As expected, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, August 2 voted in favor a measure on the November ballot which would give them the power to remove a publicly elected sheriff from office.
The board vote was 4-1, with Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger the lone dissenting vote. The move was made as part of the no-discussion consent schedule.
If approved by voters, the ballot measure would give the board the authority to remove a sheriff “for cause” with a four-fifths vote of the five-member panel.
“Cause” is defined as “a violation of any law related to the performance of his duties as sheriff; flagrant or repeated neglect of duty; a misappropriation of public funds or property; willful falsification of an official statement or relevant document; or obstruction of any investigation of the sheriff’s conduct by the Inspector General, the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission, or any government agency with jurisdiction to conduct such an investigation.
Although board members supporting the move denied it was political in nature, the move is a clear response to repeated clashes with current Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Villanueva has repeatedly tangled with the council, accusing members of defunding his agency at the expense of public safety, while refusing subpoenas to appear before the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission.
For the past four years, Villanueva has blocked MP gang investigations and resisted oversight of several fatal shootings by deputies, often defying subpoenas, according to the board motion.
A post on the sheriff’s re-election Facebook page on July 8 said, “The people of LA would be better served if the supervisors spent their time doing their jobs reducing homelessness and improving health care, in instead of trying to get even more power.”
In a separate statement last month, the sheriff said he would take the council to court to defend his rights as a duly elected official. He argued that “this measure will probably be declared unconstitutional by the courts.”
He called the move a way to undermine his re-election bid. In November, Villanueva He faces former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Lunawho finished as the runner-up during the June primaries.
In recent years, supervisors have repeatedly passed motions to investigate the LA County Sheriff’s Department, including two motions in 2020 for independent reviews of the Fatal deputy shooting of 18-year-old Andrés Guardado, a Gardena security guard, who was shot five times in the back, two independent autopsies show.
Increasingly, the relationship between the sheriff and the Democratic-dominated Board of Supervisors, which holds the purse strings of the sheriff’s department, has become downright toxic.
Board President Holly Mitchell and Supervisor Hilda Solis filed the motion on July 12 asking for the electoral measure. Mitchell said during the July 12 board meeting that the issue goes beyond Villanueva.
“The issue of sheriff’s accountability before us is urgent and systemic, as it has affected past generations of Angelenos, but also with significant consequences for the future,” Mitchell said. “Unfortunately, the county has had a long and troubling history with the sheriff’s oversight and transparency.”
At an earlier meeting where the issue was discussed, Barger said the board’s action was political, not practical: “The motion seems to be more personal than about the sheriff’s office,” he said.
Because Villanueva they will be in a second round on November 8 having a charter amendment that gives the council power to remove the sheriff seems like bad timing, Barger said.
“Voters will have an opportunity to speak in November through the polls,” Julie Haff, executive director of the Los Angeles County Republican Party, said Tuesday. “I am not in favor of subverting the will of the people.”
Title, text of the measure
Title: Charter Amendment – Authority to remove an elected sheriff for cause
Text: It shall be the measure amending the Los Angeles County Charter to give the Board of Supervisors the authority to remove an elected sheriff for cause, including a violation of law relating to the duties of a sheriff, gross or repeated neglect of duty, embezzlement of funds , falsification of documents, or obstruction of an investigation, by a vote of four fifths of the Board of Supervisors, after written notification and the opportunity to be heard? YES NO____
Votes required for approval: Most of the votes cast
Choice: November 8, 2022
Measure empowering LA County Supervisors to remove elected sheriff will be on November ballot – Press Telegram Source link Measure empowering LA County Supervisors to remove elected sheriff will be on November ballot – Press Telegram