Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, November 12, 2020


Page 3


Board of Supervisors Votes to Explore Ways of Removing Villanueva As County Sheriff


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 to consider options for ousting Alex Villanueva as sheriff.

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl co-authored a motion calling for an examination by the Office of County Counsel, the Office of Chief Executive Officer, the inspector general, and the Civilian Oversight Commissioner as to possible ways to get rid of the controversial lawman or yanking powers from him. At Tuesday’s board meeting, they gained the needed third vote—that of Supervisor Hilda Solis—with Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn voting against the action.

Kuehl charged, in a statement released later in the day, that Villanueva “has continuously refused to cooperate with the Civilian Oversight Commission and our inspector general, defying both subpoenas and requests for information,” adding:

“He has incurred tens of millions of dollars in settlement costs in excessive force litigation, re-employed deputies who were lawfully terminated, and aggressively resisted the County’s attempt to balance the department’s budget which is running unprecedented deficits.

“True community safety means having a Sheriff’s Department that operates within the law, within budget, and works collaboratively with local officials and the public to build and maintain community trust. The supervisors have taken this action to explore ways of removing or limiting a sheriff’s authority as a last resort, because our paramount obligation is to our county residents to ensure that any county law enforcement agency is accountable and worthy of the public’s confidence and trust.”

Ridley-Thomas commented:

“We have managed to inherit the worst sheriff in recent memory, and he has set off what is as close to a constitutional crisis at the local level that we’ve ever seen.

“Under the current sheriff, hard-fought law enforcement reforms are being undone, eroding public trust. It is painfully obvious that we need mechanisms to hold the sheriff accountable and we are willing to consider executive, legislative, and judicial authority to restore order.”

Villanueva, who toppled then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell in the 2018 election, is up for reelection in 2022.

Hahn remarked that voters can recall Villanueva “or they can vote him out when his term’s up,” remarking:

“That's how democracy works.”

She added:

“I don't think it's our job to remove an elected official.”


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