16 November 2022

Another Election Update

Alex Villanueva, the LA County Sheriff who fostered murderous criminal gangs among his officers, and used his official powers to harass his critics, has lost his bid for reelection.

Here is hoping that he ends up in the dock as a criminal defendant, because he is dirty as hell:

Robert Luna, a little-known retired police chief from Long Beach, will be the next sheriff of Los Angeles County after he soundly beat the incumbent, Alex Villanueva, who leaves office in the wake of a single term marred by the upheaval and discord he sowed.

With Luna holding a commanding 20-percentage-point lead in the vote count and the number of ballots yet to be tallied shrinking by the day, Villanueva conceded the race Tuesday.


Dislike for Villanueva and his antagonistic style of rule played out elsewhere on the ballot as well: Measure A, which rewrites the county charter to give the Board of Supervisors the power to fire a sitting sheriff, looks likely to pass overwhelmingly, with about 70% of voters approving it so far. Supervisors put the measure to voters after years spent battling with Villanueva.

The results were a resounding rebuke of Villanueva’s four chaotic years in office — a tenure during which he morphed from an upstart candidate buoyed by the support of progressive voters into a conservative, combative lawman who clashed endlessly with elected officials and others who oversee him and the department.

Luna’s victory means another turnover in leadership for the Sheriff’s Department, which will see its fourth sheriff since Lee Baca resigned eight years ago amid a federal corruption probe that ultimately sent him to prison.


After decades of neglect, the county’s jails will present Luna with no shortage of problems, as they have his predecessors. Treatment for the thousands of mentally ill people housed in the facilities is woefully insufficient, while the facilities in general are badly outdated.

Controversial shootings and other misconduct continue to be issues as well. The Board of Supervisors recently agreed to pay $47.6 million to settle several lawsuits alleging excessive force or negligence by sheriff’s deputies. The payouts included $8 million for the family of Andres Guardado, whose killing in 2020 by a deputy prompted large protests.


Still unresolved are criminal investigations the Sheriff’s Department opened into some of Villanueva’s most ardent critics that led to widespread accusations that he was abusing the power of the office to attack adversaries. California’s attorney general has taken over those investigations and is looking into the misconduct claims.

And lawsuits by top-ranking sheriff’s officials alleging Villanueva covered up an incident in which a deputy kneeled on the head of a jail inmate remain open .

The oversight commission, meanwhile, is holding public hearings into gang-like groups of deputies that have operated in the department for decades. Villanueva came under fire for his handling of the problem, both downplaying its seriousness and claiming to have taken decisive steps to address it. He has also rebuffed subpoenas from the commission to answer questions about the groups and other problems under oath.

This man was a complete sh%$-show, as iss the LA County Sherrif's Department, which has turned the county jail into a medieval house of horrors, in addition to the whole criminal gang thing.

Placing the Sheriff under civilian oversight, with the ability to remove the them, is a decent start, and decarceration which would save money and immediately make the jail less hellish, would be a good second step.


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