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Undersheriff Paul Tanaka Speaks Out Against Baca Again, This Time on KABC, Monday at 11PM

May 20th, 2013 by Celeste Fremon

KABC 7′s David Ono sat down with Undersheriff Paul Tanaka for a long on camera interview,
highlights from which will air in a special news segment at 11 pm Monday night on KABC 7.

Ono and his producers had hoped to get Sheriff Lee Baca to sit down for the same news segment since, in addition to responding to some critical questions about his own actions in the department, it is our understanding that Mr. Tanaka spent much of the interview, in essence, pulling the pins on grenades and lobbing them at the sheriff.

Unfortunately, Baca was not persuaded to come on camera, but sent LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore to answer questions in his place.

We don’t yet know what parts of the raw interview are included in the segment (which we hear will run around 4 plus minutes) and what remains in outtakes. But we’ll let you know if we learn more before the broadcast.

In the meantime, fire up your TiVos, ladies and gentlemen.



A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state of Illinois was passed by their state senate after an approval from the Illinois House last month. It is not clear whether or not Governor Pat Quinn will sign the bill, but he sounds positively disposed.

What makes this bill interesting is that it sets out a tight regulatory scheme for sales of medical weed, unlike California, which legalized medical marijuana in 1996 with one of our messy ballot initiatives, and then applied some modest regulations in 2003, with SB 420. However, since then, neither the state legislature, nor municipalities like Los Angeles, managed to wrestle into being any decent regulations. As a consequence our med marijuana situation is something of a mess.

Monique Garcia reports for the Chicago Tribune on the state’s likely new law. Here’s a clip:

….The proposal would create a four-year trial program in which doctors could prescribe patients no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks. To qualify, patients must have one of 42 serious or chronic conditions — including cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV — and an established relationship with a doctor.

Patients would undergo fingerprinting and a criminal background check and would be banned from using marijuana in public and around minors. Patients also could not legally grow marijuana, and they would have to buy it from one of 60 dispensing centers across Illinois. The state would license 22 growers.

The measure drew strong opposition from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, which sent a letter to the governor and lawmakers warning the proposal would not stop medical marijuana card holders from driving while under the influence. They suggested blood and urine testing be included in the legislation to allow police to determine whether card holders had marijuana in their system while driving.

Haine argued the law has safeguards to prevent that, including designating on a driver’s license whether they use medical marijuana.


It would be nice, of course, if the members of the LA City Council would bother to do their jobs and come up with a sensible scheme themselves to regulate LA’s pot dispensaries, rather than abrogate their collective responsibilities with these measures on Tuesday’s ballot.

Rick Orlov of the Daily News has the details.

While there are three marijuana measures on the ballot - Proposition D, Ordinance E and Ordinance F – there are only two active campaigns now, as the main supporters of E decided to throw their backing behind D.

Prop. D would cap the number of dispensaries at 135, the ones that were open and egistered with the city before a moratorium was created in 2007. It would impose a 6 percent tax on sales of marijuana. The current rate is 5 percent. D was crafted by the City Council to allow a finite number of dispensaries after its effort to have an outright ban on the clinics was challenged with an initiative.
Ordinance F has no cap and is backed by clinics that would be excluded under D. It also requires testing of the marijuana dispensed at the facilities, background checks on employees and auditing of their operations. It also places a tax of 6 percent on marijuana sold.

Ordinance E caps the number at 135, but has no tax increase and fewer other restrictions.

Voters have a fourth option, Councilman Bernard Parks said. They can reject all three proposals and allow the City Council to decide the issue.

But some supporters of medical marijuana think that, rather than allow them to operate unchecked, it would spell bad news for their future.

“If all the measures are defeated, it will be viewed, I think, as giving the City Council a free hand to do what they have shown they already want to do – just ban all dispensaries outright,” said political consultant Garry South, who is handling the F campaign.

A-A-AAND BACK ON THE HOMEFRONT…DENNIS ROMERO OF THE LA WEEKLY REPORTS THAT FRUSTRATED VOTERS ARE tending to lean toward Measure D, which is the most restrictive of the three. Read his rundown here.


In an editorial in Sunday’s NY Times, the Times discusses what has become an increasingly obvious problem in the justice system, where too many prosecutors seem to forget that the job of the district attorney is to seek justice, not to win at all costs.

Here’s a clip:

Fifty years ago, in the landmark case Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court laid down a fundamental principle about the duty of prosecutors — to seek justice in fair trials, not merely to win convictions by any means. The court said that due process required prosecutors to disclose to criminal defendants any exculpatory evidence they asked for that was likely to affect a conviction or sentence.

It might seem obvious that prosecutors with any sense of fairness would inform a defendant’s lawyer of evidence that could be favorable to the defendant’s case. But in fact, this principle, known as the Brady rule, has been restricted by subsequent rulings of the court and has been severely weakened by a near complete lack of punishment for prosecutors who flout the rule. The court has also declined to require the disclosure of such evidence during negotiations in plea bargains, which account for about 95 percent of cases.

It is impossible to know how often prosecutors violate Brady since this type of misconduct, by definition, involves concealment. But there is good reason to believe that violations are widespread. Hundreds of convictions have been reversed because of prosecutorial suppression of evidence. In many cases, the exculpatory evidence surfaces only on appeal of a conviction, and often comes to light because other aspects of the prosecution are rife with error.

The 2011 case of John Thompson is particularly instructive — as an example of atrocious prosecutorial misconduct and of the Supreme Court’s refusal to hold the prosecutor accountable. Mr. Thompson spent 14 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. He was exonerated when an investigator found that lawyers in the New Orleans district attorney’s office had kept secret more than a dozen pieces of evidence that cast doubt on Mr. Thompson’s guilt, even destroying some. Yet the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned a $14 million jury award to Mr. Thompson, ruling that the prosecutor’s office had not shown a pattern of “deliberate indifference” to constitutional rights. Outrageous breaches of due process rights in such cases show that the Brady rule — which seems essentially voluntary in some places — is simply insufficient to ensure justice.

Read the whole thing.

PHOTO OF PAUL TANAKA by Scott Harms/Los Angeles County, via Zev Yaroslavsky’s blog. (The Photoshopping is, of course, ours.)

Posted in elections, jail, LA County Jail, LASD, Medical Marijuana, Prosecutors, Sheriff Lee Baca | 25 Comments »

25 Responses

  1. Time to Clean House Says:

    Great job Paul! The more you speak, you truly look like a great employee…..  You  take no accountability for the failures in this dept. Listen to your testimony and read the the assessments of your performance in the press.  If anything, you should be apologizing for being part of the executive staff that allowed these problems go on for years. I would vote on a federal indictment for you, more than a change of office on the fourth floor in 2014.

  2. Truth will prevail Says:

    Is this reality television. How can he possibly expect anyone to take him serious. I was asked by someone over the weekend what I did for a career and for the first time in my 30 yr career lied about my profession. I told the gentlemen I was an insurance claims adjuster, because nobody asks more questions when that’s your job. I was ashamed to admit I was affiliated with law enforcement especially LASD. Wow the fact I can no longer feel proud of my chosen profession makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t take anymore heartache.

  3. J.London Says:

    C: Predictions, Tanaka will run for sheriff just as I predicted. All that BS he was going away to be with his family. What BS Witless Whitmore!

    Next, As Baca has already been interviewed by the Feds is obvious that Baca blamed Tanaka for all the scandals. I wonder if Baca gave up Waldie and Stonich? Now, wouldn’t that be a hoot! I can’t understand why Stonich would be that dumb to believe that Baca didn’t give him up also! As far as Waldie is concerned he (Waldie) better buy a few years TV guide to the Sex Channel in Lompoc! So, here’s the prediction; Tanaka will interview with the Feds and have evidence in his hand. Remember Tanaka is an accountant.

    Lastly, neither one will be the sheriff!

  4. CSN83 Says:

    Seems to me that we are all so quick to have opinions on what he did or did not do. In watching all of this come out via this site one thing is for sure. We have all made bone head decisions that we wish we could take back.
    That said I have worked for people who have made very poor choices and skated with transfers to other divisions while others pay the price. While Mr Tanaka was a participating member of Baca he still worked under the observation of Baca. What he did or what he did not do is and will always be under Bacas over site. Maybe Baca should take a lesson from the Angels owner Arte Moreno. He told the press the failure of the team falls on his shoulders as he OVER SAW all decisions made.
    Like all agencies go through we all “swallow it and man up” to get by. But when our jobs are on the line, our integrity ( I am speaking in general here and know one in particular ) our lively hood is affected then we do get angry. Time will tell what happens to both Baca and Tanaka. Baca threw Tanaka under the bus so looks to me like Tanaka is now going to throw Baca under the bus. It is too late for both of them.
    What ever Tanaka says tonight will only bring help to this department in exposing just what has been going on under Baca. It is a shame that this has gone on so long because we all are getting frustrated by the “waiting” for the Lone Ranger and Tonto to arrive and save the day.
    We are like a ship without a skipper and feeling like a mutiny is on the horizon. What ever the BOS does I hope it is soon. Something is better than nothing, as long as who ever they chose has experience and has no friends on the 4th floor as the perception is they them selves need help in leadership SKILLS.

  5. thetruth Says:

    Good for him. Keep talking! LASD will be a better place because of it.

  6. CARONE1033 Says:

    Here’s a challenge to the LASD executive staff. ALL of you who are “made” Chiefs and above, sitting on beaucoup years of service, years in grade and VERY NICE retirement guarantees. YOU, unlike the fastracked and “no tracked” newbies in your ranks, KNOW the current Sheriff IS THE IMPEDIMENT to any real correction of this disgraceful mess, moreover disgraceful current image of the LASD leadership. In your heart of hearts, you’ve got to be admitting as much to yourselves. BACA has got to LEAVE! Things are just about at the tipping point ladies and gentlemen, so do the right thing and as a cohesive group confront the issue just as you are suppose to do. Stand shoulder to shoulder and make known you will retire if Baca doesn’t vacate his corner pocket office. If the self deceiver balks, you will at least be able to live with yourselves. The unpersuasive Mr Whitmore will have a very hard time “spinning” why a half dozen or more seasoned Chiefs left the organization in protest. Lastly, you must suspect you DO NOT now have the respect of those of us that have worked alongside you for many years. To put it mildly, your silence as a group is of much concern and disappointment. You making a statemet on our Department’s behalf is long overdue.

  7. J.London Says:

    10-33: Great idea! But I don’t see Hemmold and others that hold their ambition, above all else, to go against their own interest. However, I will talk to one of them today.

  8. Bandwagon Says:


    Wishful thinking! But it will never happen. Those executives you speak of are part of the problem and just as guilty as Tanaka and Baca. If they had any moral courage, we would not be in this situation. That being said, I am hopeful the FEDS or BOS will take action and clean house.

  9. wait for ax Says:

    This is the most embarrassing infighting I’ve witnessed. Baca, Tanaka, Rhambo,all need to leave or resign and let in those that earned the rank. Tanaka is an accountant and like Lieutenant Walton stated from former driver Captain Fennell,money has been picked up and shuffled for the sheriffs campaign most likely and Tanaka knows it. I can’t wait to hear what PT has to say. Come on FEDS, we need your assistant in getting the rats out.

  10. 10-33_Go Says:

    KABC would probably have better ratings on their 11 o’clock broadcast if they just aired the entire Tanaka interview uncut, than in showing four minutes of highlights. (Five minutes of Bri Winkler at the weather desk would be alright, too.)

  11. Disgruntled Reserve Says:

    Here’s a thought. how about electing a middle management civilian who is a high level reserve that does more reserve work than his real civilian job on LASD. Compare the hours worked versus the vacation time taken off to prevent a conflict of interest. Yeh right.

    That would be a perfect fit since the person is deeply meshed with all the Baca advisory groups and rif raf reserves that pour money into the leadership.

  12. thetruth Says:

    @ 10-33-

    A ship could be sunken in seconds.

    4 minutes is plenty. Looking forward to it.

  13. James Carter Says:

    Tanaka for Sheriff 2014

  14. 10-33_Go Says:

    Phuleaze nobody respond to “James Carter” or any other such argumentless “Tanaka-For-Life” such posts. It’s clearly being done to stir the pot. There’s no argument in it, so let’s not get sidetracked by it (again).

  15. thetruth Says:

    @ James Carter-

    You may be right. Despite all the drama surrounding him, he is a contender and has a VERY large following. We will see.

  16. Answering The Question Says:

    Kinda funny how some of the former LASD (or should I say Baca) cheerleaders are moot now. Could it be they are Tanaka loyalists and now they aren’t so quick to defend, justify and make excuses for the Sheriff?
    Just saying.

  17. CSN83 Says:

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results. It seems people keep re-electing Baca & expecting him to step up. The Department also keeps promoting (& now demoting!) Pat Jordan & expecting different results, as in, he might actually show some leadership, but alas, that will NEVER, EVER happen. He has proven over & over again that he lacks not only leadership & courage, but any ethics whatsoever. Those who have worked with him over the years have seen & been subjected to his “holier than thou” attitude and demeanor, but the upper echelon seemingly ignores that HUGE character flaw. There are far too many of these folks in high positions on the Department. They need to retire!

  18. Wild Turkey Says:

    Pretty much everything I’ve read on here tonight is on point, but, was I the only person disappointed that no tough questions were asked? Why weren’t the following issues addressed?

    Mr. Tanaka did you:

    Participate in the design and implementation of the hiding of Anthony Brown from the FBI?

    Assist Greg Thompson in covering up allegations of wrong doing by MCJ/OSJ deputies?

    Arrange watered down ICIB/IAB/DA investigations into wrong doing by political allies (Greg Thompson, Bernice Abrams, et. al.)?

    Reward political campaign donors with promotions?

    Create a “good old boys club” with the cigar patio coin holders that held the true power in the LASD?

    None of these questions were even touched on. Mostly style, little substance. More serious journalists would have produced a better interview.

    That being said, nothing he said about Baca was a lie. I’ve seen everything Tanaka mentioned with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.

    This is the very tip of the iceberg.

  19. CrackerJack Says:

    Ho Hum…..No real bomb shells here……Tanaka really can’t deliver a concise, coherent message to unseat Baca…This is almost as bad as his testimony at the jail commission hearing..For all of Baca’s faults, he is a much better politician than Tanaka and will be re-elected unless a viable challenger comes forward. Nobody is going to elect a little asian viking flashing gang signs!

  20. Time to Clean House Says:

    Wild Turkey, I’m sure those points will be brought out in a commercial campaign if he runs for Sheriff.
    According to the LA Times and a Facebook page, Pat Gomez is running. I’m sure he has some great reasons for voters to not support the Baca and Tanaka soap opera.

  21. Answering The Question Says:

    #18 Wild Turkey,
    The most likely reason no tough questions were asked of Tanaka is that Ono doesn’t want to piss off Tanaka, thereby eliminating the chance for future interviews. For Christ sakes man, this was an interview, not an interrogation. At least Tanaka, whether you love him or hate him (or, like me, neither one) is exposing the elephant in the room that has been ignored for far too long. That Baca is “distracted”. lol, what a nice way to put it. All of his command staff has witnessed him going off on strange, theoretical tangents while issues of critical importance needing to be discussed were ignored. Because of Baca’s “distractions” and his ideological obsessions, none of which have anything to do with the day to day running of the LASD, the job that he was elected to do and is paid quite well to do, has been left up to others since day one. When was the last time Leroy Baca spoke in front of a large group of people where the main topic of his speech had anything to do with “crime fighting” policy? Yet he was elected to be the county’s top “crime fighter”. Too many other things on that “distracted” mind of his.
    First and foremost, his incessant need to be the Sheriff of The World.
    The bottom line is that Baca’s priorities are not consistent with his position. The result is that the LASD has become a dumpster fire and the laughingstock of law enforcement.

  22. J.London Says:

    I too for now I’m voting for Gomez. I read his statement of Honesty in the LASD. I like it!

  23. Cognistator Says:

    22. J. london: I’m wondering if we’ll ever get a web-site for Gomez, like Lou Vince has

    That way the electorate can just punch in 24/7 & keep updated on current issues, as with Lou Vince’s web-site. As it stands right now, the electorate doesn’t know that much about Gomez & his own web-site would really help alleviate that problem.

  24. Reflection Says:

    I may be in the minority here but I think the David Ono interview should be viewed with more than a little suspicion. To me it was a puff piece supporting Tanaka; Baca is and was out of touch, “we” just needed to keep him out of trouble, I had nothing to do with Custody, he’s shown with a great background running for Mayor of Gardena, given kudos for his budget prowess and by-the-way may run for Sheriff. Is this an Asian to Asian thing and is there a relationship b/t Tanaka & Ono, gambling, women, who knows, maybe just friends. Also I should say that there seems to be great relief at the upper ranks with Tanaka being out of the way, lots more communication and accommodation of differing opinions.

  25. Investigative Mind Says:

    Maybe I.A. and I.C.I.B. can finally do the job they were meant to do on this department with Tanaka retiring.

    The KABC interview with Ono was a joke and of course political.

    I am so very happy to be retiring soon. I used to be very proud of being a member of this department, but thankfully I will have my freedom soon. Don’t get me wrong, I had some good times in the late 90′s and 2007/2008 while being at my unit. The scandal of the past 3 to 4 years did lower the morale of the troops and what an absolute shame.

    Good luck to the rest of you who signed up to do the right thing and not sell your soul.

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