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(Video: Fox News/Feb 9)
Los Angeles Co. Sheriff Alex Villanueva continues to battle with leftist politicians over the means and ways to temper crime in the city. He recently spoke with Fox News Digital and derided the city’s plan to fire some 4,000 unvaccinated deputies, calling the move an “immoral position.”
Villanueva said he’s the “only one left standing” against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which he believes has L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon “in their back pocket.”
“This is nothing but a power grab by the board. And it’s shameful, and it’s going to be harmful to public safety,” Villanueva told Fox News Digital. He pointed out that the board had endorsed Gascon for the job, though he faces yet another recall effort, the first one having failed to obtain enough signatures in September of 2021. Remarkably, the latest recall effort is largely backed by wealthy Democrats and Hollywood big shots.
Just this week, investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department have warned residents to be on guard following two brazen daylight assaults on two separate women on the same day by the same homeless man.
“The board couldn’t care less about the opinion of the residents,” Villanueva said of public safety concerns. “They’re that power-hungry in there, so walled off from normal life. While they were in the comfort and security of their homes during the pandemic, when there was no vaccine, our deputies were on the front lines out there answering calls for service … And now this board of supervisors wants to turn around and fire those very same people who sacrificed everything to keep public safety. It’s just, it’s really an immoral position these people have adopted, and just shame on every single one of them.”
Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 in favor, with one abstention, to effectively strip Sheriff Villanueva of his power due to his continued refusal to enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for his deputies and staff.
“No, I am not forcing anyone, the issue has become so politicized there are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated,” he said during a Facebook Live stream in October.
“I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5 to 10 percent of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate,” the sheriff declared at the time.
The Board’s proposal seeks to turn power over to the county’s personnel director and will go to a final vote on March 15.
“They’re the only government entity in the entire nation that has doubled down on defunding law enforcement,” Villanueva said. “They have a hiring freeze on my department as I’m facing a huge deficit of personnel.
“Why on earth would we impose a hiring freeze? They’re deliberately trying to defund and eliminate the sheriff’s department through attrition, and it’s just absolutely shameful because our community depends on us, wants us out there, wants to see a lot more of us, and the board is doing the exact opposite of what the voters of L.A. County want, and they need to pay the price.”
Villanueva, who has been staunchly opposed to enforcing any mandates handed down from the city, criticized the board’s move as a “suicide pact” if they go forward with the termination of 3,000 sworn deputies — or about 30 percent of the workforce — and 1,000 other professional staff.
“This is strictly a political ideology,” Villanueva told Fox News Digital of the push to fire thousands of deputies. “There is nothing that is driving them that’s based on science or combating the coronavirus because we’re surrounded by five counties who don’t have vaccine mandates, and now they’re actively recruiting members of my department and with even sign-up bonuses.”
All of this is incredible amid a 94 percent increase in homicides and a 64 percent increase in grand theft over the last two years, along with an asinine hiring freeze at the department, Villanueva said.
“We’re the most understaffed law enforcement agency in the entire nation, and on top of that, they want to erode our presence even further. And that is just shocking. And we’re in the middle of a crime wave,” Villanueva said. “And our patrol seasons are down to 72 percent of staffing levels, and they want to go below that. That is insane. There’s no other way to describe it, but reprehensible. And these supervisors, they need to just quit right now.”
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors tried to explain the motion, arguing that it “did not single out LASD, it applies to all county departments.”
“Despite the sheriff’s assertions to the contrary, the board did not vote to terminate a single employee. The county’s vaccination policy is intended to protect the health of employees and the public they serve,” the spokeswoman said.
“The Board voted 4-0-1, with Supervisor Barger abstaining, to direct a series of actions that would authorize the director of personnel, rather than any individual department head, to take action to terminate employees who are not vaccinated and not granted a religious or medical exemption.”
She added that the motion “provides a generous timeline for progressive discipline for employees who chose not to comply, starting with a notice of non-compliance and moving to a 5-day suspension followed by termination only as a last resort after that” and that “employees have ample time to request an accommodation on medical grounds or because they have a sincerely held religious belief.”
A recent poll conducted by the University of California at Berkeley and published this week indicated that crime and homelessness are top issues for registered voters across California, but those with power seem to be doing their best to ignore the very people who grant it to them.
“I think the community is fed up with their ideology, and they’re going to pay a price at the polls come June,” Villanueva concluded. “This will be a referendum on that woke-ism.”
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