Coachella Valley Democrats Call out Bianco for ‘Arrogant’ Behavior

Stating that Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is “arrogant, non-compliant and negligent,” Democrats of the Desert and Palm Desert Greens Democrats on Thursday sent a letter of complaint to the five Riverside County Supervisors. In it, they ask implore supervisors to censure Bianco.

The letter stems from Dec. 3, 2020 when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in an attempt to slow the unprecedented escalation in the rate of spread of the Covid-19 virus.  The next day, Riverside Sheriff Chad Bianco created a YouTube video in which he made a number of baseless claims, attacked the Governor, and stated that his department would not be enforcing the stay-at-home order.

“This is beyond unacceptable; it is unconscionable,” the letter states.

“Since the beginning of the COVID epidemic, Sheriff Bianco’s behavior has been arrogant, non-compliant, and negligent,” the letter states. “The Board of Supervisors has been inexplicably silent regarding his actions. Silence by the Supervisors endorses the Sheriff’s conduct, and is perceived as their acceptance that he is entitled to choose which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore.  Most importantly, the Sheriff’s actions are a glaring breach of his oath of office.”

Presidents of the two groups of Democrats, Dori Smith and Charles Ara, along with numerous board members say, “The Board of Supervisors must take a strong stand against this conduct NOW.  Sheriff Bianco is a public servant, elected by the people, and his job is to protect us and to enforce the law. As Supervisors, you also are elected public servants with the exact same duties and responsibilities as the Sheriff.  By allowing the Sheriff’s behavior to continue unchecked, you are placing your constituents at risk.”

Gov. Newsom indicated he will withhold state funding from counties and municipalities not complying with the law.  Bianco has said he will not be bullied.

“By capitulating to the Sheriff with silence, each of you as Supervisors, are jeopardizing state funding essential to supporting our businesses, residents, and, most critically, the programs that safeguard the most vulnerable members of our communities,” the letter states.

While the position of Sheriff is an elected office, our system of government gives County Supervisors influence over that Department, the letter states.  By discussion and persuasion, or by using budgetary tools, you are empowered to exert that influence.  But you are NOT doing that with the Sheriff.  This is beyond unacceptable; it is unconscionable.

The two boards of directors call on Supervisors to “publicly rebuke the actions of Sheriff Bianco and censure him at your first opportunity.”

“Your censure should condemn the Sheriff’s irresponsibility and his failure to do his duty to enforce the law. We also ask that the Board undertake a review of the Sheriff’s Departmental budget with an eye toward budgetary reductions/restrictions should the Sheriff continue to defy State orders and thereby jeopardize State funding to the County,” the letter states.

The groups of Democrats also request the Board of Supervisors to immediately exercise its administrative authority over business licenses to enforce the Governor’s stay-at-home order.

Desert Stonewall Democrats have sent a similar letter to Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.