RANTZ & RAVEZ-When Jim Mc Donald lost his re-election to continue as Sheriff of Los Angeles County, a new Sheriff arrived to take over the reins of the Department: retired Sheriff Lieutenant Alex Villanueva (photo above, left) who won -- to the shock of many pundits.
Sheriff Villanueva campaigned with the support of the union that represents the rank and file deputies of the Sheriff’s Department, along with ALADS (Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs) and set a path to immediately change the command staff, culture and direction of the Department. The relationship with federal authorities including I.C.E. would be strained with many proposed modifications set to take place. After learning of the proposed changes, many of us believed that troubled waters lay ahead involving the new Sheriff and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the body that provides funding for the Sheriff’s Department.
The annual Sheriff’s budget is in the billions of dollars. With over 50 years of law enforcement experience, I am quick to recognize when there are problems in the leadership and direction of law enforcement agencies. That is exactly what I saw in the victory of Sheriff Villanueva, his campaign statements and his close association with union officials.
Since the five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors holds the purse strings for the Sheriff’s Department and all county operations, I know that any kind of disagreement between the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors could result in funds being held back or reduced for certain operations and programs. It is a tactic many cities across America use to show who’s the boss and where the money comes from for all sorts of crime related programs. If the professionals protecting society don’t have the resources to do their job, law enforcement fails us, and our society suffers. This results in more crime victims and leaves suspects roaming our communities still stealing what they want for their personal desires.
The pot recently boiled over when Sheriff Villanueva reinstated terminated Deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan to his former rank after the deputy had been fired for domestic violence by the former Sheriff. The domestic violence was against a former deputy, to make matters even worse.
The Board of Supervisors became involved and challenged Sheriff Villanueva on his decision. The Local San Fernando Valley Supervisor Sheila Kuehl was very much involved in the move to rescind the order to reinstate the deputy. The wheels of Los Angeles County then swung into action and the deputy was again terminated by the County.
The showdown continues and we will see how this matter finally settles. It does not make for a very professional county civil service system to go back and forth on an issue concerning a person’s livelihood, as is the case in this situation. My guess is that more troubled times lay ahead for Sheriff Villanueva and his relationship with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. He is reviewing other terminations for possible reinstatement back to the Sheriff’s Department. Like they say in the news, stay tuned for more twists and turns in this contentious relationship.
I have warned you about a variety of tax increase proposals in previous RantZ & RaveZ articles. While some of you listened and followed my direction by voting “no” on new taxes, others fell for the campaign ads and voted to increase our taxes for a variety of projects and programs. I have more warnings for you and hope you will listen. Don’t hand over any more of your hard-earned money to the local government to squander with little to show for it.
Here we go again. This time the elected Los Angeles Unified School District Board wants to increase your property taxes. The measure will provide an estimated $500 million a year in additional revenue for the school district. If you recall, a bond measure was passed a few years ago that paid to build new schools for LAUSD. Check your records and you will find that we are still paying for that bond.
My current property tax bill shows that I am paying $450.40 to LAUSD. In the San Fernando Valley, the LAUSD has torn down and abandoned school properties in at least two locations I recently visited in the West Valley. The lots are still sitting vacant and are causing blight in residential communities. Check your neighborhood and you may find more waste being created by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
I am in full support of teachers and understand the difficult time they have doing their jobs with the huge bureaucracy they must deal with on a daily basis. The recent strike by the United Teachers of Los Angeles set the tone, showing that they were not going to be taken advantage of by the School Board, particularly by LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner.
The June ballot will contain a measure to increase your property taxes to pay for the contract the School District passed knowing they did not have the funds to pay for it.
This tax will be calculated at 16 cents per square foot on a property’s habitable indoor space. It will be applied to homes, commercial buildings and apartments and are expected to last for 12 years. Can we trust them on the time length of the tax? It will cost between $100 and $450 a year in additional property tax.
This reminds me of the person who buys an expensive car and plans to pay for it with money he or she might win with a Lottery scratcher ticket or better yet, a Lottery drawing. What happens when people like this don’t win the money? This was a foolish action by the LAUSD, banking on you and me to vote to increase our property taxes to pay for a contract they can’t afford.
I simply say NO to NEW TAXES!
Here’s what our property taxes are currently paying for:
- Current Voted Indebtedness: City of Los Angeles, Metro Water District, Community College, Unified Schools.
- Direct Assessments: Flood Control, LA Storm Water, County Park District, LACO Vector Control, Los Angeles Park District, City Light Maintenance, Measure A, Trauma/Emergency Services.
Think about it.
That’s it for this edition of RantZ and RaveZ.
(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.)