement has forged a cultural bright line between the two experiences, promoting dueling narratives of “bad” mothers who voluntarily cause fetal death versus “good” mothers who grieve unpreventable pregnancy loss. These narratives are often steeped in harmful stereotypes: Black and poor women are often blamed or even prosecuted… Read more »
BTW I don’t take any advice from people who won’t identify themselves. If you’re not able to man up and tell people who you are, you’re not able to tell people how to live. Try some interest inspection and find your integrity, if it exists, and then come back to us with your name. That was why I offered you spots in the New York Times and before Congress. They would look at an anonymous snipe suggesting that blacks are discriminated against because they’re not Charming as the racist tripe it is. Blacks are not Charming for White folk? Anybody… Read more »
Dear Prince Charming.
Please look over video testimony to Congress and take a look at the NY Times. Please tell us all how many times you see anonymous figures wearing bags on their heads to hide their identity availing themselves of such serious and weighty theaters to advise society on racism.
Black Be More Charming!
Don’t know why you don’t want to own that and be known for it.
It’s got a ring, and let’s bigots completely off the hook.
No advice, only observations. Keep on ranting, does wonders for one’s quality of life and those around us.🙄😱
For somebody not offering advice you sure do “should” on people and tell people to “try” things with enthusiasm.
Commenting wearing a bag over your head to hide your identity, though, saves you the indignity of being identified on the street.
Man up and put your big boy pants on. Stop telling fibs.
That’s sound advice.
You’re frightened. I would be if I proposed an idea such as Blacks aren’t Charming enough to be treated with equality.
The lack of dignity is all yours.
Somebody shook the hornets nest……..lol
Hallman’s point? If Shea Gibson was white it would be okay to report?
What are his instincts and priorities?
The poison from Shyne, Erickson and Horvath is now infecting long time community members like Tod Halman. Such a shame! Race was never discussed in the article and the story is salacious enough knowing a convicted murderer is leading BBB. But of course the new performative woke mob has shown that hyperbolic race baiting is working for the left as much as it worked for the right and we are now locked in a battle of bile and hate thanks to our fresh faced leaders that will be West Hollywoods demise. It was good while it lasted, I guess.
The definition of “racist” in our society has devolved into “anything that I see or hear that I disagree with.”
And anything that can’t be defended.
Meanwhile, while Miss Todd is yelling racism defending a felon charged and plea bargained MURDER (that is taking a life for the word police) and armed robbery.
THOUSANDS of black children are being killed in every Gdamn city in this country run by the lunatic Far Left!
Pick a priority based in commonsense and stay in a lane!
…while the far-right readies itself to propel The Orange Cokehead back into the White House. Somehow this makes them “better?”
And your point? If you have one. You bring nothing…
You are incapable of an intelligent debate based on your childish one-liners. People disagree with your extremism so they are “Far-Right”.
Personally, I think both groups of lunatics should be banned from voting.
Stay in the desert honey, we have enough idiots here voting for extremism that is why we are in this pickle.
Spoken like a true right wing MAGAt
This has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with removing deputies and replacing with block by block ambassadors which the citizens of West Hollywood are against. This has everything to do with no transparency of process. This has everything to do with the citizens having no choice in the matter. It’s has everything to do with the hijacking of West Hollywood by outside interests and the virtual city council meetings that did not allow real public participation for 2 years. Mr. Gibson is a true example of turning one’s life around and I for one applaud… Read more »