Sheriff Alex Villanueva is pursuing the Trump-deSantis-Cruz political strategy of embracing outrageously anti-progressive initiatives to ensure highest name recognition in upcoming elections.
Given how much he emulates Donald Trump’s behavior, it is ironic that Villanueva defeated former Sheriff Jim McDonnell by telling voters that a vote for McDonnell was a vote for Trump. He cited McDonnell’s willingness to cooperate with the U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) efforts to identify and deport undocumented LA residents, a Trump priority. This argument swayed members of the LA Democratic party, who supported Villanueva’s challenge to McDonnell, much to their later chagrin.
His latest salvo against progressives, which currently greets visitors to the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station website, was his decision for the Sheriff’s Department not to cooperate with the county’s anti-COVID vaccination mandate. He asserted, without evidence, that 10 to 20 percent of his officers would quit if he were to enforce the county’s mandate. Never mind his insouciance about the hypocrisy of uniformed officers refusing to obey the law.
Another publicity stunt earlier this summer was Villanueva’s deployment of deputies to the Venice boardwalk, where the LA City Police have primary jurisdiction, not county sheriffs. He threatened to jail people who were homeless if they did not leave the Venice area.
Perhaps as an extension of his instinct for bullying, he has displayed a consistent anti-women bias. This bias was apparent in his public animosity toward the all-female Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
This bias was reflected in his arbitrary reassignment of Malibu’s LASD liaison Lt. Jennifer Seetoo, who excelled in her position. This bias was apparent in his rehiring male officers previously dismissed because of domestic violence concerns.
The LA Democratic Party, members of the LA County Board of Supervisors and the Civilian Oversight Commission for the Sheriff’s Department have all called on him to resign. Like Trump, however, Villanueva is less interested in addressing substantive constituent concerns about their safety and more interested in gaslighting the public to stay in power.
His actions and words have undermined effective law enforcement in Los Angeles, thereby disqualifying him from the office he now holds.