As June elections draw near, the Los Angeles Times is busy continuing a narrative that threatens public safety. In fact, they seem to forget that voters continue to reject their “endorsement” of who should lead the department.
In 2018, the Times endorsed Jim McDonnell, over Villanueva, due in part to his not being an “insider”.
From the Times endorsement:
“In his [McDonnell] first term he has sometimes struggled to improve the performance and remake the culture of the scandal-plagued Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Though progress has been slow, he is clearly the better choice in the Nov. 6 election than challenger Alex Villanueva, a long-tenured and recently retired sheriff’s lieutenant who never rose past the middle ranks and offers a limited record of leadership.”
Did they forget they wrote this?
McDonnell got a proverbial “pass” for struggling to improve the remake of the culture, while Villanueva has implemented policies that McDonnell failed to deliver on: banning deputy subgroups and outfitting deputies with body cameras.
From the Times endorsement:
“Sheriffs command enormous political and fundraising clout and generally win reelection with little difficulty, so it is noteworthy that McDonnell failed to win an outright majority in the June 5 election. He has undermined himself with sometimes inconsistent or baffling statements on a number of subjects. Does he support or oppose cooperation with immigration authorities? Is he a critic or a champion of treating mentally ill accused criminals in jail? Does he or does he not believe deputies are still organizing themselves into gangs that encourage improper uses of force against African American suspects?”
Instead of applauding two monumental policies that Villanueva implemented, directly to address the above, which attributes to “remaking” the culture of the Sheriff’s department, they continue to harp on his failure to divulge details of ongoing investigations.
The Times Editorial Board continued to paint McDonnell as the better “leader” having led complex organizations when as the #2 in LAPD he oversaw the melee at MacArthur Park that saw journalists targeted by law enforcement, and countless accusations of mistreatment of Black Long Beach police officers and countless lawsuits related to police shootings.
On the other hand, although Villanueva made a misstep in attempting to rehire a deputy that was fired, he has rose to the challenge and addressed the very issues McDonnell refused to address in his first term, as Villanueva has done in his.
The Times then resorted to having one of their journos interview Sheriff Villanueva who eloquently discussed the differences in how law enforcement is viewed by minorities.
The Times continues to push a narrative that Latinos are transitioning into more conservative territory and become a political powerhouse in itself, than can potentially eclipse the impact made by African-Americans with the passage of voter right’s laws.
Villanueva is by far the best choice for Sheriff and the Times is keenly aware of that, however, with their bottom line entangled with various city funds (advertisements, COVID hospitals, universal basic income, book festivals, and whatnot), how are they delivering unbiased reporting to the folks who still pay to read their paper?
Angelenos continue to reel from the fact that the Times was in the middle of the federal investigation of Mark Ridley-Thomas, presumably by folks at USC, and they still endorsed him to be on the city council. Months later, he would be named in a 21 count indictment.
The Times should get out of the political endorsement business.
Villanueva didn’t need it four years ago, and doesn’t need it now.