Surrounded by residents who were dressed to protest, West Hollywood City Council finally adjusted their course on public safety at their meeting Monday night, opting to restore some of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department personnel that were lost when the city tightened LASD’s budget last summer.
In a 4-1 vote, Council chose to bring back the Entertainment Policing Team’s sergeant position and add a deputy to the West Hollywood Station; one more deputy might also be added in December at the next community safety update. They also asked for two unsworn positions, a public information officer and a community liaison.
The decision marks a turning point for Council after a year where the majority faction on the dais stood in diametric opposition to a majority of residents, including neighborhood leaders and business owners, who decried the defunding of the sheriff.
The motion, made by Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson after much deliberation by his colleagues, also directs staff to hold future public hearings about public safety at the beginning of the meetings, allowing greater access and signaling the gravitas of the subject.
Councilmember Chelsea Byers was the lone no vote. Erickson and Mayor Sepi Shyne defended their original positions even as they voted yes.
“I’ve never felt unsafe in this city,” Erickson said.
Councilmembers John Heilman and Lauren Meister disagreed.
“When I go out walking, theres’s a whole series of behaviors that indicate to people that things can go on here that are not acceptable in other communities,” Heilman said. “There are vehicles racing up and down the street without exhaust. There are scooters on the sidewalk that contribute to people’s sense that no one cares and that anything goes, and that’s part of why people don’t feel safe. The other problem is the number of homeless people we have in the community. You can walk in large stretches of the city where there is no legitimate business activity. There are no lights. There’s no activity that contributes to a sense of a lack of safety.”
“As a volunteer, we are the first point of contact between law enforcement and members of the West Hollywood community. I’ve seen the impact of the reduction of deputies at our department, the negative impact it’s had on those deputies, as well as our residents, and our businesses. I’ve seen how overworked our deputies are. They’re required levels of overtime just to be able to operate at the most basic level required to protect West Hollywood. One of the biggest complaints with our station is how long people have to wait at the desk to have a report taken. It’s because we don’t have the required number of deputies to both patrol the streets and be at the station to write reports. We have to pull somebody off the streets in order to do that. I’ve seen confusion between the residents and the West Hollywood sheriff. It’s because we don’t have a public information officer who specializes in communicating between law enforcement, and our community. I’ve laughed with our deputies. I’ve cried with our deputies. I’ve celebrated and mourned with our deputies. I’ve seen our deputies run into fires. I’ve seen them perform CPR on infants more than I want to.”
— Dimitri Kermani, the first volunteer to ever receive the ADL’s prestigious Sherwood prize for individuals in law enforcement who have gone above and beyond to combat hate
“You need to stop thinking about political correctness. I’m an immigrant, and I barely speak English, but it’s easy to understand. When there is crime, you need to enforce the law and deploy more police officers to solve the crime, not hospitality ambassadors. People used to come to La Boheme two to three times a week. However, they are no longer safe. They don’t feel safe anymore.”
— Lucien Tudor, CEO of Global Dining, which runs La Boheme, near the site of a recent robbery involving an assault rifle
“Cutting (the Sheriff’s) budget was irresponsible and unintelligent. Now is not the time to be dabbling in alternatives and a wishy-washy agenda that lacks serious action. Individuals seeking criminal opportunities see a welcome mat in West Hollywood.”
— Lynn Russell
“I’ve lived here for over 30 years. I don’t feel safe. Nobody feels safe. We’re not safe walking our dogs, going to a restaurant, or walking to our cars.”
— Susan Markham
“Public safety is our number one priority. And I see my colleagues shaking their heads, but I don’t think our actions necessarily reflect that because we have not even gotten to council discussion on this item. We’re still in the asking questions phase, and it’s 11:15 p.m., and I’m not faulting any of us. It’s just what it is tonight. But if public safety is going to be our number one priority, then at future agendas, when this comes back, as it does every six months, then it needs to be the number one item on the agenda so that we get the public comment and that we have an opportunity for Council discussion and interaction in a way that members of the public are still awake and can observe.”
— Councilmember John Heilman
“I feel safer in West Hollywood than I do in a lot of other cities that I drive through, especially Los Angeles. So, you know, I think West Hollywood is safe, and we are creative and incredible. It’s the place to come, and Pride is going to be safe and wonderful. I want everyone to come and enjoy our city.”
— Mayor Sepi Shyne
WeHo was the greatest hood in L.A. BEFORE it became a city. The first mayor, Valerie Terrigno, a crook who resigned in disgrace, was a harbinger of the problems the city would always face. It ached to be the “creative city”. Bought the Kings Road garage site for a city hall without due diligence only to learn it was a cancer hazard AFTER blowing all the $. So it bought a second site. What me worry? It’s only your money. That garage has still never earned a dollar. I moved from WeHo after 30 years on Kings Road because the… Read more »
After reading John Erickson’s profile, make your own determination.
Please don’t forget, John Erickson nominated himself as Chair for Planning Commission while knowing nothing about planning. Unbridled ego armed with a PhD in Gender Studies. A PhD is a specific type of doctorate degree that focuses on research in a particular field and is highly theoretical. Not verified as practical. A doctorate degree is an umbrella term for any doctorate level degree. So tell us, Mr. Erckson, what really is your expertise?
I’ve been living in West Hollywood since 1989 and only recently have I found my self being afraid to walk at night, afraid to cross the street during the day because so many cars run the red lights, embarrassed by how filthy the streets are when showing visitors around. West Hollywood is in decline. The only shops are weed shops, there’s no sense of neighborhood at all. My fault, our fault, your fault, we’re the ones who voted in the current West Hollywood City Council. They are failing our city. I’m glad to hear the Sheriff’s department is being re-funded.… Read more »
Check out streetpeopleoflosangeles on Instagram. Erickson & Horvath sent out engraved invitations for this. In the future we will have something like MARTA in Atlanta …Moving AR through Atlanta. But in La it will be METRO Moving Endless Transients Rapidly & Offensively throughout LA
John Erickson, spend a day outside CVS on Santa Monica/La Cienigia. Santa Monica and LA Brea, Santa Monica and San Vicente, Beverly & San Vicente. The police station isn’t even save.
Fairfax and Santa Monica…yikes!
Anywhere on Sunset.
Fountain is Gangster Grove.
Are you blind?
I swear, at this rate we’re gonna have to make “West Hollywood Politician” memes to go with the “Florida Man” ones at the rate the city leaders are acting goofy.
Goofy? More like destructive and dangerous to feather their own egos.
“I’ve never felt unsafe in this city,” Erickson said. then sir you must not live in the city!!!!! LOL!!!!! It does not take a rocket scientist to see and hear about constant crime every single day. DUH! The most recent robbery with an AR15!!!! and such things happens every day. FUND LASD and get rid of the ‘toy security ambassadors” that have near zero training on how to de-escalate a critical situation NOR the ability to actually arrest the criminals. Spend less $$$$ on superfluous projects that are not for the good of ALL residents. Security should be the number… Read more »
Just a few months ago, Erickson said at a meeting that he was nearly carjacked leaving a parking garage in West Hollywood. What a total phony and a liar. He has got to go.
👏 👏 👏
This was completely unnecessary. Sheriff should never have been defunded in the first place.
The council needs to wrap their heads around the fact that not all police are bad, The Weho Sheriff’s Department has done a lot of outreach to the community and that the majority of the community were outraged when sheriff deputies were cut back and replaced with the unarmed Tour de France show.
Glad he feels so safe. But there’s an old saying. A liberal is just a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet.
He must be delusional as he was almost carjacked AND he claims to have death threats made against him. He must not have connected brain cells.
The genesis of this dangerous nonsense was gifted to West Hollywood as a result of Horvath’s bargain with the devil Nikka Soon Shiong to obtain an endorsement from the LA Times. Now Sepi Shyne apparently is following suit in gaining support from AARP hence the Commendation and Presentation to them at Monday’s Council Meeting. Beyond disingenuous, outright unethical.
I had not forgotten Horvath’s deal with the devil. She’s no doubt morphing into a new form of parasite with her new position.
As to Erickson feeling safe, he’s way over 6″ tall and a strong young man. Really a slap in the face to all woman to suggest that everyone should feel the way he does.