Villanueva Candid On Failure of LASD Leaders to Actually Lead

In case you missed it, Lieutenant Alex Villanueva–a candidate to replace Sheriff McDonnell in June–recently sat down for an hour-long interview with the District 34 podcast.

The District 34 podcast explains its purpose as: “From the inside of the Democratic party to the forces pushing it left, the 34th Congressional District of California has developed into a hot bed of advocacy and an incubator of new political voices. We tell the stories of activists on the ground. This is the podcast for those looking to get inspired, get involved, and get informed about progressive politics.”

It’s a long show, so we’ve highlighted a few the key points for you here.  Villanueva:

  • Speaks to his role in establishing the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Professional Association (LASPA) as an alternative to the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS)
  • Explains his view that ALADS and the Professional Peace Officers Association would be more effective if they merged with LASPA into a single union like the Los Angeles Police Protective League–rather than having LASD covered by three separate unions
  • Alleges LASD uses a racial quota system in deciding who is promoted (or not)
  • Refers to LASD under Sheriff McDonnell as a “corrupt political spoils system”
  • Explains how Paul Tanaka advanced through LASD by appealing to tough guy deputies disillusioned by the department’s direction under Sheriff Baca
  • Sets the interviewer straight that our jails are no longer full of recreational drug users and are now, in fact, essentially state prisons
  • Explains the importance of reforming the cash bail system
  • Says of Sheriff McDonnell’s leadership, “He has no idea what he’s doing.  He took over an organization in desperate need of reform and decided not to reform it.”
  • Explains how “smart” people in LASD get ahead in LASD by getting out of patrol as fast as they can because the organization does not value how well or how long they’ve served the community–just how many prestigious places people “get their ticket punched”, even if they can only make minimal difference before moving on to a new assignment (37 min)
  • Puts into context how law enforcement has become more militarized as a reaction to criminals becoming more militarized
  • Attributes poor LASD recruitment to a good economy where candidates have options, as well as to a “failing sheriff with morale at rock bottom and he does not care, or make any steps to fix the problem”
  • Explains (for the gazillionth time) the difference between LASD and LAPD
  • Disputes the interviewer’s questioning if racism is a problem among LASD deputies by saying no–that he has worked heavily minority areas and just hasn’t seen it–with most problems resulting from a lack of training or misunderstanding.
  • Observing, “Mr. McDonnell…could not figure out the organization.  He surrounded himself with the wrong set of people who steered him the same way Baca and Tanaka did and, somehow they think they’re the answer but no, they’re actually the problem.” (59 min)
  • Adding, “It’s a mystery to everyone how he claims to be a reformer when he hasn’t reformed anything.”
  • Noting that Sheriff McDonnell’s treatment of LASD personnel has bred “resentment and doubt among his own employees” causing deputies to roll their windows up and do as little as possible to risk getting fired for doing their jobs.
  • Concluding, “Our organization lacks the capacity to detect problems because for McDonnell and his corrupt administrative staff, problems are things that have to be hidden from the public.” — Including censoring of unhelpful facts (1:13:00)

To hear the full interview, click here.

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