OpEd: So how is this ‘Block by Block’ thing going ?

ADVERTISEMENT

Re-imagining Public Safety… Do you recall those lofty goals? Today, there are more “Block by Block” security ambassadors than deputized Sheriffs, with 85 current Block by Block personnel on staff and approximately 58 total deputies under Captain Bill Moulder’s command. The difference is quite alarming.

This past weekend, a local resident witnessed a fight in the street on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and San Vicente, in the busy intersection were two “Block by Block” security ambassadors. They stood by watching the fight. It was the resident who made the call and filmed the video that grabbed the attention of KCAL news. The ambassadors in charge of protecting the public did nothing.

On this past Saturday afternoon, a homeless man sat on Robertson Blvd., above Santa Monica just outside of Pavilions parking lot. The man’s bags were sprawled out on the narrow street and were blocking the public’s right of way. He was also blocking a red zone that is used for emergencies. Two Block by Block ambassadors stood by without saying a word. The resident pointed out the situation and was told “we can’t do anything about that.” A second complaint to code compliance at city hall and the homeless man was quickly moved. It was the resident who made the call. It was the resident who went over Block by Block’s head to demand attention to the matter.

A few weeks ago, we posted a photo of a Block by Block ambassador sleeping at the kiosk. It took the resident and the photo to wake up the security ambassador who was working. Security ambassadors are paid well, with nice benefits, sick pay, and vacation time. The City Council extended a long-term contract for the security ambassadors but nickel-and-dimed the sheriff to remove trained personnel.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sepi Shyne. John Erickson speak loudly about supporting a woman’s right to choose, and both voted to approve the contract for Block by Block, whose parent company SMS Holdings is based in ‘no drag’ Tennessee, owned by Mydett Services based in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. A copy of those donations shows almost 100% of the company’s donations to Republicans and pro-life initiatives. WEHOville pointed it out, and they did not do their homework. Your tax dollars are going to the parent company of Block by Block, SMS Holdings who do not support ‘West Hollywood values’.

We ran a story about Shea Gibson, the Head of Block by Block. Sadly, Shea has had some issues in the past. He was convicted of murder and served time in prison. When we published the story about the man being promoted to be in charge of our ‘re-imagined policing and serving time for murder, we were called racist. It didn’t matter if the person was white or black; the story is the same. But the city required no background checks on those who are protecting us. Just a few months ago, the city council voted for background checks for commissioners and board members. The irony of it all: they vote for background checks for those who advise us, but it’s not was fair to have background checks on those who protect us.

If you look at who is staffed at Block by Block, there is no diversity. Great jobs but few to local residents or those who identify as LGBTQ+. Block by Block is not an “equal opportunity employer.” Friends tell friends about a great job where you stand around and get 25 bucks an hour, or you get to ride a bike and get paid for a lot of nothing. I’m kind of friendly with a number of these guys. With a sick doggie and daily trips to the laundromat on Edinburgh leaves lots of hanging around time, pseudo undercover. One blue shirt when asked how he liked his job replied..how much he loved “honkeytown.” “Me and my bros used to think of this place as honkeytown, but you guys cool, you guys cool.” And I just wondered how the city council beats up the Sheriff department about sensitivity training and how “misgendering” a person is an act of violence per Sepi Shyne, and this is what she supports.

The city council does not recognize that having confidence in our Sheriff or in Block by Block helps us to feel safe. Block by Block is not instilling confidence in the residents. The public overwhelmingly supports the Sheriff. In the next budget cycle Capt. Bill Moulder will again ask to restore the two deputies that were cut in January, restore the previous deputy who was cut from the Entertainment Policing Team and more, stay tuned.

It does not appear that the Block by Block ambassadors are well trained. There seems to be little training, little hustle, little hunger, and a lazy attitude, and their hands are tied. More eyes to complain to the sheriff but fewer arms and legs to assist.

It’s time our city council accepted the truth that some ideas look good on paper but not in practice. Certainly we can afford to add two or three armed Sheriff to Moulder’s command and ask Gibson to train 50 great ambassadors.

With Pride and the peak summer season ahead, we need to restore the Sheriff deputies that are cut immediately. Capt. Bill Moulder explained to me that we will be paying lots of overtime for Pride. Restore the budget and the number of deputies to pre-Covid levels. We also need to establish a boot camp of training for security ambassadors and make changes where necessary to get more out of this program.

And ask yourself, in the time of this assault on transgender rights, women’s rights, drag queens, and freedom, why did Lindsey Horvath, Sepi Shyne, and John Erickson vote to fund the program owned by SMS Holdings based in Kentucky and Tennessee?

I’m not seeing the benefit.

READ MORE:

Block by Block faces class-action lawsuit

 

5 6 votes
Article Rating
ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

34 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Take Action on Crime
Take Action on Crime
9 months ago

These folks lack ambition other than receiving a pay check for sleepwalking on the job. They would collapse of you said BOO!

Johnny
Johnny
9 months ago

This continues to be so frustrating. You have these 20 somethings with no lawful authority standing around and collecting a check. They are useless. My property taxes are supposed to cover services such as the Sheriff and this ridiculous city council continues to be an embarrassment. I have owned a home in West Hollywood since 1996 and maintain a home in Carmel. I don’t feel safe and am grateful I have as able to obtain a permit and training to own lawfully obtained weapon. Other than Lauren the rest of these Junior Achievement council members seem uninterested in the safety… Read more »

Mikie
Mikie
9 months ago
Reply to  Johnny

as I said, in my public comment last night… block by block, is as much a deterrent to crime, as is a toothless dog!

JF1
JF1
9 months ago

Useless.

Davedi
Davedi
9 months ago

Queen Sepi called for more gun control. It sure looked like those thugs knew how to control their guns. Maybe instead of another zombie making pot shop we should open a gun store with discounted training for residents.

Downward Spiral
Downward Spiral
9 months ago

Today rather than having any sense of immediacy, SEPI SHYNE sent out a Campaign Funding email focusing on supporting the Equal Rights Amendment speaking way past the current safety issues of men, women, children and little green men in a city for which she serves as Mayor. This person is brain dead to everything other than her personal ambitions and not relatable to any person I could conceive of.

WeHo Proud
WeHo Proud
9 months ago

They did a great job standing up to those three thugs with AK 47’s the other night. I heard that they lassoed them all up and rescued the victim?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
9 months ago

Ineffective. But what is their mission? According to the corporate website they sell a service that is all about perception. Seriously, read that page and count how many times they use the word perception. They want to reinforce the perception that an area is safe. Who is doing the work to create a reality that an area is safe? Further, the city’s own website has a lovely word salad clearly written by a PR professional that addresses no specifics about the role of ambassadors. We know by opening our eyes that they don’t engage, that they are frequently inattentive, and… Read more »

Outrage !
Outrage !
9 months ago

Crime has gotten out of control. Few residents feel safe any more. But instead of moaning and groaning on here, pack Council Chambers for this coming Monday’meeting. Swamp the Council with your comments delivered at the podium. Demand tbat Block by Block be eliminated with monies used to hire more sheriffs. If you don’t show up and make your voice heard, then you are part of the problem.

Mikie
Mikie
9 months ago
Reply to  Outrage !

I 100% agree with you!!
let’s pack the chamber and speak up in public comment!! Isn’t our safety worth the little bit of effort it would take?
I will be there!

Michael G Labarbera
Michael G Labarbera
9 months ago

It is PAINFULLY obvious that the Block By Block system DOES NOT WORK. These people are getting paid for doing absolutely NOTHING. LET’S GET MOVING ON THAT MAYORAL RECALL!

Pete Strohl
Pete Strohl
9 months ago

I saw one of these BBB employees in the pavilions parking lot. Where are they finding these people? They all look unemployable to me.

Invest in cameras …….but this is wasting hard earned tax dollars.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
9 months ago

The Block by Block thing is weird. There are so many of them walking around aimlessly that it looks like we live in a police state, but without the police.

Woke Up Weho
Woke Up Weho
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Nasium

A police state with a convicted murderer leading this band of BBB Shyne nonsense.

Bastian
Bastian
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Nasium

Are you on east side or west side?
I seldom see them on west side except the known locations at Starbucks, ramada, and weho park restrooms.

Woke Up Weho
Woke Up Weho
9 months ago
Reply to  Bastian

I am central Weho, west of Crescent Heights between Fountain and Sunset. Never see them. Not on the strip! Or Santa Monica from Crescent Heights to La Cienega. They don’t exist except in the fees someone is pocketing as a commission or finders fee like Shyne or Erickson!

TomSmart
TomSmart
9 months ago

Block by Block isn’t named in your honor Larry Block? 🤓 It’s time the city finally admits the complete failure of this contentious program and scraps it for good. Hire more cops, give them more authority and make them actually police the city, rather than wait for calls to come in. Open a police kiosk or some small facility on the east end which is seeing an ever-increasing amount of crime.

Woke Up Weho
Woke Up Weho
9 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

BBB was created to clean alleys, streets. That’s what they should be doing. Cleaning up after the homeless defalcate around town. Unfotunately, they are a joke from the worst mayor ever elected in California… Sepi Shyne… And her middle ages boy toy: Erickson and the reject from Arizona… Byers.

Mick Remmington
Mick Remmington
9 months ago
Reply to  Woke Up Weho

good idea. if we are paying them to stand around…..at least make them clean the sidewalks.

34
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x