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Letter to the editor – RE: L.A. County Supervisors Fighting Sheriff Villanueva Instead of Helping Him

A response from Supervisor Janice Hahn

Mayor Robles’ op-ed is either misinformed or intentionally misleading. 

When Sheriff Villanueva was elected, my colleagues and I congratulated him and offered him our support. I even spoke at his swearing in.  Many of the policies and principles that he ran on are ones that I agree with, and I wanted very much to see him succeed in this role. 

However, my interest in seeing the Sheriff succeed does not mean that I will not criticize him if and when I believe he is doing something against the public good. That was the case when my colleagues and I intervened to reverse the Sheriff’s decision to rehire a deputy who had been fired for stalking, harassing an ex-girlfriend, breaking into her home, and lying about it.  

That was also the case when we took action on the Sheriff’s Department’s $63 million budget deficit. The Board of Supervisors is ultimately entrusted with the County’s budget and the responsible use of taxpayer dollars.  We take our responsibility very seriously. 

The decision to freeze part of the Sheriff’s budget was not taken lightly. In fact, the budget deficit was not the reason we intervened. Budget deficits in County departments happen from time to time and this wasn’t the first time the Sheriff’s Department has had a deficit in recent years– but when departments have deficits, we receive plans to get their budgets back on track.  We tried to repeatedly over several months to get a similar plan from the Sheriff’s Department but received nothing. 

On this issue, and on every other issue concerning the Sheriff’s department, my colleagues and I have given the Sheriff an opportunity to work with us.

My door continues to be open to the Sheriff. I am eager to work with him to get a long-overdue body-worn camera program in place. We are not blaming the Sheriff for the conditions at Men’s Central Jail — in fact– I have reached out to him to get his expertise and support for tearing down and replacing the decrepit and inhumane Men’s Central Jail. And we need his involvement in our ongoing effort to reform our criminal justice system. 

It is my hope that the Sheriff succeeds – for the sake of this important department and the sake of our 10 million residents. I hope that the Sheriff feels the same about the Board of Supervisors. 

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All the Angelinos who have lived a lifetime in Cerritos- Greater Dairy Valley and Los Angeles, cannot forget about the Cerritos Baptismal which cost the city $6M in Damages, Rodney Allen King riots, the Watts Riots, OJ Simpson Drama, and many other little incidentals here and there. Plus how many motorists have been stopped for a stupid little violations and harassed by Sheriff- Police, -CHP and had to go to court to fight to win. Just a huge annoyance and grievance many people, well, cannot forget in their lifetime. Other day, was watching a sheriff Patrol through a large Regional… Read more »