By Nick Antonicello
Is there a Democratic or Republican way to reduce homeless encampments and fight rising crime?
Does politics and partisan games have any place in the selection of LA’s highest ranking law enforcement officer?
The answer is obvious and the answer is no!
For LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the Spanish-speaking, “law and order” Democrat understands the streets of this county are unsafe, and his reform measures are working, but he is being ironically punished by party operatives for “biting the hand that feeds you.”
For clubhouse machine insiders like Mark Gonzalez, the chairman of the all-powerful LA Democratic Party, he is offended that Sheriff Villanueva is not some political extension of the back-room politics he practices and like church and state, politics deserves no role in the operation, management and deployment of the Sheriff’s Office.
For Villanueva is an “old school” political throwback who wears a cowboy hat and believes his office should be owned and operated by sworn officers and law enforcement specialists who won’t relent to the political agenda of any party leader or pro.
He believes he answers to the people and not the politicians!
For politics has no place in the Sheriff’s Office and the fact the incumbent has made this delineation obvious is a good thing for taxpayers and residents alike.
For Villanueva is a new Democrat, like mayoral hopeful Rick Caruso, an LA version of NYC’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg where professionalism and results trump party politics and liberal leanings that should play no role in the operation of a countywide law enforcement agency.
Villanueva displayed his independence from the status quo when he made it his business to come to Venice Beach and end the failed liberal carnage of hundreds of out-of-state transients living in third-world conditions and destroying what commerce and tourism was left by the failed policies of outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti and the now deposed Council member Mike Bonin, the hapless “lame duck” now headed for the exits as his destructive, do-nothing policies at Venice Beach nearly killed the state’s #1 tourist destination before the pandemic and COVID-19!
And Villanueva’s tough on crime stances are working as polling data shows Villanueva with a 55-24 favorable rating in a county that now has a majority of Hispanics who like him realize crime is a key issue and homelessness is increasing that burden on residents and taxpayers.
For right is now right and wrong is now wrong with Sheriff Villanueva in charge!
You would think a popular new Democratic Sheriff like Villanueva would be embraced by the embedded party faithful, but instead has been unfairly maligned because of his tough on crime record that voters like, respect and want!
Here in Venice, Sheriff Villanueva has been adopted as it’s favorite political son who was praised for his work of cleaning up the beach at the annual holiday sign lighting that was attended by thousands of Venetians who had enough of the failed policies of Bonin and his homeless minions and the “defund-the-police” antagonists!
As June 7th approaches, there simply isn’t an alternative to the incumbent and one wonders what any fellow law enforcement official would have done better than the stellar record of one of the most accomplished elected officials here in Los Angeles today?
For many I know hoped the Sheriff would turn-in his cowboy hat for a stab at the office of Mayor of Los Angeles, but as it becomes clear businessman and developer Rick Caruso will assume that office, it is good to know Alex Villanueva will build-off his crime-focused policies that have had a real and distinct impact on the quality-of-life here in Venice, and those same quality-of-life improvements need to be extended across the county moving forward.
And while Centennial Park continues to breed more crime as the transient population grows, we’re hopeful Sheriff Villanueva will deploy the same tactics and proposals coming out of the campaign of CD-11 council candidate Mike Newhouse, a longtime Venetian that is calling for a 30-day plan to remove all encampments upon assuming office.
We’re hopeful the Sheriff will come to Venice and maybe join others in constructing a time-sensitive and passionate removal of these people from outside to inside with the mental health services and rehabilitation needed to get themselves back into a productive and meaningful life.
For if there is one easy decision on June 7th, it is the election of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to a second term of office.
Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian covering the local political scene as it impacts Venice. A member of the Outreach & Oceanfront Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council, he can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
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