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Imperfect Paradise: The Sheriff
Miranda Villanueva

"Imperfect Paradise: The Sheriff" Provides a Provocative and Revelatory Look at Sheriff Villanueva’s Rise 

Pasadena, Calif. September 22, 2022 — LAist Studios, Southern California Public Radio’s podcast studio, announced today that controversial Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva will be the focus of the third season of its ongoing longform narrative series. Hosted by KPCC and LAist civics and democracy correspondent Frank Stoltze, the first two episodes of “Imperfect Paradise: The Sheriff” will be available on Wednesday, October 5, with subsequent episodes of the five-part report rolling out weekly.

Through immersive investigative narrative and storytelling, an extensive sit-down interview with Sheriff Villanueva, as well as interviews with key figures within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and community members who have been deeply impacted by the department he leads, Stoltze unravels the comprehensive story of how a lieutenant with almost no leadership experience became the head of the largest law enforcement agency west of the Mississippi, and how his actions over the past four years have left him vulnerable ahead of the election this November. Stolze draws on his 30+ years of experience covering law enforcement in LA County to put Villanueva’s administration into historical context and provide valuable information for voters before the November election.

In 2018, Sheriff Villanueva ran on a progressive platform that made a strong appeal to Democratic voters, and pulled off a shocking defeat of the sitting sheriff to become the first Democrat in over 100 years to be elected into the position. But after taking office, Villanueva veered quickly from his promised path – often far from what voters had been led to expect. “Imperfect Paradise: The Sheriff” tells the story of Alex Villanueva’s evolution from a self-described progressive reformer to a Fox News darling and poses the question: What happened? How did we end up with someone so completely different from who many thought they were voting for?

Said Shana Naomi Krochmal, vice president of LAist Studios: “Investigative journalism isn’t just about uncovering new facts — it’s equally important that we are able to take the time in a longform, long-lead podcast to reveal recurring patterns of behavior by elected officials such as Sheriff Villanueva, especially as they seek reelection. Frank and his team of producers have gathered hours of intense and emotional tape and dug deep into years of complicated scandals within the Sheriff’s Department to tell this cohesive, revelatory story about Villanueva’s career in a way that no other media outlets have to date. Put together, it paints a troubling portrait of how one man has used his position of power in ways that even those who voted for him might find surprising.”

Subscribe to “Imperfect Paradise: The Sheriff” now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Listen to the trailer here.

“Imperfect Paradise” is KPCC and LAist Studios’ home for longform narrative audio journalism that showcases California stories with universal significance. In the first season, Home is Life, KPCC senior reporter Jill Replogle followed a former-punk-rocker-turned-activist on a quest to address the homelessness crisis in Orange County, one of the wealthiest places in the country. The second season, The Forgotten Revolutionary, investigated the death of Chicano student activist Oscar Gomez through the personal lens of KPCC reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

NOTE: Any requests for advance episodes, excerpts or transcripts should be submitted to Katie Fuchs at

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About Southern California Public Radio (SCPR)

Southern California Public Radio ( is a member-supported multi-platform public media organization that has garnered more than 500 journalistic honors since 1999. Recognized as a national leader in public service journalism and civic engagement, SCPR’s flagship radio station, 89.3 KPCC-FM, reaches more than 900,000 listeners every week as the most listened-to public radio news service across Southern California. The network’s five stations (89.3 KPCC-FM, 89.1 KUOR-FM, 90.3 KVLA-FM, 89.9 FM, and 89.5 KJAI-FM) deliver award-winning local news coverage to the communities of the region, including a robust slate of signature programs from NPR, APM, the BBC, and PRI. LAist ( is a digital news site committed to in-depth reporting about life in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Its award-winning work reaches more than seven million people per month, and in 2019, the brand grew to include LAist Studios (, a dedicated podcast development and production studio. Furthering SCPR’s commitment to premium on-demand audio storytelling, podcasts from LAist Studios aim to reflect the ethos of Los Angeles — a forward-looking community built upon unmatched diversity, inclusion, and drive—going beyond geographical borders to connect with listeners around the globe who share the LA state of mind.

PRESS CONTACTS - The Lippin Group for SCPR

Katie Fuchs - New York

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