Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Is Paul Tanaka's High Ranking Sierra Madre Political Support Feeling Now?

Tanaka with finger outstretched
We first wrote about our then Mayor Nancy Walsh's puzzling endorsement of controversial candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff, the legally embattled former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, here on this blog early last January.

Given the nature of much of what was going on regarding Tanaka's apparently deep personal involvement in the various nasty Sheriff Department prison abuse scandals then (and still) under investigation by the FBI, Nancy's unfortunate vow of support didn't impress us as being an especially brilliant political move at the time. Here is what we wrote in the post discussing this very matter (link):

In what the staff here at The Sierra Madre Tattler has now begun to refer to as the "political equivalent of twerking," Mayor Nancy Walsh has made what has got to be regarded as a very controversial candidate endorsement. Paul Tanaka, who is under investigation by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for many of the very same things that drove Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca to announce his resignation as Sheriff yesterday, is not the kind of person politicians possessing a modicum of sense and wisdom would want to find themselves associated with right now. Then again, nobody has ever accused Nancy Walsh of having too much of that sort of thing.

Our former Mayor of Sierra Madre was celebrated in the following Tanaka for LA County Sheriff press release for her support, which as far as I can tell was only published on their website and here on The Tattler. Here is part of what was said (link):

Sierra Madre Mayor Nancy Walsh Endorses Paul Tanaka - Today, Sierra Madre Mayor Nancy Walsh officially announced her support of former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka as he campaigns for Sheriff of Los Angeles County. Tanaka has also received the support of Rosemead Mayor Polly Low and Temple City Mayor Cynthia Sternquist. 

“Paul Tanaka’s exceptional leadership is exactly what the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department needs,” said Mayor Walsh. “As Mayor of the City of Gardena, Paul successfully saved the city from bankruptcy, reduced crime to record lows and increased business throughout the city. The department would be lucky to have him as their next Sheriff.”

Now why Nancy Walsh, who as Mayor here had repeatedly vowed to do whatever it takes to keep the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department out of Sierra Madre, would want to insert herself into that particular political race does beg an explanation. And I am not certain what that explanation might be.

Additionally, Paul Tanaka had also received the support of Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce President Ed Chen. So profound was Ed's devotion that he took a leave of absence from his position as Director of Governmental Affairs at Athens Services (our beloved trash company with the helpful multi-colored cans) to help run Tanaka's campaign for Sheriff.

It is also important to note here that Ed Chen is Chamber of Commerce President not only in Sierra Madre, but also in Rosemead and Temple City as well. A COC triple crown, I guess. All of whom have (or had) Mayors that endorsed the Tanaka campaign. And all at roughly the same time.

Maybe it was just a coincidence.

So you have to wonder how all of those folks were feeling yesterday when stories such as the following  started showed up in all of the daily papers. This first one is from the Los Angeles Daily News (link):

Paul Tanaka urged to halt Los Angeles County sheriff bid in wake of federal jailhouse probe Sheriff’s candidate Paul Tanaka’s testimony in federal court this week set off a firestorm of criticism, as rivals called on him to bow out and some supporters remained steadfast.

Under questioning from a prosecutor, Tanaka acknowledged that he is a subject in an ongoing federal investigation.

Tanaka, a former second-in-command of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, was called to testify in defense of Deputy James Sexton — the first of seven sheriff’s officers to stand trial on charges stemming from an alleged effort to hinder an FBI probe of abuse of inmates in the county jail.

Tanaka said that he knew about the department’s efforts to hide an FBI informant and inmate inside L.A. County’s jails, but he believed the Sheriff’s Department had a duty to protect the inmate while the department investigated the inmate’s claims that a deputy and federal agent helped him smuggle a cellphone and drugs inside the jail.

“Orders that I passed on or carried out, I believed to be lawful and still do,” Tanaka said Tuesday.

Then there was this troubling report in yesterday's LA Register (link):

Opponent calls for Paul Tanaka to quit sheriff race in light of federal criminal probe Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka has been urged to step down from the race to become the county’s top law enforcement official in the wake of revelations that he is the subject of a criminal investigation.

Rival sheriff candidate Bob Olmsted, a retired commander, called on Tanaka to end his candidacy a day after Tanaka acknowledged in a courtroom during the trial of a deputy that he is the subject of a federal obstruction of justice investigation.

“Voters need and deserve an honest sheriff who will uphold and have the greatest respect for the law,” Olmsted said Tuesday in a statement issued through his campaign. “It’s clear that Paul Tanaka thinks he’s above the law and he doesn’t have the moral compass needed to steer the LASD away from its corrupt past and toward a future of integrity and transparency.”

Tanaka took the witness stand Friday and Monday in the federal trial of Deputy James Sexton, who is accused of helping block an FBI probe into deputy-on-inmate violence inside the county’s jail system. During questioning in a cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox, Tanaka said he is aware he is the subject of the federal obstruction of justice investigation.

An ongoing federal civil rights and corruption probe has resulted in the indictments of 20 current and former deputies. Sexton is the first to face trial.

And, not wanting to be outdone by their rival city papers, The Los Angeles Times added the following to the discussion (link):

Obstruction probe includes upper echelons of L.A. sheriff's department Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and a sheriff's captain are being investigated for their alleged roles in hiding a jail inmate from federal authorities, a prosecutor revealed in court Monday.

Seven low-ranking Los Angeles County sheriff's officials are being tried this month on federal obstruction-of-justice charges. The statements from the prosecutor at one of the trials are a sign that high-ranking supervisors remain under scrutiny.

Tanaka and Capt. William Carey were witnesses Monday in the trial of Deputy James Sexton. Under questioning from Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox, Tanaka said he is aware that he is a subject of an ongoing investigation.

Fox asked Tanaka if he knows that criminal cases sometimes start with lower-level officials before moving toward the top. Sexton’s attorney objected to the question, and the judge ordered it stricken from the record.

Tanaka, who is retired, is running for sheriff against six other candidates, with the primary election on June 3.

Now certainly Sierra Madre has only played a bit part in this rather immense L.A. County scandal. However, and as small as our role may be, it can't be something that too many living here have taken much pride in.

In light of these new and disturbing reports, perhaps former Mayor Walsh and Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce President Ed Chen might wish to reconsider their support for Tanaka. And then maybe they'd also want to tell us why they've changed their minds.

It is never too late to do the right thing.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

38 comments:

  1. Something's rotten in Denmark. There is usually an explanation for odd things happening that go beyond a mere coicidence. So Ed Chen is the point person for Athens Disposal. Ed Chen is the Chamber of Commerce president in Sierra Madre, Temple City and Rosemead all at the same time. Nancy Walsh is an ardent opponent of contracting with the Sheriff's Department and yet goes out of her way to lend her support to the Sherriff's race and support a very controversial candidate in Paul Tanaka. So do the Mayors of Temple City and Rosemead. Ed Chen runs Tanaka's campaign. Unless the Tattler is simply making this up, there are just too many connections among these people. The only thing missing is what is the ulterior motive. That's always the big problem. What happened to someone becoming Mayor just to look out for the Sierra Madre residents who elected that person. What happened to someone becoming the President of the Chamber of Commerce because they want to look out for the businesses in our little village of Sierra Madre. Too often now, there is hidden and often corrupt reason behind people's motivations.

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    1. Great summary. Agreed it stinks, and it looks like Chen is the link.

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    2. ED Chen has to go

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    3. I think he pressured some very dumb mayors into doing something they had no business doing.

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    4. I'd like to know when the Athens 25 year contract was renewed and was it put out for competitive bidding and did the City Council award the job to the best candidate or was their a quid pro quo in which Athens gets the contract in exchange for its political support for City Council Candidates.

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  2. Why is Ed Chen the president of three Chamber of Commerces in three different cities? I have never heard of even someone being the President of two let alone three. What is the connection between Sierra Madre, Temple City and Rosemead?

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    1. No conspiracy here. the Chambers of these three towns are basically useless and all Ed Chen is doing is beefing up his resume and the presence (name recognition) of Athens Trash services. It's nothing more than PR.

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    2. IMO it means that Ed Chen is doing what he gets paid for by Athens - public relations, etc.

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    3. The only conspiracy is if Athens Trash Service is being awarded contracts based, not on the merits of their bid in relation to other bids, but only on the basis of being repaid for their political support. Haven't we seen this before?

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    4. lol being a PR rep for a garbage company is a bid deal?

      he's a garbage PR rep?

      lol - and he takes himself seriously


      he peddles garbage

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    5. I happened to come across this blog through some research of the Sheriff's Dept. Someone didn't do their homework. Chen was never the president/board chair of the Rosemead Chamber. Of course, people just believe what they read. Typical.

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  3. Ed Chen and Atherns are not friends of Sierra Madre we gave them a 25 year contract

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    1. In the case of Ed Chen, it appears its all about getting contracts for Athens. If it was the best contract for the city, that's one thing. If Athens was awarded the contract because Ed Chen supports Nancy Walsh for Mayor and the Athens bid was inferior to another company's bid, that's another thing. In exchange for Ed Chen's political support, does Nancy Walsh then inject herself into the Sheriff's race of all things by lending the Mayor's support which is essentially the City of Sierra Madre's support behind Tanaka who just happens to have Ed Chen as his campaign manager. This all seems a little suspicious to me.

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  4. Nancy Walsh is a Bart Doyle puppet. She only reiterates the agenda, however poorly. Her real problem while she was in office was the old girl just couldn't remember exactly what she was told to say. In fact 9 times out of 10 she appeared lost, in council meetings (she should have taken her notes with her). Her big idea while in office; to turn a working bathroom into a storage closet is a testament to her inept attempt to lead.

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    1. Who has the ear of Johnny do you think?

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    2. Easy. Chris Holden & Judy Chu.

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    3. The question in Harabedian dealings might be "Who's zooming who?"

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    4. His agenda is pleasing those who can help his political career. That doesn't include you or me.

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  5. Ed doesn't seem to have much success picking people to work with. Both for his Sheriff candidate and the Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce. Though to Tanaka's credit, to date no naked selfies have appeared on the Internet.

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    1. True. Tanaka may be more qualified than Noah Pants to be elected to public office.

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    2. Mannequins feel safe in his presence.

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  6. I have noticed that Athens seems to be the big donors in a number of local campaigns - kind of like the public employee unions. They don't expect anything in return, now do they? Perhaps 25 year contracts or higher salaries and benefits. Its the usual corruption and as usual, the taxpayers pay for the cronyism.

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  7. Ed Chen/Athens is also a member of the San Marino Chamber of Commerce

    Athens Services
    Ed Chen
    PO Box 60009
    City of Industry, CA 91716
    (626)336-3636
    Fax: (626)369-4754
    EChen@athensservices.com
    www.athensservices.com

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  8. Thank goodness Walsh is out of the public realm. Don't wish her anything but good personally, but she was a terrible council member.

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    1. Everything she touched went south.

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    2. I agree, She also is not a nice person

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    3. Ms Walsh was a bonafide idiot on the Council

      she spent 4 years working on one project, something to do with a bathroom at Memorial Park, I think she was trying to close one bathroom to expand the Senior Room

      her only idea ended up n the toilet

      wow, she was a really big deal

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  9. Looking back, don't we have some sort of conflict of interest between Athens/Chen/Walsh? Even if Walsh decided not to run (because as she said she was hurt about the bad things people said about her) she was still mayor when Athens negotiated their contract?

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  10. All about the money. Towns like Sierra Madre are seen as some sort of moo cow that the really smart guys can milk for all they're worth.

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  11. Yes, she was not a nice person, and she was ill prepared for the meetings and her ideas were not very good.
    Unfortunately, she was a vote on the council for four years. Let this be a lesson to all.

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    1. As the FPPC will tell you, lack of good judgement is not a crime.

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    2. Depends on the lawyer.

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  12. So thats why we pay so much for these lengthy contracts; will the contract stay the same for 25 years or will increases be built in? Employers like Athens pay their employees like Chen to be involved in various cities; that sounds like part of the job description.

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    1. Makes sense. Pay someone a salary to gain influence at various city halls while all the poor slob taxpayers are all off working.

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  13. I believe Ms. Nancy's Farmer's Market is about to bid us a fond adieu! Whew!

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    1. I never thought they were farmers anyway.

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    2. Is our downtown vibrant yet?

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  14. Just read that Judy Chu is supporting the National Recreational Association in stead of the Forrest Service, and speakers are popping into city hall meetings across San Gab Valley asking for support for this extra layer of Government. I guess will will hear from John H. on this one. Can the National Rec Assc put out fires or just collect more tax monies?

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