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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva called out several political rivals during a press conference on Wednesday and urged elected officials to declare the homeless crisis in the region a local state of emergency. Villanueva defended his plan to clear encampments lining the famous Venice Beach boardwalk by July 4, and described the situation there as “a microcosm of what’s going on throughout the entire county of Los Angeles.” However, several activist groups and progressive politicians have condemned his strategy, which Villanueva says is based on the concept of “regulating public space.” The sheriff said local politicians have “handcuffed” the Los Angeles Police Department from enforcing the law, adding that their lax policies are luring more homeless people from out-of-state, making L.A. “the recipient of a national problem.” Villanueva staged a multimedia presentation that included images of homeless encampments, news clips of fires and violent confrontations in the Venice neighborhood, and various graphs that he says prove “the failed formula applied year after year” is not working.

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