My wife and I have been chastising ourselves for being very focused on national politics, to the detriment of what happens locally. As our penance, we decided to attend the town hall in our city highlighting our new Los Angeles County Sheriff. Neither of us knew much about this man, and our homework on him and local law enforcement issues were sketchy and incomplete as we entered the venue.
Our new Sheriff is Alex Villanueva. He was a relatively obscure Lt. Deputy Sheriff that retired in 2018, prior to the election. He spent 30 years with the department, but never managed large groups. He never went higher than Lieutenant in his career, which made him a lower level mid-manager at best. He was a “dark horse” in the election, running against incumbent James McDonnell, a seasoned veteran that previously was Chief of the Long Beach police department and at one time was second in command of the Los Angeles police force. That was all we really knew about him when attending the town hall, but insight into his policies and beliefs became very transparent during the Q&A session that followed his introduction.
Everyone in attendance was given the option of asking questions when signing into the event. Question cards were available and if desired, one could submit one or more questions for the new Sheriff. Both my wife and I submitted questions. To the Sheriff’s credit, he answered every submitted question without hesitation, and his answers were very telling.
He was asked repeatedly about what his department was going to do differently to address the growing illegal alien problem. His answer to these questions were firmly in line with the “California Values Act” passed by the state government giving cover for all illegal aliens. Simply stated he said that there are over 1 million “undocumented migrants” in his jurisdiction, and they are, by his account for the most part law abiding and productive residents that have rights. His position is that they need to be treated with the utmost respect, never put in a position to harbor fears of deportation. In fact, he claims that his policy of respect makes the job of policing much more effective, because these “undocumented migrants” will co-operate with the department with information on criminal activity in their neighborhoods. It was evident that he sees the illegal alien invasion as a net benefit to our community, and wholeheartedly supports the Liberal Progressive “California Values Act”.
There were many questions about how he was going to handle the burgeoning problem of homeless camping out in our neighborhoods. His position was unwavering. He stated this; “You talk as if these people are not yet in your back yards, but they are already there. We manage the problem with deputies trained to interact positively with the homeless, working in concert with social service and mental health personnel to assess the needs of those living on the street. The big question is what are you as citizens going to do to make it better for these individuals?” In other words, he bounced the problem back on us, as if that is where it belonged.
I brought up crime directly to him. Neighborhoodscout.com has put Lakewood CA at 13 in their rating for crime safety. This means that out of 100 being completely safe, only 13% of USA cities are less safe than our town. I asked him what his plan was to reduce the crime rate in our town (Lakewood contracts out to the Sheriff’s department for police protection). He came up with statistics showing that crime in Lakewood is down compared to what it was in 2018, but he used annualized statistics for 2018, and only YTD statistics for 2019. Yes, he compared apples to oranges, and took a pat on his own back for “community-based policing”, a policy where he will attempt to hire deputies who live in the same communities where they will be stationed. In other words, he skirted over the question to make it go away.
Neither my wife or I voted for the new Sheriff. We voted for the incumbent, as he was doing a good job of reforming a very corrupt organization where the previous leadership was actually sent to jail for their activities. He was the right man for the job, having previously been in charge of large police organizations, and he was also tough on crime. It came to us that something happened to have this dark horse succeed in unseating this highly qualified man. Looking into this issue was an eye opener.
It turns out that after the California jungle primary, where he came in a distant 2nd to McDowell, he went full bore focusing on the groups that he thought would be most supportive of him. His Liberal Progressive beliefs and his Latino surname were his strong points. He lobbied every Hispanic political group he could find, putting himself up as one of them (his father was Puerto Rican, his mother Polish-American). He also lobbied every Democrat Club in Los Angeles County, every Progressive organization with voter rolls, and pushed hard that he would support all Liberal Progressive ideals that they held dear, in spite of the Sheriff’s election purportedly being “non-partisan”. He continually told all that wanted to hear that he would be an active resister of Trump and the Federal Government in their efforts to deport illegal alien criminals, making the LA County Jail system “off limits” to Ice and Homeland Security. He promised to evict them from office space given to these agencies by Sheriff McDowell. He became the darling of those that embrace just about everything that is wrong with California, and that propelled him to his win.
The left is organized and active in California politics, much more so than Republicans and Conservatives. They fight hard and dirty, and that is their winning strategy in this state. If we are to take this state back, we need to have the focus and design to do so, and that necessitates paying great attention to local politics. We have positive messages, but in order to win, we need to translate that into understandable sound bites for the public, and most of all, we need to get out the vote. If we don’t California, and for that matter the nation will be permanently transformed into something unrecognizable. Our inaction would produce Liberal Progressive Socialism, open borders, the end of the nation, and the push for Global Governance. We have to remember that all politics starts local. If we ignore that fact we will lose!