On January 31st, just days before voters receive their ballots in the mail for the March primary, the LA times published an article announcing a decision by the County to issue a “Do Not Rehire” be included at the top of former Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s personnel file.
According to sources in the department, the County Equity Oversight Panel consisting of Constance Komoroski, Mercedes Cruz, Roberta Yang and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Chief Laura Lecrevain, met by teleconference on October 17th, 2023. The reccomendation was confirmed to have been adopted via department sources.
The committee determined Villanueva had violated several county policies against discrimination and harassment. Although Villanueva was no longer sheriff, he had already announced his candidacy for Board of Supervisors, challenging incumbent Janice Hahn.
Villanueva wrote in an email statement to the LA Times “This is but another brazen attempt by the Board of Supervisors to engage in electioneering to influence the outcome of the race for 4th District supervisor,” he wrote in an emailed statement to The Times. “Much like the special hearings of the Civilian Oversight Commission, this unprecedented effort by the county is neither supported by fact or the rule of law.”
“It seems clear that it is a bold strategic gambit, meant to cripple any possibility that he (Villanueva) ever becomes sheriff again.” retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Mike Bornman told The Current Report. “However, these wounds also seem to be self-inflicted” said Bornman on the Undercover LA podcast, referring to the inflammatory rhetoric which also provided the fuel behind the “Do Not Rehire” status issued by the County Equity Oversight Panel.
According to Bornman, the next logical step in this process would be to file a petiton with the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) to decertify Villanueva which Senate Bill 2, passed in September of 2021, allows for the decertification of peace officers for serious misconduct, which includes the violations of discrimination and harassment.
The Board has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that Villanueva, should he win another term as Sheriff of the largest Sheriff’s Department in the country, by intrducing Measure A, which passed in November 2022. The measure allows the Board of Supervisors to remove the Sheriff, for cause. A move many, including Villanueva, believes is unconstitutional. However, there is legal precedent, as a 2005 California appellate court approved a law that lets supervisors in San Bernardino County remove a sheriff.
Just days after the layoffs of 25% of their newsroom, the LA Times, “sponsored a cushy mixer with elected officials” Spectrum News reporter Kate Cagle’s Twitter.
The timing of the mixer Cagle revealed in her tweet and the announcement of the “Do Not Rehire” of the former Sheriff and Board of Supervisors candidate by LAT, seems to support Villanueva’s assertions that the Board is attempting to influence the primary election to be held on March 5th, of which mail in ballots are now being received by registered voters throughout the county.