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      Map of Altadena

      (Photos – altadenatowncouncil.org).jpg, AltadenaSheriffsStation)

      Sheriff Alex Villanueva is proposing to close the Altadena (and Marina del Rey) patrol stations because of budget cuts. He blames the cost-cutting moves on the County Board of Supervisors for shortchanging his department.

      By News Desk

      This is what we know so far about this fast and fluid situation. (This Dashboard will remain live and updated as needed).

      June 20, 2020

      Civilian Board Oversight

      > 12:20 pm: Civilian Board Seeks Action Against Sheriff Alex Villanueva Over Subpoena Spat.
      Los Angeles County is asking a judge to force Sheriff Alex Villanueva to show why he should not be held in contempt for allegedly defying a subpoena from the civilian board that oversees his department on May 21.

      May 27, 2020

      Virtual Town Hall Meeting

      > 11:00 am: A last minute post on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page announced a town hall meeting where “Pasadena residents are welcome,” according to the digital flyer (see below). The virtual town hall takes place at 2:00 pm this afternoon. Altadena residents can click this link to register.

      decorative

      L.A. County Sheriff’s Virtual Town Hall meeting with Pasadena Police Chief

      May 20, 2020

      LA County Sheriff Calls Civilian Oversight Meeting ‘Public Shaming Endeavor’, Refuses Subpoena

      > 1:45 pm: The latest development in an ongoing power struggle between Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors (Read more here).

      May 17, 2020

      Virtual Altadena Town Council meeting

      > May’s Virtual Town Council Meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm. Discussions will include the LA County Sheriff’s topic and a presentation from the Devil’s Gate Dam Project.

      The Council will also address Altadena’s Roadmap to Recovery, Public Safety and Community Reports from the Chamber of Commerce, LA County Parks & Recreation, Altadena Library, and Community Food Services for Seniors.

      Any person may address the Altadena Town Council during the Comment Period. Residents can submit public comments ahead of time by emailing Pat Sutherlen at patricia.sutherlen@altadenatowncouncil.org, before Tuesday, May 19 at noon. Include name, address and contact information in the submission.

      May 15, 2020

      Video of virtual Town Hall meeting

      > 10:00 am: On Thursday, May 14, 2020, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Altadena Station Captain Marjory Jacobs, hosted a virtual Town Hall meeting with the residents of Altadena to address their community concerns. We want to thank everyone who participated. For those of you who were unable to attend, click to view the video on Facebook.

      PUSD Special Board Meeting

      > 2:30 am: The Pasadena Unified School District held a virtual Special Board Meeting on May 14, 2020, to discuss three main topics; the adoption of K-5 Instructional materials for Social Studies, a resolution in support of keeping the Altadena Sheriff Station open, and the impact of Covid-19 on the School District’s budget. (Read full article here).

      May 14, 2020

      Petition

      > There’s a petition on Change.org regarding the Altadena and Marina Stations with an important note from the organizers:

      Please do not donate via the change.org prompt or any subsequent emails from change.org asking you to donate to promote this campaign as we are not able to claim those funds.

      May 13, 2020

      PUSD Resolution

      > PUSD’s Resolution 2558 in support for retention of Altadena Sheriff’s Station. The board will vote on it Thursday evening at the special PUSD Board meeting.

      May 12, 2020

      No Closure Announcement – Letters

      > 9:00 pm: A letter from Marina Del Rey’s United Homeowners’ Association Il (UHA) to Sheriff Villanueva on May 12, 2020:

      Thousands of your constituents are vehemently opposed to your proposal to close the Marina and Altadena stations

      As President of United Homeowners’ Association Il (“UHA”), I write in collaboration with Ladera Heights Civic Association, ViewPark.Org and a host of neighbors across the County to inform you that UHA and many thousands of your constituents are vehemently opposed to your proposal to close the Marina and Altadena stations in response to your department’s budget shortfall. You allege that this shortfall is the result of rising operational costs and years of being underfunded by the Board of Supervisors, and you argue that the closure of these two stations will not adversely affect public safety and that our areas will receive the same coverage levels that we currently enjoy. However, our sources indicate that both response time and patrol unit coverage will be adversely impacted if our patrol units are based at the South LA Station instead of the Marina Station. Furthermore, your own public statement released on April 29th acknowledges that “cuts will be made to patrol in unincorporated areas…which means less deputies will be on the streets.”

      There are far better ways to achieve the budget reductions…

      While we share your concerns about potential overreach by the Board of Supervisors with respect to underfunding the Sheriff’s Department and we are very concerned anytime funding for public safety becomes caught up in a political battle, we believe that there are far better ways to achieve the budget reductions you seek without causing tragic public safety consequences in our communities. If you are seeking a 10% overall reduction in costs across all unincorporated patrol areas, why not make those reductions evenly across all stations instead of forcing our communities to disproportionately suffer from these reductions for a mere $16 million in annual savings?

      Why aren’t you implementing the proposed budget mitigation measures recommended by the County CEO?

      Another question that our members have is why aren’t you implementing the proposed budget mitigation measures recommended by the County CEO last year? We are reaching out to the County CEO’s office to obtain more information about these details, and to hopefully understand in greater detail exactly what the CEO has recommended and why you have not adopted those recommendations. We also reached out to the Executive Director of the Civilian Oversight Commission and we look forward to participating in the Town Hall they are hosting this Wednesday to address the proposed station closures. Many members of our community are also very concerned about allegations of misconduct leveled against members of the Sheriff’s Department and we trust that we can count on you to set an ethical example of proper conduct by law enforcement as Sheriff by making sure that those who break the rules are properly sanctioned.

      I voted for you

      On a personal level, I voted for you and I remain hopeful that you will continue speaking truth to power and hold all those accountable under your command who are not playing by the rules. I enjoyed meeting you last year when you attended the Town Hall in our community, and I was very encouraged to hear you describe your views regarding community policing and the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and the community. I’m sure that you do not want your legacy as Sheriff to be that political differences between you and the Board prevented you from implementing the many changes within the Department that you have publicly stated must be made. If there is an opportunity for us to help bring the responsible parties together to explore mutually acceptable alternatives to these challenging budgetary issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (323) 248-1699 or via email at info@uhawhvp.org. Thank you.

      Sincerely,
      John W. Heath, Esq.
      Board President
      United Homeowners’ Association Il

      CC: Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair
      Supervisor Hilda L. Solis
      Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
      Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
      Supervisor Janice Hahn
      Sachi A. Hamai, Chief Executive Officer
      LA County Auditor-Controller
      Altadena Town Council
      Altadena Chamber of Commerce
      Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations
      Marina Del Rey Lessees’ Association
      Neighbors Building a Better Altadena
      Ladera Heights Civic Association
      ViewPark.Org
      Various Block Clubs and Associations

      > 8:20 pm: A message from Neighbors Building a Better Altadena (NBBA) to the community at large: “Our community has made its voice heard on the Sheriff Station closure and made some progress, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Please monitor the situation and continue to take an active role until we know the progress is real. See our next message for action items.”

      NBBA has also sent a letter to Sheriff Villaneuva on May 11, 2020:

      Neighbors Building a Better Altadena is dismayed to learn of your plans to close the Altadena Sheriff Station. Your decision, made with no consultation with the Altadena community, including the several Altadena Sheriff Station support groups, is ill-advised and is not supported by our community.

      The last time the Station closed, service was unsatisfactory. We are alarmed by the prospect of decreased service when staff is based in Crescenta Valley. We fear it will be even less during fire season and earthquake emergencies. There are many ways to balance a budget. Eliminating essential services and putting the public at increased risk should not be one of them.

      The Altadena Sheriff Station is one of three major taxpayer-funded mainstays along with the Altadena Library and Altadena Community Center. Having a ‘resident’ Captain in the Station enables LASD to set realistic priorities for public safety in Altadena and provides leadership, alongside other business, civic, and faith communities, in securing community health and safety for all Altadenans.

      The Sheriff’s Support Group of Altadena, the Clergy Coalition, the Community Advisory Committee, and the Volunteers on Patrol are just a few of the groups that support the Altadena Sheriff Station. Trust, mutual support and community cohesiveness have been established and now that is about to be destroyed. This is a terrible setback for our town. It comes at the worst possible time.

      The Sheriff Station not only provides law enforcement but has developed numerous programs that are valued by residents. The Department’s outreach programs for our youth and unhoused people make the community better and safer, and they change lives.

      The Captain and Deputies are part of our community and are frequently involved in local events and programs. They have initiated many of their own projects that have become Altadena traditions and have also gone a long way to foster a positive relationship between Station personnel and community members.

      We ask you to reverse your decision to close the Altadena Sheriff Station and implore you to work productively with your fellow elected officials and County staff to keep needed budget cuts away from the direct services that support and protect Altadena residents.

      Without demonstrated concern and support for the well-being of our community, many Altadenans face a loss of trust in you and are rethinking their support for you.

      We note that there are three town hall meetings this week on Station closure, one with Altadena Town Council and the Civilian Oversight Commission and two you are hosting. We will listen closely to hear how you specifically will address community concerns.

      On behalf of Neighbors Building a Better Altadena (NBBA):
      Alison Amegatcher                                    Joan Riback
      Barbie Ishida                                             Karen Gibson
      Evangelica Child                                       Marge Nichols

      > 6:00 pm: Tomorrow’s virtual meeting is still on. We will keep you posted on updates/developments as they come in.

      > 5:30 pm: Sheriff Villanueva was subpoenaed to attend the COC meeting tomorrow.

      > 5:00 pm: A joint release issued by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Mark Ridley-Thomas regarding the proposed closure of Altadena and Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, stated a motion to keep the Sheriff’s Station open and fully staffed:

      Stopping the Unvetted and Abrupt Closures of Patrol Stations

      The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) unanimously voted to direct the Sheriff to immediately cease efforts to close the Altadena and Marina del Rey stations, as recently announced by the Sheriff’s Department (Department). These closures were announced without any independent vetting or validation by the County’s Chief Executive Office, or advance notice or input to impacted communities.

      The motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kathryn Barger also directs the Sheriff, in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Auditor-Controller, to identify appropriate budget curtailments that are properly vetted and will have limited impact on public safety.

      The motion follows the Sheriff’s abrupt and unilateral announcement on May 4, 2020 of plans to close the Altadena and Marina Del Rey stations. Questions remain about how and why the station closures were selected and what cost savings may be achieved.

      “These station closures were announced without any vetting or advance notice, validation of cost savings, or assessment of impact on public safety. As a result, our communities are rightly concerned – as is this Board,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “The Sheriff’s Department must achieve the necessary cost savings and budget curtailments needed to address the Department’s deficit and the County’s revenue shortfall in a more transparent, collaborative and democratic way without jeopardizing service to our communities.”

      “The public safety and security of our communities is critically important, now more than ever, given the public health crisis created by COVID-19,” said Supervisor Barger. “I am hopeful that through today’s Board action, the Sheriff will work with the County Chief Executive Office to identify more appropriate budget measures that will not impact our local communities, including Altadena, an unincorporated region that has relied on their Sheriff’s station for years. I remain committed to ensuring that the Sheriff’s Department maintains its core mission of public safety and meets the essential needs of residents and businesses throughout Los Angeles County.”

      Since these announcements, a range of constituents and the Civilian Oversight Commission tasked with overseeing the Sheriff’s Department have expressed deep concern about the station closures and the negative impacts that they may have on community safety and service delivery.

      “The loss of the Marina del Rey station would truly be a detriment to our community. This, not just for the policing and our public safety but also for the relationships we have worked to build over the years. We need our station and deputies in the close proximity to our community,” said Lorinee Jackson, lifetime resident of the unincorporated community View Park, located in the Second District. “Knowing we can count on the Marina del Rey station to be there for us when we need help completes our community.”

      Well before the preparation of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21 budget curtailment scenarios that were necessitated by recent revenue shortfalls, the Department had been facing significant budget overruns primarily caused by overtime expenditures and under-realization of revenues. Over the past several months, the Board has taken steps to proactively address the Department’s overspending. The Department overspent its FY 2018-29 budget by $63.4 million and is currently projected to overspend its FY 2019-20 budget $89 million. In October, the Board asked the Department to work with the CEO and A-C to formulate a deficit mitigation plan. Additionally, in April, the Board requested a reduction of academy classes, intended to realize approximately $49 million in cost savings and substantially close the budget gap.

      This motion seeks to avoid unnecessary and unanticipated negative impact to services and programs that enhance public safety as the Board works to finalize the County’s FY 2020-21 budget, as well as ensure that these decisions are made in a transparent, collaborative and democratic way.

      > 4:15 pm: The station may not be closing. (Click for more details)

      > 2:20 pm: Many Altadena Councilmembers unofficially conveyed the news that the Altadena Sheriff’s Station might remain open. Stay tuned.

      May 11, 2020

      Press conference

      > Update: In the live press conference, Sheriff  Villanueva mainly spoke about a “trend in the jail system with Inmates deliberately trying to catch COVID-19, in hopes of early release.”

      > Watch live: A press conference by Sheriff Villanueva on Facebook (click here to watch).

      May 10, 2020

      > Altadena Cert is changing its meeting time to 4:00 pm on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, due to a Virtual Town Hall Meeting happening at the same time with Altadena Town Council, Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission and Sheriff Villanueva.

      Two Virtual Town Hall Meetings

      > Join the Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, May 13, 2020:

      • Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
      • Tell us what you think about:
        – What the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is doing right.
        – Proposal to close the #Altadena & #MarinaDelRey #Sheriff Station.
        – Possible curtailment of specialized units.
      • Register: https://bit.ly/3bfFpAe Password: COC-123

      > There’s a second Town Hall Meeting that Sheriff Villanueva is hosting the following night, on Thursday, May 14, 2020:

      • Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm.
      • Meeting ID: 963 265 148
      • Password: Altadena7* (case sensitive)
      • Online registration: http://bit.ly/2zosKhg

      > Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s office has scheduled a press conference to take place on Monday, May 11, 2020 at 10 am. The press conference can be viewed live on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.

      May 9, 2020

      Thursday, May 14, 2020, Town Hall

      > Sheriff Alex Villanueva has announced that he will be hosting a virtual town hall for Altadenans regarding the proposed closure, on Thursday, May 14, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. It is not clear if Sheriff Villanueva will be present at the recently scheduled Civilian Oversight Commission’s virtual town hall on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm:

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      Altadena Town Council letter

      > Altadena Town Council addressed the community concerns, and the Sheriff directly, regarding the proposed closure of the Altadena Sheriff’s Station with a letter to Sheriff Villanueva.

      Below is the letter in its entirety:

      Dear Sheriff Villanueva,

      On behalf of the over 47,000 residents of the unincorporated community of Altadena, the Altadena Town Council (ATC) is sending this letter in strong opposition to the upcoming closure Of the Altadena Sheriff’s Station with which we have forged a strong working relationship, as they have prioritized the safety and well-being of our growing community.

      Public Safety at Risk It is important that you respect our community’s extreme concern about your decision to close the station. Over the years, Station captains and deputies have been valuable partners and a vital community resource in building relationships to keep our community safe. We feel that closing the Station, and most certainly eliminating this critical collaboration, will jeopardize the public safety of our residents.

      We have received countless calls, emails, texts, letters, and social media communications from Altadena residents expressing their deep concern about your decision and the consequences it will have on the safety and peace of Altadena. Residents are also extremely concerned that such a closure would increase crime in Altadena as it did in the 1990’s when the station was last closed.

      Local partnerships

      The closure of the Altadena Sheriff’s Station will severely damage the years-long relationships built by the Station, the ATC, local schools, community businesses, faith-based organizations, and its residents, which have created a significantly safer Altadena. This closure goes beyond a financial budgetary decision, as it affects the safety of the community and the relationships that will cease to exist.

      As the Novel COVID-19 crisis descended upon the nation, the Altadena Sheriff’s Station played a critical role in ensuring the public safety of Altadena supermarkets, businesses, parks and trails, and its residents. Closing the station in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis seems to be careless and puts Los Angeles County residents and business owners at risk.

      Our Recommendation

      The Altadena Town Council strongly recommends that you work with Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the Los Angeles County CEO to look at alternative solutions to address your budget shortfall and ensure that the Altadena Sheriff’s Station remain open with its existing level of support.

      We appreciate our law enforcement and their commitment to protect and to serve, and the ATC respectfully reminds you of your commitment, as an elected official, to make decisions without putting the safety of the Altadena public at risk.

      Finally, the members of the ATC would like to express our willingness to work with you and the County of Los Angeles leadership to find alternative solutions to keep the station open. If you have questions or would like to discuss our concerns, please contact the Altadena Town Council Chair, Billy Malone, at billy.malone@altadenatowncouncil.org

      For Altadena, what is at stake here is beyond the closure of a station. The well-being and safety of our community is our utmost concern and we ask that you strongly reconsider your decision for closing the Altadena Sheriff’s Station.

      Sincerely,

      Altadena T n Council
      Billy Malone, Chair

      Councilmembers:

      Patrica Sutherlen, Vice-Chair
      Antonio Becerra
      Okorie Ezieme
      Victoria Knapp
      Jennifer Lee
      Diane Marcussen
      Jeff Simmonds
      Dorothy Wong
      Arron Tschida
      Veronica Jones
      Gloria Sanyika
      Nick Santangelo
      Dr. Sandra E. Thomas
      Arron Tschida
      Silvia Vega
      Dr. Reginald Wilkins

      CC: Congresswoman Judy Chu
      State Senator Anthony J. Portantino
      State Assemblymember Chris Holden
      Supervisor Kathryn Barger
      Altadena Town Council Members
      County of Los Angeles, Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission
      Marjory Jacobs, Captain, Altadena Sheriff’s Station
      Chris Johnson, Acting Captain, Marina Del Rey Sheriff’s Station
      Todd Deeds, Captain, La Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station
      John Perez, Chief, Pasadena Police Department

      May 7, 2020

      Civilian Oversight Commission’s (COC) response

      Atadenans that attended the Civilian Oversight Commission’s (COC) virtual meeting this morning were likely disappointed that the Sheriff was not in attendance. The COC responded yo the Sheriff’s failure to attend with the following:

      The Civilian Oversight Commission for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department hosted a virtual Commission meeting today. During the meeting the Commission unanimously voted to approve the issuance of a subpoena, ordering Sheriff Villanueva to attend the next meeting of the oversight body.

      Subpoena Power

      After failing to attend or send personnel for the third consecutive meeting, the Civilian Oversight Commission utilized its newly granted subpoena power for the first time, by ordering the Inspector General to issue a subpoena to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his representatives to attend the May 21, 2020 meeting of the Commission.  Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors granted the Civilian Oversight Commission the authority to subpoena Sheriff personnel and documents in the furtherance of the Commission’s work.  Also, in March of this year, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R, which also granted subpoena power to the Oversight Commission.

      ‘After repeated requests for the Sheriff to attend our Commission meetings, no one from the department has shown up,” said Commission Chair Patti Giggans, Executive Director of Peace over Violence.  “The meetings now conducted virtually twice a month due to the critical COVID-19 crisis are very well attended by the public. We are in a pandemic which calls for more oversight, more collaboration, more input into policy, not less. The role of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission is a public mandate and one that every commissioner takes seriously.’

      Giggans continued, ‘Today, the Commission received more than 400 emailed public comments from community members, so there is high public interest in what we are doing. Unfortunately, we have to resort to subpoena to compel the Sheriff to be present to answer questions and for us to engage in our oversight function. The Los Angeles community expects the Commission to fulfill our mandate and to do our job.’

      According to Brian K. Williams, Executive Director of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, on May5 2020, a letter was transmitted to Sheriff Villanueva specifically requesting his attendance at today’s Commission meeting to address issues involving the proposed station closings. On May 6, 2020, Williams was informed that the Sheriff would not attend. ‘This is the third meeting in a row where the Sheriff’s Department has not been represented, this is unfair to the Commission, the community and the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department whose voice we also need to hear.’

      The issue of the Sheriff’s attendance at today’s meeting came to a head during a discussion of the Sheriff’s Department’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis within the County jail system.  Out of the current 11,837 inmates within the County jail system, 170 have tested positive for the virus and 3,785 are currently under quarantine.  Questions were raised about the current conditions and care of the inmates within the system.

      Catherine Barger and Sachi Hamai (Letter Summary)

      Near the end of their detailed letter to Sheriff Villanueva, on May 6, 2020, Superintendent Catherine Barger and Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Officer, Sachi Hamai, summarized:

      It is unfortunate that you have identified actions that would compromise, and derogate from, your core function of protecting the public from crime. Your letters threaten that you will cause the Sheriff’s Department to close down the Altadena and Marina Del Rey stations, reduce funding for the Homeless Outreach Services Team, and fall out of compliance with settlement agreements relating to civil rights violations in the jails. What is puzzling is that the statements that you are making to the public do not line up with the curtailments that you submitted to the CEO’s office.

      Closing down stations, taking away social services during a pandemic, and violating the binding covenants in federal court consent decrees are not wise decisions. Nor are they necessary. There is plenty of room in your $3.5 billion budget to achieve the necessary goals without compromising public safety.

      California Assemblymember Holden Letter

      > Assemb. Holden: 42,000 Altadena Residents Deserve Their Own Sheriff Station

      May 6, 2020

      Sheriff’s COC Meeting Announcement

      > Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission Virtual Meeting With Sheriff Villanueva

      May 4, 2020

      Supervisor Kathryn Barger Letter

      > Supervisor Barger Responds to Proposed Closure of Altadena Sheriff Station


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      Contributor

      Comments

      1. Mother of 2 says:

        In this day of ACTIVE SHOOTERS in our nearby neighborhood schools this stations will have the quickest response time and will save lives, PLEASE DONT CLOSE THIS SHERIFFS STATION

      2. Anna says:

        Stop politicizing our safety in Altadena. We will vote you out. Leave our sheriff station open.

      3. JC Matsuura says:

        We are victims of a government turf war Pissing contests with childish tantrums of an elected official no one likes.

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