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Feds Address Contra Costa Juvenile Hall’s Use of Solitary Confinement…a Call for LASD Oversight…and DCFS Simulates Home Visits for Social Worker Trainees

February 19th, 2014 by Taylor Walker

JUSTICE AND EDUCATION DEPTS JUMP INTO LAWSUIT AGAINST CONTRA COSTA’S ISOLATION PRACTICES IN JUVENILE HALL

Both the US Department of Justice and Department of Education has intervened in a federal lawsuit challenging Contra Costa County’s solitary confinement of mentally disabled kids, and the lack of education provided to them while in isolation. A statement of interest by the DOJ and DOE requested that the presiding judge deny motions to dismiss the case and asked that both departments be able to take part in the oral arguments.

The Contra Costa Times’ Matthias Gafni has the story. Here’s a clip:

The Justice Department’s filing quoted findings from a departmental task force that concluded:

“Nowhere is the damaging impact of incarceration on vulnerable children more obvious than when it involves solitary confinement.” It said such confinement could lead to “paranoia, anxiety and depression” and creates a risk of suicide.

The lawsuit was filed last August by Berkeley-based Disability Rights Advocates, along with a pro-bono law firm and a private firm, on behalf of a teenage girl and two boys, all of whom were or are still detained at the maximum-security, 290-bed Martinez facility.

In March, a San Francisco federal judge will rule whether to grant class-action status to the suit, allowing other disabled youths to sue the county Probation Department, which runs juvenile hall, and the Contra Costa Office of Education, which runs the McKinley School inside the facility.

An attorney representing the teens said the solitary confinement policy is from the “Dark Ages.”

“We do know that Contra Costa is probably one of the worst,” said Marie-Lee Smith, Disability Rights Advocates’ managing attorney. “There are many counties that do not use solitary confinement. It’s very troubling and very disturbing to see a county continue to use this form of discipline.”

Smith said it was extremely rare for the Justice Department to weigh in on a lawsuit, and even more unusual for federal education officials to join. In a Feb. 13 filing, the feds voiced concerns over using solitary confinement to punish detained youths, citing a 2002 Department of Justice study finding such treatment led to mental problems and even additional suicide attempts.

Unlike jails for adults, under state law juvenile halls are required to provide a “supportive homelike environment” and focus on rehabilitation, not punishment. Punishments based on a youth’s disability must be treated differently from other discipline, and facilities must provide schooling, including special education, even if youths are being disciplined, according to state law.

The suit also alleges the county fails to provide adequate special education opportunities for all disabled youths.

(The LA Times’ Lee Romney also reported on this issue.)


EDITORIAL: THE LASD TROUBLES ARE NOT OVER YET

So far, 20 members of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. have been indicted as part of a federal investigation, and there are almost surely more indictments to come. Sheriff Lee Baca retired abruptly at the end of January, and the LA County Board of Supervisors chose OC Undersheriff John Scott to take over as interim sheriff until the November election (or the June primary, at the earliest). Moreover, all the recommendations made by the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence are—at least theoretically—on their way to being implemented.

But do these things herald the end of an era of LASD corruption and misconduct scandals?

In an LA Times editorial, Robert Greene says the crisis isn’t over yet, not by a long shot, and won’t be until there is permanent and meaningful oversight of the department. It is time to really start the discussion, he says. Here are some clips:

…We are not done. The system did not work. The system, in fact, is at the core of the culture that pervades the Sheriff’s Department even in years in which the anguish of abused inmates and their families, the outrage of deputy cliques with their own gang-like tattoos and codes of silence, the astonishing number of deputies arrested for drunk driving don’t make it to the headlines or don’t catch the interest of voters.

The system of an elected sheriff in a county of 10 million people, the vast majority of whom aren’t served by his deputies and need not pay attention to his department’s travails, is an anachronism.

But of course, that invites a host of questions: If the sheriff isn’t elected, who should appoint him? Would the Board of Supervisors, also protected by a veneer of democracy without facing any serious electoral challenge, do a better job of running the Sheriff’s Department than the sheriff? Would the supervisors be better at picking a sheriff than they were in recent years at picking a chief probation officer or a director of the Department of Children and Family Services? What is the value of added accountability if the sheriff merely is subject to the direction of others who are virtually unaccountable?

[SNIP]

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced a motion last September, when Baca was still in office and still considered likey to be reelected, that would create a five-member citizens oversight commission, appointed by and reporting to the Board of Supervisors. Gloria Molina seconded it. But Ridley-Thomas has repeatedly pulled the matter from the agenda, suggesting a struggle to find a third, and winning, vote.

The matter is on the calendar to come before the board again next Tuesday — but to date there has been little public discussion of the proposal’s merits and pitfalls.

It’s time for that discussion. Some of it must necessarily be wonky, dealing with balances of power and political theory; and some of it must be mercilessly pragmatic (why, for example, would any elected sheriff ever pay such a commission any mind?)…


NEW SIMULATION ROOM PREPS DCFS WORKERS FOR THE CHALLENGES OF REAL LIFE HOME VISITS

As part of the LA Department of Children and Family Services training system overhaul, new social workers are sent into a simulation house where role-players reproduce home visit scenarios to prep the social worker trainees for the realities of protecting LA’s 35,000 DCFS-involved kids.

DCFS has also increased the total training time social workers receive from 8 weeks, to a full year of instruction before being sent out in the field.

The LA Daily News’ Christina Villacorte has the story. Here are some clips:

Entering a home where a father may have broken his baby’s arm in a drunken rage, the rookie social workers tried to soften the family’s guarded apprehension — albeit not always successfully.

“I’m with the Department of Family and Children’s Services,” one nervously told the sullen man who opened the door, even incorrectly stating the name of their agency.

Another rookie sat hesitantly on a couch in a cluttered living and dining room, not noticing the scissors on a coffee table, which could have been used as a weapon had tensions escalated.

Fortunately, no one was in real danger.

The “home” is a simulation laboratory where trainers from the county’s Department of Children and Family Services can collaborate with teachers from various universities as well as law enforcement and legal consultants to help the next generation of social workers.

“It’s OK to make mistakes here,” academy instructor Beth Minor told a class, standing next to a prop refrigerator with a whisky bottle and flyer for Alcoholics Anonymous.

“When you go out in the field and it counts, we want you to take the lessons that you learned here, and apply them.”

[SNIP]

Cal State Los Angeles agreed to build a 440-square-foot residential simulation laboratory with a facade, living and dining room adjacent to the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and hallway closet for about $17,000. University officials also allowed trainers to use a second simulation lab, resembling a hospital room, that was built years ago for medical courses.

“The simulation is the cornerstone of the new training,” said Harkmore Lee, director of Cal State Los Angeles’ Child Welfare Training Center and a former social worker. “This is where their learning becomes concrete, and also where we can assess whether they’re getting it or not.”

Research has shown that people typically retain from 5 percent to 10 percent of what they learn through reading and lectures, and 80 percent to 90 percent of what they practice in simulation, said James Ferreira, Cal State Long Beach’s Child Welfare Training Center director.

Posted in DCFS, Education, Foster Care, juvenile justice, LA County Board of Supervisors, LASD, Sheriff John Scott, Sheriff Lee Baca, solitary, The Feds | 48 Comments »

48 Responses

  1. J.London Says:

    C: It doesn’t matter whether the sheriff’s position is appointed or elected! Recall LAPD and two major riots and LAPD’s response? Recall the King riots? Was the chief elected or appointed? What agency brought out Warren Christopher and the eventual Christopher report? Again was the chief’s position elected or appointed? We all know the answer! Do we want to go back to the old LAPD days? I don’t and neither do the people of LA!

    So, let’s play this game out to it’s Liberal conclusion. The BOS has oversight of the LASD. And Lee Baca (or his kind)gets appointed because of all his Liberal views on rehabilitation and he attends all the Liberal functions. Baca, the appointee also supports legalization of dope and empties out the jails. Note: Not even Jerry (Moonbeam) Brown supported emptying out the prisons! Now, Baca the political appointee selects his next four undersheriffs, they are; Myron, Stonich, Waldie and Tanaka. So, what changed? Nothing!

    What matters is WHO gets appointed or elected as sheriff. How hypocritical that the BOS (who are elected) want to say that they know better than the voters on what’s best for us! In the case of LAPD the city council, appointed the wrong man over and over! In the case of the county the voters were fooled by Baca over and over. I don’t see the difference, the wrong person got the job! And where was the city council and/or the BOS when things went bad?

    Please note that every single one of the BOS supported Baca for re-election and now we are going to trusts these incompetents again? I think NOT!

  2. A Historian Says:

    As a historian, one of my constant sources of annoyance is laziness by journalists. Do they do fact checking? Do they consider the past? Do they even bother to see what the truth is outside of their own narrow point of view?

    The article at the link at the bottom of my post took me all of about ten seconds to find. It is a succinct overview of the office of Sheriff throughout the U.S. And was written by the National Sheriff’s Association, an organization that knows a little bit more about Sheriff’s Offices than Mr. Greene or the editorial board at the Times. This article addresses whether a Sheriff shouled be appointed or elected. It also discusses which system works better and why.

    Let me just address one observation by Mr.Greene’s to demonstrate his ignorance of what a Sheriff’s Department is and does, “The system of an elected sheriff in a county of 10 million people, THE VAST MAJORITY OF WHOM AREN’T SERVED BY HIS DEPUTIES and need not pay attention to his department’s travails, is an anachronism.”

    Mr. Greene, we are talking about a Sheriff’s Department here, not a police department. ALL the citizens of Los Angeles County are served by the Sheriff’s Department. The County Jails house inmates from every city. The County Courthouses serve every citizen in Los Angeles County. Every County Park, Library, and Public Building are used by every citizen. I agree that most citizens may “not pay attention” to what we do or our trevails, but please don’t tell me that we do not serve all of them. The Sheriff is also the chief law enforcement officer in the County. He has the authority to take over a police department, ANY police department, for cause.

    I encourage you to please check the link below and learn why elected Sheriffs make more sense than political appointees. And please, journalists, do your homework.

    http://sheriffs.org/sites/default/files/tb/The_Elected_Office_of_Sheriff_-_An_Executive_Summary.pdf

  3. Gone and forgotten but still care Says:

    Well said Mr London. Robert Greene and Celeste are reflecting on the current state of affairs at the LASD. That is after 15 years of the Baca administration.

    Through that prism such a case could be made. However, if they would look back 16 years, when Baca took over, they would see a Department that was one of the preeminent law enforcement agencies in the country and one that was virtually scandal free – hard to imagine by today’s standard. They would see an agency that was the national leader in internal controls and risk management. An agency that was first agency in the country to start a risk management unit. They would see an agency that was a leader in police training – not one that would later have their academy decertified. A jail system who’s major blemish was the difficulty of releasing prisoners in a timely manner (small potatoes by today’s standards). In fact, as far as the ACLU was concerned one of their main problems at the jail was that they had to keep changing their “monitor” every two years because, after seeing how the jail was being run, they were being “coopted” by the LASD and not being critical enough.

    Yes, they would find an agency that had suffered lapses on the part of its employees, but nothing to compare with the other large agency in this county. The major LASD lapse being in the mid ’80s a number of narcotics officers who were stealing drug money. But that was identified and investigated by the LASD before turning the case over to the Feds for prosecution, not the other way around.

    Mr Greene and Celeste should talk to Merrick Bobb, the Board of Supervisors watchdog and ask him what it was like in 1998 vs today. He’ll tell them all that was in place and what has happened in the “Baca years.”

    Also, in 1998 there was no call for the BoS to appoint the Sheriff (actually, the BoS wanted to appoint the Sheriff because, politically, they did not like the Sheriff to be independent from them and some of them hated Sherm Block’s political influence in this county).

    Indeed, now that Leroy Baca and his minions have trashed the LASD, the BoS and others have landed on the carcass of the LASD and are trying to take what is left. It was Lee Baca, Bill Stonich, Larry Waldie and Paul Tanaka who were the WHO’s you mentioned the current system unfortunately put in place. Now I say let the current system resurrect the LASD and pick the right WHO to do it!

  4. Cognistator Says:

    On an LASD Overseer: “…appointed by and reporting to the Board of Supervisors.”

    Ay, there’s the rub. Since the Kolts Commission of 1992 how many Overseers reporting to the Board of Supervisors have we had? Lessee now: The Special Counsel (Merrick Bobb); the Office of Independent Review; and now the Inspector-General.

    The Special Counsel and the OIR not only reported to the Board, but their reports can be retrieved on-line and read in their entireties by the general public.

    And what has that accomplished?

    Nada.

    So long as the Overseer can do nothing more than report it will be a useless position, as we have seen since the Kolts Commission of 1992.

  5. Searchlight Says:

    Just look at Oakland, they have an appointed “Chief” of police who is “progressive” and that city is in absolute shambles. The open lawlessness is so off the charts, their PD is completely demoralized all behind a liberal city council. Then take a look at SFO, their city is in the midst of social decay with the mentally ill and drug addicts who are predators on the streets. J. London is spot on, the last thing I would want to see is a “progressive” BOS appoint another Baca type as Sheriff. He was as progressive as they come, and look what he did to LASD and LA County. Public Safety took a back seat and politics took center stage. We can’t take another progressive moonbeam, anywhere.

  6. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    For the record, we are not pushing for the office of sheriff to be appointed rather than elected. We would, however, like to see the pros and cons of it rigorously discussed. (In any case, it'll take a change in state law so it isn't something that the supervisors can decide on their own.)

    More importantly, we'd like to see a serious discussion about a police commission-like oversight body that has some actual legal power (which would also take a change in state law).

    No matter what is decided, informed public discussions are a good thing. It's time.

    Happy Wednesday.

    C.

  7. leftAtTheBall Says:

    An appointed Sheriff reacts and acts to those who appoint them. An elected reacts and acts to those who elect them. Sadly most people don’t pay attention to the Sheriff, only the deputies on the street. When ever you have a Sheriff who strives for higher office, or being, or what ever, they forgo their responsibilities in search of the higher office, or more power. Fortunately the vast majority of Sheriff’s in this country are actually in the highest position they seek, the Sheriff. They want to have an impact on the department, and they want to instill pride, professionalism and integrity. Their legacy is in the department.
    Baca for all his faults really loved the department. But he also had higher aspirations and some flat out weird social views (note weird social views as they pertain to being the responsibility of those charged with enforcing the law.)
    Law enforcement is not the social service.
    Both Oakland, San Francisco are examples of law enforcement gone a stray.
    If we appoint Sheriff’s like City Managers, then we are at the mercy of people who try to profit from all they do.
    Being a cop is many things, it can be an ugly job when seen from a pristine garden. But when you are victim, you want the cop to make the bad man go away, and we do. I for one want a Sheriff who knows what it is we do, and understands how we feel, not a suit with great hair and no life experience (person can be gender neutral). There is my two cents

  8. Vickie Says:

    Did any body hear what happen to night at Allads?

  9. Huh! Says:

    @Vickie: The ALADS Forum went over fairly well and uneventful. For the most part the candidates gave politically correct well thought out answers. The most entertainment was provided by the Tanaka supporters who couldn’t help cheering every time “their king” opened his mouth, including when he did the same tap dancing he did on KFI’s John and Ken show, ultimately answering his question by stating it would not be right to answer because of the “on going” investigation. It went from a good show of support to a circus act. The only thing they didn’t do was roll over and fetch, in unison!

  10. Stuff Says:

    Same Ol’ Tanaka, he seems to get by in a controlled environment. This is why he did so well or survived through his career promoting from one office cubicle to another, changing nothing but the color of his tie. We have all seen how he does in the public forum away from his followers and it is painful to watch, just as painful as when we had to witness his work product as a street cop for the brief moment “in his 33 years” he posed as one.

    The Department and the citizens had better wake up, you don’t properly lead men by fooling them into thinking you are their buddy! The indicted realize how far that Tanaka bond has lasted as he has abandoned that group. Watch Olmstead in a public forum being asked questions (go to his Facebook page) there is a man that can answer the hard questions, a man who has a plan.

  11. Investigative Mind Says:

    At “HUH”: I heard the same thing regarding Tanaka’s supporters. I heard one of them was a Captain from Detective Division who is slated to transfer to ICIB next week. I don’t know if that is a good idea and a blatant slap in the face to department and civilians if this certain supervisor was actually at the forum last night. I hope it is NOT TRUE!!!

  12. Mutual Assured Destruction Says:

    Interesting read in the OC Register about a Long Beach PD Sergeant suing the city. I did a little background before writing this. The lawsuit is going to allege that new equipment for their harbor patrol boats had been paid for with federal funds, yet refurbished equipment was delivered. The Sergeant was retaliated against when he complained about it. I’m curious to know what their Chief has to say about this. I would also like to know if he had a hand in the alleged malfeasance.

  13. Can't stop laughing Says:

    @12 Do you have a link to the story?

  14. Cognistator Says:

    #12: The article’s link:

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/long-530500-beach-police.html

    In the article Chief McDonnell states that “a retaliatory work environment” is not tolerated in the LBPD.

  15. J.London Says:

    Get back on the job, Mike! Did you expect the chief to say
    “Yeah! we retaliate all the time?”

  16. Vickie Says:

    Does anybody know when Chief McDonnell took over in Long Beach? Was it before 2008 or after?
    If so sounds like the same kind of thing LASD just got rid of,and do not need again.

  17. GPA_UTL Says:

    The likely chain of events in Long Beach probably went like this:

    -Sgt does something he shouldn’t have or has a pattern of poor performance

    -Sgt is under investigation – oh crap!

    -Sgt decides to misdirect – point fingers, that’ll work!

    -Sgt gets demoted anyway

    -Sgt sues city, claims retaliation, but actual timeline will prove otherwise

    Never been done before. *yawn*

  18. Mutual Assured Destruction Says:

    GPA, you may very well be right. However, if what he claims is true, McDonnell should answer for it. If it is not true, great. Long Beach avoids the embarrassment LASD is going through. Time will tell.

  19. Apples and coconuts Says:

    Yeah. Some LBPD cops diving for lobsters while on duty? Outrageous. Next thing you know they will be playing Marco Polo. Somebody quick, call the Feds. That’s a major scandal.
    Anybody care to guess how many LASD Captains and above play golf while they are on the clock?There’s a reason they drive around with their clubs in the trunk of their county cars.

    The ALLEGED refurbished boat parts instead of the new ones the city paid for? Wow again. Call the Feds back.
    They will most likely tell you to get back to them when McDonnell is letting his political allies have exclusive use of boats that belong to the city and has them on the city payroll for over 100K a year.

    Apples and coconuts people.

    Grasping at straws are we?

  20. LAPD mentality is good for LASD Says:

    Time is short. McDonnell will be your new Sheriff. Strict policies and discipline for those who stray will bring the Sheriff’s problems back in check. If you think he will be such a bad pick ask the line deputies how they feel about their pursuit policy or lack of. At least LAPD believes in police work and will chase the crooks who terrorize their city.

    And who cares if the boat cops dive for lobster. As long as they aren’t allergic to shellfish, go get those bugs. Having golf clubs in a county car? Hell, as long as they don’t bump the safety on the MP5 or Benelli, go for it. Recreation is important in law enforcement. Kissing but and leg humping to promote isn’t

  21. Sherlock Homie Says:

    LAPD mentality: you make a lot sense, except for McDonnell being the new sheriff. That’s like promoting an Army general to be the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Thanks but no thanks!

  22. YouGottaBeKidding!! Says:

    #20 first off I agree McDonnell is not a bad choice, however dont ever use LAPD and police work in the same sentence! We all know that does not happen on your side of the street. We do not want the LAPD micro management machine working out here. We dont need our hands held….

  23. J.London Says:

    Ol’ MacDonald would be a better sheriff than McDonnell! McDonnell will never be sheriff. Not much happening in fundraising is there??

  24. Mutual Assured Destruction Says:

    What I posted regarding McDonnell came from what I read in the OC Register and what I was told by a friendly inside LBPD. McDonnell is no longer just a Chief of police. He has become a politician. If a question or story arises about his character, the public deserves to hear it. I have not heard much else about the man.

    If Sheriff Scott fails to eradicate the Baca, Tanaka and Waldie UC’s, and McDonnell is elected, we’re screwed. McDonnell will have to rely on those from the Baca, Tanaka and Waldie camps to help him locate Jack $h!t, as he doesn’t know Jack $h!t regarding who is who inside LASD.

    Sheriff Scott is walking the walk and he is not to be trifled with. Unfortunately, those in the Tanaka camp are quietly defiant and still maneuvering. Some from his camp have moved their tents to other camps. It’s unknown if they did so because their eyes are now open, they’re looking to stay alive in the political jungle known as LASD or because they’re gathering intelligence for the dark side.

  25. just a cop Says:

    LAPD will chase crooks that terrorize their city, really? I think you are way off base. I have worked at a Sheriff station that borders LAPD and saw the arrest numbers between both stations. With less man power the Sheriff station blew LAPD’s station out of the water. And did you forget how LAPD chased down the crooks that were beating innocent motorist during the Rodney King riot!!! Ask Reginald Denny how long it took LAPD to chase down the crooks that were terrorizing him.

  26. Investigative Mind Says:

    At ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’……Your correct about Tanaka camp members switching sides for their own job careers and to infiltrate for information. From what I have seen in the last week and heard from the ALADS event on Wednesday evening…the informants are everywhere and gathering info.

    This is getting very interesting….

  27. Nancy Drew Says:

    You can’t go from Tanaka friend or loyalist to LASD loyalist. For example, many commanders and at least three chiefs still have pictures of Tanaka on their desk (JL, KG, DB). What kind of person calls Tanaka a friend? No doubt they are moles, but since known, I guess snitches is probably a better term.

    I hope Sheriff Scott will reconcile those that donated to Tanaka over the years against his active duty executives. I think you will be surprised at those you forgot about (KG family being the biggest contributor). They are your moles! And don’t forget his most trusted treasurer, Captain JP (most previously Hellmold’s aide).

    All of those on the Sheriff Tanaka org chart need to go. I’m trying hard to get the org chart and will post it here. I have seen it and can name names, but I will wait until I have it in hand.

  28. J.London Says:

    24:
    Very true but, McDonnell has many issues of character and he will be vetted during the campaign. From my vantage point McDonnell is way too short on resume and more of a cop that’s in the rear pocket of local politicians. We just got rid of Baca and Tanaka (who were never cops) why would we want another version of Baca or Tanaka? My biggest complaint was McDonnell’s lack of courage and grit. McDonnell bowed down to Baca by not getting into the race because McDonnell didn’t want to raise the “million dollars” and his family wouldn’t approve. The real story was that McDonnell was (and still is ) afraid of Baca! Note: Until the end McDonnell was a strong supporter of Baca! And that McDonnell can’t ever deny! McDonnell had my attention until he showed the lack of courage sorely needed on LASD.

    Yup! The Tanaka boys have gone underground trying to hide in plain site. It’s not working very well but, we have a long way to go.

  29. times awasting Says:

    Any truth to the rumor that Sexton got the boot yesterday?

  30. Vickie Says:

    Glad others can see in side McDonnell smoke screen!
    Why trade one died horse for another one!
    One was enugh

  31. Vickie Says:

    One was enough!

  32. Mounted Cop Says:

    Why is the U.S. so wrapped up in their personal issue? I traveled to the west and read a local paper. My interest grew and was advised of this online paper.

    The childish behavior amongst people whom I presume are police leave me wondering how prevention of crime takes place in the lower 48 states.

    If these people who alledgedly controlled your agency are running for office in the future, you have big problems. I didn’t care for California, the way people treated each other,and the lack of courtesy when I identified myself as a fellow officer. I won’t be back. You really need to look at what California means to you

    Frances

  33. Vickie Says:

    #32 I am sorry that you came at this time, when all our dirty laundry is flying in the breeze and feeling are running high. Please call and have a tour of LASD so you may see another side of LASD, there are many good people who work there & are not part of this messiness only victims of it.

  34. Cognistator Says:

    #32: A tour of the LASD=a tour of Potemkin’s Village. If you don’t know what that means it can be Googled

  35. Bandwagon Says:

    Vickie: I wouldn’t be to concerned with our neighbor to the north. He didn’t throw out one “Ehh” Just another mole in disguise.

  36. GeneralHutHut Says:

    @Mounted Cop…How’s that Rob Ford working out for you guys? I rest my case.

  37. Line Guy Says:

    @Mounted Cop: Give me a break! Go cry yourself to sleep tonight in your fetal position. Big baby, what, didn’t get enough love as a child? Didn’t get enough positive reinforcement as an early adult? Who cares?!?! Go back up north, or where ever you come from, and grow up. Pathetic….

  38. The Past Says:

    My this discussion is all over the map and is barely staying on point. I think the main-street press should come up with a proposal for some sort of debate between the candidates. There are several obvious problems; how do you have a debate that gets to the majority of voters and with so many in the race how do you manage the length? This election is the first truly open election for Sheriff in immediate memory. The train is off track & who best to correct that.
    My thought is for a group to put together a well thought out series of questions addressing the current state of LASD, a candidates’ background, philosophy and envisioned leadership. The questions would be given to the candidates in advance and their answers taped and posted. Perhaps WLA could lead this effort.
    As it stands now, conventional election wisdom would seem to say Chief McDonnell is an easy winner. He has the powerful endorsements, political connections and the apparent money to overwhelm the other candidates. In the end Chief McDonnell may be the best choice irrespective of crafted political advantage. What he hasn’t provided is anything that gives us a clue of who he is, what he thinks, what he proposes or why we should vote for him. Although it’s an advantage for him not to engage in the negative environment, it is not however acceptable that he isn’t. Chief if you’re the” white night”, please lets us know who, how & what.
    Bob Olmsted is waging a very forthright campaign and is deserving of consideration and praise. He’s offered a solid plan and is available to the public.
    Paul Tanaka, I don’t see how he’s not going to be indicted and thus not in the mix. If an indictment doesn’t follow then the questions developed would prove him unfit.
    The other candidates, children of the lesser gods, are to be commended for their sincerity and efforts.
    The LASD executives running for office seem to be in a difficult ethical & legal position. We watched the Baca minions engage in press leaks, wholesale disloyalty and overt organizational disharmony in quest for their own personal interests. The irony in much of this is what the Baca Boyz (PM, BS, LW, PT, DC) engaged in has come full circle.
    I think John Scott as Interim Sheriff was the best thing the Board Of Supervisors has done in a long, long time.

  39. The Past Says:

    Further, how about tweeting, emailing, and texting the media about the need to fully and publicly vet the Sheriff candidates. A note to Marc Brown of ABC7, who has done such a wonderful job with the Bishop Turner & Paul Tanaka. How about the Editorial Board of the LA Times, the LA Daily News, Celeste at Witness LA, Steve Lopez with his unique view, Patt Morrison with her human style, weighing in on this.
    I think the question is, are you going to let the political establishment dictate the the presentation of the next Sheriff? If so, let me present Sheriff James McDonnell. He may be the best choice but I’ll bet you don’t know if that’s true or not.

  40. Cognistator Says:

    #39: “He may be the best choice but I’ll bet you don’t know if that’s true or not.”

    Exactly. More light from Public Radio Station 89.3 KPCC:

    http://www.scpr.org/blogs/politics/2014/01/23/15659/la-sheriff-s-race-can-outsider-jim-mcdonnell-overc/

  41. LATBG Says:

    The Past, I think it’s premature for McDonnell to start measuring the curtains in the sheriff’s office. First, he needs to sell to the voting public what his plans are. So far all we’ve heard is blather about fresh eyes, euphemism for well-heeled carpet baggers. We are not going to give the next sheriff the blank check we gave Baca, so vetting is key.

    I don’t think any candidate is going to raise the cash required to mount a major media buy and swing voter sentiment. There’s already too much information available, even for the low-information voters out there. Baca’s crumbling empire has all the special interests in search of the next palm to grease, just check out the owners of Galpin Ford, who now jumped on the McDonnell bandwagon. Oh, and they just happen to be a major supplier of county purchased vehicles, by the way. Look for many of the law firms who do business with the county bellying up to line Ol’ Fresh Eyes’ pockets with bribes.

    As you indicated, Olmsted has a clean, healthy start with an honest plan for all to see. Let the voters pick and chose among the candidates, but each one will have to sell themselves to the voting public. I just hope the eventual winner’s pink slip is owned by the public and not the special interests that kept Baca in office for so long.

  42. You're counting on the media? Says:

    You want the media to vet the candidates? That would be the same media that gave Baca a pass for 13 years because he was, in their eyes, a progressive. Baca’s scandals started early and occurred often. It was like, ho hum, nothing to see here, move along. Early on the ACLU was even singing his praises. Now those two entities want to tell themselves that they fought the good fight re: Baca and helped bring him down. They did help bring him down, in the end. They want us to forget about the 13 years they stood by quietly because he was their kind of guy. New age. Progressive.
    If the new guy will just take a couple pages from Baca’s book, the ones that spell out how to make the LA establishment and media love you, he’s in.
    Baca started doing what he wanted, when he wanted, with whom he wanted soon after the election. How long was Bishop Turner and Michael Yamaki on the payroll? Lol. How soon did he start handing out badges and guns to his donors and friends? That stuff was all there early on. It was out there. Public knowledge. A few stories here or there. No outrage. The media didn’t care. The ACLU didn’t care. The Board of Supervisors didn’t care. They didn’t even care if he was an absentee sheriff and travelled the world spreading his message. Why? Because they “Liked him” and they liked his message. nevermind the fact he wasn’t doing his job. Don’t count on the LA media to properly vet anybody. They loved Baca early on and the love affair lasted 13 years. How did that work out for the citizens of LA County?

  43. The Past Says:

    #42 Counting on the media: I think you make many good & obvious points & clearly you’re venting. There’s lots of blame to go around but the idea is to move forward & re-establish what was a very fine major law enforcement agency. Interim Sheriff Scott is a mature pragmatic leader who has begun to put the pieces back together again. The task won’t stop when Scott hands off in either June or December. Take a deep breath, manage your anger & look for solutions & stop ranting about what was.
    As to the press, seems to me that WLA, the Times & Marc Brown stepped up & provided great service. Now we need them to engage the candidates & quickly please.

  44. J.London Says:

    42&43: Great points from you both! True that the ACLU,BOS and more startling was the LA Press corp. that fell for ALL of Baca’s crap. Guess who else ate all the crap and thought it was steak? All the top brass from all over the state and beyond. McDonnell and Baca are great friends and why wasn’t Baca fanged more for his part in the Jail scandals? That’s right McDonnell was on the Jail Commission. Chief Beck, even up the end called Baca “A great man!” Are you kidding us or is it that Beck thinks we are all stupid??!! The Sheriff’s Association voted that Baca was “Sheriff of the Year!” And next we find out that Sexton from Alabama is one of our new chiefs! What BS! Even as I write McDonnell has refused to distance himself from Baca and admit that he (McDonnell made a mistake to endorse Baca all these years! Not much for leadership Chief McDonnell??!!

    What has changed is that finally the ACLU and the press corp. finally did their jobs and discovered that everything we were saying was true about Baca and the gang!

  45. You're counting on the media? Says:

    #43
    Yeah. I know. Move on. No need to dwell on the past. I just hope the media has learned from this fiasco. That’s why I bring it up. They were hoodwinked. I want them to remember it, so hopefully it doesn’t happen again. Not so much for the next election. The candidates will all, so to speak, tell the media what they want to hear. What I’d like is for the media to do is their job if the next sheriff starts doing scandalous stuff right in front of their eyes. I’d like to see them place ethics over idealism. I’d like them to concentrate on what the new sheriff is doing, not what he’s saying. There’s no way this last crook we called sheriff could have been so scandalous for so long without the deliberate indifference of the media. Same goes for the BOS.
    If I could ask the media or the BOS one question, it would be a very simple one.
    Have you learned anything?

  46. veritatem dies aperit Says:

    @#38, 39, 43, & 44:

    Begging for the media to step in? Let’s see….you’re now pandering for the LAT, LADN, Steve Lopez, Patti Morrison, Marc Brown, and WLA to weigh in. Did I miss any outlets? Maybe you can gauge the interest of MSNBC or CNN too? Sounds like the Olmstead campaign is getting a bit desperate. Maybe all retired supporters can throw their deferred comp at Bob’s campaign too.

    Baca leaving the race was Olmstead’s Waterloo.

    I’m sure enjoying the attacks on McDonnell now that he’s a candidate. Didn’t you all praise him while he was a member of the CCJV. A bit confused eh?

    Olmstead Retread!

  47. LATBG Says:

    Veritatem, we get it that you hate everything Olmsted represents, your right. I wonder if you will entertain us one day with your defense of YOUR candidate?

    Please sing his praises, we anxiously await!

  48. The Past Says:

    Veritatem, your kidding right? The notion of having the press call out the Sheriff candadtes, including Chief McDonnell is straight forward & clearly in the public’s interest. Chief McDonnell is the instant big dog in the race & the apparent choice of the political establishment. All that is easy to understand given his credentials. What Chief McDonnell has yet to do, is give us any real clue as to his vision, views or anything as the prospective new Sheriff.
    I hope you don’t represent the thinking of Chief McDonnell because it’s a throwback to a past attitude of ” if you don’t agree with us, then it’s because you don’t understand”. If Chief McDonnell or any of the candidates is bothered by a call to explain in depth the parameters of their qualifications, style, philosophy & vision for LASD I think we should be bothered by that.

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