A divided Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday escalated their running power struggle with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, voting to explore ways he could be removed from office, including a change to the state’s constitution.
The 3-2 vote to build a playbook for removing Villanueva is the latest turn in a tumultuous two years of conflict — both in and out of court — between the county’s top law enforcement official and members of the powerful board who have attacked the sheriff for what they see as his distaste for accountability and his efforts to to roll back critical reforms.
The motion, authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl, directs county lawyers and other staff to examine ways to impeach Villanueva or strip him of some responsibilities. One avenue being explored is an amendment to the state’s Constitution that would shift all of California’s county sheriffs from elected officials to appointed positions. The board will receive a report on viable options in January.
Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn cast the opposing votes.
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