Community members shared concerns on public safety issues at last night’s regular city council meeting during the Public Comments portion of the meeting. Members of the public expressed concerns over the recent robbery that took place near the alley at La Boheme restaurant where a suspect appeared to be holding an assault rifle, as well as another incident where a fight that broke out on Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard near two Block by Block security ambassadors.
Patrick Blood expressed concerns over public safety, saying he’s always been a strong advocate for not cutting sheriff deputies and that he feels protected by them. He added that he has respect for Block by Block Ambassadors, but he feels safer with Sheriff Deputies.
Alan Strasburg, a West Hollywood resident for 32 years, came prepared with a speech:
“I want to talk about public safety,” he said from the lectern. “Public safety is the single most important issue that any government at all levels can deal with. Last year, the city became entangled in most clearly an ideological debate about public safety and policing. That morass continues to this day exacerbated in large part by attempts to conflate narratives and abuse statistics. This is a very simple issue. People do not feel safe period. The fact of the matter is that three of you voted to reduce the number of sworn deputies in West Hollywood, period. The fact of the matter is that block by block has proven itself over and over to be ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars, period. How we count and categorize that crime is irrelevant to those on the victim side of crime. A declaration on television that people are safe is categorically false, and of little comfort to those on the victim. Side of crime. They experiment with an ideological drive to reimagine public safety must end. We want to restore the LASD contingent to pre pandemic levels, and indeed more. We live in a world with more guns than people. And the reality of the human condition is that there will always be people intent on doing harm. recognizing those two realities should not be an exercise in defeatism as expressed in news interviews last week, but rather call to do the people’s business. And right now that people’s business demands more deputies on the street. I often find wisdom in the words of John F. Kennedy we dare not tempt them with weakness. For only one of our arms are sufficient beyond doubt. Can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed? Let’s once again center the needs and wants of the residents of West Hollywood. Thank you.”
Former Disabilities Advisory board member Mikie Friedman compared her 95-pound German Shepherd mix to the Block by Block ambassadors to point out that the unarmed security guards have no teeth in comparison to her ferocious looking dog Stormy. She made these comparisons with no hesitation while a Block by Block ambassador stood not far away from her.
“People give me a wide berth when I walk with her down the street,” she said. “They think twice before they mess with me. And you know why? Because she’s huge and she has big teeth. And those teeth can do a lot of damage to somebody who’s trying to hurt me. If my dog was smaller and it didn’t have any teeth, nobody would be afraid of messing with me. And that’s what Block by Block are. They are dogs with no teeth…so now our beloved city is toothless. Sheriffs on the other hand, like my dog, have ways to make people who want to act badly think twice about it. Rather than so many toothless Block by Blocks, we really need to have armed walking sheriff patrols. And now if we have them, they’d have teeth like my Stormy.”
Community member Rick Watts reported armed robberies of pedestrians in the 1000 block and 1200 block of of Sweetzer Avenue. He pointed out that the West Hollywood Sheriff’s have not posted crime reports from the Sheriff’s Department for quite a while now when it used to be posted weekly on Nixle. He said he wished they’d bring the reports back.
The public comments meeting took place before the Manager’s Report by David Wilson, who informed the community that the suspect who may have used an assault rifle to rob the three individuals near La Boheme restaurant had been arrested in Beverly Hills, along with three of his accomplices.