In all my years reporting on politics, I have never met anyone like Javier Gonzalez.
He is the campaign manager for Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. He is also a troll.
His Twitter tweets make Donald Trump look as faint as Mr. Spock.
Gonzalez used his account and fakes to call me “Emasculated Puppet Latino” and my Times colleague Ellen Checkmedian – who covers the LA County Sheriff’s Department – a “paid promoter”. Have threatened to do To reveal Address to an important reporterAnti-Villanuwa public officials have stressed that they are corrupt and corrupt La Defensea, a non-profit non-profit organization led by women, was named “La Pendeza”.
This is a boy from 4chan. But then you go to his biodata, like I did, and you ask yourself: How did the guy I was reading do? There Ends Here?
It is a resurgence that has doubled over the past generation as the unofficial timeline of Latino political power in Southern California. It is unpredictable today Stupid I have described above.
Here is someone who was once involved in a protest against youth curfew and police brutality in his hometown of Santa Monica in the early 1990’s. He plundered on his own LA Riot. He was a labor strategist and at the forefront of the immigration rights movement. Gonzalez was also Western State Deputy Field Director for Bernie Sanders in 2016.
That’s right: Vilanueva’s self-proclaimed “soldier”, who helped the sheriff take a hard turn to the right to fight the “left”, once felt burned.
Gonzalez, the son of a janitor from Mali, was a self-proclaimed “fake head from the street” until many confrontations with law enforcement convinced him that community activism was the only way out. After attending UCLA, he ended up with the Service Employees International Union and credited legendary labor leaders Miguel Contreras and Mike Garcia for their political stripes.
Among the LA politicians currently in office whose campaign Gonzalez has helped through direct or independent spending are: Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council member Gil Cedillo, and Los Angeles Unified School District Board member Monica Garcia. Also the Los Angeles County District. AT. The mortal enemy of George Gascon, Villanueva.
“He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, and I’ve met a lot of smart people,” said Chris Newman, legal director and general counsel for the National Day Labor Organization Network.
The two worked together in early 2010 on a controversial Arizona music boycott of Senate Bill 1070, a controversial anti-immigrant state law modeled after California’s own proposal 187.
“Everyone in this city wants access to their thinking process, because their thinking process is uniquely insightful,” Newman added.
Most Latino leftists in Los Angeles want to know what happened That Gonzalez.
To find out, I went to Santa Fe Springs Industrial Park on a cold weekend evening.
Dozens of volunteers made phone calls in English and Spanish from a cramped room at Villanueva’s campaign headquarters. In the parking lot, supporters snapped a photo in front of a backdrop that read, “Finally someone on. Ours Side “and” 33 Y Que! “The last slogan referred to Villanueva’s position as LA County’s 33rd Sheriff and disobedience to the Spanish word chicano which means,” And what of it? “
The Sheriff was about to make the debut of an ominous short film that claimed that LA County’s homelessness issue was the fault of nonprofits, the favorite Gonzalez punching bag.
Since 2018, he has helped Villanueva make his way to power. That year, he formed a potential coalition of Titans, including Latino and Black Lives Matter activists, labor leaders, deputies and county supervisors Gloria Molina and Dolores Hurta, who backed Villanueva against incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell. Gonzalez mobilized the group in support of PAC to make 2 million phone calls, send 3 million text messages, spend millions of dollars on mailers and flood social media with memes and videos.
Corollary: Except for Gonzalez, it’s a historic embarrassment. And the ears of the most powerful, polarized elected officials in Southern California.
“They were very important,” Villanubha told me. “They have a unique ability to figure out what the problem is and how to frame it.”
Gonzalez promised progressive reform to his friends and allies; Instead, Vilanueva has shifted from one controversy to another, revealing herself to be a Nixonian politician plagued by real and imaginary enemies. Instead of condemning the sheriff, Gonzalez – who has directed more than half a million dollars in campaign donations for the growing dystopian ads this year – He is guided by every step of the way.
“I’m disappointed in him,” said Carlos Montes, a longtime Chikano activist who has worked on various issues since meeting Gonzalez 20 years ago. “He was part of the movement, and now he’s working for someone who represents everything we’re fighting against. He betrayed us.”
Gonzalez was the first to applaud when Villanuba finished his remarks at Santa Fe. Then he took the mic.
“The problem [critics] Yes, these people are ready to tell the truth in power, “said the 49-year-old in a small crowd.” And it makes them feel uncomfortable. “
With stocky eyes and a broad smile, Gonzalez is a super-fast speaker, a man of habit and a sharp mind – he is apt to call former Congressman Ed Roebel and Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata as libertarians Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell.
“I’m passionate,” Gonzalez admitted to me as we sat down for an interview before the Villanueva campaign. He was wearing a flat cap, a soft sleeve-length shirt printed with an Aztec calendar printed on his chest, and a tattoo on his right arm that read, “Let’s get free.”
Gonzalez admitted that he had thought in the past that he was “selling out” Vilanueva with such vigor.
“But energy is changing,” he said. “Who’s talking about elites? Right. Who’s giving government contracts to billionaires? Left. Who’s the most diverse agency in LA County? Police.”
“Brother,” he concluded, “you can shoot me in the head. I’m trying to figure it out.”
While at SEIU, Gonzalez investigated wage theft and eventually became the local political director for 1877, the LA home for the famous “Justice for Justice” campaign.
But one day, “I just stopped believing,” he said, despite all his work, “The guards are dying. They’re still poor. And like me, it’s a bull. I’m out.”
Gonzalez helped start a non-profit voter registration organization in LA County, and set up his own campaign consulting firm, “Next time I win a major victory, I will work to implement change.” When a friend asked him to analyze Villanueva’s prospects in 2018, Gonzalez agreed.
He told Villanueva the only way he could win was to push immigration and customs enforcement out of the LA county jail, an issue that angered immigrant rights activists because then-Sheriff McDonnell refused to do so. Doing so will bring labor and democracy.
Villanueva agreed, then asked Gonzalez to sit next to him in a meeting with the Big Wigs of the LA County Sheriff’s Department who wanted to get McDonnell out but still did not sell to the challenger.
“It was a lot of brass and that still – to this day, bro – makes me uncomfortable,” Gonzalez said. “But I stayed [Villanueva] He said, ‘Tell them what you told me.’
Shortly afterwards, the union representing the sheriff’s representatives went with Vilanueva.
Gonzalez said the Villanueva scandals were largely overblown because the sheriff was Latino.
“This guy has been a helper for 32 years. You can’t find his footsteps,” Gonzalez said. “He loves his wife – he calls her sweet. A glass of wine satisfies him. He goes to church every Sunday.
That church is St. Alphonsos in East Los Angeles, where Villanueva made a commercial film of fire and sulfur at the suggestion of Gonzalez without the permission of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was brought down.
I asked Gonzalez about the sub-gang.
“What did they do? Whose life should they not have taken?” He said, “And I’m not saying they don’t, but I’m telling the man [Villanueva] You hate them more than you think.
What about MPs stopping black and Latino cyclists at exorbitant rates?
“It’s okay for me,” Gonzalez said, because he said it happens in high crime areas.
What about the allegations Too many cover-ups?
“When LAPD does the stuff, do it [activists] Call the chief [Michel] Dismiss the peacock? ”
Well, what about Vilanueva holding a news conference to point out that my colleague Ellen Chekmedian is a criminal because she reported on the deputy’s abuse?
Gonzalez sat up.
“I didn’t know it until later!” He protested. “I was just like, ‘I just said [Villanueva] – We need white women! Why throw a stick at one? What are you doing What are you doing? ‘”
This is the moment, Gonzalez said, when his Twitter troll personality flared up.
“Look carefully when I grow up,” he said. “I’m distracting people [from] Maybe some bad press. “
I wondered if his one-time leftist politics had changed. He said he had written to Sanders for the 2020 presidential election but had recently read conservative screeds such as “Walk Racism” and “Winners Take All: The Elite Carriage of World Changing”.
“As my daughters get older, I am more concerned about things like security,” she said.
“My neighbors in East LA, we go to work every day. We raise our kids, we go to Mass, we go to church on Sundays. It’s beautiful,” he said. “The [quinceañera] Is practicing in the courtyard. And suddenly – Pat-pat-pat-pat-pat. And everyone runs home. So show me the community based options that are going to stop it. ”
Gonzalez promised he would change, though, as two nearby PR men waved their hands as he approached the abusive-laced tangent. Every time he would say “get up”, he looked at them and shook his way synonymously.
He once apologized for calling me “Tako boy”.
Small steps, I think.
Gonzalez also admits to being angry at Villanueva’s critics, whom he dismisses as “rich, prosperous” and privileged. “Why do I hate these kids? Why do they get on my nerves?”