Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will review Tuesday’s proposal to ask voters in November whether they want to grant the panel the power to remove an elected sheriff for cause.
The motionHolly Mitchell, the Board Chair, and Hilda Solis, the Supervisor would direct county attorneys at the county to prepare the necessary documents and ordinances to be presented to voters on Nov. 8. This would allow the board the power to remove an elected sheriff by a majority vote.
According to the motion, such an action would be permitted “for cause,”With such cause defined as “a violation of any law related to the performance of their duties as sheriff; flagrant or repeated neglect of duties; a misappropriation of public funds or property; willful falsification of a relevant official statement or document; or obstruction of any investigation into the conduct of the sheriff by the Inspector General, Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, or any government agency with jurisdiction to conduct such an investigation.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva entered his news conference to ask how what he called stolen property in an investigation somehow ended up being in the hands a third person, a reporter at the LA Times. Robert Kovacik reports from NBC4 News Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
A statement to the Los Angeles Times First time the board proposed was reportedA representative from the sheriff’s office called the maneuver “a” “politically motivated stunt”Orchestrated while Sheriff Alex Villanueva was seeking reelection.
Villanueva’s reelection campaign fired back Friday, claiming that the supervisors had “no business” seeking such authority.
“The people of Los Angeles would be better served if the supervisors spent their time doing their jobs by reducing homelessness and improving healthcare, instead of trying to seize even more power,”According to Villanueva’s campaign.
“The sheriff is an elected position, just like the supervisors. Just as the sheriff has no business asking for power to fire the supervisors, the reverse is also true.”
Supervisor Janice Hahn indicated that she would support the motion and gave it the three votes required to be approved Tuesday. Kathryn Barger, supervisor, stated to The Times that she was puzzled by the motivations behind the proposal. She asked why it targets only the sheriff and not other leaders in the county.
Villanueva has been in conflict with the board several times, accusing them of defunding their agency at the expense public safety and refusing to comply with subpoenas to appear in front of the Civilian Oversight Commission.
The motion doesn’t mention Villanueva directly, but rather states “The current sheriff has been openly hostile to oversight and transparency and has tested the functionality of existing oversight structures by consistently resisting and obstructing these systems of checks and balances.”
Also, the motion refers to Lee Baca, who was sent into federal prison on corruption allegations, and Peter Pitchess. “resisted any involvement in the first internal investigation of deputy gangs from outside the department.”
According to the motion, despite efforts by the board to monitor the department, “the board has nevertheless been limited in its ability to serve as a sufficient check against the sheriff’s flagrant disregard of lawful oversight and accountability.”
Villanueva’s tenure as sheriff saw a number of disputes between the sheriff and supervisors.
If the motion passes, county attorneys will prepare the paperwork needed to place the issue onto the November ballot. After that, the board will vote on the matter again on July 26.
You can Read the motion here.
Villanueva’s second term bid is set for November against Robert Luna, the former Long Beach police chief. They came in at 1-2 among a field of nine candidates during the June primary.