With Election Day less than one week away WeHo for the People asked young voters for their thoughts on what they loved…and didn’t love about West Hollywood today. These residents had a lot to share about the creativity, diversity and sense of community that makes West Hollywood such a special place to be. But concerns about crime and public safety were universal as were worries about local independent businesses and their ability to survive in West Hollywood.
“Public safety and economic sustainability ring true no matter who you talk to here in West Hollywood,” said Keith Kaplan, Chair, WEHO for the People. “Residents and business owners love the community, the culture, the restaurants and food, the arts, but it’s the crime, vacancies and little hope for businesses to recover from the pandemic or open a new business in our once vibrant community that has them most concerned.”
“You have to have law and order to have peace and community,” according to Bradley Belk, a five-year West Hollywood resident and business owner. “West Hollywood’s idea of paying the highest minimum wage in the country is killing our business community. Now, we are required to pay workers more money, but you have to cut something to pay the higher wage and to make a profit. Business owners have a family and need to make a profit, too. You can cut employees, raise prices, but the Council will have decimated our businesses, many are closing and leaving.”
“There are a lot more vacancies now than before,” said Alex E., a resident who loves the convenience of West Hollywood. “Everything use to be right here. Wages are going up, and costs are going up. Now businesses will have to charge customers more if they want to survive. The City Council has to realize it is killing business. There is no way they can survive with high labor costs.”
Mylena Christina, a resident, and realtor shared, “I don’t want to see businesses go away and close because they can’t afford to pay their employees the higher wage costs. And the new restrictions they are imposing on hotels is crazy. I don’t want to see businesses go away.”
“Crime has really gone up.” said Bradley. “That’s what happens when you defund the police and those committing the crime face no repercussions. Leadership in our city doesn’t understand that there has to be accountability for those who commit crime. Otherwise, criminals break into our cars, rob us on the street and physically attack people to steal their wallets and cell phones.”
“West Hollywood residents once said our City was a safe place where you could be who you are without being judged,’ said Cheyenne Webster, a resident who works as a make-up artist in the entertainment industry. “But now, we are feeling like we are not safe in our City anymore.” The West Hollywood City Council voted to defund two Sheriffs deputies without considering how it would impact its residents and business owners as reports showed crime had skyrocketed nearly 140%. People today are afraid to leave their houses in broad daylight.
“Not being safe in West Hollywood is not something we want to be,” said Webster. ‘I could feel comfortable walking in our neighborhood. I felt safe. But now that is no longer true. One neighbor was recently pistol-whipped in broad daylight while walking his dog. He did not have anything on him but his cellphone, so they took it.”
November 8th, voters will have a choice. Since the inception of cityhood in 1984 there has never been more at stake for voters. West Hollywood needs leaders who understand governance and community engagement and are prepared to address the issues of crime, homelessness and support for the small and local businesses that are the lifeline of the community.
WEHO for the People is a broad-based coalition made up of citizens, neighborhood groups, businesses and other interested parties who share a vison of West Hollywood as a dynamic, creative urban village with a strong sense of community and acceptance. At the same time, they are concerned with the aggressive, anti-community policies that are devastating West Hollywood (WEHO), driven by the SHE alliance (Shyne, Horvath, Erickson) who continually ignore and fail their constituents while supporting special interest groups that promise to support their future political endeavors.
To view other stories, go to: https://www.wehoforthepeople.org/testimonials