Alex Villanueva

How Did Alex Villanueva, an Unknown, No-Chance Candidate for LA County Sheriff Become a Serious Challenger?

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

The California primaries have been over for a month and a half, and the real campaigning for the November general election won’t be fully geared up until after Labor Day.  Thus it seemed like a good time to try to determine how Los Angeles County Sheriff candidate Alex Villanueva managed to get 33.20 percent of the vote in early June, to incumbent Jim McDonnell’s 47.87 percent—turning what should have been an easy cruise to reelection into what now appears to be a genuine horse race.

Challenger Alex Villanueva

What happened?

After all, Villanueva began with zero name recognition, and a puny campaign fund that amounted to around $27,000 and change.  Whereas Sheriff McDonnell had $586,000 in the bank before the primary.

Candidate number three, Bob Lindsey, who got a respectable 18.9 percent of the vote, had a strong following among the rank and file of the LASD, had  $330,000 in his war chest, plus an additional $410,000 from a group of independent supporters. Added together, this put Lindsey’s available funds well past the sheriff’s campaign cash.

Villanueva is a veteran of the U.S. Air-force who spent more than thirty years with the LA  County Sheriff’s Department, retiring earlier this year with the rank of lieutenant.  He has never run a police agency of any kind.  Nor was he high enough up on the LASD food chain when he retired to have had any breadth of command experience at the nation’s largest sheriff’s department.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell

Jim McDonnell, in contrast, prior to being elected to lead the LASD in November 2014, was chief of the Long Beach PD for five years.  Before that, he was second in command of the Los Angeles Police Department, under then chief Bill Bratton.

So how did this unknown former lieutenant manage to motivate enough voters to force a runoff, when an incumbent LA County Sheriff hasn’t lost to a challenger in over 100 years?

The Latino vote

In a series of recent conversations with WitnessLA, Villanueva outlined three main strategies he used to gather votes.

First of all, he did the obvious.  He engaged in aggressive outreach to leaders of the county’s Latino community, and explained his candidacy and why he thought they should back him. (Villanueva was born to a Puerto Rican father, and a Polish American mother and speaks fluent Spanish.)

As to how he sold himself to some of the county’s main Latino voter organizations when they interviewed him for possible endorsements, Villanueva told us, in addition to the ways he intended to reform the LASD,  he talked at length about his plans around such topics as immigration, dealing better with the county’s mentally ill, how to address over-incarceration, the importance of community engagement, and generally staked out a more progressive set of policy positions than that of the sitting sheriff, while also emphasizing public safety.

Villanueva with members of the Chicano Latino Immigrant Democratic Club of Los Angeles County, via Alex Villanueva

“There’s so much inaccuracy going around about immigration policy,” Villanueva said he told the various caucuses and clubs he was pitching. “For instance, people don’t know that SB 54 allows for the transfer of dangerous felons to ICE custody, which it does. When you see certain people write about it, they claim that everybody’s running around willy-nilly free. But that’s not the case at all.”

This strategy found fertile ground, and produced positive nods from such organizations as the Chicano Latino Caucus, which bills itself as the largest Latino Democratic party organization in the nation.

“We need leaders that will ensure the rights of all are protected, while ethically and morally enforcing the rule of law,” wrote Carlos Acala, the chair of the CLC, in his statement announcing the group’s endorsement of Villanueva.

“The person holding the office of the Los Angeles County Sheriff is crucial at this time in our history not only for Latinos but all residents of Los Angeles County. Alex Villanueva will make this a top priority.”

New citizen/first time voter and daughter, via Alex Villanueva

Jim McDonnell certainly has his own Latino endorsers, like the Mexican American Bar Association, and others.  He has also gathered support from major figures in the county, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Shaquille O’Neal, and the like.

Yet, perhaps unworried about the competition, the sheriff didn’t decide to put up a campaign website until mid April, and even then it was oddly minimal.

Meanwhile, Villanueva went tirelessly after organizations whose sole existence has to do with elections and voters.

And, on top of the political clubs, he also persuaded people like former member of the the LA County Supervisors, Gloria Molina, and civil rights icon and co-founder of the Farm Workers movement, Dolores Huerta, to get on board.

“We need a sheriff who will stand up to [Trump],” Huerta wrote to supporters of Villanueva, “not fraternize with him.”

Finding actual voters

In addition to hitting up Latino voters groups, Villanueva, a lifelong Democrat, said he also went to nearly every Democratic club and group of progressive voters that would give him a hearing.

First he went to the LA County Democratic Party, which recommends that one read their 25-page guidebook before one even thinks about beginning the process of applying for their possible endorsement.

Villanueva on Stonewall Democrats’ float, via Alex Villanueva

Yet, after  the 18- person LACP endorsement committee questioned Villanueva for an hour or so, they enthusiastically gave him the nod.  So did at least 25 other democratic and progressive voter clubs.

The clubs ranged from the highly active Los Angeles County Young Democrats, to the LA Feel the Bern Democratic Club, to the Stonewall Democrats, with whom Villanueva marched in LA’s Gay Pride parade the weekend after the primary.

So how much difference did these various endorsements make?

It’s hard to say.

The Santa Monica Democratic Club, together with its sister westside democratic clubs, bragged about making 40,000 get out the vote calls to westside voters right before the primary, with flip the house the mantra they used to spur other democrats to action.

So, if a candidate like Villanueva is among those endorsed by these clubs which—with national politics in mind—are putting lots of energy this year into hectoring their members to go to the polls, are those endorsements likely to produce more votes than in other years, even for candidates running in local races?

The candidate visits community gatherings, large and small, via Alex Villanueva

Some experts seem to think so, citing the fact that, in this off year primary election with no presidential candidates on the ballot, California saw a surprisingly higher than usual voter turnout this past June.

As David McCuan, a political scientist at Sonoma State University told CalMatters earlier this month, “The reason for the higher turnout is because of what’s going on in Washington D.C.,” not what’s happening in individual California races.

Yet in  local races, like the race for LA County Sheriff, candidates like Villanueva could arguably reap collateral benefits from all that #resist/flip-the-house energy.

The magic of social media

The third prong of Alex Villanueva’s bargain-priced campaign was his use of social media.

He told us that the campaign spent money on search engine optimization “on Google and Bing,” and paid for pop-up ads on Facebook, Instagram and the like. For instance, an invitation to attend Villanueva’s upcoming July 19, fundraiser, presently shows up on the LA Feel the Bern Democratic Club’s Facebook page. And if one keeps scrolling the candidate makes additional appearances on the same Facebook page, and others like it.

A Feel the Bern selfie, via Alex Villanueva

Furthermore, to remind prospective voters of the candidate’s existence, Villanueva and his people did their best to create a constant stream of their own mini news flashes. When he was interviewed on KPPC’s Airtalk, or for popular local podcasts, Villanueva’s people went into posting and sharing overdrive on various forms of social media, which the candidate said triggered a lot of resharing and reposting. All this, in turn, produced spikes in visits to the campaign’s website, he said.

To continue get his name out there, when Villanueva wasn’t booked to speak to a group, or to attend a backyard barbecue somewhere in the county, he often just showed up at voter-oriented events to gladhand.

For instance, on June 2, the weekend before the California primary,  Bernie Sanders hosted an event with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and others, “to discuss the steps we must take to radically reform our broken justice system.”

The very popular 3 p.m. event, held at the historic Million Dollar Theater in downtown LA, was free. But it was first come, first-to-get-a-seat situation, thus eager would-be attendees reportedly began lining up before noon. Villanueva showed up early too, not to speak at the event, to which he wasn’t invited, but to work the line of those waiting, may of whom were members of the LA County Feel the Bern Democratic Club, and other progressive Dem groups.

As he went through the line chatting and taking occasional selfies, he was gratified to learn that “a lot of people I’d never met already knew who I was.”

Naturally, upon leaving, he posted the selfies, which then were shared and reshared.

“When you have a campaign,” Villanueva told us, “you have to keep turning out content if you want to get views.”

Thus his campaign generated new photos and quickie videos regularly, “and they drew audiences when we posted and shared them on Facebook,” Villanueva said. “They took off on their own.”

A look at the campaign’s YouTube page shows that,  while many of Villanueva’s videos just have a few hundred or a thousand views at most, one 30-sec. campaign video [see above] which also includes the candidate’s wife and the family dog, has gotten over 39,000 views.

Now what?

So what does all this mean for the general election?

After the primary, Sheriff McDonnell said in an emailed statement that he looked “forward to the general election campaign, continuing to earn the support of the voters, and most of all protecting the people of Los Angeles County.”

He was, he said,  “grateful to the voters of Los Angeles County for their confidence in our efforts to implement serious reforms in the Department and in the jail system while improving public safety for everyone.

“Journalists have pointed out that I ‘inherited a Department rotted by corruption,” the sheriff continued.  “A member of the Civilian Oversight Commission said that, before I was elected, the Department was ‘in utter chaos.’ I have provided a steady hand to restore public confidence in the Department, while protecting our communities and driving down crime rates. We are in a good place but with much work that remains including adding to the more than 2,000 deputy sheriff trainees hired since my last election. In all things important to our communities, we are moving forward.”

Villanueva, who entered the race because he does not believe that McDonnell has delivered the reform he promised, said he’s been gratified by the post-primary response to his message.

“If people discounted us at the beginning,” he said, “they’re not doing it now.”

This means that fundraising has become easier. “Rather than chasing resources, resources are coming toward us,” he said. “Doors that were closed are starting to open.”

Alex Villanueva being interviewed by Brian Moriguchi of PPOA, via AV

Villanueva also said he looks forward to the upcoming debates with McDonnell, where he believes he can do well.

“And, for the home stretch you’ll see a lot more conventional campaigning from us.”

So, does all this mean that Alex Villanueva has a real chance? When we asked an elections-expert source close to Jim McDonnell’s campaign, he gave us a firm no, suggesting that with his 33 percent, Villanueva, had hit his ceiling, which mostly consisted of Latino voters.

Brian Moriguchi—president of the LA County Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA), which is the LASD’s main supervisors union—feels otherwise, and told us he believes the answer is yes, Villanueva has a real chance at an upset.

“Alex did what we never thought he could do,” Moriguchi said. “So now we see this as very competitive race.”

The race for sheriff is also the most important race “that directly impacts our members,” said Moriguchi. “So based on that, we intend to take it very seriously.”

With this in mind, the PPOA has already done video interviews with both McDonnell and Villanueva. “We’ll put those online in the next week or so, for our members and the public to see.”

The union will also host a  debate for the candidates on July 23, together with the League of Women Voters, and others, which anyone may attend, and which will also be live streamed.

“Afterward,” said Moriguchi, “we will poll our members to get their feelings on the candidates.” In addition, the union plans to hire polling firm to do a public poll as well, to see how both candidates appear to be faring with regular voters.

After gathering all that information together, Moriguchi said, the union’s “legislative committee” will meet to decide whom they intend to support.

The committee will also decide whether or not PPOA wants to give money to their candidate of choice, and if so, how much?

The possibility of fiscal support from the union  is no small matter, since PPOA has a seven figures worth of funds it could afford to offer to to Sheriff Jim McDonnell or would-be-sheriff Alex Villanueva, should it wish to do so.

And the union doesn’t rule out the possibility of such a sizable donation to one candidate or the other.

“I think this is an unusual election,”  Moriguchi said.

So it seems.


  • Positives about a Villanueva candidacy:

    1. EDUCATION: He has a Ph.D from the University of La Verne, and wants to make an Associate’s degree an entry requirement for becoming a Deputy.

    This is probably feasible as, by law, every high school must be within reach of a Community College so that high school graduates can get at least the first two years of a four year college stint out the way.

    2. MILITARY SERVICE: His time in the USAF was with the 63rd Military Airlift Wing. These are the guys that drop paratroopers & ferry air-landing troops into combat zones.

    When his USAF time was up he went into the Army National Guard, serving in a Field Artillery unit of the 40th Infantry Division.

    Field Artillery in an Infantry Division.

    Tip-of-the-spear stuff.

    NEGATIVES: Reader commentary on LAT articles about his candidacy indicate genuine concern that he may, as Sheriff, deliberately get in the way of Federal enforcement of the immigration laws, which is the intent of SB 54.

    DENOUEMENT: His positives may outweigh his negatives, and he’ll be the next Sheriff of Los Angeles County.

  • Only one member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas, remains of the group that recruited Jim McDonnell to their Blue Ribbon Commission on Jails and provided the podium for him to gain exposure as a critic of Sheriff Baca and an advocate for reform.
    Time will tell if Ridley-Thomas or any of the recently elected group of County Supervisors will go on record with an endorsement of either the incumbent Sheriff or the challenger Villanueva.
    Pulling an active endorsement from a sitting County Supervisor would be very significant for the Villanueva campaign.
    However, the best they can expect would be for sitting L.A. County elected officeholders to refrain from endorsing either candidate.
    L.A. County Sheriff is a very powerful position.
    Anyone who actively opposes the re-election of the incumbent Sheriff takes significant risk, because its the only major non-federal elected office on the County ballot which has no term limits.

  • Villanueva is the only choice for LASD. He’s going to get the department members vote just like Lindsey did. ALADS and PPOA need to step up and rescue this department if they care for their membership; or LASPA will be the only union in town. The deputies are crying out for change and we finally have someone from the inside that understands the department. Hopefully Lindsey will lick his wounds and put his ego aside and support Villanueva and keep his promise of getting rid of McDonnell.

  • Phase6Deputy:

    Another Villanueva positive I forgot to mention–he helped found LASPA.

    Go to LASPA’s website, click on its Attorney roster, and you’ll some really top-notch names there.

    A HUGE browny point for founding LASPA.

  • So what’s his plan other than vote for me because I’m Latino.. .Alex Villanueva has ZERO management experience and you want HIM in charge of the worlds largest sheriffs department ? I think there’s a Disney movie to be made about a poor common guy who becomes rich and powerful.. Pleeeeze

  • Alex needs to be congratulated and accepted by the many members of the LASD. From early on, Alex was “that guy” that always questioned management when they were wrong. Most of us would sit back and not say a word for fear of reprisal. Not Alex, and not at any rank. Alex had the “Balls” to not just speak up to management, but he would continue to take it one step further even going to Civil Service. This is exactly what he is doing now. Fresh Eyes came on board and basically lied to us. He never had any intention to reform the department, other than the uniforms. I personally witnessed Alex in action against Big Red and the crooked executives she surrounded herself with. Alex is the real deal and will be a great Sheriff.

  • At this point, Alex’s message could be “Vote for me because I have green eyes” and I’ll vote for him… He will be way better than the piece of sh$t that’s in there now. ALADS and PPOA will step up and do what is right. Even Beck, before stepping down from LAPD said they need to hire someone who’s been homegrown. I don’t know the guy personally, but know he wore the same uniform I wear every day for close to 30 yrs.

  • It’s time for change, real change. Alex has run a brilliant campaign, a campaign to win, he has earned my respect. This is Los Angeles County, Alex knows the electorate and that is what his campaign has been focused on. He is not alienating voters, he is unifying his base one vote at a time. Don’t take away his accomplishments, respect it. Alex is running a vastly different campaign than Lindsey, the results are apparent. If Lindsey “really” wants to see change and improvement for LASD, he will accept the primary results and throw 200% support behind Alex. If he doesn’t, than one can say everything Lindsey said against McD and the LASD Command Staff was ALL bullshit, it was all a fabrication, it was just something to say to get elected. Now is the time for Lindsey to be a part of the solution, or, take his marbles home and pout.

    The argument will be given that Alex “doesn’t have the experience,” and to that, I call bullshit. The Sheriff is a policy maker, he is a decision maker, he sets the tone, sets the policy agenda, sets the course. He is not the widget maker. He has 18,000 people working for him to get the job done. He has a chain of command that makes decisions within their areas of responsibility. He has a Command Staff that brings him problems, solutions and recommendations. Alex will not have any problem making decisions and he will not have any problems setting an agenda of reform, real reform, prioritizing public safety and improving morale.

    How has the last four years worked out for everyone? How did the man with tons of Command experience do? Everyone just a bunch of happy campers? How’s those brass buckles working out? Important shit, right? That was a big one and everyone just breathed a sigh of relief when those buckles were swapped out, right? Folks all said, “Thank you, Sheriff! Of all the problems we are facing, thank God we have an executive with your experience come along and see that buckles was on top of our list.” How’s that discipline process working out? Takes “real experience” to hire an attorney who sits in the throne room with such massive contempt for late enforcement that she feels terminations and ROD is the way to whip LASD into shape. How about McD’s “clean slate” reform program working out for Captains and above? How many Tanaka folks did McD keep and promote? Too many to count, that took some real experience, didn’t it? I’d say for everyone touting that McD had “all this experience,” to reform LASD, the reality is, he didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground and his performance validates that statement.

    By the way, everyone thought Tanaka was such a genius, didn’t they? Folks sold their soul to support him because he had so much experience. As his ass sits in Federal prison, think about how the little man all but destroyed LASD, with all his experience.

    It’s time for change and Alex is your only option. It’s time for “everyone” who can make a difference in this campaign, do so and support Alex. Otherwise, you are all in store for more of the same.

  • Does anyone know what happened with the civil lawsuit filed by former Deputy Ban Nguyen?
    The most recent report said a tentative settlement was reached between Nguyen and the attorneys representing L.A. County, no information since.
    Did the Board of Supervisors vote to approve a settlement?
    What was the vote? What are the terms?
    Is former Deputy Nguyen under any restrictions on discussing the allegations made in his lawsuit or his experience while working for LASD?

  • Alex lacks the needed experience to run the department and the public is at risk with him in office. The sheriff is not simply a policy maker. He must have the experience to make the right calls and Alex cannot simply run the department with 18000 people around him. If that’s the case, maybe I could run Microsoft or Apple… Yah.. No experience needed to apply.

  • marlin cabinogh:

    Google “Ban Nguyen, LASD.”

    Evidently a settlement was reached favoring Ban just before the matter went to trial.

  • So what’s your alternative? McDonnell? He doesn’t have experience either. Lindsey was our only hope, but he’s out now; so Alex it is. No one from the department wants McIhateeverydeputy. You obviously aren’t a department member or an exec worried about your job or someone from McDonnell’s camp.

  • Additionally, the public is much more at risk under the current regime. None of us work proactively anymore. I guarantee you we will under Villanueva. ALADS and/or POPPA need a vote of no confidence vote from their membership. Then blast it countywide.

  • I did Google “Ban Nguyen, LASD”
    The most recent report i can find states that a tentative settlement was reached, thus halting the process moving to trial.
    I wanted to know the terms of the settlement – how much has been paid to Nguyen and his attorney’s?
    And more importantly – does the settlement include restrictions on Nguyen discussing the matters which drove him to file the suit???

  • Ask’n, either of the two Bobs would HAVE been great for the LASD. I know them both. Sharp, stand-up guys whose interest was in turning the LASD back in to the agency it was when they were working their way up in the organization.

    I don’t think a guy who is focused on currying favor with one segment of our population nor a guy who seems baffled by an organization he doesn’t understand (nor seems to care about) are good for the LASD, it’s employees or the citizens.

    Unfortunately, neither Bob is not an option at this point. We can all thank Sherman Block for hanging on for too long and allowing that nincompoop, Lee Baca (and his henchmen Stonich, Waldie and Tanaka), to ever even get a shot at taking the reins. It has been a long, down hill slide since then. Sad.

  • marlin cabinogh;

    According to the Googled article I read attorneys on both sides of the issue plus the trial judge agreed to the terms of the settlement, and the only thing left was approval by the Board of Supervisors.

    The article was dated a year and a half ago, so I’m assuming the Board approved the settlement which, I believe, State law prevents the Board from making public.

    So it all remains a secret.

    According to state Law.

  • It’s sad to say, but it boils down to, “It can’t get worse, so why not give Alex a shot?”

  • 3 Options

    1) McDonnell
    2) Villanueva
    3) No choice accompanied by STFU

    ALADS and PPOA has already made their choice which is “clear as daylight”.

  • It’s not a secret. Go to la county civil suits and it’s on the board agenda. Ban nyguen got 1.6 million.

  • For the few of us that can recall all the so-called experienced sheriff’s let’s go down memory lane, shall we?
    1. Peter Pitchess was an FBI agent with no experience and ran LASD like his personal fiefdom. And I liked the guy but no one crossed Pitchess.
    2. Sherman Block was raised through the ranks and how many scandals were exposed during his long tenure? Had Block truly cared for LASD why didn’t he step down and turn the department over to Bob Edmonds? Block created Lee Baca and the hell that came to LASD. I liked Block also.
    3. Lee Baca and the henchmen. Stonich, Waldie and Tanaka ruined LASD right to the ground. Anybody dispute that? Tanaka is in prison, Baca is a convicted felon and Stonich and Waldie were as crooked as they come.
    4. James McDonnell has lot of experience at doing what exactly? Please recall that McDonnel was frightened to run against Baca until Baca was forced to resign. McDonnell suffers from the same disease as Baca and that’s HUBRIS! And why are so many tatted down gangsters still getting promoted up the ranks sheriff McDonnell? Ask any field deputy, worth his/her salt about the current state of LASD. McDonnell is the sheriff for the elites only!

    Now, look at all the experience re the names above. Anybody really happy with the experience? What we got was experience without honesty.

    My family and I are voting for Alex, because as look at the names above there isn’t one person who was considered an honest man. All the men named above have used the position, as sheriff, to enhance their own financial and political gain. McDonnell had his chance and he blew it!

    Alex is an honest man and LA County needs an honesty at the helm! Since 1958 until today what has experience gotten us?

  • Honesty, yes.
    And someone who is fair.
    I may not agree with the priorities set by the leader of the organization.
    I may not agree with the leader’s personal style.
    However, as long as the leader endeavours to treat everyone fairly, then i’m able to respect the leader.
    And if i can respect the leader, then i can respect myself and my role working within the organization.

  • Here’s a list of some important traits of an effective Los Angeles County Sheriff, in my opinion.

    1. Really want the job.

    One must stand for election and win the most votes to get the job.
    Like it or not, the Sheriff is a politician and he must get rehired by the voters every 4 years. Anyone who wants this job has no other choice but to run for election.
    It’s quite obvious that despite what people may personally feel or say, very few individuals want this job.
    Four years ago, there were nine or more candidates with no incumbent running.
    A sizable number of individuals who apparently wanted the job, although my own feeling is that one or two were recruited as placeholders and filler on the ballot as part of the strategy to elect the eventual winner.
    Go back another 4 years, to 2010.
    Incumbent Sheriff Lee Baca ran completely unopposed.
    Not a single individual was willing to fill out some paperwork and post a couple thousand dollars for the opportunity to have the job. Even if only for the possibility the of an unexpected illness or death of the incumbent.
    Now its 2018.
    Only 2 individuals have demonstrated they really want the job currently held by incumbent Sheriff McDonnell.
    Even the best-positioned previous candidate, Robert Olmstead, decided he didn’t really want the job or didn’t want it strongly enough to endure the election process.
    This is a job that only 1 or 2 or 5 out of 10 million people really want to have.
    Actually, the current Sheriff McDonnell only applied for the job after he was guaranteed to be exempted from a portion of the process by those who recruited him for the job.
    Does anyone believe that McDonnell, self-described as uncomfortable with the fundraising campaigning process, decided to enter the election on a Thursday in January 2014 and by the following Tuesday had contacted and negotiated purchase of the endorsements of L.A. County D.A. Jackie Lacey and L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer?
    These are very costly endorsements because they are unseemly.
    They demean the prestige of the office and the officeholder because the timing is extremely premature, coming so far in advance of the close of candidate filing period.
    Even Jim McDonnell’s former boss William Bratton held back until the third week of February 2014 before granting his endorsement.
    I’ll speculate that McDonnell himself did not possess the correct currency and would not be able to land the endorsement of Mike Feuer in January 2014.
    Only very select individual(s) are in position to collect, bundle and leverage the unique set of promises, threats and inducements required for extracting Feuer’s endorsement so prematurely in the campaign.
    McDonnell agreed to allow that advantage to be purchased for him by his recruiters.
    Bottom line – if Robert Olmstead had been the insider candidate with pre-arranged advantages in 2014, then Jim McDonnell likely would not have run.
    Sheriff is a good-paying job, prestigious and important.
    If McDonnell is guaranteed pole position at start time, then he will enter the race.
    But it doesn’t mean enough to him if he has to fight his way up from the middle of the pack.
    Villanueva really wants this job.
    It will be very impressive if he pursues the job without soliciting endorsements from name recognition local politicians, because then he is not beholden. That would afford him greater independence if elected or even provide support for claims of a voter mandate.

    2. I never met Villanueva, don’t know him.
    Some have complained that he is very “go-it-alone”.
    This could be a very desirable trait.
    Lee Baca was a “loner” type. But that was defected by a deep craving for approval and a “messiah complex”.
    I would prefer a “loner” Sheriff who has no friends.(also without a bottomless pitcher always needing to filled with approval and recognition).
    No decision the Sheriff makes will receive universal approval. There will always be someone who is angry, upset or disappointed.
    A man with no friends is freed from worry about protecting a friend’s ego or reputation.
    He doesn’t need to recuse himself from a tendency to give preference to his friends in the organization.

    3. Steady in the saddle, one hand on the reins and one up in the air.

    There are many traits of an effective L.A. County Sheriff I’m not listing here.
    No one person possesses all.
    But I think most folks want a Sheriff who is confident and in-control on horseback.
    The Sheriff has to hang in the saddle for 90-120 minutes without break as the stallion steps and prances. The Sheriff needs to control his horse with one hand while smiling and waving to the Rose Parade crowd gathered on Colorado Blvd.
    If he takes a fall or is forced to an uncontrolled dismount, the Sheriff’s personal image and the reputation of the department takes a big hit.

  • Right on!!!

    Also, what you write is an accurate reflection of who you are. In that light, I think we all should see what Alex Villanueva said in his Doctoral dissertation. After all, we’ve all seen what Lee Baca said in his Dissertation

    We know what Lee Baca said in his Doctoral dissertation; now, it’s time to see what Alex Villanueva said in HIS Doctoral dissertation.

  • Why? We had eight years of a president whose college work we never saw a bit of. As someone who isn’t LASD but has worked plenty with them, he seems the choice.

  • LASD is comprised of “Big Boys” and yes, bad ones too. With that being said I think we can take care of our own with our own. Not knocking Jim, just noting that we can take it from here. Still plenty of good and knowledgeable guys within LASD.

  • Wondering if the never ending political drama with the 45th would be different if he had a degree worthy education. Many times in law enforcement it takes more common sense than a college degree unless one is striving for management. Villanueva wants the qualifications of new deputies to have a minimum of an associate’s degree.

  • Are you guys f**cking dense. Deputies could care less what Villanueva wrote in college or who his high school sweetheart was. Bottom line is, he is our only option. McDonnell has to be sent to an early retirement. Enough with all the BS, unless you’re a McDonnell leg humper. Every deputy and department member wants and is begging for a change. Anything is better.

  • Hey, Trump doesn’t have political experience and he’s running the country and making America great again.

  • Folks:

    Tonight (Monday, July 23, 5–7:30 PM) there’ll be a debate between the two Sheriff’s candidates hosted by PPOA & streamed via PPOA’s Facebook page.

    LASD.News for more details.

  • Here at the debate right now, however the 2nd most noted announcement should be notifying the deputies regarding the process of dropping ALADS in reference to the SCOTUS Ruling. Alads should do it via their social media outlets, Facebook & Twitter. How about it Ron Hernandez since you troll all of the media sites.

  • For just being a “Lieutenant and Watch Commander at a station ” with 32 years on the Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Villanueva, as evinced by his debate performance, has a much better grasp on the reality of the Department as a whole, and the feelings of its everyday low level worker. The incumbent gave pat, dry, typical non-commital, “politically safe”, ambiguous answers…..if you can even call them that.

    Just like everybody though Donald Trump would have a snowballs chance in hell to be elected POTUS, it’s really not out of the realm of possibility for the voters of LA County to elect a new non-incumbent Sheriff.

    It’s just a “simple” local election….right.

  • Alex, for not being a career politician did a fantastic job. I thought it very interesting that the Sheriff, who is a career politician, had to constantly look down at his notes. Notes, I am sure his advisor Carol Lynn wrote. The Sheriff spoke from a script. Alex spoke from the heart, and that is what the LASD needs.

  • Alex Villanueva was able to force McDonnell into a run off because, McDonnell, is ineffective, unavailable and lacks the desire for transparency that he claims to be of importance to make changes in the department. He has surrounded himself with command staff who are leading him in the same direction as Baca. Lie, hide, deny and protect the image of the department by any means necessary. In his arrogance he opted not to attend any debates during the primary’s and assumed he would win the election hands down. What he did not count on was the fact that he is being watched and the public is hearing him loud and clear. His message, IDGAF about you. That is why he is in a run off… IMHO.

  • What I noted was that McDuck several times said he loved the “profession.” Not the LASD, which is just another job (or as Alex said just another Ivory Tower), while Alex said he loves LASD, an organization he grew up in.

    Enough said for me.

  • Maybe the current brass in high places should be consulting LACERA. Villanueva came this far without union funding and that’s another story within itself, which means that he owes them nothing. Big changes are about to happen.

  • Previously, i asked about the details of the settlement of retired Deputy Ban Nguyen’s civil suit against LASD.
    That’s because i feel its very relevant to discussion about the 2 candidates and their campaigns for election as L.A. County Sheriff.
    Its important to remember that absent any news about involvement in some scandal, the incumbent is assumed to carry a heavy advantage even when faced by a strong and qualified challenger.
    Sheriff McDonnell needs to improve only 3% over his primary vote finish in order to secure reelection.
    Mr. Villanueva will need to improve 17% to upset the incumbent.
    To accomplish this upset, Villanueva will need to sway a portion of the electorate who are generally satisfied with the incumbent.
    These are senior citizens, educated professionals, suburban homeowners living in safe neighborhoods. They don’t have family or friends in law enforcement and rarely, if ever, have any direct contact with law enforcement.
    They are not aware of personnel/management issues reverberating within LASD.
    If conditions appear stable and normal, they are inclined to vote for the incumbent.
    However, this group of does not approve of cheating, rigging or manipulation of the advancement process to secure promotions for cronies, no matter if it involves the Sheriff Dept. or any other dept. within the County government.
    These voters will take notice, and feel rubbed in the wrong way, if made aware their tax money goes to pay the extra salary and benefits for those who secured their position through favoritism.
    Alex Villanueva may not necessarily be able to roll back promotions granted unfairly.
    And Jim McDonnell is not accused of rigging tests or manipulating the promotion process.
    However, Deputy Nguyen has direct evidence of Tanaka, Baca over riding the established advancement process to secure promotions to selected favorites.
    And the record shows that Sheriff McDonnell perpetuated the unfair advantage gained by the winners of the rigged promotion game.
    Confidence in their vote for the incumbent Sheriff will be weakened if this group of voters is made aware of the situation.
    I would assume its up to former Deputy Nguyen of he decides to grant interviews covering his experience working to support LASD recruitment, hiring and promotion testing.
    I would be taken aback to find out that Deputy Nguyen was prevented from speaking by restrictions imposed and paid for by L.A. County taxpayers.
    But so far, no one has been able to tell me whether or not L.A. County taxpayers are covering the cost of a settlement which includes suppressing information which they need for properly evaluating the candidates and deciding their vote for Sheriff.
    If the settlement between L.A. County and Nguyen does include any such anti-democratic, transparency defeating restrictions on free speech and exchange of information, then I would strongly urge the current members of the Board of Supervisors to vote for removal of those restrictions.

  • SMH. If nothing else that debate was entertaining. LASD is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Unfortunately I have no confidence in neither. Couple of issues for me, I understand and I don’t know details, but Villanueva was the street cop he’s making himself out to be. Through the deputy rumor mill I heard he was not like by the regime and took it personal. I’ve heard many stories like this, but most were actually hard chargers. I’ve heard people say Alex was complainer and just never fit in. For not being a career politician there were times in that debate he sure did sound like one. Let’s face he can’t reform LASD. What will he do come in demote, move, or force to retire the current command staff. How ever embedded are Tanaka trench man they are here. If Alex thinks he’s gonna come in and make swift change, then he has another thing coming. Have you seen the people being promoted. No true patrol experience, No investigator experience, No leadership qualities/traits, No true hard work, and so on. The new Sgt’s list says it all. Let alone some of these new Lt’s. I’m not saying you have to get into the “shit” to no more, but it helps build character and knowledge. Hard working patrol deputies that do great work everyday don’t ever get recognized and because of our flawed testing process. A guy with a lot ot Ti e that did nothing and new body with zero experience are getting the bump. Who will Alex use? Does he already have Villanueva leg humpers, im sure he does. The current state of LASD is all in McD. Morale is low! You can’t put your head in the dirt and blame it on nationwide politics. People are not standing in line to join like he says. Recently recruiting went to all stations begging for recommendations, they just aren’t getting quality applicants. Millennial problem as well. The incentive right now is stay in custody and make 200k a year. One facility already is full compliance of deputies not going to patrol. One whole facility. Wow. The patrol line just gets over worked, mandated OT, and shit schedules. McD come ask them/me and they/I will tell you the truth! Future looks bleak no matter what.

    I guess we’ll just see what happens.

  • Being that a settlement was agreed to, it is highly probable that Nguyen stipulated to not discussing any parties involved in his case.

  • What about the clear examples of exercises poor judgement in the cases of Angel, Rogers and Rothans.

    What about the lack of safety for the staff and prisoners in a jail where the locks don’t work.

    What about the inability to manage overtime costs and effectively manage your budget.

    What about the rising levels of property crimes, targeted data/statistical manipulation and subsequent “creative reporting”.

    High numbers of staff at the lower levels either relieved of duty or off due to injury.

    Relatively high levels at the executive ranks who are off “due to injury”…(cough….BS).

  • If you’re looking for a miracle worker, forget about it. Is Alex perfect? No, not at all. Despite the scuttlebutt and gossip (which mimic silly bitches) Alex stood up to management while others merely kowtowed. Yet you still have people showing all 32 teeth posing with McD. One thing I found out while working LASD, many workers, more shit talkers.

  • What about buying us stickers and buckles instead of buying us some Fucking radios that you can hear?!?!

  • C: I’m rather surprised that you have not put forth an article about this debate. Alex Villanueva clearly was head and shoulders over McDonnell. Witnessla has made its reputation on exposing LASD execs and the corruption that exited under Baca and now under McDonnell. Why isn’t Witla showing more interest?

  • Advancing Tanaka’s crew on the promotion list is not exactly corruption. You need some meat on the bones, so to speak. Let this play itself out and not rush to judgment before November.

  • Any new Sheriff taking over at a huge govt. bureaucracy like LASD faces a task similar to
    trying to steer an aircraft carrier using a popsicle stick as the rudder.

  • In addition to the link you provided, it’s also refreshing to know that there is no Cigar Club or any ties to ALADS.

  • A question for Alex, after reading the LA Times article re the CPT tattoos at Compton with its implied less than healthy indications, what is your solution & describe your methodology to make a solid decision? Is it a Hobson choice & is there a best course?

  • I’m sure he’ll answer that question at the next debate along with many twists and turns until the election in November. Just my humble opinion.

  • Weak as a Patrol Cop. Trainees he had asked to be switched. Roy Burns, any comment!

  • Additionally you already knew that Villanueva left ALADS to start LASPA when Roy Burns was President of ALADS, which is still no different now than it was when Roy was president.

  • I was at ELA when Alex was there. Alex was a decent street cop and TO, like most deputies. He handled his calls and made hooks to the best of his ability like every other deputy 10-8. He was a good, dependable partner. There was nothing flashy about Alex – what you see is what you get – a deputy trying to do a good job, a partner you can count on to assist, someone who believes what we do is a noble endeavor, and loves our LASD. I’ve known Alex a long time and I never saw nor heard of Alex doing a deputy wrong.

    Right now, Alex is the only one who can right the wrongs of the last 20 years of Baca, Tanaka and McDonnell. With Alex you won’t get the BS that goes with favoritism, cronyism and nepotism. You won’t get the BS elitist attitude rampant in the McDonnell camp.

    Four years ago, I supported McDonnell to right the LASD ship. Soon after, I realized he wasn’t the right man for the job. Despite what he says in a public forum or to the media, LASD personnel know that things in many ways are worse than the Baca/Tanaka days (i.e., the questionable firing of deputies then using it as a talking point; the extreme/unfair discipline process; maybe the lowest morale the Dept has experienced in quite a while, etc.). As someone alluded to in an earlier post, McDonnell at the debate mentioned his love of the profession but did not specifically say LASD. I was at the debate and what I heard was a career politician referring to LASD as a nothing more than a job.

    I believe one of the reasons for his failure to lead LASD is because he’s still struggling to understand what the tan and green is all about – why deputies are bound by honor and duty to LASD, and feel that way long after they pull the pin. LASD is not LAPD, not LBPD or any other LE agency. LASD is a unique breed of law enforcement because of the men and women who have worn the tan and green and those that wear it today, as well as the myriad responsibilities and assignments we do (i.e., custody, courts, patrol, etc.). I don’t know what the Baca/Tanaka executive cronies have been telling McDonnell from Day One but those self-serving folks care more about their pay and careers rather than the newest deputy trying to do the Lord’s work.

    Re the morale problem, McDonnell is considering giving retention bonuses to deputy personnel from leaving the Dept/retiring. This, in my opinion, is a clear sign that McDonnell does not possess the necessary leadership skills to run the Dept. LASD’s most experienced personnel with Subject Matter Expertise would rather retire, sometimes early, than work for McDonnell and his minions. At no other time can I recall Dept morale in such a bad place. In contrast in the early 1990’s the Dept actually gave a golden handshake to veteran/SME deputies so they could retire early (the County thought they would save money but, in the end, took it in the shorts). What a difference 25 years and poor leadership make. McDonnell is obviously desperate to stop the flow of attrition but there’s little to no possibility of that happening while he remains in charge. Four failed years is enough – time to make a change. Many deputies don’t want to work for him and the result is 1500 deputy vacancies, crappy Dept morale, and the list goes on. What a f’n shame.

    I’m voting for Alex to be our new Sheriff.

  • Great Post. I will say that “loving the profession” is not a slight to LASD even some misconstrued it as so. Only a original “Green & Tan” coming through the ranks would make that statement. Without discounting the bad things, it only makes it worse seeing that McDonnell is an outsider coming into a dysfunctional organization. Viva Alex!

  • Alex is a crybaby. Was weak as a Patrol Deputy and has limited command experience. He was promoted through lawsuits alleging discrimination. He is Puerto Rican, but tries to come off as Mexican to appeal to the Mexican Community. He will never be Sheriff.

  • @make it happen
    Spot on sir. I voted for lindsey but he didnt make it. Not because I don’t like villanueva but just liked lindsey a little more. But now it’s time for all Lindsay supporters to get behind mr Villanueva. McDonnell and his executives are terrible. They do not care about their people. You look at successful businesses and they all have one thing in common. The workers are happy because their management respects them and treats them fair. LASD is no different. Mr Villanueva can bring that back. And for anyone that says he doesn’t have the experience, well then let’s get some good people to help him. Work as a team to make it better because the current course is disaster

  • I must(politely) disagree with you. I too know of the work ethic of Alex and what is character is. Limited command experience is exactly what we had in Pitchess, Block, Baca, Stonich, Waldie, Tanaka and now McDonnell. These above mentioned execs had lots of time at doing the same thing over and over and used limited experience to fix problems. Please read my earlier post. With all this experience should’t things be great? I have never heard Alex claim to be a Mexican but does that matter? Of course I never asked Pitchess if he was Greek, Block Jewish or Tanaka Japanese because it doesn’t matter. If a person’s ethnicity bothers you I don’t know what the man is supposed to do about being born into what he was born into? Of course these days one can identify as being anything you want? Maybe next week I’ll identify as being Celeste and start writing for witla? LOL Just kidding C

  • “Jack Mayhoffer”, George you should learn to be more creative. I have seen you make almost the exact same statement on Facebook, about Alex. Just use your real name. No need to hide. I don’t think he would be a vindictive sheriff.

  • Alex is an inexperienced fraud who is betting on his hispanic surname to deliver a victory. He’ll pander to every last anti-law enforcement chicano organization he can in order to get their support.

    Worst of all, he’ll cease all cooperation with ICE.

    Lastly, I could really give two f*cks cause I’m retiring, and leaving the state in a year and a half.

  • Let me see. He has a PhD so that kind of rules you out. Better than an actor. Our current president was never a politician and he’s doing a great job. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to run any law enforcement agency. The man in charge is just a face with advisors. Oh and the 30 years of law enforcement. Duhhh. Not just because he is Latino. Don’t go there.

  • The current president is doing a great job??? Are you high? It’s a matter of time before the economy bursts into flames under his administration. You’re just another cult follower waiting to drink the flavor-aid.

  • Makes sense in America only traitors would go against our own president Trump. Secondly not once would I elect anyone who has no problem insulting the American people no matter their race. This man is a fraud because the illegal aliens criminals voted him in. Huge, turn out lots of voters showed up so freaking funny but mostly shows his ignorance.

    American typically don’t vote mid terms NO WAY its a TOTAL FRAUD, just another puppet to continue to take money from us the American citizens.

    The beast of we the people has awaken.

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