WeHo isn’t cutting sheriff’s deputies just yet

Barbs fly as Council kicks the can on plan to reduce armed law enforcement presence in the city

West Hollywood City Council pushed back the timeline of reducing the number of sheriff’s deputies until the end of the year — a delay in the controversial plan they enacted over the summer that infuriated business owners and residents across the city.

The slashing of two or more armed deputies from patrol was scheduled to happen in tandem with the hiring of 30 additional unarmed Block by Block security ambassadors by Oct. 1. 

With the deadline less than two weeks away, the program has only hired and trained 20 new ambassadors. 

“I support this move to keep the Block by Block ambassadors moving ahead at the rate that we’re doing it,” said Councilmember John D’Amico, “but I also think it’s worth giving ourselves 90 more days with Block by Block in place from October 1st to maybe the first meeting in January, or the last meeting in December, to sort of record how crime is trending, how safety is trending, and how security is trending,” “I think we should leave the number of sheriffs that we have in place at the budget level that we have. As I said to you in June, when we met I think we should be doing this in December. I don’t think we should be doing it in October. We needed time to sort of see where this goes.”

D’Amico motioned for the delay, and Mayor Lauren Meister, who voted against the original reduction, eagerly seconded it. The motion passed 5-0.

The councilmembers who supported the original reduction — D’Amico, Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne and outgoing Councilmember Lindsey Horvath — tried to temper the public’s fear of rising crime and fury over how they’ve handled public safety, blaming politics for inflaming what they see as a problem they have under control. 

“The number of crimes in our city has dropped precipitously over the summer,” D’Amico said. “As we discussed in early June, though, there are two-time losing councilmembers who seem to be promoting the unsafeness of West Hollywood. I would say directly to John Heilman: You’ve turned yourself into an anemic version of Steve Martin. Crime has gone down. Your need to scare our seniors and ouur non-English speaking residents with your lies about the crime in our city is pitiful.”

“If you’ve already printed your yard signs and it says ‘Restore Public Safety,’ you might want to consider getting new signs because public safety doesn’t need to be restored because it was never taken away,” Councilmember John Erickson said.

In an awkward exchange, Erickson attempted to get Capt. Bill Moulder of the WeHo Sheriff’s Station to state aloud that “crime is down.”

“Crime is down … right, Capt. Moulder?” Erickson asked.

“…. uh, yes it is,” Moulder said.

“Could you say that one more time for me?”

“Do you want me to say ‘Yes, it is’ again?”

“No, you can just say: ‘Crime is down.’”

“Um, it is. So this year we had—”

“—but I didn’t hear you. What was that?”

“I said this year we actually had, in terms of Part One crimes, we had record highs, which you don’t want to have those records.”

The total monthly Part One crimes broke records three times this year — 250 in February, 280 in May and 355 in June — before trending downward in July. Moulder attributed the lower rates to more foot patrols, his team’s success in stopping a pickpocketing ring, and the Entertainment Policing deputies that were restaffed. 

Horvath tried to deflect scrutiny over cutting the sheriff’s budget onto Meister.

“I think we can address the reality that crime may be down statistically, but people still have concerns about what’s going on in the community and I think those concerns in large part have been fueled by a disinformation campaign, including by our mayor.”

Horvath claimed Meister had sent out a campaign email to her supporters the day after the vote calling out her fellow councilmembers for “defunding the police.”

“You can spin this any way you want,” Meister responded. “But the vote in June was: You proposed to add back the one EPT (Entertainment Policing Team deputy) and to cut five sheriffs over the next nine months. The email that I sent out talked about cutting sheriff’s deputies, not about defunding — because I do read my staff reports and I know what the budget was. So I would appreciate if you would tell the truth.”

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About Brandon Garcia
Brandon Garcia is editor of WEHOville. He oversees the website's editorial direction and creates original content such as news reports, photo and video features, digital art work and advertisements. A native of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, he now lives in WeHo and is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. @brandoninthebubble on Instagram

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JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
4 days ago

HORvath is a cancer a City Hall she really needs to GO! The sooner the better. Cutting Deputy Sheriff’s is the dumbest idea!!!! We cannot walk out streets safely because of criminal activity. Even IF is “down” we need to coverage to keep it down. WeHo is target for criminals because they perceive us as ‘easy prey’! I cannot wait until HORwrat WRATH is gone.

Jose
Jose
5 days ago

This hated cow needs to join that rich slug that moved to England.

Michael
Michael
8 days ago

How much $ would we save by doing away with the City Council, city hall, etc and becoming part of LA again? Weho lost its character as a gay village years ago. It is now upper end restaurants, bars and celebrities and not very different from the rest of LA. It was always a poorly managed and city run by inexperienced people in the pocket of developers and the highest bidder. LA government might not be great but why pay to be part of a separate city like Weho that has lost its separate identity and relevance.

Michael on Havenhurst Drive
Michael on Havenhurst Drive
7 days ago
Reply to  Michael

The last thing we want to join is the City of Los Angeles. A toilet of an operation. Run by totally incompetent Democrats like the dreadful Garcetti. Who was supposed to be ambassador to India by now but he’s hooked up with some legal problems. The city council of LA is really the worst beyond belief. We’d have more homeless. Their business taxes, for what? Go east to la Brea and just take a look. The ones great city of the Angels now is one big third world nightmare. Typical of Democrat California with that ludicrous French laundry Governor. The… Read more »

Steve Carry
Steve Carry
4 days ago

Your observations are spot on. Now the big question is, why do people continue voting for stupid people and their ideas?

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve Carry

Too many people are not informed at all about local politics. It is true in many cities. People are ignorant of what is and is not happening. They do not pay attention 12 months a year.

Steve Carry
Steve Carry
4 days ago
Reply to  JR Birdsong

Yes indeed. You are very correct.

Ernesto Sportello
Ernesto Sportello
4 days ago
Reply to  Michael

Absolutely. Weho only exists now to enrich developers. Becoming a city was a really bad idea.

Edie
Edie
4 days ago
Reply to  Michael

It’s the playground of global 1 percenters. They own the world… and they barely tolerate us living here.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
9 days ago

I applaud the LASD for cracking a ring involved in pickpocketing and cell phone thefts. Crime is down because the LASD is doing its job. Watching the twisted linguistic gymnastics of the buffoons on council defied any sense of logic or sound debate, it was simply performative crap, and mean-spirited, vindictive crap at that. Particularly shameful was Erickson’s childish and snide theatrical abuse of Captain Moulder. Moulder, it should be noted, calmly and professional stated the facts. They’re mostly up there scoring points, politicking, primping, and with each utterance defining the word disingenuous. Horvath’s attempts to deny, deflect and divert… Read more »

Latakia Woods
Latakia Woods
9 days ago

Cops endanger black, brown, and indigenous. Cut their pay now!!! I want officers on bikes with polos and zero weapons.

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
4 days ago
Reply to  Latakia Woods

Why do you feel you have been endangered? Really ridiculous to cut pay or reduce number of badges in WeHo. No one has an issue with Police if they are not doing something they should not be doing! It really is quite simple, if one does not like living in WeHo, then move! Not rocket science. BTW how many indigenous folks live in WeHo, or for that matter, in LA!!!!! Get serious!

Michael on Havenhurst Drive
Michael on Havenhurst Drive
9 days ago

Regarding the scooters. To say the city can’t be sued is ridiculous. If I trip on the sidewalk and report it to the city. They don’t fix it. Someone else trips, you can sue. The same is true if I have an apartment building and a swimming pool. With no fence. A kid falls in and drowns. They can sue. The city has been warned the sidewalks are very dangerous and they seem to disregard that. Meister was right. As for the city attorney get a new one. DAmico, who is not a lawyer, said the city can’t be sued.… Read more »

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
4 days ago

Anyone can sue the City! Scooters. Lousy sidewalks. Potholes. etc etc etc When one gets hurt, they can, and should, sue. Same goes for packages left on sidewalks instead of USPS, UPS, FEDEX, DHL, Amazon, etc delivering to the unit as addressed. One should not have to negotiate an obstacle course to get from point A to B. These scooters are a real nuisance, mainly because the folks that use them are not cognizant of the area and just leave them anywhere.

Joshua88
Joshua88
9 days ago

I thought the more interesting discussion was in re the IHRA. Seems to me that if you believe cops when they say, (my perception was that) I feared for my life, then this bogus description works for antisemitism.

Eric
Eric
9 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

What was interesting about this discussion was seeing all the crazies come up to speak in opposition as I imagined how their lives would be if they lived in Palestine, spurting non sense in defense of a nation that has no gay rights whatsoever and very little women rights to speak of. What a joke they are all are.

Jordan Cockeram
9 days ago

This is a step in the right direction, but we need to do more. The city needs to give the Sheriff’s Department the resources they need to keep us safe. Part 1 crimes have gone down in recent months thanks to the additional deputy that was added to the Entertainment Division. I understand we don’t want to live in a police state, but having more deputies on patrol in the neighbors will reduce crime all over, not just around the bars. I spoke with Captain Moulder and he said with the funding being restored, they would indeed increase foot patrols… Read more »

Eric
Eric
9 days ago

Jordan will be a great addition to the new council going forward into 2023. I hope readers here are giving this candidate some serious thought.

Jordan Cockeram
9 days ago
Reply to  Eric

Thank you Eric! I really appreciate it!

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
9 days ago

Jordan is one of only three candidates (along with Lauren Meister and Steve Martin) who regularly engage with voters on this forum. He takes stands and offers solutions even before being elected. Most of the rest simply spew out platitudes and talk about being the first of this, or the third of that. Conversations are happening in WEHOville, and throughout the city. We’re paying attention.

Eric
Eric
9 days ago

Why does Sepi speak down to people when council is in session? She has such an awful way of speaking to people and thinks she really is special, powerful and in charge.

A Conflicted Soul
A Conflicted Soul
9 days ago
Reply to  Eric

Sepi Shyne also presents herself as the great humanitarian. A very conflicted soul. Take a sabbatical to deal with one’s inner demons. Disingenuously inflicting them on the public is just plain wrong.

Eric
Eric
9 days ago

Yes, now that you point it out. Last night she was so aggravated and upset about the motion to postpone cutting deputies, like her plan to to reduce policing was a personal attack, so supsrised she voted to postone cause she so clearly didnt want to.

Davedi
Davedi
4 days ago
Reply to  Eric

She calls herself a woman of color! That’s like a superpower in politics.

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
4 days ago
Reply to  Davedi

When did Iranians become POC? I missed that memo. Iranians are a Nationality, they are not POC. Middle East is Only on the African Continent! Geography101 Might want to look at a map.

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
4 days ago
Reply to  Eric

Get rid of Sepi and HORrath and the city will better immediately

Don Jones
Don Jones
9 days ago

The only reason D’Amico proposed extending the evaluation period was to give cover for Horvath’s campaign for county commissioner. She doesn’t want to be known for cutting sheriff deputies just before the election.

Manny
Manny
9 days ago
Reply to  Don Jones

Too late.

JR Birdsong
JR Birdsong
4 days ago
Reply to  Don Jones

SORRY, But D’Amico’s time has come and gone. BYE BYE. Time for new blood. Same with Duran. NOPE!!!

Michael on Havenhurst Drive
Michael on Havenhurst Drive
9 days ago

Thanks to the Sky Gods, we won’t have to look at Lindsey Horvath after November. Too bad the same doesn’t go for dreary pontificating Sepi Shyne or the tiresome unfunny jokester John Erickson. Vote for three new council members that will send Block by Block to Louisville. Of course, we don’t know which of these political hacks are getting a commission from BbB. Headed by a convicted murderer and thrive. The loathsome SHE believes that West Hollywood is a country instead of a small town with homeless harassing and defecting all over the streets, potholes, unlighted streets, no left turn, after… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Michael on Havenhurst Drive
Eric
Eric
9 days ago

I dont think its fair to take ones frustrations with City Council out on Block. Block are not the bad guys, they are doing what they can and dont forget they were thrown into this by the City with out any plan or strategy, they hit the ground running. I also think its necessary to refrain from attacking Shea Gibson, we dont know the history here and all we do know is that its the past and he is now an upstanding member of society and should be afforded some respect.

Davedi
Davedi
4 days ago

To help with your plan Steve Martin has my vote.

Manny
Manny
9 days ago

They’re playing games with public safety and law enforcement like it’s a sport. It’s the Minor League of public policy making.

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