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DOWNFALL: Lee Baca, Paul Tanaka & the LASD

February 26th, 2014 by Celeste Fremon


DOWNFALL: FORMER SHERIFF LEE BACA, HIS SECOND IN COMMAND PAUL TANKA AND THE STORY OF HOW THINGS AT THE LASD GOT SO BAD

The insanely long story (more than 11,000 words) I wrote about former sheriff Lee Baca for Los Angeles Magazine is both online and on the news stand.

It is, of course, about way more than Lee Baca as the title suggests.

Regular readers of WitnessLA will find that much in the story covers material with which you’re already very familiar. But I think you’ll find some new nuggets. More than anything, I hope the tale gathers most of the main puzzle pieces together to form a larger, explanatory picture that will have some impact, particularly for those LA residents who are not obsessive LASD watchers, but who want a deeper understanding of what the hell is going on in the sheriff’s department and why they need to care about it.

You can find the online version here.

Here’s a small snippet:

Scores of other LASD members, working and retired, have described similar experiences to me. “The requests would come in a bunch of different ways,” said a female officer. “You would be told that it would be good for your career to walk precincts for Paul. I never walked precincts, but I’ve been to three of his events and another fund-raiser he threw for [former city attorney] Carmen Trutanich. I gave money each time. There wasn’t a choice.”

In one instance she gave $350, at the request of her boss. He in turn was required to collect checks from his underlings, she said, because he was prominently “in the car” with Tanaka. “In the car” was the term for those who operated in the slipstream of the undersheriff’s patronage. “If you were single, like I was at the time,” she explained, “you were told things like, ‘You don’t have any kids, so you can afford more.’ ”

The ring kissing worked in two ways, both directly and in tiers. “In other words,” she told me, “I wasn’t just writing a check to stay in Tanaka’s good graces, I was doing it to get along with my boss. It sounds crazy, but that’s how it worked. And if you said no, they’d tell you, ‘Then you have nothing coming.’ Those were the terms they’d always use—in the car and nothing coming.”

One meant you were protected. The other meant you were screwed.

And here again is a link the teaser Q & A that my editor at LA Mag, Matt Segal, did with me, along with a clip to give you an idea of the exchange below:

Q: When you began the assignment for this story a year ago, Baca was still very much in office. He had every intention of running for sheriff again and looked like a shoo-in to win in June. But he “retired” a month before we went to press and not long after the US Attorney’s office delivered a multicounty indictment against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. As far as LASD critics may be concerned, problem solved, right? So why do you think the story is still necessary?

A: Mainly because I believe the story is far from over. The FBI is looking at a number of new areas of alleged corruption that fall well outside the problems in the jails. And, although Lee Baca is has yanked himself from the LASD’s helm, his controversial second in command, Paul Tanaka, is running for sheriff. But no matter who is elected next November, for real reform to take place, the new sheriff will need to have a clear-eyed view of the dysfunction that still plagues this department. I hope this story can provide a bit of that perspective.

A NOTE ON RADIO SHOWS: As I mentioned yesterday, I’m on KCRW’s show Press Play with Madeleine Brand today, Wednesday, at noon. You can listen to it online here (or at 89.9 FM) in real time.

Here’s a link to the podcast. The LASD segment begins at just about the 26 minute mark.

Then tomorrow, Thursday, I’ll be on KPCC’s AirTalk with Patt Morrison sitting in for Larry Mantle. Airtalk is on from 11 am until 1 pm, and you can listen live at 89.3 FM. And naturally I’ll post the podcast for this show too when it goes up.

Okay, whew! I guess that’s it. There’ll be one more web extra about the LASD on LA Mag later in the week. I’ll let you know when it goes up.


PHOTO OF LEE BACA BY SAXON BRICE

Posted in FBI, LA County Jail, LASD, Los Angeles County, Paul Tanaka, Sheriff John Scott, Sheriff Lee Baca | 53 Comments »

53 Responses

  1. 10-33_Go Says:

    LA Times is reporting Tanaka’s campaign bought up other candidates’ domain names so they couldn’t use them (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sheriff-candidates-victims-of-campaign-prank-20140225,0,7389093.story#axzz2uSZeMM4p). Rumor has it they’ve also been signing up department employees (using department e-mail addresses) to other candidates’ e-mail lists, presumably to get people in trouble. Shady is as shady does…

  2. interesting Says:

    @10-33_Go Nothing surprises me anymore with this guy!

  3. Investigative Mind Says:

    They need to get rid of some sworn personnel in Data Systems Bureau (supervisor) who are working for Tanaka right now and spying…….

  4. Jack Dawson Says:

    Wake me up when this is over.

    We have an INTERIM Sheriff about to promote new executives wildly without consultation from the other candidates (or the retired network establishing a giant obstruction), frivolous indictments, and executives that want to disown people for doing the right thing.

    I hear the IA investigations are already in motion. I bet the “witnesses” don’t recall much and it returns unfounded.

    Way to go Abner and company! I can’t believe we are doing this to people in the name of loyalty to a punk.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Rhambo, Yim, and Parra in this chain of command? Way to go you gentlemen. You let death threats and isolation go unattended?!?

    That’s mighty brave of the guys who get paid major money to keep enforce the integrity of the organization.

    Meanwhile, we forget 7 people who are indicted for FOLLOWING ORDERS have no paycheck, no insurance, and the same rights as an AB 109 inmate. Just great…

  5. J.London Says:

    A great article Celeste! True that things started to be noticed from the MCJ party and the “not on the face” remarks by Dan Cruz. Sadly the press refused to listen to Pat Gomez back in 2001 we he tried to warn folks about conditions inside the jail. Even after Gomez won the million dollar Retaliation suit there was really no follow -up by the press. Why? This was why:

    “When you’re in the room with Lee alone, and he talks about policy issues that matter to him, you fall in love with him,” a nondepartment professional who has worked with Baca for years told me. “He’s so present—he cares so much about breaking down cultural barriers, and is progressive in ways that few law enforcement figures can equal. And so you make excuses for the rest. But there’s no getting around the fact that, by his active neglect, he left people in charge who allowed a malignant culture to flourish in the sheriff’s department.” Now, do you believe me when I say Liberals are gullible?? Baca LIED all the time and would laugh about it back at SHB! Stop acting like sheep! As you well know the wolves are showing no mercy to anyone who gets in their way!

    In the article you wrote about Baca’s favorite book The Denial of Death. How this crap of a book won anything is a wonder! The author asserts that humans get their courage from sticking their perspective finger up their butt! As I recall page 32 or there abouts! This should bring new meaning to being full of S! Check it out and see if I’m not correct!

    Tanaka was a jerk but he had help ruining LASD. When the abuses started who were the Undersheriffs? Bill Stonich and Larry Waldie. Couldn’t get a statement from them two, now could you?

    Lastly, how convenient that McDonnell glossed over his friend Lee Baca and put everything on Tanaka!

  6. jim hitchcock Says:

    Magnificent, Celeste. Holy Moly what an effort!

  7. Stuff Says:

    Great article Celeste! This is an article in a publication that is read by a huge amount of people. A story they need to know!

  8. A walk down Memory Lane Says:

    Memo to the new sheriif.
    If you want to absolutely own the LA media and not be held accountable for any indiscretions, be warm and caring. Be likeable. Be progressive. Put a few meaningless policies in place and come up with a few gimmicks that show the media you are trying to break down cultural barriers. In other words, PANDER to the LA media’s idealism. They won’t realize this is what you’re doing. They are egomaniacs who love to hear how intellectual they are. Tell them. Sound like a new age college professor. Whatever you do, DON’T sound like a cop! If you will follow theses simple suggestions you can pretty much be as scandalous as you want to be. If you get bored doing the job of the LA County Sheriff, you can travel the world being a big shot giving speeches about being tolerant.
    There’s the recipe for four terms worth of endorsements from the LA media.

  9. Cognistator Says:

    #8: You can’t be talking about LAT, right?

    Over on another thread username “Gone and forgotten but still cares” presented this link from the LAT ARCHIVES, dealing with the 1998 sheriff’s race:

    http://articles.latimes.com/1998/oct/25/opinion/op-35908

    Prescience?

  10. Searchlight Says:

    An absolutely outstanding piece of investigative journalism. This is the most in-depth reporting on the soul of the corruption and dysfunction within LASD, Paul Tanaka was simply enabled by Lee Baca. Your report accurately exposed the explosive and volatile temper of Tanaka, an individual who is as dangerous as anyone I’ve ever seen inside LASD. I’m just waiting for Tanaka to issue a statement that you and everyone you interviewed are simply liars, because as he will tell you, “I’ve never condoned misconduct, and my Viking tattoo, it is no difference than that of a Marine.”

    How many careers has this man destroyed? Now the world can clearly see how dangerous Tanaka really is. Imagine the damage he could inflict if he were Sheriff. Thank God that is never going to happen.

  11. IthacaBoomer Says:

    Now that Olmstead is no longer a factor I’m curious about Jim “call us back when he’s actually in the house, maam,” McDonnell. I’m wondering why he was jettisoned out of the LAPD. Why did fellow East Coast pal Bill Bratton turn his back on him? Integrity, trust issues? Why does the Long Beach POA want him out of their city ASAP. If he can’t coach the junior varsity (LAPD) what makes anyone think he can coach varsity (LASD)? Anyone ever wonder why of all the law enforcement officials in Southern California he was the only one chosen for the Jail Commission? Perhaps the Board of Supervisors had a puppet in mind long ago. Things that make you go hmmmm.

  12. A walk down Memory Lane Says:

    # 9 My bad. Three terms of endorsement.
    They did fall in love with Baca soon after the election. His Zen bunk and his touchy feely new wave sheriffing must of won them over in a big hurry. What other reason could there be for them not taking him to task for the obvious corruption that was obvious early and occurred often?

  13. Wild Turkey Says:

    You guys who commented on how well Baca earned the trust of the media and made them his fans are right on. He did this to another group too. Rookie Deputies.

    Kathy Voyer said something in the article about assuming that the brass knows something you don’t, she hit it right. Some young, inexperienced custody Deputies who made the terrible mistake of trusting their Sheriff and Undersheriff got horribly betrayed during Operation Pandora’s Box.

    As a 20 something Deputy with less than 5 years on, the average OSJ deputy sitting on Anthony Brown must have assumed the bosses had legal standing to order an operation this. Young guys like Rathbun and Sexton made the fatal error of trusting their leaders to do the right thing, and lead ethically and legally. I’m sure to guys like that, the idea that the Sheriff and Undersheriff would order something flagrantly illegal would be impossible.

    In 20/20 hindsight, that trust was misplaced. How could Deputies who are barely more than kids have known that?

    And what’s the point of supervisors, like Greg Thompson? To help supervise baby custody Deputies and keep them from making career ending mistakes based on inexperience and bad judgement. Too bad Thompson had no interest in doing that. He was along for the ride, knowingly with his Viking buddy, PT.

    And now Sexton is indicted? After he went to the feds and blew the whistle, once the picture was clear and this had been illegal all along? That’s not right.

    The whole concept is sick. The Feds expect a jury to believe that two LTs came up with this plan and executed it in a vacuum? You couldn’t even get an inmate transferred to San Dimas under such unusual conditions without executive support.

    I know I harp on the plight of Rathbun, Sexton and other OSJ guys a lot, but that’s because it makes me sick thinking about how badly they were thrown under the bus.

    That’s Leroy Baca’s legacy to me. Commit unethical and illegal actions by ordering them done, then claim ignorance and watch lives and careers ended, the whole time espousing complete and utter pipe-dream utopian horseshit to keep idealists spell bound. That’s his legacy.

  14. Time to Clean House Says:

    Great article. The circulation of Los Angeles magazine is large  and who knows  what the numbers are for online readers.    Paul’s campaign is noting more than a side show circus. As far as Bratton turning his back on McDonnell    or  him   “glossing over his friend Lee ” as a member of the CCJV , that may not be accurate.    Like it or not this race is between Olmsted and McDonnell. 

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-william-bratton-endorses-mcdonnell-sheriff-20140213,0,1711710.story#axzz2uWOcxakP

    http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20120928/sheriff-lee-baca-blamed-for-failure-of-leadership-in-deputy-abuse-of-inmates

    http://ccjv.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Jail-Commission-Final.pdf
      

  15. The Past Says:

    Lots of good comments attached to this wonderful reporting. Celeste, congratulations & a big thank you.
    As J. London has so sagely pointed out the “Down Fall” of Leroy D. Baca hardy begins & ends with Paul Tanaka. Baca was a long time known lose cannon which was fully exploited by his Undersheriff’s beginning with Myron & the ultimate product found in Paul Tanaka. I think a postmortem should focus on the context established by the Baca Boyz. The crew should be exposed for their gross dereliction, the refutation of all things Block & Graham. SKIF, metrics, accountability, we’re deemed inconvenient , even offensive thus abandoned.Way to much work. Geez can’t have our golf , toddy or cigar time interfered with. The list of ethical lapses is staggering! How about a posting titled ” CAN YOU TOP THIS?” If the WLA forum was used Celeste you’ll have to add several gigs of capacity.
    In conclusion, on behalf of even those who have an abiding distrust of all things “press”, we are in your debt Celeste!

  16. LATBG Says:

    Olmsted no longer a factor? Hilarious, please explain how….

  17. J.London Says:

    Add, a great day for Olmsted!!

  18. UNKNOWN Says:

    Good article and a lot of good information. My only problem was the part about Sexton and his partner who stood out in the academy and did not get sent to the normal destination of working the jails. Instead they got sent to OSJ. Come on everyone knows why Sexton got OSJ, although he may be a good Deputy “cronyism” was clearly involved here.

  19. Investigative Mind Says:

    I almost forgot that Tanaka compared his VIKING tattoo to that of a Marine getting a tattoo. I can make a comment because I served in the military and this did not go over well with current and veteran personnel. What another insult Tanaka publicly voiced regarding the United States Military.

    I can’t wait until this entire mess is over with and thanks again Celeste.

  20. The Past Says:

    Unknown: How about him bundling money for Tanaka being a former U/S’s son-in-law? The Baca Boyz make us all proud!

  21. The Past Says:

    YIM not him.

  22. A walk down Memory Lane Says:

    #18
    Very good point. If Sexton went to OSJ straight out of the academy, then there was clearly cronyism going on. As it turns out, it was not a break for him. If his daddy wasn’t friends with Baca, what would his chances of been of ever getting to OSJ? I’ll bet right about now he wishes his dad had never met Leroy Baca. He’d probably trade that bitchin assignment at OSJ to take a job like every other boot sitting in a module racking gates.
    Fate can truly take some very cruel twists.

  23. Fed Up Says:

    What ever happened to Papa Sexton that came on board a few months ago, I haven’t seen any mention of him.

  24. Gee whiz Says:

    http://www.paultanaka.com/setting_the_record_straight

  25. IthacaBoomer Says:

    LATBG- The latest sponsored poll has Olmstead neck and neck with Gomez in 5th place. The survey consisted of a wide spectrum of high frequency voters across L.A. County. A large sample I might add. I’ll be the first to thank him for his service in L.A. County and for upholding the U.S. constitution. Best of luck in retirement!!

  26. IthacaBoomer Says:

    Fed Up- Former Chief Edmund Sexton was last seen driving in a southeast direction is his POV. His biggest accomplishment? Drumroll…..The “Sheriff of the Year” award.

  27. LATBG Says:

    IthacaBusted, the “latest sponsored poll” sponsored by who? Care to give us the link, which camp paid for it, methodology, margin of error, etc? And why hasn’t any campaign announced it? The Olmsted campaign already released one last year.

    You’re still shilling for Hellmold, which is pretty funny considering he is the least qualified next to Vince. I ask you again, state your case for your candidate. Your silence convicts you, otherwise you are telegraphing your fear of Olmsted and you sound desperate. Even a huge independent campaign expenditure from his new found BFF, Kavanaugh, won’t improve his chances. Just ask Whitman, Fiorini, and Trutanich how that worked out for them.

    Roger “the reformer” and Hellmold “the crime fighter” have a lot of explaining to do, specifically how their careers flourished at the same time the department tanked.

  28. Wild Turkey Says:

    Sexton wasn’t sent to OSJ out of the academy, nor was Rathbun. They both came off the line from IRC, if I remember previous articles correctly.

  29. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    Wild Turkey is correct.

    Also, it might help to know that, in an earlier version of the LA Magazine story, I had a little more on Rathbun and Sexton’s background, which—among other things—would have made it clearer why they were logical (and appropriate) recruits for OSJ, and would have disabused the whole nepotism notion. But when my editor and I were madly making cuts to try to get the story down to its present 11,000 words (it was originally assigned at 8,000 words—and then it ballooned), that was one of many things that got snipped.

    As it was, this is one of the longest stories LA Mag has ever run.

    Anyway, as my cuts appear to have left an erroneous impression, I wanted to set the record straight.

    Happy rain.

    C.

  30. Jack Dawson Says:

    “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” ― Nelson Mandela

    You guys crack me up with what you think are “truths” in this world. Have another cup of kool aide and pass the hat once more.

  31. UNKNOWN Says:

    I understand the article had to be cut down possibly omitting background on Sexton and Rathbun, but even so I know for a fact that OSJ is a coveted position among custody deputies. OSj being so coveted took deputies without patrol experience a minimum of a few years and good investigation and custody experience to get it in (and some “cronyism”). I’m not 100% sure how long Sexton and Rathbun have been, but I know it was very long before they transferred to OSJ causing a large rift amongst custody deputies.

    Either way I’m sure they were good deputies or they wouldn’t have stayed, but “cronyism” did they play a part. Unfortunately, “cronyism” is just part of this business. I just wanted to mention and was not bashing either of the deputies.

  32. UNKNOWN Says:

    ***I meant it wasn’t very long before they transferred***

  33. Paul Harvey Says:

    Great job Celeste, sorry you were limited on space. That is where I come in.

    And now for the rest of the story:

    As Captain at Norwalk Station his “new theories..of deputy accountability” were a joke. Deputies who screwed up soon learned all they had to do was go before the Captain and do their mea culpa. Then they could dance out of the office scot-free, usually thumbing their noses at their supervisors. Often,as part of their “rehabilitation program”, Baca would give offenders a coveted positions – over better qualified, rule-following deputies. The result was a great deal of frustration by rank and file and Sergeants and Lieutenants felt their ability to supervise and manage their personnel was being completely undermined. But Leroy felt good, he had spread his Pixie Dust and had moved on, like Mr Magoo, leaving destruction in his wake.

    I will not use space on going over Leroy’s PhD, that has been discussed elsewhere on your blog. But it would be a nice chapter in your book.

    The article mentions that Baca had “levitated” through the ranks. Not quite that easy. His promotion to Commander and Chief were quite controversial (not only was Norwalk in tatters, he had made a major bone-headed decision at Marina Del Rey where he had impounded a yacht and a subsequent civil suit had cost $1/4 mil in damages – tax $ POOF-gone). Then there was his promotion to Chief where all the Chiefs had recommended to the Sheriff that he promote any of the other Commanders (except one) to Chief – except Leroy. Only because Supervisor Molina put a lot of political pressure on Sheriff Block, did he relent and promote him. You did happen to include a photo of Leroy’s election celebration with none other than Supervisor Molina at his shoulder. Nice touch.

    When Baca forced Block into a run-off it did more than “undid” Leroy. As you suggest in listening to some of his speeches, he “lost it.” His backers panicked because they had put money and/or their career necks out for his candidacy. Ultimately, Paul Tanaka, a relative small fish departmentally and in the Baca camp at the time, stepped forward with “Gardena money”. They took Baca to Hawaii where they filled him with psychotropic meds and he came back for round two for the campaign.

    Block’s supporters were indeed furious with Baca because he was indeed a disloyal lightweight, but mostly they feared the fact that he was incompetent and unstable (remember he had well established a track record within the
    Department). For him to become Sheriff would be a disaster for the LASD. If the Board of Supervisors were able to appoint someone to the position, it was highly likely a better choice. Unfortunately, they never got the chance and with hindsight being 20/20, Block’s supporters earlier assessment was………well 20/20.

    LASD2 – NOTHING accomplished. Perhaps your book can include a follow-up with Jouaquin Herran on what WAS accomplished. More Pixie Dust, millions of tax payers dollars POOF-gone. Magoo strikes again.

    EBI – The average stay in the LA Co Jail is 43 days, not a great deal of time for “education”. However. the LASD and the Hacienda-La Pauente School District have had an educational program inside the jail for 40 years, graduating thousands of inmates with GED certificates. What is new in EBI that is going to have any additional significant impact – other than a chance to take the stage and throw around a little more Pixie Dust. Take a look in 5 years and see if Magoo has not been here and see if ,once again, it is Poof-gone, pixie dust spread, tax-payer’s $ wasted.

    Celeste, clearly you did not have space to talk about the Drug Rehabilitation Program Baca put in place at BC. What, you don’t know about it? He spent $11.5 Mil upgrading the barracks there (against staff’s objections due to excessive costs) and started the program to much fanfare. Pixie Dust galore!! Poof-gone. Program gone, buildings torn down. I think there was some graffiti discovered there that said “Magoo was here”

    Nor did you have space to discuss Baca’s program to house female inmates along with their infants in a compound at Pitchess Honor Rancho. Another program that staff objected to due to a number of factors. Overruled! Millions spent, including hiring Baca’s sister to be the “designer” for the overall cottage atmosphere he wanted attain (you know, window boxes with flowers – that sort of thing). Pixie dust was spread but was blown away by reality – but not before the $ was spent. It never happened! Poof-gone. Magoo and sister passed through.

    It was nice to see you were able to include the amount of tax payer money spent in civil suits against the LASD in the last few years. I know space did not allow you to go back in history. If you had been able to, you would have been able to show how there has been a steady increase in tax money paid out in law-suits against the LASD since Baca took over in 1999. No accident. Magoo asleep at the switch, Tax money, Poof-gone.

    Celeste, there’s a million Baca stories to research….like the time he locked himself out his car at his girl-friend’s house……. but I digress. Maybe you should just skip the book and go directly to the mini-series.

  34. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    “Paul,” If you feel comfortable about it, we should talk. Please contact me independently.

    C.

  35. Really Says:

    What’s the difference between Sexton getting sent to OSJ and then two years later Parra’s girlfriend’s son (who’s now in the Academy) getting sent to OSJ. I see none.

  36. A walk down Memory Lane Says:

    Paul,
    Baca hired his sister as a designer for cottages that never came to fruition? No hint of a conflict of interest or corruption there. Chalk up another one. It just keeps coming. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. The guy is looney AND corrupt. But hey, he had a good run. He lasted 15 years when he should have been, at the very least, thrown out of office after his first term.
    The Gloria Molina comment is priceless. No wonder she had such tolerance of him for so long. And of course, none of the other BOS members would want to dare being labeled as anti-Hispanic in LA County. So Moonbeam was just allowed to go merrily along.
    13 years later they were all outraged. Hysterical.
    Moonbeam wasn’t the only one asleep at the switch.

  37. Searchlight Says:

    The amazing thing is that the Office of Independent Review (OIR) was NO WHERE to be found during all these years of corruption and misconduct. Now THAT is a real scandal. I met with Olmsted this week for a cup of coffee and he gave me some very interesting insight as to his plans to clean house. For the most part, Chief’s and above are toast. As the old saying goes, “You can retire today as an A/S or Chief, or you can retire tomorrow as a Commander. Take your pick.” The staff of OIR is gone because their leadership compromised the entire concept of OIR to appease Baca and Tanaka. Sadly, all of the line attorneys were well aware of the corruption going on, right in front of them. As with our current Commanders (well, most of them) Chiefs and Assistant Sheriffs, they knew, they saw and……. said nothing. One would expect pure ethics from OIR, but they fell into the same mindset as everyone else, shut up and say nothing. So, the current OIR staff are toast.

    It seems that Narcotics Bureau, under the tutelage of their new captain and Homicide Bureau, have become Tanaka Campaign Headquarters. Shame on you, boys. One last comment, everyone take a long, hard look at the picture of Baca in this story. If that is not a broken man, then show me one who is. When you read the LA Magazine article (for those outside LASD) you can’t help but wonder. Tanaka must be one real proud puppy. And his “crew” of pirates, have you no shame for what you have done as well? Yea, thats what I thought.

  38. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR Says:

    Well Mr. Paul Harvey. Perhaps Temple Station and Aero Bureau are a little close for comfort. My recommendation is that unless you personally are involved in any of your allegations, one must be humble.

    And Celeste, you too have an obligation to know your sources, especially if you plan to elicit “dirty laundry”. Remember, for every informant, there are 10 waiting to discredit them based on their work history.

    Please feel free to delete this, but any future stories based on his comments will definitely bite someone in the ass.

  39. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    Dear Be Careful,

    Please don't worry; I never take anyone at face value. (Any journalist would be unwise to do so.) And the last thing I'm interested in is dirty laundry. I am, however, interested in hearing from anyone who might have first hand knowledge that can deepen my understanding of some of the things that have taken place during the last twenty years of the department's history.There are many, many pieces to this puzzle.

    In any case, I appreciate the warning.

    C.

  40. Investigative Mind Says:

    Well someone from Homicide did save someone from Narco just recently on last weekends transfer. And “Searchlight” you are correct re: those two units being home base for Tanaka Headquarters…such a shame.

    And some of those personnel used to be real stand up men too.

  41. The Past Says:

    Celeste, Will send you a $100 check to the Charity of your choice if I can have a signed copy with story about The Fall of Lee Baca. What say you?

  42. Paul Harvey Says:

    Mr CAREFUL (do you have to yell your name?) As a professional journalist one does not give up one’s sources. However when challenged, it is within ethical bounds to point out certain facts that are easily verifiable or are self-evident:

    The Yacht caper at MDR involved Baca inserting himself in a repossession dispute. LASD records will show a 1/4 mil settlement paid out after he impounded the boat and it rotted at the county dock over a period of years. Mr CAREFUL would probably acknowledge that any 1st year patrol Dep knows not to get involved in a civil matter. (but not our Magoo!)

    No “record” of the result of his new-age accountability program at NWK, just ask supervisors who were there at the time, at Mr. Harvey has done through the years. Mr. CAREFUL may find otherwise, but one doubts it.

    Molina’s involvement in his “levitation” (good word btw,C.)to Chief? The main source is dead, but suffice to say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Baca’s detractors desperate to keep him out office? Oh yeah! Motivation? They were TERRIFIED that Baca would be a disaster for the LASD. Mr CAREFUL only needs to look at the result to see if they were correct.

    LASD 2? What is that today? NOTHING! Care to dispute, Mr CAREFUL? Show anything positive that came out of that expenditure of tax funds. Plenty of pixie dust though (even rated mention in Celeste’s article).

    EBI? Mr Harvey only suggested that it is a lot of pixie dust over nothing new. Give a look in 5 years and you can show him wrong.

    The Drug Rehab program at BC? 11.5Mil spent just on rehabbing the barracks. County records will support what was written. As to the program’s existence today. Go to 1060 N. Eastern Ave and take a gander up above the range. The buildings are GONE. Mr. Harvey does admit that there was no graffiti saying that “Magoo was here” was found during demolition of the buildings. One for Mr CAREFUL.

    The Cottage Compound at Wayside. Same as BC. Taxpayer money thrown away. Compound sat empty for years. Eventually, converted to regular inmate use. Sister hired? Oh yes, sources impeccable.

    Aero and Temple?

    The keys locked in the trunk caper (Temple is involved here if that is what you mean). Celeste, a good story ready to be told, this one showing someone other than the happy windmill chaser. And yes, sources impeccable.

    Your serve.

    PH

  43. Queens Bench IV Says:

    Just like Dr. Adam Kelno in QB IV who sustained his defamation suit & was awarded a half-pence for the slight. So to Be Careful, stand by the blanks will be filled.
    Hey past troops how about a little guidance for Celeste. Ever had a suspect try to intimidate you? If so, you’re seeing it again.

  44. Queens Bench IV Says:

    Getting old meant QB VII not IV

  45. Beanie and Cecil Says:

    Can someone explain the abrupt retirement (or roll up) of Mr. Rhambo? March 17th open house at SHB, surely to be catered with jailhouse coffee, cut up fruit and plastic forks.

    Would one not think a man in that position would have a planned, respected and well attended retirement function in his honor? Even at my position, I had a great party.

    Perhaps Sheriff John said “adios amigo”, and Dave Betkey is the runner up. Kinda sad. Cecil wasn’t all that bad of a guy. he just got caught up in the vacuum of Tanaka and Baca.

    Dave, March is here. To get that Cola increase, you better be moving quickly….

  46. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR Says:

    paul Harvey, pretty much all you refer to is public record so one way or the other it is no big secret you are getting everyone excited over. all of us know of the very issues you are re-hashing. it doesn’t matter, it’s over. are you annoyed because of your lack of rise to fame? celeste can find every topic you mention so please bring something up that will shock us in the next century. and your reference to pixie dust concerns me. do you happen to like tinkerbell beyond the normal limits of an average person?

  47. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    Okay, I was quite busy over the last two days and, as a consequence, erroneously let through several comments that called people out by name, and now things are going off the rails.

    My fault, admittedly.

    However…..in attempt to get things back on track, I have just deleted a few of those comments and will delete more if they turn up.

    Please dial it back people. Y’all know better.

    Thank you.

    C.

  48. Temple 924 Says:

    Be Careful, you seem to have thrown in the towel. Just to put some meat on the bones of Mr. Harvey, the Lee Baca 924 in Temples’ area is circa 1994/95, so we’re looking at about 20 years ago, old news for sure and not all that important out of context. Lee was merely teaching the daughter of a friend how to run, clearly innocent on it’s face, when his keys got locked in the car & subsequently called for Temples’ help. The responding deputies although helpful spun the encounter into a thing of gossip of course. Lee & the Station Captain became aware. The involved deputies were brought before Chief Baca and summarily pilloried. This was an amazingly strong & controversial resolution and was done without involving the Field OPS I chain of command other than the Station Captain. This, as it turns out, typifies Lee’s lack of respect for fellow executives and organizational protocols. The Captain lost a lot of respect in the eyes of many and it’s unfortunate because he was a bright strong leader who suddenly appeared very ambitious.
    Now for the call to not air dirty laundry, I agree, but gross mismanagement or malfeasance should remain fair game. Lee Baca & his team greatly diminished the proud LASD over the years and that was not unanticipated by many. The LA Magazine story leaves much out because of limited space. The early engineers of the Lee Baca takeover deserve recognition, they after all were the enablers. so here’s my request, please send these specific people the following:

    Paul Myron- A copy of the LA Magazine and the book Elmer Gantry

    Bill Stonich- A copy of the LA Magazine & the sound track to Lion King, refer to Hakuna Matata (It’s our Problem-free philosophy)

    Larry Waldie- The LA Magazine & the Rodney Dangerfield series & the Cal Worthington tapes.

    Paul Tanaka- THe LA Magazine & the “Say hello to my little friend”, Scarface movie.

    Gloria Molina- The LA Magazine & the movie,The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    As the Walton’s would say, Goodnight, Paul, Bill, Larry, Paul, my little friend, Lee & Gloria Sleep well!

  49. There You Go Says:

    Oh, so Chief Baca was teaching a friends daughter how to run while he was supposed to be doing a Chief of the LASD’s job. Perfect. He was playing track coach on county time. This crap is hilarious! Is anybody surprised that a few years later he was neglecting the job he was elected for and paid to do because he was once again trying to be a big shot and advocate for his friends/donors in the Muslim community while the LASD was falling apart?

    Bottom line. It appears he’s always been, shall we say, far afield in his thinking, prioritizing and understanding of what his function/purpose/job is. He has always been scatterbrained and easily distracted by superflous, if not cosmic, isuues and ideas.

    The “girlfriend” incident? If he had been where he was supposed to be doing what he was supposed to do it wouldn’t have happened. All of the gossip that resulted is nobody’s fault but his own.

  50. J.London Says:

    48: That’s very good and funny!

  51. Glad I'm retired and your not Says:

    You know what I have in common with LASD? Nothing. Retired LAPD, proud of it and never regretted going to the boys in blue when both agencies offered me a job at the same time.

    Rampart scandal, 92 riots, Willie Williams. Yeah, we had our problems too, but at least our union would give a vote of no confidence to a person running the organization into the ground. All I see here is a bunch of two bit, or bitcoin ( same value) crying about the boss (es) at the top. If you consider LAPD as a lateral you won’t go wrong. But when Mcdonnell gets in, LASD will be run much like LAPD which will be a move in the right direction.

  52. Once a Robert Unit always a Robert Unit Says:

    #49, actually anyone who is not an employee on a weekly timecard really has no accountability.

    anyone who is a captain or above or a civilian director, etc really has no time to put in. Except for a few hours a day, that suffices the timeclock. take for example a certain civilian assistant director who is a rescue team member and has oversight of all our teams. is he on the clock as a director or reserve? is vacation time used to make up for absences while on searches? Seems we see more of the search team uniform than working the fulltime job. I wish my employer was that understanding and looked the other way

  53. vanboy Says:

    Wow. And you wonder why you are called a racist….probably since you are. And a hypocrite and a Liar..basically anything you stupidly accuse Obama of becoming.

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