2014 Election LA County Board of Supervisors LASD Sheriff Lee Baca

LASD Union’s PAC Money & Paul Tanaka’s Long Game

THE LONG GAME

Does Sheriff’s Candidate Paul Tanaka Have a Plan in Play to Get LASD Union PAC Money?


It has been estimated that to have a chance of unseating four-term incumbent Sheriff Lee Baca in 2014, a viable challenger will need somewhere between $4 and $5 million dollars. Moreover, nearly half of that amount will need to be raised to compete in the primary election that will be held in June of next year.

$4 or $5 million is a daunting amount for anyone to raise, except perhaps the sheriff himself who, after four successful campaigns, has developed a well-oiled fund-raising strategy, which includes a carefully courted list of deep-pocketed supporters.

That is, in part why Baca’s two main challengers—former LASD Commander Bob Olmsted, and former undersheriff Paul Tanaka, have spent much of the last month busily fundraising.

Olmsted has hired an experienced political fundraising consultant and spends a part of every day on the phone, doing what candidates must do, namely asking anyone and everyone to give him some money.

Tanaka meanwhile has been doing his backyard whistle-stop tour of the county, pledging to hit 88 cities in 88 days, at each event making his pitch for money.

In Tanaka’s case, however, there is reportedly another, far less visible, money raising plan— one that many say has been in place for several years. It is a strategy that, if everything goes right, could conceivably bring to Mr. Tanaka’s campaign coffers anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to $2 million, or more.

One could call this second fundraising strategy Paul Tanaka’s long game..

Here’s how it could potentially work.


THE UNIONS

There are two LASD unions that, together, represent all the department’s sworn members—The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs or ALADS, the union that represents the department’s deputies, and the Professional Peace Officers Association, or PPOA (pronounced Po-Pa), that represents its officers, sergeants and above. Both unions have pools of money that they can throw behind various political candidates whom they believe will benefit their interests.

PPOA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) money totals around $1 million, while ALADS reportedly has somewhere around double that.

Two LA County Supervisors’ seats are up for grabs during the 2014 elections, and either or both unions could throw some money behind the Supe candidates of their choice. But the big race that is of concern to department members—and thus to both unions—-is, of course, the contest for sheriff.

So how would a candidate go about persuading either or both of the unions to part with some or most of their PAC money?

This is where the long game comes into play.


PLANNING AHEAD

In the case of PPOA, it is the board of directors that decides where the union’s money goes. The membership has a chance to weigh in. But, in the end, the board members are the deciders.

In the case of ALADS, we were unable to get a detailed description of the decision making process. But, we are told that it is some combination between the membership and their elected board, with the board having the final say so.

(There is also an endorsement committee to handle the myriad state and local endorsements that ALADS typically makes. Both working and retired deputies can join)

Thus if one could manage get one’s own loyalists elected to the majority of the seats on one or both of the unions’ boards, big bucks in PAC money could follow.

Last year two men who are reported to be Tanaka supporters were elected to PPOA’s board. But they are not in the majority.

Now the PPOA elections have come around again. Ballots went out on Monday.

There are two incumbents on the ballot, Lieutenant Brian Moriguchi and Lieutenant Tab Rhodes, and two new names, Sergeant Mike Maher and Lieutenant Andy Meyer.

It is Meyer and Maher’s candidacies that are reportedly being pushed hard by longtime Tanaka loyalists.

For instance, WitnessLA has obtained an email sent to PPOA members on September 16 by Tanaka’s close friend, former LASD deputy, Guy Mato, urging members to “Vote for Maher & Meyer for PPOA Board.”

(Mato is pictured at the front far left behind Tanaka on the day that the former undersheriff announced his candidacy for sheriff.)

Also, according to several department sources, Wes Sutton, another reputed Tanaka loyalist (as noted in CCJV testimony on p.217 here) made recent calls to department members urging them to vote for Meyer and Maher.

It is perhaps worth noting that Meyer and Maher both donated to Paul Tanaka’s election campaign in 2008.

Sutton, the guy making calls in their behalf, is also a Tanaka campaign donor.

According to incumbent PPOA president Moriguchi, both Meyer and Maher were drivers for Sheriff Lee Baca during a period when Tanaka was reportedly choosing most or all of Baca’s drivers, and specifically filing the position with his own loyalists.

“The Sheriff always thought his drivers were loyal to him,” another source told us. “But, almost without exception, they were handpicked by Tanaka and his men, not the sheriff’s.”


THE SMART MONEY

Both Maher and Meyer vigorously deny any political leanings. And surely there are people who donated to Mr. Tanaka’s Gardena campaigns in the past, who do not support him now.

Perhaps Meyer and Maher are independent. And it’s possible that last year’s victorious board candidates—Sergeants Noe Garcia and Roberto Medrano—-are also entirely independent of any candidate’s influence.

However, many of the same Tanaka loyalists who are stumping for Meyer and Maher also reportedly showed up at Garcia and Medrano’s victory party a year ago.

So is there a long game afoot here?

Admittedly, nothing above constitutes proof. Yet, it is hard to ignore the fact that, for many years, the former undersheriff has demonstrated himself to be an extremely diligent long range planner with the ability and the attention span to orchestrate a series of seemingly disparate choices toward his future Big Picture goal. It’s among the things he does well.

In addition, it has been his pattern to identify and cultivate supporters he can trust and then to place them into positions that serve his larger goals. This too is one of his talents.

For these and other reasons, it runs counter to logic and history to believe that Paul Tanaka would not attempt to use these same strategic skills to reach a goal that matters so greatly to him—namely being elected the next Los Angeles County Sheriff.

So, yes, the smart money says Paul Tanaka has a long range plan in place to try to nab some big bucks from the two union PACs.

Will it work? Will he succeed with his long game?

Stay tuned.

And then in the future we’ll be on the lookout for so called “independent expenditures,” another monetary strategy that could greatly affect the race for LA County Sheriff.

It’s going to be an interesting elections season.


NOTE: LATER TODAY WE’LL HAVE MORE NEWS….about flip flopping on the Taft Jail move, and two great programs happening this weekend that you ought to know about.

40 Comments

  • Years ago when John Stites ran against Baca, Stites did win the vote with PPOA members. Perhaps John can chime in and answer if he (John) got any money from PPOA? I’m fairly certain that ALADS did NOT give any money. But, I could be wrong.

    HOWEVER, IF PPOA OR ALADS GIVES BACA OR TANAKA ANY OF MY HARD EARNED MONEY THE BOARD MEMBERS FROM EITHER UNION WILL NOT BE IN OFFICE LONG! AND BOTH UNIONS CAN EXPECT LAW SUITS! I SUGGEST BOTH BOARDS TO STAY OUT OF IT!

    C: Your information is right on. Both PPOA reps are in the tank for Tanaka! They know that we are watching them! What is ironic that all this back room wheeling and dealing was done right in front of Baca’s nose. Only proving that Baca hasn’t got a clue about any of the crimes committed by Tanaka or anybody else! Right now Baca is a cross between Anthony Weiner and Mr. Magoo!!

  • Awesome! The only thing better than this is looking at Olmsted’s Facebook and seeing the list of winners he assembled. Anyone need a gun mailed to themselves? Head on over he has an expert on board.

  • This comes as no surprise to anyone in the LASD. I have heard about this for some time now. Frankly, I think it would seriously jeopardize the credibility of both unions to openly support a pariah like Paul Tanaka, but it fits his master plan for success. Both unions need to seriously consider the huge ramifications for backing someone of Tanaka’s ilk. They would end up being covered with the same slime as their “dear leader.”

  • This just shows how much more cunning Tanaka is than Baca. Leroy used LASPA against ALADS, but its leaders weren’t bright enough to attempt to run for the ALADS’ Board and tried their own hand at a union. It did damage, but not like this kind of internal takeover of PPOA would.
    Does anyone really think that the M&M boys really give a rip about PPOA or anybody outside their camp? Neither cared enough to get involved in the association until they were directed to do so by their overlord in order to run for the board.
    Does any sergeant or lieutenant not loyal to Tanaka think they will get fair representation if they need it when his henchmen are running PPOA? Good luck with that.
    Most cops are apathetic at best to their labor unions. That is what Tanaka and his cronies are counting on. They have already sent out text messages asking their supporters to phone a friend in support of “these great guys” running against Moriguchi and Rhodes. It is important to stop this. The majority of sergeants and lieutenants didn’t bother to participate in last year’s vote and it put two of Tanaka’s people on the board. If that happens again this year, the board will belong to Mr. T. and the four 612 members will do all that they can to roll over the rest of the PPOA board.
    If elected Sheriff, Tanaka will drop his own version of the iron curtain over our department. Controlling labor in the short run gets him the PAC money. In the long run, it means that Sheriff Tanaka will never have to worry about any meet and confers on working conditions. He would be able to make any personnel decision he wants leaving affected employees no other recourse but to find their own lawyers and sue.
    We cannot let this happen! The word needs to get out. Brian and Tab need to be reelected!

  • Meanwhile in Westwood, they sit on there hands and wait for someone to deliever a case of low level LASD employees. Thank you DOJ for doing your job. You are serving the community and LASD well. I will just go back to reading Revelations and wait for that guy to come and save us too….

    ALADS or POPA, please support Tanaka. I am sure you wouldn’t mind getting my invitation to court as well. Can’t wait to see how you guys pull it off. We know you are going to try. Just a bunch of good dudes up there (dip spit and tattoo rub ).

  • If members of this department can’t see through Tanaka’s master plan to get the millions of endorsements dollars from the unions and put his peopele in place. Another clique just like the century cliques at MCJ and special assignments being dealt out to century deputies. Sgt. Medrano and Noe Garcia, both board members, are both examples of this century clique and are both mouth pieces for Tanaka.. Members beware,,,let’s keep our associations away from deputies with an agenda. remember….our association should represent all those that work throughout the county not just from one station.

  • As a member of this department I was relieved to see Tanaka finally gone from this department. Now he tries to come back using puppets like Maher, Meyer, Noe Garcia, and Medrano as his mouth pieces. Hopefully citizens of L.A. County see this and give their vote for Sheriff to another candidate, so we can move forward as a department and not backwards with a vote for Tanaka. Remember, the jail sanctions are a large part because of Tanaka and his incompetent leadership.

  • I compare what is going on with our department to our government. The problem is, we working stiffs just want to work hard collect our pay checks, take care of our families and enjoy life. However, the leaches want to grab a free ride and back stab us for their own agenda. Most of Tanaka’s followers fit that category. Sure many of them worked the “faster” stations, but how many of them did their job well, before they latched on to the “chosen one!”

    The people who do the job well are still trying to do “the job,” not running around campaigning for a man who never did the job well.

    Unfortunately, there appears to be more of them than there are of us (just like in society, when it comes to governmental issues) and this depresses me. How do you talk a hard working person into getting involved in the political BS of our department when all they want to do is work hard and go home to their families.

    Well it’s time for us to wake up!

    Just like Tanaka is telling his cronies to call a friend, I am asking each of you non-ass-kissing hard workers (present and former) to call a friend and tell them about how Tanaka and his cronies will finish ruining the department.

    The only consolation to our possible impending doom, of which that “genius” Tanaka has not planned, is what will he do if he were to make it to the top and realize he has now surrounded himself with mediocre, at best, policeman and all the hard working back bone of this department has quietly retired and gone away! So in essence he will realize that he aspired to be “King” of the “World Power,” which is no longer respected, because of his own doing.

    I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I have considered running towards it, but that would make it the first time in my career I’ve run from a fight.

  • Reading this made me think of something. Doesn’t the LAPD have a union that is heavy involved in politics. The LAPD guy could have a ton of money from them. While banaka and olmsted battle it out on the sidewalk that vince guy could walk through an open door. Not to mention and this is 100% speculation but it looks like the top 3 are republicans and he appears to be a democrat and Pat doesn’t appear to be seriously running. That could be huge especially with the 2 supervisor seats in democrat districts on the same ticket. I wish someone would get all these guys in he same room to answer questions.

  • The ALADS Directors will do what the membership ALLOWS them to get away with. Haven’t we all had more than a belly full of Banaka? How many souls have sold to these to?

  • #10: Don’t forget March 7, 2014 is the final filing deadline for this race; lotsa time yet for other names to jump into the fray. Other LAPD names besides Lou Vince that come to mind are:

    1. Jim Bratton.
    2. Charlie Beck

    It’ll be interesting to see what the candidate line-up turns out to be on March 7, 2014. And, as you say, the LAPD candidate may have lots of money behind him.

  • I have to laugh every time I hear the Tanaka camp, including all their cronies on the department, talking about the need for a “new direction.” What direction could that be since the little guy with the big ego was responsible for the direction of the department in the first place? Could a Tanaka koolaid drinker please step up to the plate and explain to everyone what Tall Paul means by a new direction? We anxiously await..

    As far as the honest, hard working men and women of the department, don’t fret about the petty tyrant too much. He can bamboozle whoever he wants, in the long run you never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel – the LA Times. Tanaka already did that, and then some.

    In the end Olmsted will be voted in as the next sheriff, in much the same way Baca was, except for the dying part. Everyone who claims that a successful challenge requires gazillions of dollars keeps forgetting that Block was defeated in the primary, when he only attracted 36% of the vote. Baca is in far worse shape than Block ever was, dead or alive, so he needs a miracle just to make a runoff. That is the simple truth, one the “experts” can’t seem to understand.

    In the meantime, vote for Moriguchi and Rhodes, tell the M & M twins Maher and Mayer that they cannot be trusted. All you have to do is read Maher’s statement, it says it all. Maybe Mayer can share with everyone how he was able to get out of his choice custody spot in only 4 months, when the department’s policy of sergeants/lieutenants serving two years was already firmly in place.

    Andrew, is this part of the “new direction” Tanaka wants to take us to? No thanks, bro!

  • Curious:

    John Stites: “The Sheriff’s Department needs leadership that is effective, clear and consistent.”

    Vincent Yu: “Therefore, our leaders within the public safety field must be driven, accountable and invested in the safety of our communities.”

    Bill Sutherland: “The Sheriff’s Department is in need of leadership that is effective, clear and consistent.”

    Roy Burns: “…the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has functioned under a system that is unorganized, inconsistent and lacks effective communication.”

    Richard Montgomery: “…it is extremely important that my county’s Sheriff’s Department have a leader who is experienced, sensible and driven.”

    The Tanaka campaign is slipping, it looks like they are using worn-out templates for these cheesy endorsements as they sound repetitive.

    What is noticeably lacking, is anyone vouching for his honesty or integrity.

    Paul, a hint for you: that’s what voters care about today, so please save us the national embarrassment when you implode – leave quietly, peacefully, and take your cigars with you!

  • I’m yet to meet anyone on the department, or see anyone on this site, who thinks Baca should remain in office. I find that noteworthy.

  • Jack D: You have an interesting view. Could it be that a ¨hand to hand: has already gone down? Tanaka and members of ALADS and/or PPOA has given money or promises of money and it was recorded by the Feds? Now that would be a game changer!!

  • ALADS should save their 2 million dollars and invest into a better defense law firm. That Green and piece of crap law firm is weak…

  • I take it you lost your civil service hearing # 20. How long was your service to LASD and what was your alleged violation of policy?

  • Hello folks, It appears there is some question as to the motive about candidates for PPOA and how that will play out with the elections for Sheriff. Additionally, other commentators seem to believe candidates are not hard workers. Just because you support a particular person doesn’t make you lazy. If you wish to use facts, lets compare the work assignments of the candidates. If you really wish to see how one works, lets run their names within Department computer systems and compare historical stats, as they relate to calls for service, arrests, search warrants served, etc. I’m sure our current PPOA president can’t hold a candle to most department members. Not to mention the nice trip he arranged and they (PPOA) took with their wives on the membership dime. I’m sure it was business and justified.

    Lastly, did everyone know PPOA approved $600,000 for Mr. Ridley-Thomas’ campaign and this was not sent to the membership for a vote. Your monies. Also, did everyone know these so called current board members who are here to give candidates for Sheriff money made a motion to send this topic out to the membership for a vote, stating want ever the membership wants that’s what PPOA will support.

    My point, people on this website are making self serving claims that are not true. The PPOA president is concerned he will lose his PPOA vehicle, credit card and paid meals.

    For the record, I have yet to see a viable candidate for Sheriff that will bring change of direction, culture and morale.

    Good luck LASD….

  • ARES, your weak efforts at plugging Mayer and Maher’s candidacy reminds everyone of the desperate Tanaka clones from Region II thinking they had a monopoly on police work. Please spare us the “I’m a better cop than you are” routine, it’s old, juvenile, and not reality.

    What is self-serving about pointing out the TRUTH that Mayer and Maher are both Tanaka supporters, campaign contributors, and are “in the car” based on their job assignment history?

    They should take a step back and just fess up, we don’t want PPOA to become another ALADS. That would mean the new PPOA president would have to run around and challenge people to fight in the parking lot Roy Burns style.

  • Week effort, just commenting on how people make statements that are not true. It appears you get upset with facts and begin the name calling and back yard kid fighting. I agree, Mr. Burns was very unprofessional and should not have been in that position. Find some true facts, not rumors, and debate. As far as naming where one works, no claims were ever made. There are great guys in all assignments as we know. There are also those that are not so much.

  • Why would Rogers run against Baca when hes his friend?

    That would really let the Sheriff down!!!

    I hope not

  • @”ARES”: “For the record, I have yet to see a viable candidate for Sheriff that will bring change of direction, culture and morale.”

    I’d like to hear your legit argument against Olmsted being a “viable” candidate!

  • #29, I feel to truly eliminate all the internal division we have, someone from the outside should come in. I like Olmsted but he’s from the Department’s culture.

  • ARES, the only way to eliminate internal division is by bringing in someone who has the CREDIBILITY to clean house and reform. An outsider is going to spend precious time spinning his/her wheels trying to figure out who’s who in the zoo, Olmsted doesn’t have that disadvantage. He knows exactly where all the skeletons are buried, and who buried them.

    An external candidate will breath new life into the corrupt executives, managers, and supervisors who are hanging on by a thread in the hopes they can fly under the radar. It’s sort of like a Stage IV cancer, plastic surgery will not do the trick. It will take invasive surgery, chemo, radiation, and years of rehab to get this department back on its feet again.

    I know all the players well, and I trust Olmsted will get the job done.

  • @”ARES”: Similar to what “LATBG” is stating, with an outsider we risk the insiders pulling the “wool” over his eyes. This would be easy to do because he will not know the “players,” and an outsider will not know the “good” culture of our department and the pride we possess. No disrespect to our Brother’s in Blue, be they have been over managed for a long time. Micro managing is not what is needed, training someone to make their own right decisions and holding them accountable when they don’t, is what we need.

    Olmsted spent a lot of time on this department and went through the ranks up to Commander. Sure you have to play along “a little” to “get along,” but I have not heard one story of him having sold his soul, and his soul is what we need. I believe he is a Cop/Deputy first, not a manager. Why else would have tried to settle the problems, “in house,” first!

    I have been around long enough to be able to look back at Baca’s career (decisions he made as a Chief, and continues to make as The Sheriff) and Tanaka’s career (decisions he made as a Sergeant and his management style) and now say, we should have seen this coming.

    I have not seen or heard anything bad about Olmsted, as it would apply to his duties as Sheriff!

  • #32, you guys bring up great and valid points. I too have been around, thirty years, and will admit to holding rank. I also know Mr. Olmsted and believe his vision is admirable. It is my opinion with the right candidate, not an LAPD duplicate, our department can be restored. There are good people at all levels and I feel a true leader can see through the BS you and I worry about. I know not all persons at SHQ are terrible and they are trying their best to do right by the agency and by the citizenship of Los Angeles County. It is a very complex dynamic but if we all stop the rumor mill, hold true to facts and remember we work for the public, we will turn the corner. All our laundry is out, there is nothing new being posted, just a regurgitation of what is know internally and now everyone knows and are investigating. We need a new boss, new direction and culture. People outside the department, the voters, are clueless to these topics and will just check the box for incumbent. Cross your fingers.

  • Okay Brian…….Stop your whining and get ready to go back to the jails…cry baby.

    The current = Wack-a-doodle doo

    Pat Gomez = Nice guy but not capable

    Paul Tanaka = Scapegoat

    Bob Olmsted = I know where all the bodies are buried but I was only a Commander and couldn’t do anything about it….hey, look over there!

    Vince or Vance Who = ???

  • EDITOR’S NOTE:

    Those of you who persist in trying to out other commenters’ identities—erroneously, I might add—will have your comments deleted. I won’t bother to merely edit. I’ll just trash ’em.

    (And, no, this is not a violation of your right to free speech.)

  • Looking to confirm that retired Captain Mary Campbell got hooked for 422 PC and is at CRDF in the same cell that Paris Hilton was held.

  • I am troubled to hear that Todd Rogers has decided to enter the race for Sheriff and that he changed from Republican to Non-Declared.

  • @9..”faster” stations have hard workers too, however there are a lot of deputies who live off of the history of the fast station. They don’t work it they just log on and log off. Check the stats.

    The “fast” stations are an extension of the puppeteer. How does it feel to lick boots from someone who shot someone in the back. He doesn’t have anyone’s back.

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