In an extremely tight race for Los Angeles County Sheriff that will likely be determined by provisional and mail-in ballots now being counted, incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell trails retired Sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva by just 335 votes, according to the latest figures from the county registrar.
After Election Day, as of Nov. 7 at 4:56 a.m. — before any outstanding ballots were counted — challenger Villanueva led by 4,927 votes with all 4,728 county precincts reporting.
Villanueva had 820,333 votes (50.15 percent) and McDonnell 815,406 (49.85 percent).
As of 3:34 p.m. Friday, Villanueva’s lead had been cut to 335 votes, with 867,964 (or 50.01 percent) to McDonnell’s 867,629 (or 49.99 percent).
The county registrar’s next ballot count update is scheduled for Tuesday, with more to come on Tuesdays and Fridays until every vote is counted.
Friday’s update includes only 123,003 ballots from Los Angeles County since election day, while 934,000 remain to be counted beginning next week.
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Here’s Villanueva’s official campaign bio:
“With over three decades of law enforcement experience, Alex Villanueva is a unique leader within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Distinguishing himself early on as a straight shooter, Alex has been a tireless advocate for both the community and the hard-working men and women who wear tan and green.
“A life-long believer in education, Alex burned the midnight oil while working patrol, earning his Master’s degree long before it was expected. He took it a step further, earning a Doctorate in Public Administration while studying the impact of diversity on law enforcement leadership.
“As an experienced military veteran, Alex learned many valuable lessons in leadership while serving our country in the United States Air Force and the California Army National Guard. His first reform experience was as a young deputy when he was thrown out of a commander’s office for courageously advocating for a ban on smoking within jail facilities.
“Sticking to his guns, Alex prevailed and the ban won overwhelming support throughout the department, saving the county millions of dollars in the process. As a union organizer, Alex fought for both transparency and ethical representation, the catalyst for many reforms within the employee organizations representing LASD members to this day.
“Early on in Sheriff Baca’s second term in office, Alex encountered serious evidence of corruption and executive misconduct which threatened the integrity of the entire organization.
“Realizing the dire consequences of unchecked corruption, Alex courageously challenged the illegal conduct of department executives, and the retaliation was swift and severe from Under-sheriff Paul Tanaka and his minions. Both Alex and his wife Vivian, also an LASD deputy, were systematically shunned by managers and executives throughout the LASD.
“Unable to dissuade Sheriff Baca and his staff from their corrupt ways, Alex never lost sight of his commitment to serving the community, his dedication to public service unwavering.
“History proved Alex’s concerns to be spot on. The tarnished reputation of the LASD, the convictions of over twenty department members for the crimes of obstruction of justice, lying to federal agents, and conspiracy, all point to the indispensable need to reform the LASD from the ground up.
“With former Sheriff Baca and his under-sheriff in prison, the LASD is in desperate need of real reform. Jim McDonnell failed to reform the department, the one job to which he was elected for.
“As a bonafide reformer, Alex plans to rebuild the LASD from the ground up, reforming the organization around the principles of public service and ethical standards of conduct. Alex’s experience within the LASD, the military, and as an educator, all point to a transformational leader who can reform the LASD, raise morale, inspire people to aim higher, and improve the relationship between the community and the LASD. In 2018, Alex Villanueva is exactly the person Los Angeles County needs as their sheriff.”
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Here is McDonnell’s official campaign bio:
“Sheriff Jim McDonnell began his law enforcement career in 1981 after graduating from the Los Angeles Police Academy. He served for 29 years at the Los Angeles Police Department where he demonstrated his guiding principles of integrity and treating others with respect and dignity on a daily basis.
“Sheriff McDonnell has been a reformer throughout his career. While with the LAPD, he helped create the blueprint for LAPD’s community-based policing programs that led to building strong relationships and communication between law enforcement and the diverse communities within the city of Los Angeles.
“During his tenure as second-in-command under Chief of Police Bill Bratton, the city of Los Angeles experienced some of its deepest drops in crime in all of its history.
“Following his career at the LAPD, Sheriff McDonnell served as the Chief of the Long Beach Police Department for five years. He implemented a number of initiatives that resulted in safer communities, increased morale among department staff, and improved community relations in long-neglected neighborhoods.
“Nearly four years ago, Jim McDonnell was elected County Sheriff of Los Angeles with the strong support of voters across our great county. As Sheriff, he worked with a broad coalition of community stakeholders to implement critical reform efforts within the Department. Sheriff McDonnell’s goal is to help make the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department the premier law enforcement agency in the nation.
“Over the last four years, under McDonnell, there has been a reduction in serious use of force inside jails and correctional facilities. Sheriff McDonnell supported the creation of the first Civilian Oversight Board to build greater accountability and increased communication with our diverse communities.
“He also created the Human Trafficking Bureau to address the victimization of young women, girls, and boys. And, of course, we saw reduced crime across the county by empowering the community to work more closely with department deputies.
“Sheriff McDonnell also worked with the Board of Supervisors on a plan to replace the Men’s Central Jail with an updated facility that will allow for better handling of those in custody with mental health and substance abuse challenges.
“Additionally, recognizing the need for greater accountability, Sheriff McDonnell fully deployed the Internal Affairs Bureau so that it could properly address problems within the department.
“Sheriff McDonnell served as a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence — a blue ribbon group created by the County Board of Supervisors to investigate the validity and causes of allegations of excessive force within the LASD’s Custody Division. The Commission issued a detailed report, including 63 recommendations that have become a roadmap for change within the Department.
“Throughout his professional career, Sheriff McDonnell has implemented prevention-oriented strategies and programs that proactively address the root causes of crime — including mental illness, homelessness and the challenges facing youth at risk.
“To accomplish this, he has taken regional leadership roles while serving as President of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, President of the California Peace Officers’ Association, a member of the California Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards & Training, and a board member of the Peace Officers’ Association of Los Angeles County.
“Upon his re-election, Sheriff McDonnell looks forward to working with his deputies, elected officials, and community stakeholders to continue the progress that has been made to build greater transparency, modernize the jail facilities, and strengthen community relations.
“Sheriff McDonnell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute and has completed executive education programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
“He and his wife Kathy live in Long Beach, and they have two grown daughters — Kelly and Megan.”