In a sprawling county of 4,753 square miles and 5.5 million registered voters, the population seems to shrivel away during elections. During this recent primary election, many voters did not participate, both in L.A. County and statewide, even though the process of voting is extremely easy, with mail-in ballots provided to the households of all registered voters.
Primary elections, especially in midterm years, routinely have low turnouts. Many people feel the political system does not work for them, but the system only works if people participate. Democracy is based on the populace participating. When people do not register, do not vote, then democracy struggles. If we don’t vote, what happens to our way of life? Voting is the method by which our society holds its leaders accountable.
There seems to be plenty of complaining in the world, but little to no participation. We see the same issue here at PPOA all too often. Members call with valid concerns, but few are willing to step up to the plate and challenge or put their name to a grievance. “We pay our dues; you guys should handle this.” Please become involved. Our organization depends on participation. Do not allow PPOA to become just another object of apathy. You may pay dues to PPOA, but only the members can make an essential difference.
THE JUNE PRIMARY ELECTION
Prior to the primary election, and after an exhaustive selection process, numerous meetings and some very dynamic conversations, the PPOA Board of Directors endorsed retired Chief Eli Vera for Sheriff of Los Angeles County. This strategic move proved to be just as polarizing to our membership as many other issues, including but not limited to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Based on the apathy described above, the mathematical reality that Sheriff Villanueva would face a runoff in the primary due to the number of challengers, consultations with political strategists and the certainty that PPOA’s endorsement would not get the Sheriff to the 50%+1 plateau needed to win in June, the PPOA Board made a bold move to endorse Vera. This decision was not made lightly, and it was not due to some secret arrangements with Chief Vera.
Feeding this decision was the introduction of Chief Robert Luna of the Long Beach Police Department into the election. Sheriff Villanueva was elected four years ago as our membership decried the practices of another former Long Beach Police Chief, Jim McDonnell, as Sheriff. The PPOA Board, recognizing the need for consistent leadership in LASD and worried about the potential runoff and Chief Luna’s momentum, instead attempted to ensure an all-LASD election runoff in November by endorsing Chief Vera.
Alas, while the endorsement of Chief Vera ended with disappointment, the PPOA Board’s prediction of Chief Luna forcing a runoff was spot-on. These fears of a Long Beach Sheriff McDonnell 2.0 represented by Chief Luna still trouble our membership. For this reason, in support of member concerns, the PPOA Board of Directors recently endorsed Sheriff Alex Villanueva in the upcoming general election. The PPOA Board of Directors endorsed Sheriff Villanueva due to his many years of experience with the complexities of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. This endorsement has opened the door to other law enforcement associations, such as the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) and the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), also supporting Sheriff Villanueva.
Thanks to Sheriff Villanueva and to all the candidates for their participation, efforts and sacrifice during the primary election campaign season. PPOA appreciates the participation, leadership and numerous member concerns and public safety issues you all brought to light during this campaign.
SUPPORTING SENATOR HERTZBERG FOR LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERVISOR
Additionally, and possibly more important to our members’ future over the next four to 12 years, is the race for the next Third District Supervisor, replacing current Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Supervisor Kuehl not running for re-election, as well as redistricting legislation, created a power vacuum in the Third District of Los Angeles County. PPOA and our partner law enforcement associations are supporting Senator Bob Hertzberg in the general election runoff versus Mayor Lindsay Horvath of West Hollywood. Hertzberg, a moderate Democrat and the namesake of our crime lab at CSULA, will hopefully bring the Board of Supervisors back to a centrist perspective if he is elected, governing for the benefit of the silent majority rather than the unproven progressive agendas of other members of the Board of Supervisors.
Please don’t fall into the trap! Don’t be apathetic! Please join PPOA in supporting Sheriff Villanueva and Senator Hertzberg as they bring their experience and efforts together to address the serious issues facing Los Angeles County’s future.