About 50 people attended a small rally held by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Saturday at Marketplace Park in Valencia.
The rally was held as part of Villanueva’s reelection campaign, which is different from the planned “afternoon of information and dialogue regarding public safety concerns” event that would have taken place on May 5, but was recently canceled.
Rep. Mike Garcia, Mayor Laurene Weste, and City Council members Cameron Smyth, Marsha McLean and Bill Miranda all gave speeches endorsing Villanueva.
Before his speech, Garcia R-Santa Clarita, said he likes Villanueva because he doesn’t prioritize party politics and puts emphasis on law and order.
“I want Santa Clarita to stay safe. And Alex has done a good job as sheriff. He’s put party politics aside, he’s put in a loyalty to doing his job, which is a novel idea here, especially in LA County,” said Garcia. “And so we need to get him reelected… This isn’t about party politics. We’ll hear my speech today: It’s not about Republican versus Democrat. We’re in different parties, but he’s a law and order cop, he’s a cop’s cop and he’s doing a good job.”
Garcia said that he also wants to support Villanueva as a means to reach across the aisle, once again reiterating that when it comes to policing, it’s not about blue or red.
“I’m running against a gal named Christy Smith, who has supported defunding the police and has marched with BLM,” said Garcia. “I can’t look Democrats in the eye and tell them to support me as a Republican, a law and order Republican, without also reciprocating that and supporting the right candidate for a job regardless of political party and that is Alex Villanueva.”
Weste also gave a passionate endorsement of Villanueva in which she said that although Santa Clarita was recently rated as one of the safest cities, it’s because of law enforcement.
“We are Santa Clarita, and we think we’re the safest city. But safety is only as good as your law enforcement,” said Weste. “We believe that your families are the most important thing, your friends, your children, and if you don’t have safety, we can produce all the parks and all the places to go, but if you’re not safe going there, you’ve got nothing.”
After all the introductory speeches Villanueva took the stage and seemed to have dressed the part for Santa Clarita, wearing a cowboy hat, boots and a large belt-buckle. Villanueva laid out the major arguments for his reelection in his speech, which included his rejection of how the county Board of Supervisors is handling the homelessness situation, fighting back against efforts to defund the Sheriff’s Department, his promotion of police accountability, and fostering diversity within the department.
“The results of our investigations, our discipline, deputy-involved shootings, everything that people are interested in. We put it online on our website,” said Villanueva. “That’s transparency. Following the tragic murder of George Floyd, we clarified our policies… [We now have] whistleblower protection, anti-retaliation policies, everything that we’re doing to strengthen, to build the ability of all of our employees to step up to the plate and do the right thing. We are now actually acting on them so the good old days of cronyism and you know, rules for thee but not for me, they’re over.”
Following the speech, Villanueva held a press conference in which he answered questions regarding claims of a cover-up regarding a recently leaked video that’s dominated headlines recently. He also took the opportunity to clarify where he stands politically.
“I’m a proud member of the Democratic Party of JFK and FDR vintage,” said Villanueva. The whole woke, ultra-progressive, far left is not really where the heart of the… Democratic Party is. I think…the pendulum is gonna swing back to the middle.”