Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva criticized California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom during an Instagram Live broadcast on Wednesday over his $12 billion plan to solve homelessness.
The remarks come after Newsom, who is facing a recall election in less than two months, said earlier this week that Californians “have a responsibility to accommodate” homeless people from other states who “want to come here for new beginnings.”
Villanueva, a Democrat, has partly blamed the growing homeless population in some areas of California on individuals who migrate from other states “just to enjoy the free services and the weather.” He has previously said, “they think everyone here is a fool, and they’re giving away free condos.”
During Wednesday’s broadcast, the sheriff cited data recently compiled by his department’s Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) that found most of the transients who have been living at Venice Beach had relocated there from outside of California. Places of origin include 23 other states, Mexico, Germany, and Iraq. Villanueva said deputies surveyed 250 people, and only 33 were from California. Forty individuals “self-identified as nomadic travelers,” Villanueva said, after vowing to resume patrols along the world-famous boardwalk.
“Based on our governor’s proclamation the other day that ‘the California dream is alive and well,’ and he’s inviting everyone to California to share in the California dream, I don’t know if he’s pining for the other 26 states to come join us here,” said Villanueva. “But since L.A. County has half of the state’s homeless population, we’re not in the position to have all of these people show up.”
Villanueva has said out-of-state homeless people who move to California drain the limited resources available for those already there. He suggested Newsom take in new arrivals at locations tied to the governor, including a winery owned by a group co-founded by Newsom and billionaire oil heir Gordon Getty.
“However, governor, if you wish to have them in your vineyards, in your property, in your mansion, by all means, you have the freedom to invite them there,” he continued. “But here in L.A. County, we’re pretty much full, and we’ve got our hands full with the problem right now. Okay?”
The sheriff critiqued Newsom’s $12 billion plan to address homelessness, which the governor signed on Monday. Villanueva claimed the package “looks suspiciously identical” to strategies implemented in L.A. County over the years as the homeless population continued to surge. He said so-called homeless experts in L.A. are “experts at spending money,” and accused Newsom of compounding the problem by directing funds to similar service providers and creating a perception that free housing would be available for homeless people from other states.
Villanueva said “at the rate we’re going,” Newsom could be on track to join the ranks of a group he has labeled “the architects of failure.” It includes L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and other local progressive elected officials who Villanueva says aren’t doing their jobs and refuse to adjust their approach to homelessness, which he says isn’t working.