At Length Endorsements —

  • 05/29/2014
  • Reporters Desk

LA County Sheriff: Olmsted Yes, Tanaka No

James Preston Allen, Publisher

Never before in all my years of voting in Los Angeles County did the significance of the sheriff’s office rise to the importance that it does today.

Even though I knew old Sherman Block, the sheriff whose longevity in office made his name became synonymous with the position, I never really trusted the department. The current investigations into scandals involving the Men’s Central Jail have only come to confirm our own worst fears: there are officers who believe that they are above the law.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart scandal echoes in this election. Even the hardline candidates believe the federal government will soon impose a consent decree on the Sheriff’s Department. But this consent decree can’t happen soon enough, for as we have seen with the LAPD, change doesn’t happen from the inside out. Nor is change brought about by those trained and promoted from within the system, unless there is some external authority forcing that change.

Having said this, it might seem logical to endorse Jim McDonnell, the Long Beach Police Department Chief (formerly of LAPD), however Long Beach under his leadership still has it’s own unsolved problems with reigning in officer-involved shootings and transparency issues.

Paul Tanaka, the former under-sheriff who resigned over the controversy at the Men’s Central Jail and who testified recently in court in a related case, is likely under investigation by the feds over his abuse of power. Obviously he’s not the one to shephard change at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

The one who does stand out amongst all these candidates is Bob Olmsted, the retired sheriff commander, who blew the whistle on the department after he became disillusioned by what he saw as corruption and abuse of the badge. At least he had the courage of his convictions to do the right thing in the face of significant risk. What more do you want from anyone who stands behind a badge but the conviction to do what’s right regardless of what happens to them?

Don’t get me wrong, Olmsted is not the perfect candidate for sheriff. He just comes with a lot less baggage and a sense of the law that rises above the culture of the sheriff’s department that can no longer be trusted. Anyone who’s elected to this job is in for a rough ride, but Olmsted is better suited than the rest.

Jerry, Gavin and Kamala Harris, endorsements for State offices

Jerry Brown could probably be elected to the governorship for the rest of his natural life after turning around the California State budget deficit. He knows more about how to govern this state than half of the rest of the legislature. Love him or hate him “Governor Moon Beam” as he was once called for his prescient vision on cell phones, before they were invented, is clearly the only choice once again.

Gavin Newsom, the pretty-boy incumbent lieutenant governor from San Francisco, should only be reelected so that when Brown leaves the state we don’t have some right-winger sitting in Sacramento reversing the governor with the stroke of a pen.

Kamala Harris, the incumbent attorney general, has proven herself to be a very competent state attorney and is a rising star in the Democratic Party. She could be the first black female governor.

John Chiang, is a local guy who has worked his way up from the State Board of Equalization, to the Controller’s Office and now vying for treasurer. You always want someone with an honest and clean track record to handle your money.

Dave Jones, simply put he’s the best insurance commissioner elected to this office since it was created.

In the state Assembly race for the 70th district it would seem like we’ve had someone with the last name Lowenthal in this office since Alan Lowenthal whupped Rudy Svornich Jr.. by 20 points in his own home town. This legacy by name has sort of run its course at this point and I’m endorsing Patrick O’Donnell, who at least had the humility to show up at the neighborhood council meeting just to hear what was on people’s minds.

Last, but hardly least, the candidate who doesn’t need any endorsement, Janice Hahn running for Congress in the 44th District. She has no opponents as I doubt anyone from another party could beat her. No one from her own party dares to challenge her. But that alone isn’t a reason to vote for her. I think that in three years in Washington, D.C. She has learned to stand up and fight — compromise when necessary — and to find common ground even in hostile circumstances.

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