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A Deadly Trifecta: Covid Cases, Violent Crime and Public Corruption Rise Sharply in LA County – How Supervisor Sheila Kuehl “Reimagines L.A.”

You gotta hand it to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The man has some Mad-Max forward-thinking skills.

Back on July 21st, based on the decisions made by our county leaders, Sheriff V predicted if massive defunding continued, the streets of Los Angeles would like a scene out of Mad Max.

Well hot damn if that prediction doesn’t look like it’s coming to fruition a lot faster than any of us – even the top cop in charge in L.A. County – could have possibly imagined it would.

Last week, state and local officials delivered yet another round of sobering statistics due to the COVID19 crisis. And for those of you who are not sober, by all means feel free to take a shot or two before you take in these statistics – because these numbers are ugly – and defunding hasn’t even happened yet!

Sheriff Villanueva announced in his weekly live updates on December 2nd, that Homicide is up 31.58% YTD. That is not a typo. Homicide is climbing up in double digits and Aggravated Assault is not far behind, almost entering double digit territory at 9.95%.

I’m on pins and needles waiting to see how high the numbers go this week!

Last Wednesday, Sheriff Villanueva delivered some trouble crime statistics on his weekly, live social media updates.

Not to take away Sheriff V’s thunder and all after producing some impressively frightening numbers, but I was able to find even more staggering statistics coming out of Pasadena. Are you ready for this one? (I suggest double shots at this point).

Pasadena Police Chief John Perez said, in the past year, his city has seen an 80% spike in violent crime when it comes to gun violence.

For those of you doing the math, we have just 20% to go until gun violence is up 100% – and that’s just in Pasadena – defunding in L.A. County hasn’t even kicked in yet! 

Pasadena Daily News, December 3rd, 2020.

 

It was no surprise to already overburdened, understaffed and soon to be drastically underfunded law enforcement, to see a significant increase in crime due to pandemic fatigue and the devastation to the economy from the virus. But, I certainly don’t think anyone “Reimagined” L.A. would be this bad, this fast. 

Could it be the “visionaries” behind the defund-first-ask-questions later movement, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Civilian Oversight Commission Chair Patti Giggans and their political enforcer OIG Max Huntsman are too busy “reimagining” what their lives are going to look like after the DA finishes their investigation into the LA Metro Pay-To-Play scam and indictments are handed down?

Don’t worry, The Current Report will be court side when that goes down.

GIDDY UP

After throwing all those horrible statistics your way, believe it or not, there is a glimmer of hope in Southern California law enforcement. A few cowboys stepped up as soon as the Stay-At-Home orders were served up by French Laundry fan Gov. Newsome – and they kicked it back to the cook.

Leading the charge among Southern California Sheriffs is Riverside County’s Chad Bianco who hit rock star status over the weekend making national headlines with his COVID-KICK-THE-POLITICIANS-ASS campaign.

Sheriff Bianco certainly knows how to deal with how wild, the Wild West is getting. Immediately out of the gate, Bianco opened a serious can of whoop ass on local and state officials – specifically Governor Newsome. Bianco was not at all gentle about the spurs he was shoving back up the Governor’s “hypocritical” ass … and who doesn’t love a cowboy who knows how to use his political spurs?

Bianco cracked the whip in a publicly released video statement on December 4th, that his office will not be “blackmailed, bullied, or used as muscle” against Riverside County residents to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus orders. He admonished the Democratic governor’s “dictatorial attitude” toward Californians, “while he dined in luxury, traveled, kept his own business open, and sent his kids to in-person private school”.  Bianco also called the state’s metrics to justify stay-at-home orders “flat-out ridiculous” and “unbelievably faulty.”

Now that’s a REAL  cowboy!

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco.

“Leaders do not threaten, attempt to intimidate, or cause fear; bullies do,”

– Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco

THE WRITING ON THE  (BATHROOM) WALL

Remember all the smoke and mirrors at the beginning of the pandemic when Supervisor Kuehl was calling Sheriff V a “whiner” because the Board was removing him as the head of Emergency Operations?

Well, at the time, Sheriff V expressed his concern over the B.O.S. leaving him out of important meetings and strategy sessions early in the crisis. Up until March 23rd, neither Villanueva, nor any law enforcement official had been included in any of the LA county press conferences. “This is about taking care of people, not elected officials or politicians,” Villanueva said. Which, in layman’s terms means, long before the lockdown, and the vote to remove him, the BOS was keeping the man in charge of public safety out of the loop to keep the public safe. Get it?

Fast forward 10-months-two-lockdowns-shattered-lives-and-skyrocketing-crime later, now you can sure as sh*t see what his frustration was back in March.

It wasn’t the sound of “whining” (as Kuehl puts it), it was the sound of the head of the largest Sheriff’s Department in the country, an elected official, getting some good-old-fashioned-pissed-off. That’s what that was.

After all, he was witnessing the desecration of an over 70 year old ordinance and dismantling of critical emergency infrastructure – that he was elected to run – especially during a state of emergency (a.k.a. global pandemic).

Plain and simple, the removal of the Sheriff as head of the EOC was intended to be the first of many steps intended to distance the Board from critical law enforcement oversight. Their goal? To take unilateral control of the county with Kuehl as the puppet master pushing propaganda through her paid media sources focusing on demonizing Sheriff Villanueva.

Why?

Because Kuehl is still bitter her political ally, former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, got his ass handed to him by Villanueva in the 2018 Sheriff’s election. McDonnell has the dubious honor of being the first incumbent to lose in the 150-year history of the department. OUCH.

But trust me, he earned it.

In this interview for SCPR just days before the vote to remove Sheriff Villanueva from the head of the EOC, Kuehl, states the efforts to remove Villanueva started in January 2019, (coincidentally – and conveniently – when the newly-elected sheriff took office) – however, the county had already been “overseeing” Emergency Operations for approximately a decade.

“It is a shift of power on paper. ” said Kuehl “But frankly, for the last 10 years there has been an Office of Emergency Management and they have been tasked with overseeing emergencies. Earthquakes etc.”

If you are following closely, Kuehl and her double talk in that interview outed the County as being responsible for the failures during the Woolsey Fire, not the Sheriff – even though her boy Jim McDonnell was still in charge of the Sheriff’s Department.

In reality, former Sheriff McDonnell checked out during the Woolsey Fire because the proverbial writing was on the bathroom wall and Villanueva was already picking out the paint color for his new office on the 8th floor at the Hall of Justice.

 

But, Kuehl was hoping we would miss that critical piece of information while she was informing the radio show host he was “being played” by Sheriff V.

I mean, how dare a journalist question Supervisor Kuehl about why they would remove the Sheriff from a position the department has held for over 70 years!

Clearly, the unassuming host didn’t get the memo that you can only interview Kuehl if you are going to exclusively push her narrative, and her narrative only. Kind of like how Spectrum News did for Kuehl pushing her “non-story” after Fox 11 outed her “risky behavior” dining out at her favorite restaurant after voting to close restaurants because they were “the most dangerous place to catch COVID”.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Now, with the removal of the Sheriff as the head of the EOC, Kuehl was perfectly poised to put a new puppet in charge and who better than someone with extensive experience in finance to run Emergency Operations.

Well, when you know how much Kuehl loves money, her choice, County CEO Sachi Hamai, was hardly a surprise. I mean, it makes perfect sense appointing an accountant to run public safety during a global pandemic, right? Of course it does…NOT.

“Don’t forget that Kuehl was an actress before becoming a politician,” said a source close to the criminal allegations against Kuehl. “It’s all smoke and mirrors with Kuehl, and she supports bad people doing bad things. Look what has happened with Covid-19. Kuehl turned Emergency management over to Sachi Hamai, and now we are shutting down business for the second time.”

So, what was Hamai’s first move as head of Emergency Operations of the County during a state of emergency and a global pandemic? As usual, it was all about the money, honey. Hamai decided the first, most emergent move while people are losing their livelihoods, scared to death of contracting the virus and ending up sick- or worse – was to make sure sheriff deputies use their vacation pay while in quarantine due to exposure from the virus while on duty. 

Talk about priorities!

While watching this train wreck running Emergency Operations, I got a tip on some hair-raising emails regarding the EOC saga that I needed to get my hands on. So, I made some inquiries.

Remember all that noise about removing the Sheriff because of lack of transparency? Well check this out this cornucopia of attempted cover-up by the county.

The art of manipulation by the LA County PIO office responding to PRA requests – especially when they know you are asking for sensitive information that could expose their lies and corruption.

 

Meanwhile, the county was funneling millions of CARE ACT funds into their COVID “PR” strategy. The powers that be felt no shame using government money that should have been used to support businesses financially devastated by the coronavirus, for their own personal propaganda campaign. The money went straight into the pockets of personal friends and campaign donors who own PR companies.

Fox 11’s Bill Melugin broke the story of the P.R. contracts now totaling over $1.9million. Shortly after Fox 11’s story, The Current Report  followed up with more dirt on the insider trading committed by one of the agencies – and one who just so happens to be friends with – and contributed to – Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s campaign.

While I’m willing to give Barger a pass because she voted against the defunding of law enforcement and the inquiry to remove the Sheriff from his position, she really does need to learn how to pick her friends better.

SHOW ME MORE MONEY

According to Kuehl, Hamai made “great sacrifices” to put off her retirement to stay on for four months during the pandemic and cockblock, I mean “oversee”,   Sheriff Villanueva doing his job to ensure public safety during not one, but TWO states of emergency.

Kuehl thought Hamai did such an outstanding job (doing nothing but being a puppet), she decided to give her a bonus of almost two times her salary and label it “harassment by the Sheriff”.

Ten days after Hamai whined to Kuehl (there goes that word again) that Sheriff V wasn’t being nice to her in a public forum, even though she is a public official and is supposed to address other public officials, and their concerns, in public, Kuehl thought the best way to deal Hamai’s hurt feelings (a.k.a “harassment”), was to write her a $1.5 million check, at taxpayers expense, to make her feel better.

No formal mediation or litigation. The County just a wrote a check lickety-split and filed it under “It’s the Sheriff’s Fault”.

What was Kuehl’s solution when she expressed how sorry she was “Alex’s feelings were hurt” in this interview? Stripping the Sheriff of being head of EOC.

Talk about getting a raw deal! But then again, we all know how much she likes women more than men.

FROM PANDEMIC PLANNER TO PARTY PLANNER

One thing we know for sure is politicians sure know how to party. Gavin Newsome seems to be the premier party boy with his high-profile political date night at French Laundry and we even heard rumblings of a co-hosted Christmas party in the works with Pelosi – and this after he handed out orders to close all restaurants!

Not far behind is Supervisor Kuehl, who “risked it all” to have dinner at her favorite restaurant, Il Fornaio, just hours after declaring restaurants “the most dangerous place to catch Covid”. After refusing to address a number of news channels as to why she was immune to catching Covid at a restaurant, yet everyone else wasn’t and they desperately need to be closed down, Kuehl referred to local news sources as “cartoon networks” (except for Spectrum News who played by her rules and pushed her “non-story”). That was a rich statement coming from a former actress who is no stranger to TV. Could she be hinting a new animated series is on the horizon?

Not to be outdone by his peers, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is refocusing his efforts away from solving the economic devastation faced by the citizens of Los Angeles and has accepted the post of Chief Party Planner of the Biden inauguration. Yep, “Yoga Pants” Garcetti is following his dream in the hospitality industry and headed to Washington DC to plan the biggest party in the nation. So big, it’s only thrown once every four years.

Meanwhile, rumors are circulating around Los Angeles that Garcetti has reached out to L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to see if she will donate her Il Forno frequent diner points to the Biden Inauguration Party fund to reduce the cost of catering.

Believe it or not, there is a light at the end of this political pandemic tunnel as criminal indictments are looming over Kuehl, Giggans, Solis and L.A. Metro’s Phil Washington.

Kuel’s co-horts, Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger have begun to pull away from their alliances with Kuehl and refused to support Kuehl’s motion to remove the Sheriff. Two out of five ain’t a bad start, we’ll take it.

Last week, Supervisor Hahn also pointed out that the actions of L.A. County Supervisors are beginning to erode the trust of the citizens Los Angeles.

“We have to remember that we who are in public office are held to a very high standard as we should be and one of the things I’m realizing with some of these new restrictions is if we can’t garner the trust of the public to be with us in this fight against the virus, then we’ve lost a big battle and I’m feeling that now nine months into this is we’re beginning to lose the trust of the public,” Hahn said.

I would say that’s putting it lightly Janice, but thanks for the sentiments.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly after it went live, County counsel sent us an official “non-response” to the PRA published in this article. I never received the document attached to the December 12th email sent me as a response to my article, nor could county counsel provide me with the email showing it was actually sent the day it was drafted.

Cece Woods

The Current Report Editor in Chief Cece Woods started The Local Malibu, an activism based platform in 2014. The publication was instrumental in the success of pro-preservation ballot measures and seating five top vote-getters in the Malibu City Council elections.

During the summer of 2018, Woods exposed the two-year law enforcement cover-up in the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings, and a few short months later provided the most comprehensive local news coverage during the Woolsey Fire attracting over 1 million hits across her social media platforms. Woods also founded Malibu based 90265 Magazine and Cali Mag devoted to the authentic southern California lifestyle.

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