Antonio Villaraigosa Bill Bratton Charlie Beck LA County Jail LAPD LASD Los Angeles Mayor Sheriff Lee Baca

Baca Speaks to Editorial Board of LA News Group……LA Experts Assess Villaraigosa’s Public Safety Report Card…SCOTUS Hears Gay Marriage Next Week


The LA News Group includes such newspapers as the LA Daily News, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the Long Beach Press-Telegram and so on. Earlier this month, the group published a withering critique of Baca, all but calling for his ouster in 2014 when he is up for election.

But after a meeting with Baca this week, while not by any means offering the sheriff any reelection endorsements, the LA News Group’s editorial board was, at least, somewhat less determined to show him the door.

Here’s a clip from the editorial:

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca mentioned two personal goals this week: Winning re-election next year and living to 100. In recent months the latter had seemed more likely than the former.
The dedicated runner’s physical fitness wasn’t in doubt, but his fitness for office was. After revelations about the unwarranted use of violence by sheriff’s deputies, Baca initially passed the blame to subordinates. A citizen’s commission probing jail violence cited a “failure of leadership. ”

By last fall, the question had become whether Baca, 70, should resign before scandal or voters forced him out.

But the Lee Baca who visited the Los Angeles News Group editorial board this week, to outline responses to the problems in the Sheriff’s Department, appeared as fully committed and as creative as ever in his approach to his huge job. It is still not clear that Baca deserves a fifth term, any more than it was clear before that he doesn’t. But it is clear that Baca will not be easily brushed aside in 2014.

The question now is whether Baca’s wide-ranging responses to the scandals makes up for his inability to prevent them.

The editorial also mentions that, in answer to questions about the exit of Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, Baca said he managed to “finess” Tanaka into leaving.

Here’s the clip:

…More-impressive responses are Baca’s admissions that much of the ACLU’s criticism is correct, and his actions to get to the systemic roots of issues instead of merely blaming underlings.

One was Baca’s move to “finesse” Undersheriff Paul Tanaka into announcing his retirement — and then to essentially eliminate the position. Baca thinks this removes a barrier to communication between him and assistant sheriffs.

The insistence on using the word “finesse” to describe his ouster of Tanaka is classic Baca….

In other words, the retirement announcement was not about the undersheriff’s sudden urge to play more golf, after all.

For LASD watchers, it’s essential to read the whole editorial.


KPCC’s Frank Stolze talks to a list of LA experts about how Mayor Antonio Villagraigosa should be rated as a public safety mayor.

The reviews are generally good, but qualified with the admonition that Antonio was also the beneficiary of some very good luck.

Villaraigosa’s largest stroke of good fortune was his inheritance of Bill Bratton as LAPD’s chief after James Hahn arguably lost the mayoral election to Antonio because he fired Bernard Parks, “a beloved figure in the black community. Hahn lost his once bedrock support among African-Americans.”

(It should be noted that Parks had come to be roundly loathed by the rank and file, who felt that, as chief, he punished them for small infractions while letting his friends do what they pleased. He also alienated the press, members of the DA’s office, and most of city hall for his obstructive handling of the Rampart investigation.)

But while Villaraigosa may not get credit for bringing Bratton to LA, Stoltze reports he does get credit for working very well with him.

Here’s a clip:

In a sense, Villaraigosa lucked out.

“I think he was the beneficiary of the very tough decision that Jim Hahn made,” said UCLA Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology Jorja Leap, who studies crime in L.A. “I don’t think Jim Hahn is given enough credit.”

Villaraigosa embraced Bratton, who receives a lot of credit for turning the LAPD around and delivering the dramatic drops in crime by introducing new technology and cooperating more with federal agencies. The mayor also deserves praise for working with the chief to repair long-frayed police-community relations, said Alex Alonso, who monitors gangs and policing on his website.

“Chief Bratton and Villaraigosa showed up at churches, showed up at community meetings,” Alonso said. “That’s definitely a plus. Going to the ghettto.”

Villaraigosa also is praised, reports Stoltze, for embracing non-law-enforcement-centric strategies for crime reduction.

While she’d like to see more funding for the GRYD program (it receives about $25 million annually), Kayle Shilling of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater L.A. said she’s glad Villaraigosa embraced the gang strategy along with more police — even if it was four years into his administration.

“There are a lot of different approaches in Los Angeles and I think it just takes folks a little while to get up to speed,” Shilling said. “I think he’s landed in a good place.”

Villaraigosa can hardly take sole credit for the historic crime drop that began before he took office. Community groups — some led by former gang members — are more involved than ever in reducing violence.

“You have a lot of other things going on outside of City Hall and outside of government,” said Alonso of “You have nonprofit organizations, you have a lot of gang intervention workers. The mindset is changing within South L.A.”

But with Villaraigosa’s help, the mindset on how to tackle crime has changed at City Hall, too.

Read and listen to the rest of Frank Stoltze’s report here.


We’ll be linking to what we see to be the best of the commentary. So buckle-up and hang on.

Here, for example, is an explanatory story from Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers.

And here’s an interesting blog post by Amy Davidson in the New Yorker about the non-Prop 8 case, that of Edie Windsor. As she writes, Davidson helpfully links to some of the best essays on the two cases.


  • Same old Baca same old lies! If Baca thinks he´s done with Tanaka, Baca better think again! I have known Tanaka nearly his entire career. Tanaka´s ambition, ruthless character would never allow Tanaka to roll over and play dead. Baca was able to ¨finesse¨ getting rid of Stonich and Waldie (the other two jokers) but with Tanaka I don´t think Baca has heard the end of Tanaka!

  • It is past time for Sheriff Baca to go! It does not matter that he admits failures and mismanagement. He has poor judgement, mislaid loyalties and instilled poor policies for the department. He turned the other way when executives were playing loose with policy, and then said he did not know. Well, he had a responsibility to know, that was his job. I do not excuse him, it is too late for him to fix anything, he has lost all credibility with the department. If he had been working in private industry, he would be fired. It is past time for him to get out, because no matter what he does now, the cancer has already spread, the tumor has to be cut out which includes the surrounding tissues.

  • Baca states twice during this interview, he “finessed” Tanaka to retire, and probably did so with a smirk. What a HUGE F/U to the little man. Tanaka’s office is empty and dark, Baca wants to eliminate the position of U/S. This is just yet another example of Tanaka’s incompetence. Think about it, just going back a few years, Tanaka was a Chief and took personal ownership of hiring 2,000 deputies. When his very experienced Background’s supervisory crew started flagging DNH (Do Not Hire) jackets for solid reasons, Tanaka becomes enraged and tells Guyovich to roll-’em up. She does, she hires DNH applicants and suddenly LASD has more IAB discharge cases on their hands than ever before. Tanaka promotes Guyovich to Captain and he is elevated to A/S. Now Paul takes personal personal ownership of MCJ. He rolled-up Clark and Bald, stacks MCJ with his “hand selected people” to include Cruz. Tanaka tells Cruz report to directly to him and bypass Burns and Olmsted. The result, FBI investigations, pending Federal indictments, Cruz is fired, Burns and Cavanaugh is shown the door, Olmsted is forced to expose Tanaka/Baca because they won’t listen. Tanaka moves to my side of the shop, Field Ops/Detectives and takes his “Gray Zone” roadshow to town to include a briefing with Federal Agents, a AUSA (now a judge) and outside agencies in the room, (Oh how I dreaded his weekly meetings and had to listen to his uncontrollable rants). Abrams, another “hand selected” Tanaka crew member is exposed for who she “really” is and you might as well throw in the huge sex scandal brewing (and folks, that story has not even begun to be told) involving Black executives, all “hand selected” by Too Tall Paul. Don’t forget Pay for Play promotions and the Cigar Club. Now Tanaka is promoted to U/S and immediately strips down IAB/ICIB to his liking and hall passes are handed out like candy to his pals. The Jail Commission testimony, the denials, the lies, the cover-ups and Baca strips Tanaka of virtually all responsibilities bestowed to every U/S for the last 50 years. These incidents are just a grain of sand in a mountain of train wreck stories Tanaka has been involved in since he inked up as a Viking at Lynwood Station after “his” shooting. Volumes are yet to be reported, but the Feds are on it.

    And Baca, the ultimate enabler of Tanaka’s misconduct and promotions, NOW wants the media to believe everything is fine, give me four more years because I’m progressive? Tribune, get your head out of the sand, Baca is playing you like a violin. And by the way, how is Tanaka’s “time” being carried? Is he at home collecting a fat paycheck on the taxpayer’s back? Who is finessing who?

  • I don’t know J. London maybe Tanaka is done. If the man means what he says about spending time with his son ? maybe he has a concious now and is trying to do the right thing because “you reap what you sow!”

  • Spend time with his Son? That’s what politicians say before they get rolled up.

    Does anyone really know if petee was wearing a gameboy on his belt during the baca press conference? I sure didn’t see a pistola…

  • Anyone want to take a guess on the new captain for lost hills? Man I know how to predict them.

  • Well cognistator, looks like the door is shut for anyone who wants to go above commander. I think it’s good. Captains and above should test like everyone else and not just get picked cuz they a re drinking, smoking, or golfing buddies.

    I can honestly say of any of the top 16, Roberta Abner has stayed the course and not gone down the dark side.

  • 9 (FTF): Looking at the Organization Chart (Link two in my post #8) Roberta Abner (Chief of Internal Investigations) is right below the Sheriff & to the Sheriff’s right; no Undersheriff position is shown.

    The Sheriff’s right hand person?

  • #6 FTF – Don’t worry about Petee wearing a pistol as a commander at a press conference. He probably wasn’t afraid. When did you wear one as a deputy. You were on the desk most of the time and it wasn’t required. How about some constructive comments?

  • Abner has always been somewhat self-serving, taking advantage of a relationship years ago. She has never put forth an original idea of her own, always reactionary and playing the game of speaking up when there is something to gain, go along to get a long is her management style. She was Baca’s aide and saw all of the inside dirty pool, she saw Tanaka’s unethical behavior and his cut throat rise to power and yet said nothing. She was an enabler as much as anyone else. She has the ability, but never the backbone and she can be just as much of a bully as anyone else on the 4th floor. As I attend meetings, Roberta rarely speaks up against things that I would have expected her to do because she is afraid of the risk of “not going along.” I would place her in the same category of OIR. They both knew exactly what was going on with Tanaka’s unethical behavior and Baca’s mismanagement, but said and did nothing. Very disappointing. If she put forth a fraction of the effort within her previous Chief’s assignment as she does regarding social issues, all worthy causes, perhaps Baca would have seen the light long ago and we would not be in the mess we are today.

    She would make a great neighbor, nice person outside the job. Married to a great guy, he worked for me in the years past, not a negative thing to say about him or them as a couple.

  • Just an opinion, in post 13, you mention all the misdeeds of Roberta, and you personally sat in those meetings. That tells me you were or are a captain or higher.

    Question: Why didn’t you speak up and say something about the unethical issues of Tanaka, or, why didn’t you take Roberta downstairs for coffee and perhaps speak your mind in a resptectful manner and convey to her that she needs to step up. What could be so terrible about that? You are just as much a co-conspirator in your remarks as Roberta is alleged to be.

  • I just finished reading the aforementioned (15) comments and I don’t know whether to vomit or cry. After 30 years on the job, I have never seen a time, (I hope I never will again) where our department laundry is aired in open form such as this. You people need to get a life or maybe go 10-15…you might like it. Try this,if you have a problem, question or concern about something or with someone, have a pair and go directly to that individual and address it. Special attention #3 ‘Star-Chamber’ you should be ashamed of yourself, coward!

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