Yaroslavsky on Tensions Between L.A. County Supervisors and Sheriff

Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at UCLA Luskin, was the guest speaker on the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy’s inaugural podcast “Then & Now.” Yaroslavsky, a former five-term member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, commented in the first episode, “Of Supervisors and Sheriffs: Who’s Running LA County’s Emergency Operations?” It focused on current and past relationships between board members and the county sheriff. “There is this ambiguity or conflict — however you want to look at it — structurally, as a rule, looking at Los Angeles County,” Yaroslavsky said. “Those are the typical disputes that you have, but they get resolved.” Host David Myers, professor of history and director of the Center for History and Policy, noted that L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was removed as head of the county’s Emergency Operations Center in March. He asked whether brewing tensions “could have consequences for the county’s ability to respond to the crisis at hand,” referring to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. “All units of the county are at their best in a time of crisis,” Yaroslavsky responded. He added that disputes between supervisors and the sheriff are not uncommon but added that he did not recall a conflict that questioned the fundamental authority of the board “or tried to go around the board of supervisors in implementing policies that were corrupt or illegal, as the case has been. And that’s where the current situation differs.”

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