LASD Sheriff John Scott

New LA Sheriff Scott Takes On the LASD’s Infamous Smoking Patio

On Wednesday afternoon, an executive aide to LA County’s brand new sheriff John Scott
sent out an intriguing and symbolically-weighted memo to all the department’s supervisors.

The memo concerned the infamous cigar smoking patio that, up until last summer, served as a de facto private club for former undersheriff Paul Tanaka, into which only his special list of loyalists were allowed to enter. This exalted boys and girls club, known to the chosen 100 or so, as the Ramona Blvd. Patio, is a tented and climate-controlled interior courtyard that features a refrigerator, sink, barbecue island, and a special cigar-smoking section.

WitnessLA first broke the news of the patio and the smoking club’s existance in a 2011 story by Matt Fleischer.

We told how, in order to enter the patio, one had to possess a “challenge coin,” a specially designed sequentially numbered coin that was given to each member by Paul Tanaka personally. Never mind that this exclusive recreational enclave, located inside the sheriff’s headquarters building in Monterey Park, was constructed in 2008 at a cost to LA County taxpayers of $22,726.31 in building materials alone, and was maintained by LASD’s Facilities Services Bureau.

When Matt and I initially heard stories about the patio for the chosen few only we found the whole notion hard to believe. Quasi-secret club houses that one could only enter if one was gifted by the club master with specially-minted charmed coins? Seriously? It sounded like 4th grade on steroids.

Ever after we’d verified and re-verified the information, we agreed we wouldn’t go with the story until we’d seen one of the damned challenge coins—or, better yet, had acquired photo of one of the things that we could publish. (Which we did, as pictured once again above.) Otherwise, how could we ask readers to believe this crazy tale we barely believed ourselves?

These days, of course, the patio’s existence and its once highly-exclusive purpose is widely known among LASD watchers—including to our new sheriff.

Which brings us back to Wednesday’s memo and its announcement that, at the order of Sheriff Scott, the former Ramona Blvd. Patio will, forthwith, be transformed into an “all-access” barbecue area “designated for all Department employees.”

“Additionally,” continues the memo with a droll touch, “per California Government Code 7597(a), smoking is not permitted in the new barbeque area.”


And, just to make sure no one misses the point that this in-crowd/out-crowd, in-the-car/got-nothing-coming nonsense ain’t playin’ with the new regime, the memo finishes with this request:

Sheriff Scott would also like the barbeque area to have a new, meaningful name. He is requesting that all interested personnel, assigned to Sheriff’s Headquarters, participate in a naming contest. The person who submits the name which is eventually selected will be allowed to park in the Sheriff’s parking space for one month.

Symbols matter, a concept that is clearly not lost on the new guy in town.

Well done, Sheriff Scott!

Just shy of a full week in office and the man has already made several strong moves (like the suspension of the controversial field deputy program)—some of them not yet public—that show much promise.

May the trend continue.

Post Script: We understand there is a second private patio that many of the cigar-smoking coin holders use. This one must be entered from the COPS Bureau (Community Oriented Policing) at 4850 Civic Center Way, in East Los Angeles. Perhaps a look into that little matter might also be in order?

Here’s the full text of the memo:

From:Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau Info>
Date: February 5, 2014 at 4:54:49 PM PST
Subject: Headquarters Building BBQ Patio Area

Please distribute this to all personnel in your respective units:

At the direction of Sheriff Scott, the former cigar smoking patio will be transformed into an all-access barbeque area designated for all Department employees. Currently, plans are being drafted to construct a pathway that will allow access from the main patio area to new barbeque area. Additionally, per California Government Code 7597(a), smoking is not permitted in the new barbeque area.

Sheriff Scott would also like the barbeque area to have a new, meaningful name. He is requesting that all interested personnel, assigned to Sheriff’s Headquarters, participate in a naming contest. The person who submits the name which is eventually selected will be allowed to park in the Sheriff’s parking space for one month.

Please have all interested personnel submit their selections via email to me at by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.

Thank you,


Lieutenant Allen Castellano
Executive Aide
Office of the Sheriff
4700 Ramona Boulevard
Monterey Park, CA 91754-2169


  • Here’s a great name for the Q area. The “can’t wait till December” area! This slob is going to be a problem and I’m not. Mr T supporter.

  • The Barbecue of Justice: where you can enjoy the grill of freedom, taste the flavor of victory, and smell the smoke of freedom… Welcome back LASD!

  • How about “In Memoriam To Those Who Gave Their Lives” And every week recruits would research and place one of our heroes’ stories, large enough for all to read on the wall. My best friend is on the wall, at STARS, perhaps that’s why I have hated what these monsters have done to his memory!

    C: Yes there is another gang spot at COPS Bureau! These haters of our community must be dealt with with a firm hand.

  • Except for “almost there” who obviously did not get enough love growing up, the kool aid drinkers are silent. I only hear the crickets. I can see your retirement party now “almost there” just you and Tanaka.

  • The Tanaka followers must be really worried. He should fire all the top brass for conspiracy, and aiding and abetting. Tod Rogers should go first for allowing the corruption (Sergeant cheating scandal)to continue, as the federal indictments were being effected.

  • We can bash all the Tall Paul followers all we want, but a look at the donations lists say it all. They have been rewarded for their donations in promotions. Many of them will say “I had no choice”. But look where they are now, and even the new Sheriff can’t take that away from them.

  • 7579(a) No public employee or member of the public shall smoke any tobacco product inside a public building, or in an outdoor area within 20 feet of a main exit, entrance, or operable window of a public building, or in a passenger vehicle, as defined by Section 465 of the Vehicle Code, owned by the state.

    Can we please be fair, and have this enforced at all the Facilities.

  • Please keep mentioning Paul Tanaka’s name…. Love it!

    Fundraising and support (from rank and file and community members) continues to grow strong! Thanks for all the input.

    Good luck to all the candidates!

  • I was going to recommend “The Sherman Block Memorial Picnic Area” just to rub it in, but I like J London’s idea (#6) better.

  • EPC was interesting yesterday to say the least. John Scott has directed all Chiefs and above to meet with him personally. Betkey mentioned he and Cecil are off to Cabo so his meeting will have to wait until after the next EPC. We know where their loyalty is!

  • We always have a choice! The problem is how much pain we want to endure for our integrity. Sometimes we are brave and the next minute we are bowing down. Part of the human condition, I guess!

    Great job, Sheriff Scott!!

  • Sorry Bandwagon, I’m not Political. Will do my 35 whether its at my current spot or in some Tower up North. I don’t trust Scott or his Henchman Tyler.

  • @almost there. Just when you think an idiot sees the light, “Almost there ” speaks up and

    contradicts that theory.

    Instead of making sophomoric, childish and demeaning remarks about Sheriff Scott’s appearance, why don’t you look in the mirror and tell us all what you see. My bet is, it is not the omniscient , stalwart bastion of society and protector of the LASD banner of justice, which you have so inadequately painted of yourself.

    I have a pretty good picture of you, now and I think LASD will be better off when “almost there ” is “Almost was ” Get a life and prepare yourself for retirement is a positive way.

    You are spending too much effort, making a fool of yourself. You have to ask yourself : Is this really worth the brain damage ?”

  • PS… Almost there. Take a look at #6 ‘s post, If you focus on meaningful things , maybe maturity will follow and you will be able to enjoy your retirement..

  • The plumbing should be looked at a little closer.The waste line is what should be looked at. Not by code.

  • This is a great move by Sheriff Scott. Poor Cecil, Kevin Goran and Dave Betkey (to name a few). Your daddy Paul is gone and now the club house too. You probably need a hug right now – go to LACERA. They will give you your hug and gently push you out of the Department nest.

  • Had nothing coming:

    My last comment was for “almost there” so you must be his alter ego. I have known plenty of people just like you in my career who are not “political”
    You sit on the sidelines and enjoy the fruits of life obtained by those willing to stand up and be counted. Must be great never having to commit to anything.
    Strength of character is something we try to teach our kids. Evidently, it was a value you never learned.

  • Thanks Sheriff for opening up once sacred grounds of the holyier-than-thou/annointed. Please continue to right the many wrongs that remain! The entire building could stand to be tented and fumigated.

    #12 Lol….I know you… have that devilish laugh. Keep thinking everything is ok. Your only fooling yourself. Everyone knows 85+% of the department lives out of county,thus not elegible to vote. Keep up the cigar nights and sending the text messages. Let us know how it works out for you. In the meantime we’ll listen up for the next wave of shelling by John and ken. LOL!

    Anyword on indictments??

  • How about the Jerry L. Ortiz memorial patio … A great man who died while doing what deputies are supposed to do – no politics involved

  • I would like to discuss an ethical dilemma. Celeste perhaps you can get one of the law school professors to weigh in. Trutanich was criticized for fabricating “views” on his youtube campaign video. Views are the equivalent of Facebook “likes” and both views and likes are an indicator of popularity. Rogers and Hellmold seem to have fabricated likes on their Facebook, especially Rogers since his are from other countries. The intent seems clear in all cases, mislead the public into believing a falsehood.

    Now the numbers come out on fundraising and I was impressed by how much Olmsted raised. Until you look deeper and see he put up 90,000 of his own money. So the 240,000 is really 150,000. I am wondering if we should view this as plus in that he is so committed to the cause he put up his own cash? Well I did think that until I learned it may only be a “loan” to the campaign and he can actually pay himself back at any time. In the meanwhile the public is mislead. This reminds me of a musician seeding their tip jar with their own cash to stimulate more tips.

    So, Celeste, are pumping up “views” and “likes” and donations just a part of campaigning or is it considered unethical by law professors and other ethical experts?

    If in fact it is unethical to pump up figures then I would like to hear the candidates explain themselves. But if its ok, then likewise lets get off the topic and move on to other more pressing issues.

  • #22- Good to know…lol. We will let you know how it works out.

    Despite the negative press, rumors of indictment and the John and Ken debacle, Paul Tanaka was able to fundraise more than all candidates, including Baca ($312,000), who was the incumbent at the time. Looks like Tanaka ($381,000) is in the lead at this time and from what I hear, his fundraising has increased ten times since the Sheriff stepped down. His momentum continues to grow and will be more apparent in a few weeks.

    Should be a good time!

  • I second the Jerry L. Ortiz memorial. Also, a special thanks to Travis Morrow who spoke at Jerry’s funeral. Your story about Jerry and Sheriff Baca in the elevator was priceless. Jerry got the final word on that one!

  • Sounds to me like Olmsted believes in the saying “put up or shut up” He believes he can make a difference and he is putting up.

  • Who is this bandwagon fool and why does he bag on those that choose not to be political.
    Me, got time on,!and I just do my job. don’t care about politics and no desire to be a water walker. If more folks were like that, we’d have less problems.

  • Easy big guy. No need to talk ghetto. Use your big words like mommy taught you. My comments are intended for those who go through life unable or unwilling to put themselves in harms way and make a commitment. Whats is the old saying, if your not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

  • FYI, a candidate in this race can only “loan” themselves $20K, anything else they put in is a donation and is not refundable nor is it tax deductible. Meg Whittman “donated” her campaign millions of dollars that cannot be returned. Look at it as you will, that is a commitment to put your own money into a campaign. Raising money for any campaign is difficult for any candidate, it is a non-stop endeavor.

    Olmsted hasn’t been involved with “shaking down” employees with “pay for play” schemes as well investigated and published by WLA. It has been reported that a MCJ sergeant was pressuring young deputies at his assignment to “donate” cash money for a Tanaka fundraiser at a Whittier Cigar store a few months ago. That information was forwarded to the FBI, they have the handle and all of the names involved (two of the deputies came forward and complained on their own). Interesting those names did not show up on the candidates donation list. Lets stay with reporting facts, not conjecture and humbug info.

  • @”LOL”: let’s see, what is happening in a few weeks, the “ALADS Candidate Forum?” I hope you are going, I don’t think that whole charade is going to work out for Tanaka’s campaign like he is hoping it will. Can you say “John and Ken, part II!

  • @ HUH: I hate to admit it but you’re right. I work MCJ and Tanaka is trying to arrange for deputies to be transported from a restaurant in Gardena to the ALADS debates. Alot of people saying “YES I’ll be there” but rolling there eyes after his people leave. I used to think Undersheriff Tanaka was standing behind us, but he laid us all out and deputies and HIS “friends” going to jail while he claims “I dont’t know.” He talks big but acts small. Get me out of this mess.

  • I think it is admirable to demonstrate commitment to your cause by donating a huge sum to yourself. Just make it clear to the public that’s what you did so that no one is mislead about the level of outside support you may have.

  • @36: How did that work for Carly Fiorina? She gave $5 million on her own money for her Senate campaign and got beat, bad. She was also lambasted in the media.

    Olmstead Retread.

  • Veritatem, the thought of Olmsted as sheriff seems to really bother you, I wonder why? Please tell us all about Hellmold’s candidacy, we anxiously await your insightful assessment.

    Carly Fiorina, just like Meg Whitman, failed in their campaigns because they were the exact opposite of Olmsted. Riordan, Bloomberg, and many a wealthy elected official has used his/her own money. It’s the integrity and honest intentions of the candidate that speak louder than money – hence the reason Tanaka will fail miserably, no matter how much money he extorts from employees and special interests.

  • Sheriff Scott made a great decision regarding the infamous “Patio” at Sheriff’s Headquarters. When Tanaka was working, most days at approximately 3 to 4 PM, he would make his way down to the patio along with Cecil Rhambo, Kevin Goran, Dave Betkey and others. It was during these times at the “Patio” that Tanaka would hold court and discuss promotions, transfers of supervisors and other important personnel matters with his inner circle. On Fridays before holidays, there would be a big herd of Tanaka supporters and coin holders that would arrive at Sheriff’s Headquarters and make their way to the “Patio” to have an audience with the boy king.

    Hopefully Sheriff Scott’s recent actions regarding the “Patio” will send a clear message to the Tanaka Clan that the days of favoritism, cliques and intimidation are over. The only stronger message Sheriff Scott could have sent regarding the “Patio” would have been to tear it down.

    I think it’s important for Sheriff Scott to realize the extent of Department executives and supervisors that were part of the Tanaka group. Many of these names have been mentioned in past posts on WitnessLA, but there are some that need to be mentioned. Buddy Goldman was a frequent attendee at the “Patio” as was Mike Rothans, Eddie Rivero, Bob Tubbs, Bob Rifkin and Jim Thornton. These are just a few of many that frequented the “Patio”.

    Rothans is an interesting case. During the Maxwell vs. Tanaka equity case a few years ago, when the heat was turned up when the equity complaint was filed, Rothans couldn’t back away from the incident fast enough. After the complaint was filed he even sought counsel from Rhambo when he (Rhambo) was Chief of Region II and Goran who was a Commander in Region II. Seeking counsel from two of Tanaka’s closest allies after the equity complaint was filed and months later when Sheriff Baca was making inquiries about what led up to the equity complaint and Rothans said he “did not remember the specifics” of the incident, was a strong display of ethical cowardice.

    Sheriff Scott ask Rothans what strings he pulled to get a relative hired as a student worker and later fast tracked through the hiring process as a deputy sheriff. Rothans is a master at playing both sides of the fence with his primary concern being what’s in it for him.

    Sheriff Scott you have made some great decisions so far in your short tenure as Sheriff, the Department and public are waiting to see what your next moves are. Hopefully you will begin to rid yourself and the Department of the close allies of Tanaka who conspired with him and benefitted from the damage and destruction caused by Tanaka.

  • @LATBG- Actually, YOU seem to be in constant fear and paranoia of Olmstead losing. It reeks throughout every rant you launch. What’s wrong kid, does your career depend on it?

    Unlike you, I make honest assessments about the election. I’m sure Bob Olmstead is a good man, but he has zero chance of winning. Why, you ask? He is running on a “whistleblower” platform and they don’t win elections. Did he do the right thing by blowing the whistle? Yes, but he still has no chance of winning. I implore you to give us an example of a winning whistleblower campaign? Second, he hasn’t raised enough funds to make him a viable contender. Your last rant mentioned that his integrity is more important than money. Of course it is, but it won’t win an election. Be realistic LATBG. Who wins elections? The person with more money, and stats prove it with few exceptions.

    Lastly, Olmstead comes across as an angry old man. You know the, “Get that ball out my yard” type. He won’t win over the deputy union, nor does anybody in Los Angeles County know who the heck he is.

    Here’s the true joke and reality shot that Olmstead supporters need to swallow. Olmstead is polling behind a confirmed liar, bully, and cover up artist. That person is Paul Tanaka. Explain that?

    “We could have 100 indictments, we could have 1,000 indictments, at the end of all of this, I’m going to be standing.” [Todd Rogers, January 16, 2014]. I’m still waiting for the Rogers’ Camp to reply on that statement.


    Carpe Veritatem!

  • It’s sad to hear so many of you concerned about the election as it may relate to the future of your career. I ma not being critical so much as making an observation. Each of you see qualities and smears in each individual running. hell i could pick apart everyone of them ; to what end. I have my own beliefs , based largely on what I have learned from all of you. Beliefs that are not focused solely on who will be the next sheriff. I hate to hear blogs which reek of dissatisfaction and depression. Everyone who has visited and responded on this site have one common need. You want LASD to return to its once superior status. I doubt anyone of you honestly support the deputies who “allegedly ” lumped a handcuffed prisoner. HEll no you don’t.

    Ethics and integrity has to start at the top. I know this is an old line, but it is so true. # years ago Sheriff Baca invited me to his office to discuss the Jail conditions in general , but more important , the morality, ethics and integrity of the department members I saw it. tI was not the one to ask about CJ or any of the custody operations because I only spent 3 years in custody during my career, but Baca felt I had a halfway decent take on people.

    After yacking for a couple of hours I suggested of plan of attack for correcting the failure of his command staff to lead an impart those personal qualities to their subordinates and their subordinates to to those who report to them and so on down the line.

    He agreed . I never heard a word and obviously the suggestions were not followed, because corruption prevailed. I truly believe Baca gave “ORDERS” to his staff who ignored him. I was never privy to EPC so I don’t know if the ideas were ever broached, But I suspect, someone may have dropped the ball or maybe convinced baca it was a bad idea. ( By the way I am not , nor was I then looking for a job . couldn’t even if i wanted to. )

    In closing, let me say that a admire all of you. You have the guts to speak you mind. It’s a start . You ( if if you are “almost There” are the future of LASD. For you youngsters, i applaud you . Look around , ask questions and in the end : do the right thing.;

    To my good friend Lt at SLA, Station , I’ve learned a lot from you and still do. it’s time for you to understand that people look up to you. with that comes responsiblityand I know you do. Keep Swinging S.T.

  • Carpe diem ! and notate bene. !! Hopefully you can add the omissions and correct the errors in my last post so it makes .

  • @veritatem…Olmsted is hardly an angry old guy. One of the most level headed men I have ever had the pleasure to know. Nice try though!

  • Veritatem: Son, I’ve got thirteen months left in my career, and I will see my fourth sheriff for all of what, three months? I support Olmsted, as does the majority of department members, because we are long overdue for adult supervision. You want to reduce his platform, and by extension his entire career, to a mere whistleblower, but it won’t work. He’s running on a REFORM platform.

    You’re supporting Hellmold, your choice. You ignored my question, again your choice. I’ll leave the rants to you…

  • @”Veritatem”: thanks for your post! It shows your true colors. In essence you are not supporting Olmsted because in your mind he doesn’t stand a chance of winning, and therefore most likely can’t help you! But, I’m sure if he wins you’ll be in line shaking his hand bragging about how you supported him.

    Hellmold really has the experience to run this department?

    The best person to run this department is someone who has been a good street cop and risen through the ranks. They will most likely understand the mentality of the line Deputy (back bone of the department) and be able to negotiate through the politics, as the person in charge.

    Hellmold couldn’t hold Olmsted’s war bag, nor would he know what to do with it!

  • I don’t know if I would want the name of a fallen deputy associated with the cigar club patio. For years to come it will always be remembered as Tanaka’s smoking club. Jerry is to good of a person and his name should not be associated with the patio.

  • Good point Biggdogg. That thought did not come to mind. Perhaps the best thing would be to tear it down!

  • It’s difficult to think about the Cigar Club Patio but short of tearing it down (best option) converting it to open use and naming it is the next best thing. My offering is, de Palms Terrance. Deciphered means de (debacle) of Paul & Larry, Myron & Stonich Terrace. A privy could be brought in to represent Mr. Baca

  • Veritatem……. You say you make honest assessments about the election. But then go on to trash Olmsted in a quite subversive way. Who, may I ask made you the seeker of all truth about candidates and their electability ?. You seem to want to impress with your knowledge of Latin and that’s fine , but it does not qualify you as an election odds maker. A wise man would not make such definitive comments about an election which is loaded with controversy and ” sticklebacks ” Not Latin but a good analogy. I think..

    Don’t demean a good man who has displayed his ethical and ideological qualities long before announcing his candidacy.

  • leave mike rothans out of this stuff , he is a good guy .. maxwell is a different story and there are more

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