Los Angeles’ Political Turf War

The Era of Hollywoodland Noir

Los Angeles has a rich mythos of crime-drama despite being the home of the entertainment industry.  In fact the neo-noir film genre rooted in Hollywood’s crime dramas of stylishly ominous dark narrative—often with a twisted dark wit–was inspired by Los Angeles’ real-life criminal underworld.  Many real-life police task forces eventually found their way onto TV and films. Then, into stardom.

The Gangster Squad; LA Dragnet; The Hat Squad; The Mounted Patrols; the birth of S.W.A.T. are but a few examples.

Their ‘old-school’ tactics were effective at the time; albeit ‘less than orthodox’. Our 21st century society won’t tolerate these tactics.

Where Have You Gone Joe Friday?

These forerunners led to modern day copycats that did not have the style, the grit, nor the charisma. Groups within LA’s law enforcement community appear to be emulating the criminals they are supposed to apprehend, instead of reenacting scenes from Colors.

Police ‘gangs’, such as the ‘Banditos’, the ‘Jump Out Boys’, Rampart CRASH, Lynwood Vikings, and the ‘Metro’ showcase several scandals that have made headlines in recent years.

In 2018, Alex Villanueva shocked the political establishment by becoming the first registered Democrat to win LA County Sheriff:

Last November Villanueva knocked off the incumbent sheriff, Jim McDonnell, in an electoral upset of David-and-Goliath proportions. A sitting L.A. County sheriff hadn’t lost a bid for reelection in more than a century. McDonnell had the vastly superior resume: former police chief of Long Beach; former second-in-command at the LAPD under Chief William Bratton; coauthor of a searing report by a blue-ribbon county jail violence commission that critiqued a brutal culture inextricably linked to poor management and inadequate oversight. McDonnell was the first person from outside the department to occupy the office of sheriff in 100 years.

Villanueva became the first candidate for L.A. County sheriff in 138 years to secure the Democratic Party’s endorsement, and forced McDonnell into a runoff. The success of his insurgent campaign stunned the city’s political establishment. One of Villanueva’s greatest strengths was his ability to serve as a blank slate for a diverse array of constituencies—a hodgepodge of Latinos, white progressives, labor unions, and immigrant advocates. But if identity politics from the left helped drive Villanueva’s improbable victory, it was the powerful union of sheriff’s deputies that contributed most of the money, pumping $1.32 million into his long-shot campaign.

When McDonnell’s hardline stance on cooperating with ICE drew support from the Trump administration, what was traditionally a nonpartisan race morphed into a much-watched contest in a high-stakes midterm billed as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency. “L.A. County voters needed an eye to poke their finger in for Trump,” Gonzalez said. “We gave them Jim McDonnell’s.”

THE SJW Agenda in Law Enforcement

With the recent passage of laws such as Proposition 47, Proposition 57, AB 109, the weakening of 3-Strikes, and the election of controversial candidate Chesa Boudin as San Francisco District Attorney, Villanueva’s victory was another link in a growing chain of revisionism in California law enforcement.

Villanueva immediately began a series of progressive reforms. These included removing ICE from the county jails, and diversionary treatment in lieu of imprisonment. He rehired a previously fired deputy who had volunteered on his political campaign, and has granted inmates voting privileges while incarcerated.

Since the coronavirus outbreak in Los Angeles, the Sheriff has accelerated his agenda by releasing 1,700 inmates from county jails. Next, he took an unconstitutional position and declared gun stores as “nonessential businesses” to be closed during quarantine.

However, Sheriff Villanueva appears to have gone a bridge too far. He ran his mouth a little too much during a recent Fox-11 interview:

Sheriff Villanueva also said he’s adding 1,300 deputies to patrol, that he’s released 1,700 nonviolent inmates from county jails, and criticized how local politicians have handled the messaging behind the numerous stay-at-home orders.

The Sheriff is also the Director of Emergency Operations, meaning he is the number one person in charge during a crisis like the coronavirus. All FEMA requests go through him, and all National Guard requests go through him.

As a result, Villanueva sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors, essentially telling them he’s taking the reins and the messaging will go through him now.

Stirring The Political Hornet’s Nest!

Villanueva open power grab has ruffled the feathers of Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors.

LA County’s Board is made up of five astute political veterans: former child-actress and State Senator Sheila Kuehl, former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, former State Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas, former Congresswoman Janice Hahn, and political veteran Kathryn Barger.


The Board of Supervisors reciprocated by dropping their own gauntlet demanding the removal

of Sheriff Villanueva as head of the emergency operations center. Villanueva called the action a “pure power grab” and “a silent coup”. The Board of Supervisors claim the change was needed due emergency management’s unpreparedness response to the wildfires last year.

Activists are also angry with Villanueva for not fulfilling his campaign promises.

Immigration groups claim the Sheriff’s Department is still working with ICE, and the LA County jails were declared one of the worst-run in the country. These criticisms have led to a rebuking by the local Democrat Party.

The Sheriff might have been informed that he would not have fared well going against a presidential order. Thus, Villanueva recanted his position on the gun issue, saying he will not close gun stores.

Clearly, teamwork and cooperation are paramount in times like these. Thus, political grandstanding must be set aside for the moment. Let’s see how the war of egos plays out.


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