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LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Is Taking A Personal Interest In Addressing Unhoused People In Venice Beach




Sheriff Alex Villanueva of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) speaks about a task force targeting wage theft outside of the Hall of Justice on February 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) speaks about a task force targeting wage theft outside of the Hall of Justice on February 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

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When L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva arrived in Venice earlier this month in a cowboy hat promising to clear its famous boardwalk of homeless people, he seemed to surprise just about everybody. After all, Venice is the LAPD’s jurisdiction. Chief Michel Moore was among those caught off guard.

“I did not invite the sheriff into Venice Beach,” Moore told our newsroom. So he called his counterpart the day after his visit. “I asked him, ‘How can we work together? I want to talk to you as chief-to-sheriff.’”

Moore did not condemn Villanueva. After all, the sheriff has the authority to enforce laws anywhere in the county. And in Venice, he is able to do what Moore cannot. As COVID-19 hit last year, the city council imposed a moratorium on the removal of tents housing homeless people during daytime hours. The idea was to limit the spread of the virus. That’s meant the LAPD has had a hands-off approach to encampments across the city. (The clearing of tents at Echo Park Lake was conducted ostensibly to conduct renovations to the area.) Moore thinks the city council should lift the moratorium now that the pandemic is waning, but so far the council has kept it in place.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll talk with KPCC/LAist reporter Frank Stoltze about what he’s been able to find out about what the Sheriff hopes to accomplish.

To read the full story from KPCC/LAist’s Frank Stoltze, click here.

With guest host Sharon McNary

Guest:

Frank Stoltze, KPCC/LAist criminal justice correspondent; he tweets @StoltzeFrankly