Hardy Brown | Publisher Emeritus, Black Voice News
Los Angeles and Riverside counties, other than being geographically close, might otherwise appear to have little in common.
Highly urban — mostly rural. Liberal to moderate — moderate to conservative.
Politically, though, the residents of both counties are similarly cursed with sheriffs who, once in office, have turned out to be unfit to serve the people who elected them.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco
As recently as 2014, it’s been revealed that Riverside Sheriff Chad Bianco was a dues-paying member of the Oath Keepers militia group, an extremist outfit founded in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, that touts conspiracy theories about the federal government being part of a Marxist cabal.
Bianco now goes back and forth between saying he barely remembers joining the group, whose leaders were key figures in the Jan. 6 riots inside the United States Capitol and defending the Oath Keepers as merely “protecting the Constitution.”
The ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Starting Over Inc., and Riverside All of Us or None, have written a letter calling California Attorney General Rob Bonta to launch an investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. No less than 20 additional local organizations signed on in support of their request.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
In Los Angeles County, Sheriff Alex Villanueva tumbles from bad to worse on a weekly basis, with his latest outrage against the public’s safety he was elected to protect, being his refusal to enforce a requirement that all county workers—including his thousands of deputies—be vaccinated against deadly COVID- 19. He accuses the county Board of Supervisors of being part of a “woke alternate universe” for trying to protect Angelenos by requiring the vaccine — and absurdly claims medical expertise he doesn’t possess by incorrectly saying that masks “are not backed by science” in protecting others from the spread of the disease.
Cut from the same mold
In the case of both sheriffs, these aren’t isolated incidents. They are part of a pattern of each pretending he is above the system of laws he is sworn to protect. Both have a penchant for picking and choosing how and what to enforce among those laws. To put it mildly, neither Bianco nor Villanueva have shown any capacity for getting along with other elected leaders.
Both were elected in 2018 as reformers in elections against mainstream incumbents. Once in office, each has been the opposite of a reformer, instead protecting entrenched, wrongheaded department habits and fleecing the public.
Stellar challengers are stepping up for the 2022 elections, in which Bianco and Villanueva need to be swept from office.