Annotating of Sheriff Villanueva’s refusal to enforce public health mandate

I’ve footnoted all of the problematic statement’s in LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s statement from July 16 in which he announced that his department will refuse to enforce the law. (TL:DR: All the statements are problematic.)

Forcing the vaccinated1 and those who already contracted COVID-192 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science3 and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.4 5 The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded6 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources7 and instead ask for voluntary compliance.8 We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.9


  1. Only 61% of the county residents over 16 are fully vaccinated, and the Sheriff’s Department is currently doing nothing to enforce the mask mandate for unvaccinated people. They can’t even get their own employees to wear masks, but, to be fair, there’s no evidence they’ve tried.
  2. We have very little understanding of how long immunity lasts, and wishful thinking isn’t science.
  3. This is false. The science is abundantly clear that masks prevent infection, vaccinated people are able to get infected, and they can in turn infect others. They are less likely to do both, and much less likely to get seriously ill if infected, but until the other 40% of the county is vaccinated, refusing to enforce the max mandate is ensuring that people will get sick and people will die.
  4. The CDC guidelines are: “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” Yeah, that’s my emphasis. The guidelines are to follow the local laws, which the Sheriff have decided aren’t valid because the CDC’s guidelines say … well, they say that you should follow the local laws. The Sheriff doesn’t seem to know what the CDC guidelines are, which would explain why very few people in his organization follow them.
  5. Of course, Villanueva would have two spaces after a period.
  6. Los Angeles County spent more per capita on law enforcement in 2017 than all but six counties in the country. That was before the George Floyd protests, and you’d think the Sheriff’s budget would be lower after the Defund the Police movement, especially since the Sheriff keeps saying his department is being “starved.” Nope: LA County plans to spend the same amount on the Sheriff’s Department in the 2021-22 fiscal year as they did in he 2020-21 fiscal year.
  7. Maybe they’d have more resources if they weren’t paying out so many police brutality settlements.
  8. And that’s worked so well so far!
  9. So, is the problem that it would be impossible to enforce the mandate or it’s not supported by science? The latter is not the issue; the mask mandate is supported by science and the CDC. As for achievable, well, how would he know if it was achievable or not if he and his deputies have never attempted to enforce it?

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