REPARATIONS: 40 ACRES?
The collective effort to target unlicensed marijuana grow efforts will add to criminal and civil action taken by the Department of Cannabis Control and the governor’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Task Force.
Ex-sheriff Villanueva to vie for county supervisor seat
Seeks to unseat twice elected Janice Hahn
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is expected to formally announce he will run against Supervisor Janice Hahn in the March primary.
Villanueva said in an interview Sept. 12 on Fox 11 that he would run.
"County government is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all the county residents. In that regard the board has failed miserably," Villanueva told Fox 11. "All you have to do is look at the news every day. You're assaulted by images of violent crime, smash and grab robberies,
senseless wanton violence."
When asked how he can defeat Hahn, whose late father Kenneth was a supervisor from 1952-92 and who the Hall of Administration is named in his honor, Villanueva responded, "One thing for sure is she is no Kenneth Hahn. When he was serving as supervisor, there was a time of civility in county government, balance. Today, they're so far to the left of center that no one can even recognize them. They do not represent the will of anyone, much less the residents of the Fourth District, so we're going to bring this back to the middle."
In response, Hahn's campaign consultant Dave Jacobson called Villanueva "the Donald Trump of Los Angeles County," pointing out "L.A. County voters—including District 4—resoundingly rejected" his bid to be re-elected as sheriff in November "for his incompetence and corruption."
"L.A. County became less safe under Villanueva's reign," Jacobson said. "He is a fraud and a failure and L.A. County voters won't be fooled again."
Janice Hahn was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020 to represent the Fourth District, which now stretches from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Long Beach and north to the southeastern Los Angeles County and the eastern San Gabriel Valley, including Huntington Park, Bell, Com- merce, Pico Rivera, Whittier and La Habra Heights.
Villanueva was elected sheriff in 2018, upsetting then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell, but lost his bid for re-election in November to former Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert Luna, 61.3 per- cent to 38.7 percent.
Hahn and Villanueva are both Democrats. The Board of Supervisors, like all local government positions in California, is nonpartisan.
No Los Angeles County supervisor has been defeated for re-election since 1980 when Baxter Ward was denied a third term by Michael D. Antonovich and Yvonne Braithwaite Burke lost her bid for a full term to Deane Dana after being appointed to fill the vacancy caused by James A. Hayes' resignation.
Villanueva is seeking to be the first man on the board since 2020 when Mark Ridley-Thomas was unable to seek re-election because of term limits.
Deputy sheriff slain
'Person of interest' detained in murder
PALMDALE (CNS)—A "person of interest" has been detained in connection with the fatal shooting of a deputy near the sheriff's department's Palmdale station over the weekend, authorities said Sept. 18.
Ryan Clinkunbroomer, a third-generation Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, was shot while sitting in his patrol car and "found in medical distress" at about 6 p.m. Saturday. A good Samaritan stopped to render aid and the wounded deputy was taken to Antelope Valley Medical Center in grave condition.
Shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday, the department announced Clinkunbroomer had died.
According to media reports, Clinkunbroomer was stopped in a patrol car at a red light when he was shot. He was found in front of the station at Sierra Highway and East Avenue Q with a gunshot wound to the head.
Luna announced Clinkunbroomer's death during a news conference late Saturday night at the City of Hope Antelope Valley, saying his father and grandfather had also been deputies and that Clinkunbroomer had gotten engaged just four days earlier.
"He didn't deserve this," Luna said "This is so unfair. We're hurting because we lost somebody. It hurts bad. It sucks, just to put it bluntly. Our hearts absolutely go out to his family."
Luna struggled to hold back his emotions while discussing what he described as a targeted ambush killing.
"He was just driving down the street," Luna explained. "And for no apparent reason—and we're still looking into the specific reasons—somebody decided to shoot and murder him, I'm assuming at this point, because he was in uniform. That, to me, is sickening. That's not who this community is and that's why we stand up here collectively together really asking our community for your assistance as we move forward."
"We are utilizing every resource available to apprehend the suspect responsible for this heinous crime," the sheriff said. "Somebody saw something. Somebody knows something. There is a family here at this hospital grieving an unimaginable loss. We need your help."
Anyone who witnessed anything related to the shooting, especially in the area of Sierra High- way at around 6 p.m. Saturday, was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
In a follow-up news conference, shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday, Luna announced that the car seen pulling alongside Deputy Clinkunbroomer's patrol vehicle before speeding away in what he called "widely circulated video" was being considered a "vehicle of interest." He described it as a 2006-12 dark gray Toyota Corolla.
To those responsible for the killing, Luna said, "I'd give up. We are going to find you." And in answering a question from a reporter, he said, "We're not going to leave any stone unturned."
In response to the killing, multiple agencies announced on Sunday that they would offer rewards.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose Fifth District includes the Palmdale area, pledged during the news conference that the Board of Supervisors would provide $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers of Clinkunbroomer.
"I have a special message for fellow sheriff's deputies..." Barger said, "I stand beside you shoulder to shoulder. This heinous deed will not go unpunished. Whoever committed this cowardly act will not go unpunished."
She described the attack on the individual deputy as an attack on the law enforcement community at large. "Justice must and will be served," she said. "I am calling on the public to help us please identify who committed this murder."
She concluded by saying, "This is a test—a test of our faith, a test of our collective spirit ... but we will persevere."
Another $100,000 reward was offered by the city of Palmdale, which was announced by Mayor Laura Bettencourt. "We are going to match the county's $100,000 reward," she said. "Palmdale is strong and we will continue to be strong together."
"Our law enforcement officers need our unwavering support now more than ever," Bettencourt said. "We must stand by them. Let me be crystal clear—this was an act of murder."
Another $50,000 reward was contributed by the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. Speaking on behalf of the group, Rich Pippin said,
"This was an attack on our profession. ... This was an attack on all of us."
He turned his ire toward politicians who claim "the bad guys aren't so bad," noting that, "You get a sense of outrage with all the speakers. We are united. We are united as a community."
And as a community, he said, "We're hurting, we need your help. ... It's not just our deputy, but it's your deputy as well."
News of Clinkunbroomer's death prompted a flurry of reactions from local law enforcement colleagues and elected officials who expressed remorse and outrage, with officials pledging to deploy all possible resources to catch his killer.
"The coward who ambushed Deputy Clinkunbroomer last night is still at large and must be brought to justice soon," Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn said in a statement. "I am pledging all the county resources needed to find this murderer and support our deputies in the wake of this vicious attack. If you have any information that could help, I urge you to call LASD Homicide at 323-890-5500 immediately."
Barger was among the first to issue a statement, saying on Saturday night, "Words cannot describe my immense sorrow for the tragic loss of a brave deputy's life tonight. My heart breaks for his family, his fellow officers, and the community at large. There are a lot of unanswered questions—including who committed this heinous and brazen attack and why. Whoever is responsible must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and brought to swift justice."
Luna said Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the department and had been with the Palmdale station since July 2018. He served as a field training officer, which Luna said is a role reserved for only "the best of the best."
Last week, Clinkunbroomer's mother, Kim Etzel Clinkunbroomer, posted several photos of her son and his fiancé on Instagram with the message: "We are so excited to add to our family. Congrats to our son Ryan and his fiancé Brittany."
During an overnight procession, law enforcement officers escorted Clinkunbroomer's body to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, posted a video message in which he assailed the gunman, and called for passage of a bill he's written that would make it a federal felony to kill a law enforcement officer, with a penalty no less than life in prison, and execution if possible.
Garcia said he would ask House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
"I am beyond heartbroken, I'm beyond pissed off," Garcia said in the video. "I'm sure that we will find this evil son of a bitch who killed this very special person, someone who was doing the right thing for our country, for our communities, and he'll be brought to justice. But I want you to know that this is why we need to defend every day our law enforcement, whether it's LAPD, sheriff's or otherwise. These folks put their lives on the line on a daily basis.
"...We have to put something in the form of a deterrence out there to prevent people from killing cops."
The last Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy shot and killed in the line of duty was Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, a 29-year department veteran who worked out of the Lancaster station and was shot while investigating a reported break-in on Oct. 5, 2016.
Deputy Alejandro Martinez died on July 28, several months after he was struck by a wrong-way vehicle while training with dozens of colleagues near the sheriff's STARS Explorer Academy law enforcement training center in Whittier in November 2022. The driver, 22-year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez of Diamond Bar, told reporters that he fell asleep at the wheel.
Deputy Steve Belanger died on Feb. 6, 2018, succumbing to a gunshot wound sustained on Dec. 10, 1994, when he was ambushed while conducting a traffic stop in the 18400 block of La Guardia Street in Rowland Heights.
Doctors were unable to remove the bullet from Belanger's brain, and he remained under constant medical care and confined to a wheelchair until passing away in 2018.
LA County adopts racial equity strategic plan
LOS ANGELES (MNS)—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have unanimously adopted a groundbreaking Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan with five strategic goals intended to measurably improve the lives of residents and communities throughout the County.
The Board, acting on a motion by Supervisors Mitchell and Solis, declared its commitment to fostering meaningful and lasting change through the adoption of the Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan. Developed by the Chief Executive Office’s Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative, it outlines dozens of strategic goals and initiatives aimed to address structural racism.
Co-created with residents, community-based organizations, civic leaders, philanthropic organizations, academic partners, and public/private agencies, the plan presents a 10-year roadmap to foster a more equitable and inclusive county where all residents are healthy, experience justice, and thrive.
The creation of the Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan was a directive of the Board when a motion was unanimously adopted on July 21, 2020 to establish an Anti-Racist County Policy Agenda, declaring racism a matter of public health in the county. Moreover, ARDI was established and is charged with developing the underlying policy platform, and implementing the plan in collaboration with department staff and leadership.
The county identified five strategic goals to be achieved through multiple initiatives over the next decade:
Increase Attainment of Postsecondary Credentials with Significant Labor Market Value
Reduce Adult First-Time Felony Convictions
Increase Stable Full-Time Employment Among Individual Adults
Increase the Percentage of Families with Incomes Above 250% Federal Poverty Level
Reduce Infant Mortality
In addition to providing a new vision for achieving equity in Los Angeles County, the strategic plan outlines several historical factors that helped exacerbate racial disparities and inequity across the county. The plan reveals significant racial gaps in high school graduation, in year-round full-time employment, and much larger gaps in college enrollment, college graduation, family incomes, and homeownership rates.
"With our first ever Racial Equity Strategic Plan, Los Angeles County has actionable steps for moving with clear direction and accountability towards achieving racial equity and justice," said Second District Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. "I want to thank Dr. Scorza for leading the creation of this historic plan and the Board of Supervisors for approving my motion to establish a shared commitment across all County departments in owning our piece in making this plan a reality.
"It is the only way we can do hard and necessary work of addressing long-standing injustices and creating meaningful change that can be seen and felt in the lives of our residents," Mitchell said.
"As the elected governing body of Los Angeles County, we must take a strong stance against racism to send a message that we will neither comply with nor enable policies that exacerbate historic injustices," said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. "To that end, I am proud that we have a vehicle such as ARDI to espouse the values of anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion."
"Los Angeles County is one of the most diverse counties in one of the most diverse countries in the world. That is our strength, but as long as racial gaps persist, we aren’t living up to our potential. This Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan deploys many of our best tools in our mission of creating a more just County for all of our communities," said Chairwoman Janice Hahn.
"Building a more equitable, just Los Angeles County requires intentional steps that lift up every one of our marginalized communities," said the Third District's Lindsey P. Horvath. "I am proud to support the Racial Equity Strategic Plan and, importantly, to be part of realizing the change the plan envisions."
"At its heart, this is about the County being introspective," said Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger. "We need to consistently examine our practices so that our County departments can best serve some of the most challenged residents who live in disadvantaged communities—including rural areas. Adopting this plan will help ensure we are all rowing in the same direction and truly making a difference for some of our most vulnerable constituents."
"With the adoption of the Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan, we are demonstrating that LA County values diversity, is inclusive, and advances equity so that all residents can thrive," said Fesia Davenport, Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles County. "This plan will add fuel to our collective drive to advance justice and create a brighter tomorrow."
"The Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan represents a commitment and roadmap for change that over the next decade will aim to improve life outcomes for all of LA County’s residents," said Dr. D'Artagnan Scorza, Executive Director of Racial Equity for Los Angeles County and the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative. "The County is continuing to set an example of how government can be a force for good, ignite progress, and create a future where every resident's potential knows no bounds."
With the adoption of the Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan, the county leaders say it furthers their commitment to create a more equitable, inclusive, and just community for all its residents.
Staffing elevated at juvenile halls
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—One day after state regulators declared the county's two juvenile halls unsuitable to house youth—with short-staffing among the issues leading to the declaration—Los Angeles County's interim probation chief ordered all 3,000 sworn peace officers in the department to serve at one shift a month at juvenile halls, May 24.
The directive, taking effect June 1, will increase staffing "by ten-fold, flooding them with the personnel needed to reverse the chronic staffing shortages that have been at the heart of our problems there,'' Interim Probation Chief Guillermo Viera Rosa said in a statement. On May 23, the Board of State and Community Corrections formally declared the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar and Central Juvenile Hallin Lincoln Heights unsuitable for housing pre-disposition youth, and ordered all detainees to be relocated within 60 days.
The board cited a laundry list of ongoing violations of state standards at the facilities, including sani- sanitary conditions of the housing units, detainees' access to school and other programs and staffing shortfalls. Following the vote Tuesday, the board was set to formally notify the county of the decision Wednesday, beginning the 60-day clock ticking for all youth to moved out of the halls.
Representatives for the county unsuccessfully asked the board Tuesday for a 150-day delay, saying plans were already under way to relocate pre-disposition youth detainees to the previously closed Los Padrinos Juvenile Hallin Downey, but doing so in 60 days could create "chaos" and safety concerns.
In its statement released Wednesday, the county Probation Department insisted the move will be completed within 60 days.
Roughly 275 pre-disposition youth—those who have not yet had their criminal cases resolved in court —are currently housed in the Nidorf and Central halls, a county representative told the board Tuesday. The BSCC order does not impact post-disposition youth housed in a Secure Youth Treatment Facility within Nidorf hall.
Viera Rosa last week ordered all of the Probation Department's executive staff to serve one monthly shift at juvenile halls as well. Department officials said Viera Rosa served a shift at Nidort from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.
"I believe having everyone serve one shift a month in the juvenile halls is an excellent way for all of us to show support, provide aid to and ensure the safety of our besieged and exhausted fellow officer officers as we turn the page to Los Padrinos," Viera Rosa said.
County construction crews are working to renovate Los Padrinos hall to resume housing pre-disposi- tion youth. The Probation Department noted that crews are working from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily to meet the 60-day timeline imposed for the move. In a statement after the board's Tuesday vote, Hans Liang, president of the LA County Deputy Probation Officers Union, laid blame on the county and the Board of Supervisors for failing to provide adequate staffing at the halls.
"Officers assigned to the juvenile division are faced with daily youth-on-youth and youth-on-staff assaults and 40 percent of staff in the juvenile division are now out on injury leave," Liang said. "To make up for the staffing shortfalls, staff are being compelled to work 18- to 24-hour shifts and have reached a breaking point, simply doing the best they can with limited resources and exhaustion."
The BSCC also found the two juvenile halls unsuitable to house youth sin 2021, but the facilities managed to remain open. Renewed inspection failure sled the board to again initiate the process of declaring the halls unsuitable.
The county Board of Supervisors has been struggling to overhaul the troubled juvenile justice system even as it assumes responsibility for youth being transferred to counties from the state's closing Juvenile Justice facilities. The board recently voted to advance a "Global Plan" for the placement and care of juvenile detainees, with a goal of reducing the number of juveniles in custody and develop- ment of Secure Youth Treatment Facilities to provide a supportive environment for detained youth.
On May 2, the board approved a series of more immediate steps, including the relocation of all pre-disposition youth to Los Padrinos. Central Juvenile Hall will be used solely as an intake unit and medical and diagnostic/assessment hub, and only Secure Youth Treatment Facility youth will be housed at Nidorf.
The plan also included the readjustment of millions of dollars for capital improvements at the juvenile halls, with overall costs anticipated to reach nearly $50 million. That plan also called on the sheriff's department to deploy volunteer reserve deputies to help fill holes in staffing at the juvenile halls.
The county's juvenile detention system and the Probation Department that oversees it have been routinely under fire from state regulators over conditions at the facilities, which have been plagued by oversight and staffing issues for years. In March of last year, about 140 juvenile detainees were hastily transferred from Central Juvenile Hall to Barry J. Nidorf hall—a move that the county inspector general later concluded was orchestrated to avert a state inspection that appeared likely to fail.
Late last year, nearly 300 former detainees filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually assaulted, harassed and abused by county probation and detention officers while being held at juvenile facilities dating back to the1970s. County CEO Fesia Davenport noted while releasing her recent budget pro- posal for the coming year that the county could potentially face liabilities reaching $3 billion from such abuse claims.
In March, the Board of Supervisors fired Probation Department Chief Adolfo Gonzales, with board Chair Janice Hahn noting that the juvenile halls "are in crisis."
On May 9, a teenage detainee at Nidorf hall died of a drug overdose. On the same day, a LA Superior Court judge ruled that the county juvenile halls still fail to meet the terms of a 2021 court judgment requiring improvements in conditions including staffing and ensuring youth are taken to schools and medical appointments in a timely manner. Another hearing in that case is scheduled for June 20.
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