The city council agreed in a narrow 3-2 vote, with Mayor Lauren Meister dissenting, to slash law enforcement’s budget, leaving West Hollywood with up to five fewer Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies for the next two fiscal years. At the same time, the council voted to increase funding for a cultural arts festival.
Meister slammed her council members’ decision, saying the public has been staunchly opposed to defunding the police.
“Most of the residents and businesses I have heard from are opposed to cutting the Sheriff’s budget,” Meister told Fox News in a statement.
“They are outraged that people and organizations from outside our city are dictating to Council how to run our city. The narrative that we can have ‘either Sheriff’s or social services,’ or ‘either Sheriff’s or unarmed security teams’ is false.”
However, one of the councilmembers who voted to defund law enforcement argued that a reliable police presence is not the only way to keep people safe.
“Prioritizing peoples safety doesn’t just mean people with badges and guns on the street,” Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath said during the meeting.
“We have to find another way to keep our residents safe in a way that is affordable.”
The residents of West Hollywood, who have experienced surging murder, rape, burglarly, aggravated assault and arson rates, seemed to disagree.
“With a public safety crisis, and residents, businesses and tourists expecting us to deliver, I do not think this approach, while timed out, would help the community achieve our goals of creating a safer West Hollywood,” Councilman John Erickson said.
“When I’ve heard from countless residents about how they want to feel safer, that involves comprehensive planning and something that is not just drawn out over a decision.”