On Tuesday, it was announced that L.A. County will pay $47.6 million over alleged misconduct by sheriff's deputies.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In five days, Los Angeles County could have a new sheriff.
Former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, who is running his campaign on restoring public trust in the department, believes L.A. County voters have had enough with controversial Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
But, at his final press conference before the election on Wednesday, Villanueva struck a different tone, no longer using the word "woke" as a derogatory term.
"You have to embrace people that look and think differently than you," he said. "That means you have to be willing to give up a seat at the table to make sure everyone is on the table. I want to defend the right of someone who believes that 'woke' is a good thing, I want them to have a seat at the table. I want them to express all their ideas and let's defend them, let's attack them, let's dissect them and out of all that, we're going to come up with some pretty darn good ideas and we're going to test them."
Villanueva's four years as sheriff have been dominated by scandals, lawsuits, allegations of deputy gangs, which he's denied, and constant fighting with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.
"The board, one-on-one, they're actually, you can talk, you can relate, engage with them, but something happens when they all come together as a group where they change their character," said Villanueva. "It's kind of weird how that happens, and I'm anticipating they're going to change their tune and I'm going to extend an olive branch to them. Lay down all the weapons, let's start working together."
On Tuesday, it was announced that L.A. County will pay $47.6 million over alleged misconduct by sheriff's deputies, something Villanueva believes the board of supervisors did to support his opponent.
"That was orchestrated by the board to prop up a big number for the week before the election. That took months of planning," said Villanueva.
"One of the most important traits of any leader is to listen and learn and take responsibility for their actions and the actions of the organization," said Luna. "I haven't seen that from [Villanueva] once."
If elected, Luna said he'll start fixing fractured relationships, comply with civilian oversight, comply with subpoenas, and work with the board of supervisors, inspector general, and district attorney.
"What I'm asking the voters to do is do their homework on both of us and look at the facts," said Luna. "Look at the evidence. Don't get caught up in the rhetoric and at the end of the day, people will see I am the better choice. I am the better leader. I'm the one that's going to keep you and your family safe. I'm the one who's going to collaborate. One thing people really need to pay attention to is the fact that this sheriff is so divisive," said Luna.
A Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll with the Los Angeles Times conducted in late September found Luna had a 10 point lead over Villanueva in the race for sheriff with more than a third of likely voters still undecided.