Alex Villanueva addresses 'Hollywood' comments, homeless crisis outside LASD jurisdiction

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is elaborating on his Hollywood comments.

The Sheriff told FOX 11 on Saturday that he plans to move deputies to Hollywood to help with the homeless population and crime despite it not being his jurisdiction.

"Well when I said we’re going to Hollywood, I mean we’re going to Hollywood," said Villanueva, "the issue isn’t with LAPD — it’s with the city of LA."

Villanueva says he is meeting with LAPD chief Michel Moore, but cooperation from the LA City Council member who represents Hollywood is imperative.

"Homelessness and violent crime — the two are starting to intersect," added Villanueva. 

Mitchell O’Farrell is the City Council member representing Hollywood. The council member labeled Villanueva’s proposal as a stunt, releasing a statement to FOX 11 saying: 

"Had the Sheriff reached out before making his comment, he would have known that my team and our partners have been successfully connecting unhoused individuals to services and placement into safe, managed environments - including 30 people from one location in the heart of Hollywood in just the past month - as we regulate the public right-of-way to ensure it is safe, clean, and accessible for all. People belong indoors, and sidewalks should be passable. Political posturing does nothing to actually house people and offer a path to health and wellness. We will remain focused on bringing people into safe environments paired with regulating the public rights-of-way in the 13th District."

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Business owners along Hollywood Boulevard welcome any new aid because they say what’s currently being done is not enough.

"We’re tired of people just coming over and taking over our streets," said pizza shop owner Robert Vinokur, "we’ve had people come up to my employees and smacking them in the face."

Vinokur owns Joe’s Pizza and says they lose business because LAPD is unable to remove homeless loitering and menacing customers in front of his shop. 

"It’s very limited on what they can do, always giving us some excuse they can't do this they can’t do that," said Vinokur, "so if the sheriff can come in here and clean this up… that’s great and what we want."

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The Sheriff says his homeless outreach team will be meeting with the city in coming weeks to discuss where they can implement resources.

Villanueva points to encampments being cleared in Venice, Olvera Street and Westwood under his leadership as proof. 

Critics say some of the encampment removals Villanueva is claiming credit for were already scheduled to be cleared and the sheriff is doing this for political gain.

"We’ve been doing the before the campaign’ said Villanueva, "I’ve been doing this thing since I’ve been in office and we’re not going to shy anyway anymore because there’s dire needs that need to be addressed."

The LA County Sheriff primary election is June 7.

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