Ditch the WeHo PD feasibility study, Public Safety Commission recommends

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West Hollywood’s Public Safety Commission is recommending that City Council table the idea of studying whether WeHo needs its own police department, the latest twist in a debate that has spanned decades.

At their meeting Tuesday, the commissioners expressed deep reservations about the cost, scope and purpose of conducting such a study. City Hall had already interviewed six different consultants hoping to take on the project, naming Matrix Consulting as their preferred choice.

Drama arrived early in the meeting, with Commissioner Jackie Steele questioning the validity of the vetting process, which was conducted by City Manager David Wilson and other senior staff members.

“When you have a panel of folks that are largely beholden to the city manager, who I respect in his role, I do think there is a skewed lens,” said Steele, who blasted the lack of LGBTQ representation in the process.

Chairman Tod Hallman clapped back at Steele. “

“I would like to think you weren’t intentionally trying to hijack this meeting” by waiting to address those concerns, Hallman told her. “I just feel it was very disingenuous of you.”

Commissioner Robert Oliver was perhaps the most skeptical of the plan and its intent, which he believes is totally unaffordable, he said.

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“I think at the end of the day, what a lot of people are saying, and I tend to agree, is that we’re gonna pay for a study that’s going to tell us what we essentially already know, which is we can’t afford our own police department,” Oliver said. “Can we look at this from a realistic perspective before we spend $200,000 that could go to social services? We do a lot of studies in this city, right? Like, anybody who’s in the study business, I guess they’ve chosen the right industry. We have a lot of studies and this is yet another one. $200,000 — those are real dollars. It’s a lot of housing for 200 people. You know, rent subsidies for 200 people who might be facing eviction.”

Commissioner Kerri Balbone pointed out the disparity in the consultants’ proposals, some of which included a much broader scope of work that overlapped with the still-unfinished Community Safety and Well-Being study and the Center for Police Equity study.

“We’ve got several oars in the water and I don’t know how they’re going to come together,” she said. “And I think that it creates confusion for this community, on an issue that is already divisive enough for all of us.”

Commissioner Tory Berger reminded his colleagues that the push for the study, which was initiated in 2020, pre-dated the election of the new sheriff among other changes in the public safety realm.

“We have Sheriff Luna who just got voted in, and he ran on reforms. He was here (in WeHo) for Dialog with a Deputy, and I got to talk with him. He cares about this community and he is really listening to what we have to say.”

Proceeding with the study would prevent assessing how the city’s other public safety initiatives — Block by Block, the MET team, social services — are doing.

“We haven’t given a lot of those things even a chance to see what effect they’re gonna have and what’s gonna happen,” Berger said. “I suggest we tell City Council to scrap this thing altogether.”

The commission’s recommendation, motioned by Balbone, suggests that the process be re-evaluated until a strategy for weaving in the city’s other studies is conceptualized.

“Until we resolve those items and are very clear about what we want out of the study, how RFP needs to better reflect, we should table this process,” Balbone said, suggesting that City Council “perhaps consider using the funds (meant for the study) on known issues that we already see.”

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[…] Public Safety Commission’s surprise decision came less than a year after City Council chose to reduce funding to the Sheriff’s Department […]

Woke-Up
Woke-Up
11 months ago

Banks have failed. Money is tight. Business is slowing down.. 😣 And this ludicrous city council thinks they can have their own police force to satisfy the dreadful Sepi Shine, Byers and Erickson.🥸

Think for Yourself
Think for Yourself
11 months ago
Reply to  Woke-Up

These people have their heads in the clouds and feel a compulsion to spend West Hollywood money believing they are entitled to blank checks.

Jose
Jose
11 months ago

“about the cost, scope and purpose of conducting such a study.”
The same cons that had no problem with WASTING money on Drag Queen pay and rainbow crosswalks.
Make NO MISTAKE, LA County Sheriff and LA County will not lose millions of dollars quietly.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
11 months ago

I thought robert oliver was going to be the voice of reason until he came up with the silly idea of diverting two hundred thousand dollars to social services. I do agree with him that the study is another waste of money, But to think that money can somehow be diverted to help the free loading worthless deadweight people of the city, rather than taking $200,000 and doing something the taxpayers and property owners can enjoy and benefit from, tells me Robert Oliver is another mental lightweight.

Don't Speak!
Don't Speak!
11 months ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

Maybe, but he was probably just trying to distract and shift the conversation away from the very talkative commissioner that no one could tolerate hearing any more.

jom
jom
11 months ago
Reply to  Don't Speak!

Like nails on a chalkboard, that one

Koweho
Koweho
11 months ago

Sheriff Luna is a huge upgrade, no need to spend 200k to know what we know as they say.

Wrong Direction Ms. Steele
Wrong Direction Ms. Steele
11 months ago

Ms. Steele has made several emphatic public pronouncements that West Hollywood is a “gay city”. Not exactly Ms. Steele, many believe West Hollywood was dedicated as a city in which all are treated with equal respect. Dividing ourselves into factions is simply divisive and does not engender peaceful habitation of the city.

Joseph Balogna
Joseph Balogna
11 months ago

West Hollywood is a gay city. In fact, it’s been known as the “first official gay city” in America when it adopted an openly gay mayor in 1984. And it’s been known as “Boys Town” ever since. Sure, while WeHo has changed and probably should be known as the “Green Haired, Nose Ringed Boys Town” nowadays, it’s still got that gay edge. So, Steele’s comment is not incorrect.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
11 months ago

Where was Danny Roman? I can’t remember the last time he was at one of these meetings. Can someone do a welfare check? Should I see if he’s stuck inside a stall at the Abbey?

Stephanie Harker
Stephanie Harker
11 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Moved out of Weho

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
11 months ago

LOL! This has got to be my favorite comment since the Marsha P. Johnson “I invented crosswalks” comment.

Eastside Straight Girl
Eastside Straight Girl
11 months ago

THANK YOU to Tory Berger & Kerri Balbone for their dedication & service to our great WeHo! After watching the entirety of the wannabe Jackie Steele show, (are we surprised….she is appointed by the long-winded Queen Sepi!), I walked away with being happy that they came to this recommendation. Boy, it sure took some time to get there! I was also happy with Tod’s firm grip on handling the emotional & frustrated performance artist AJVincente! Why can’t the CC handle her the same why by giving her warnings with follow through? If she does not abide by the 3rd warning….escort… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Eastside Straight Girl
Marc Thomas
Marc Thomas
11 months ago

Jackie Steele may resign after last night’s meeting?

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
11 months ago
Reply to  Marc Thomas

We can only hope.

Marc Thomas
Marc Thomas
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Nasium

It feels Hallman and Steele’s relationship is irreparably broken after what transpired last night. The back and forth between them was hard to watch.

Woke Up
Woke Up
11 months ago
Reply to  Marc Thomas

Hopefully the bombastic Steel resigns along with her ludacris benefactor the dreadful Sepi Shine!

What’s your real name?
What’s your real name?
11 months ago

Chair Tod Hallman to Jackie Steele “ i hope you did not intend to hijack this meeting “. But she did.

Marc Thomas
Marc Thomas
11 months ago

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The meeting developed like a train wreck in slow-motion with the verbal fight between Hallman and Steele, but Berger, Balbone, and yes, Oliver got it back on track. THANK YOU!

A big thank you to Kerri Balbone and Tory Berger for their years of service.

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