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Letters to the Editor: Sheriff Villanueva’s autocratic leadership style puts L.A. in danger

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva at Venice boardwalk
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva talks with a Venice business owner about homelessness on June 7.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva needs to be removed from office. He’s running his department as an autocratic leader, thwarting existing laws and norms and doing whatever he feels like. (“‘Running against the woke left’: Can Sheriff Villanueva’s shift to the right work in L.A.?” July 12)

He has acted in ways that protect alleged deputy gangs. When a deputy suspected of trying to become a member of one such gang killed 18-year-old Andres Guardado by shooting him in the back five times, Villanueva mocked the county’s effort to investigate the shooting.

Sheriff’s deputies act as judge, jury and executioner, and still Villanueva defends them. If there is no accountability, how will they change?

The Sheriff’s Department needs new leadership as soon as possible. Staff at my local sheriff’s station have always been helpful and very much appreciated, but we pity those in other neighborhoods where the deputies are not as professional.

Marcy Bregman, Agoura Hills

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To the editor: Villanueva has committed the sin of rebuking a Democrat. How dare he accuse Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti of an inept response to the homelessness crisis? (Except that it’s true.)

Villanueva ran for office in 2018 at a time of heightened anti-Trump sentiment. Then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell was perceived as collaborating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, when the Trump administration was conducting surprise raids in L.A. County.

Villanueva vowed to throw ICE out of county jails if elected. He won the election and has indeed banned inmate transfers to ICE custody.

Villanueva is direct, confrontational and all over the map politically. He has publicly celebrated Pride Month, but at the other end of the political spectrum he has promised to allow more permits for carrying concealed guns.

He seems to be a maverick rather than an ideological loyalist. If that bothers progressives who expect loyalty to their agenda, they had better find someone else.

William Goldman, Palos Verdes Estates

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To the editor: I have regretted my vote for Villanueva in 2018 almost since the day he took office. I was expecting him to act for the people of this county; instead he has benefited only those who line up behind or beside him.

The sheriff’s hard turn to the right, once elected, has been abysmal for the people of this county. We should, perhaps, be more careful in our choices. He’ll never get my vote for any office ever again.

Anne Proffit, Long Beach


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