A Civilization Oversight Commission unanimously agrees that our Sheriff should resign. Also this morning: Ballot box drama continues, Beverly Hills bans trick-or-treating, and Jose Huizar’s seat is finally filled (officially). Lastly, some shocking but not surprising news about federal aid for California’s wildfire damages.
Morning News Rundown
On Thursday, the L.A. Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission voted 9-0 to express no confidence in Sheriff Alex Villanueva and called on him to leave his post. Commissioners say that Villanueva has resisted oversight and obstructed investigations into alleged department corruption, including the proliferation of intra-department gangs, such as The Executioners at the Compton Patrol Station. The LASD’s Twitter account called the resolution a “meritless politically motivated attack” that “is unsupported by real facts.” [LAist]
Yesterday was the deadline for the California GOP to remove unofficial ballot boxes from locations across the state, but officials said the organization has no plans to comply with the state’s orders. [ABC 7]
The official L.A. County line on trick-or-treating is “not recommended,” whether that’s door-to-door or trunk-to-trunk. However, leaders in Beverly Hills are taking a harder line. BH has formally banned trick-or-treating and will issue citations for violators. The ordinance also specifically prohibits spraying shaving cream on others, because apparently, that’s a problem there. [NBC Los Angeles]
Councilman Kevin de León was sworn into office Thursday for the Los Angeles City Council District 14 seat left vacant since Councilman Jose Huizar was suspended from his office amid charges of federal racketeering in June. [NBC Los Angeles]
Hey California, Go F*** Yourself
4.1 million acres of California land have burned so far this year in what experts have repeatedly called the worst fire season on record. Gov. Gavin Newsom estimates infrastructure damage estimates will exceed $229 million. In some parts of the state, smoke has turned the sky orange for days at a time. If that doesn’t count as a major disaster, then what does the term even mean?
And yet, on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services confirmed that the federal government denied California’s latest request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration.
The Trump administration was quick to point out it had previously granted a disaster declaration for August fire damages, as well as provided follow-up funding to pay for debris clean-up. However, the latest assistance request is specifically for the 1.8 million acres of land that burned in September.
The move to deny aid is highly unusual, but also well in line with the president’s prior criticisms of relief funding for California. In January of last year, for example, Trump tweeted a threat to pull FEMA aid unless the state “got their act together.”
But as the NY Times points out, California’s scorched forests are largely managed at the federal level, which only thickens the irony of the the president’s calls for California to “clean its forests,” as he said during an August rally.
Tell me again, who needs to get whose act together?
I suppose in way, Trump is simply continuing his presidential master class in responsibility avoidance and blame deflection.
(P.S. Please vote.)