Alex Villanueva responds to ‘Hollywood’ comments, homelessness crisis outside LASD jurisdiction
The sheriff told FOX 11 on Saturday that he plans to move deputies to Hollywood to help with the homeless population and crime although it is not its jurisdiction.
Villanueva says he is meeting with LAPD Chief Michel Moore, but the cooperation of the Los Angeles City Council member who represents Hollywood is imperative.
“Homelessness and violent crime – the two are starting to cross paths,” added Villanueva.
Mitchell O’Farrell is the city council member representing Hollywood. The board member called Villanueva’s proposal a stunt, releasing a statement to FOX 11 saying:
“If the Sheriff had reached out before making his comment, he would have known that my team and our partners had been successful in connecting homeless people to services and placing them in safe and managed environments – including 30 people from a place in the heart of Hollywood in just the past month – as we regulate the public right-of-way to ensure it’s safe, clean and accessible to all People belong inside and sidewalks must be passable. political stance does nothing to house people and provide a path to health and well-being.We will remain focused on providing safe environments and regulating public rights of way in the 13th Arrondissement.
SUGGESTED: ‘We’re going to Hollywood’: Villanueva’s plan to clean up the streets
Business owners along Hollywood Boulevard welcome any new help because they say what is being done now is not enough.
“We’ve had enough of people coming and invading our streets,” pizzeria owner Robert Vinokur said, “we’ve had people approach my employees and punch them in the face.”
Vinokur owns Joe’s Pizza and says they are losing business because LAPD is unable to weed out homeless people hanging around and threatening customers outside his store.
“It’s very limited on what they can do, always giving us an excuse, they can’t do this, they can’t do that,” Vinokur said, “so if the sheriff can come in here and clean this up …it’s great and what we want.”
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The sheriff says his homeless outreach team will meet with the city in the coming weeks to discuss where they can implement resources.
Villanueva points to encampments cleared in Venice, Olvera Street and Westwood under his leadership as evidence.
Critics say some of the encampment moves Villanueva claims credit for were already meant to be cleared and the sheriff is doing so for political purposes.
“We were doing it before the campaign,” Villanueva said. “I’ve been doing this thing since I’ve been in power and we’re not going to hesitate anymore anyway, because there are urgent needs that need to be met.”
The LA County sheriff’s primary election will be held on June 7.
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