‘We need to close all jails’ — Supporters see Measure A as a winning blow against law enforcement

Dozens of supporters of Measure A, which was approved by voters last week and gives the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors the authority to remove a publicly elected sheriff from office for cause, gathered outside the Hall of Justice Wednesday to celebrate its passage.

More than 70% of voters were backing the measure as of Wednesday morning, with the measure receiving more votes so far than Gov. Gavin Newsom has received for re-election. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who conceded defeat Tuesday in his bid for reelection against challenger Robert Luna, has blasted the proposal as unconstitutional, calling it a blatant power grab by a board with which he has repeatedly clashed.

Leticia Vazquez, the mother of Marco Vazquez Jr. — who suffered from mental illness and was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in 2019 — said she has felt “invisible to the system behind us.”

“We were noticed by the people,” Vazquez said of Measure A passing. “The people heard us. They saw our cries. They heard our screams. They shouted in the streets with us.”

Measure A gives the board the power to remove a sheriff “for cause” with a four-fifths vote of the five-member panel. Although board members supporting the measure denied it was political in nature, the move was a clear response to its battles with Villanueva, who has accused board members of defunding his agency at the expense of public safety and has rebuffed subpoenas to appear before the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission.

Hugo Soto-Martinez and Eunisses Hernandez, two council member-elects who will take office next month, spoke at the downtown news conference Wednesday. Both have worked on issues concerning the sheriff’s department, with Soto-Martinez as a labor organizer and Hernandez as a community organizer.

“We cannot just simply think about a union contract,” Soto-Martinez said. “We have to think so much bigger. We fight for wages. We fight for healthcare. But we don’t fight against police violence. We don’t fight to create affordable housing. We don’t fight to protect our climate. We don’t fight for so many things that affect our members’ lives.”

Soto-Martinez unseated two-term Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who conceded the race for the 13th District seat on Tuesday.

“Measure A is a moment to think about the system,” Soto-Martinez said. “Because we realize this is simply not about Villanueva. It is about the system that we are fighting. It is a system that kills people of color. It is a system that we’ll continue to fight.”

Hernandez, who defeated Councilman Gil Cedillo in the First District in the June primary, said of Measure A passing with 70%: “It’s a mandate.”

“This is a wake-up call for everybody in government,” Hernandez said.

She reiterated her platform of partnering with the county to close down the decrepit Men’s Central Jail, adding: “We need to close all jails.”

Hernandez said she was excited about voters taking the step of “actually diminishing the power, the budget of the sheriff’s department.”

“Because accountability alone is not enough,” Hernandez said. “We need to remove their power and this right here — this effort here is a true example of Black, Brown, Indigenous solidarity amongst our community.”

Stephanie Luna, the aunt of Anthony Vargas — who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in 2017 — said she plans to hold Robert Luna, the new sheriff, just as accountable.

“I really do hope he pays attention to what’s going here, because the same folks that fought for Measure A are going to be the same people that are ultimately be the ones to hold him accountable,” she said.

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Koweho
Koweho
3 days ago

If Villanueva had not been such a train wreck, this does not get voted in, but please no jails?? We should actually have more but smaller jails so we can lock up more gang members and organized theft ring leaders. Luna will reset the department, he is a smart and great law enforcement leader.

Toms
Toms
8 days ago

Someone hopefully will declare this Unconstitutional but who has the balls

Toms
Toms
8 days ago

The criminals and their constitutes are taking over LA county. Gangs alone and crime has been a growing prevalence in LA county for generations now. Developing a system against rationale and law abiding people. Putting the blame on the system because they can now.

Toms
Toms
8 days ago

It benefits the gangs the looters the robbers and related criminals. Maybe these types of people that choose this life style far outnumber hard working honest people that do their best to make a living using all resources available.

Maria Lopez
Maria Lopez
8 days ago

Espero que también despidan no nada mas al Sheriff sino a cualquier persona electa por los ciudadanos
Por ejemplo cualquier miembro de Board of Supervisors se exactamente el tipo de supervisores que tenemos ojalá y deveras también pelien contra ellos voy a ver

Wrathful Supervisors
Wrathful Supervisors
10 days ago

Now the group of Aggrieved Female Supervisors ☹️😩😡😱😰 can wield their unbalanced pent up wrath on the citizenry. This is a losing proposition. Please someone point out a single benefit.🥲🥲🥲🥲

WEHO Resident
WEHO Resident
11 days ago

What a bunch of race-baiting, opportunistic bottom feeders that have been elected to public office yet again. “We need to close all jails?” We should put all the criminals in your home, Hernandez, and lock you in with them as your punishment for stealing so much oxygen from the planet. I wasn’t a huge fan of Villanueva either, but Measure A is and was a power grab. It’s also undemocratic as it allows 4 politicians to remove from office an independently elected Sheriff. So voters elect someone and 4 yahoos with their own political agendas can now remove them from… Read more »

STAHP
STAHP
9 days ago
Reply to  WEHO Resident

100%

Maria Lopez
Maria Lopez
8 days ago
Reply to  WEHO Resident

I agree 500%
Villanueva always speak the truth
Now with measure A our vote useless

Ken
Ken
7 days ago
Reply to  WEHO Resident

Measure A should be challenged in court. Unnecessary as the same election removed Villanueva. So if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Christina
Christina
11 days ago

Is everyone on drugs or just that ignorant these days?… Or maybe Satan has gotten his way with so many? Doesn’t anybody see closing jails as another step towards ww3? I must be missing something here… Somebody please make sense of this to me please.

Kelly Lekawa
Kelly Lekawa
11 days ago

Crap! The Board of Supervisors does not care about people of color. This is strictly a political play against the Sheriff for his investigation into corruption by a member for illegal acts. If the Board cared about people of color and those affected by the system as a result of color- it would not have cut 3 million in funding for the mentally I’ll through the courts ODR program. A system that ensures housing and services for the mentally For life for those in the system- It diverted those $$$’s to the Gascon defense fund for defending lawsuits against his… Read more »

JF1
JF1
12 days ago

“It’s a system that kills people of color.” What a load of crap. We have judges that sit on the bench that are people of color, we have bailiffs that are people of color, we have court personnel that are people of color, we have sheriffs that are people of color, we have jurors that are people of color. This system is made up of people from all walks of life from the top to the bottom. If they really want to change things, they should look at the family unit and see how these kids are being brought up… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by JF1
marc brown
marc brown
9 days ago
Reply to  JF1

That argument has been proved specious by events. Cops of color have zero problem with killing their fellow unarmed citizens of color. Read the news.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
12 days ago

Lowest Common Denominator.

Rob N
Rob N
12 days ago

What are we going to do with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors if we want to get rid of them. They still force county employees to get tested every week against they’re will yet they’ve never tested positive for Covid.

Gorge
Gorge
9 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Civil War is coming and I can’t wait.

Open LA
Open LA
9 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

At this point it’s not science, it’s madness

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