Friday, August 29, 2014

Sierra Madre Mayor John Harabedian Endorses Paul Tanaka For L.A. County Sheriff? But Why?

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Mod: You'd expect this kind of naive and irresponsible behavior from our previous Mayor. Nancy Walsh, beneath all of her sarcasm and arrogance, was actually pretty much a naive small town gal, one who could easily get conned into making bad decisions like her endorsement of Paul Tanaka. Face it, a career of browbeating clerks for the county hardly prepared Nancy for the smooth talking likes of Ed "Trash Talk" Chen. Our man from Athens Sanitation and the Chamber of Commerce, who is notably also the campaign manager of the now rather deeply troubled Tanaka for Sheriff campaign.

Ed, as anyone can easily see by the idiosyncratic way he has been running our somewhat dotty Chamber of Commerce (he heads two other out of town Chambers as well, so you know), likes to surround himself with weak and easily manipulated people. Nancy Walsh was definitely one of those. As are pretty much the rest of that bunch.

I say this with little fear of contradiction.

But on the other hand, that highly regarded Yale and Stanford Law grad, our current Mayor John Harabedian, is now in charge here. A guy equipped with enough wisdom to know that he needed to accommodate this community in its demand for a drought-driven building moratorium, and then actually took us there. Unlike his immediate predecessors, John also runs fair and open City Council meetings, listens to the arguments of all of his colleagues, and can actually change his mind on a position every now and again.

Plus he also lets people speak for more than 3 minutes at the public comment podium. A near miracle for this town given our recent history. You could almost find yourself forgiving this guy for past transgressions, and then getting off his back.

But then he turns around and does something as unexplainable as this (link):


"LA Couny" indeed. Now in all fairness Johnny did this when he was still Mayor Pro Tem, so it happened before last April. He was much younger at that point, and had yet to experience the seasoning process being a full on Mayor brings with it.

But still, Paul Tanaka was under investigation by the FBI even then, and for running the prisons under his control almost like ISIS runs big chunks of Syria and Iraq.

As you likely know, that FBI investigation into the brutal treatment of prisoners under the care of the L.A. Sheriffs Department continues to this day. Here is how an August 7 article from the Los Angeles Times (link) spells out just how rapidly Paul Tanaka is falling in this world.

In a stinging final rebuke, the longtime civilian watchdog for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department accused top leaders of letting their worst employees run rampant, causing a series of scandals that tarnished the agency.

Merrick Bobb has been the Board of Supervisors' special counsel reviewing the department for 22 years, and has written reports on how the agency is run.

But this last report before Bobb steps aside was particularly cutting, placing much of the blame for a jail abuse scandal — in which criminal charges have been filed against 20 sheriff's officials since December — at the feet of former Sheriff Lee Baca and his chief assistant, Paul Tanaka.

In the 62-page report released Thursday, Bobb described Tanaka, who is running for sheriff, as the leader of “an anti-reform counter movement” who encouraged deputies to “work in the gray zone” while Baca and the Board of Supervisors paid little attention.

Tanaka, the report said, has changed little since he was a member of a tattooed deputy clique in Lynwood that reportedly rewarded its members for using excessive force against suspects.

Tanaka is one of the sheriff's officials still under federal investigation. Six deputies were convicted of obstructing the FBI, and others have been charged with brutalizing inmates and jail visitors. Tanaka is now in a runoff election against Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, but his bid is considered a long shot because he received only 15% of the primary vote.

The L.A. Register also ran an article regarding Tanaka's controversial and cruel prison management style. Titled "Brutality Festered In Jails" (link), here is what The Register had to say:

In the report, Bobb said that some considered Tanaka to be good with numbers and budgets, but that there were problems with his leadership.

“With regard to police accountability, reform, rewarding constitutional policing, and engendering the active support and trust of the ever-diversifying community, the man seemed to avoid evolving substantially from his days as a Lynwood Viking,” the report said.

The Lynwood Vikings faced brutality lawsuits from plaintiffs in the 1990s, who described the group as a white supremacist gang. The department paid thousands to settle the cases.

Tanaka could not be reached for comment.

The Sheriff’s Department has faced a range of scandals during Baca and Tanaka’s tenure, many involving allegations of deputy misconduct and violence against inmates and visitors inside the jails. In July, six deputies were convicted by a federal jury of working to obstruct the investigation inside the jails.

I was reading an article published by the British paper The Economist earlier this evening. This piece was about the police brutality and riots in Ferguson (link), and their tarnishing effect on America's worldwide reputation. One paragraph in particular jumped out at me.

Smug television broadcasts in Russia and China have wildly exaggerated the sickness of which Ferguson is a symptom. But it is real enough. The police in and around Ferguson have shot and killed twice as many people in the past two weeks (Mr Brown plus one other) as the police in Japan, a nation of 127m, have shot and killed in the past six years. Nationwide, America’s police kill roughly one person a day.

So you know, the chart at the very top of this post came with this article in The Economist. That 409 figure is a stunning number to me. How did things ever get quite that bad in the country?

Paul Tanaka, in the opinion of many (myself included), is from that particular school of policing. The kind of leader who apparently thought nothing of sending uniformed goons into a prison to beat up prisoners, and without any real provocation whatsoever. Just because they all could, I guess. Pointless cruelty that has to make you wonder just what might be wrong with this guy.

Hopefully John Harabedian is now reconsidering his endorsement for Sheriff. He could certainly do a better job with this than he has so far.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

44 comments:

  1. I thought John was against the Sheriffs.

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    1. John is for whatever he's told to be for or whatever gets him some attention

      reminds me of John Buchanan

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  2. "I endorsed Tanaka BEFORE he was indicted!"
    John Harabedian

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  3. Poor Johnny. Tanaka is a Republican!

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    Replies
    1. Ed must have led Johnny astray.

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  4. Tanaka is a Pension Prince:

    Before Paul Tanaka declared his candidacy for Los Angeles County sheriff in August 2013, he took three months off work and, once retired from the Sheriff’s Department, the county government cut him a one-time check for $339,424.

    The payout covered unused holiday, vacation, sick time and other leave he accrued during his 31-year career — all paid at his final salary, when he was second in command.

    Including his seven months of wages and benefits, the county paid $591,000 for Tanaka in 2013, according to payroll records provided to the Bay Area News Group, part of the Daily News’ parent company. This made him the second-highest compensated employee, next to the chief neurosurgeon at the largest county-administered hospital.

    http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140726/candidate-paul-tanakas-retirement-cost-los-angeles-county-339424

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    1. Your taxes at work!

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    2. You mean, your taxes at rest.

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    3. Your taxes asleep on the couch and snoring.

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  5. To give him his due, mr. Harabedian did not come out, like most politicians, and make some stupid remark about how he felt duped by tanaka. Nor did he continue to give his endorsement, at least so it seems. I do t like what I hear tanaka has done, but I also know we live in troubled times. This indictment of tanaka does not make him guilty. yet. I have little trust in the FBI these days. They hold no more trust than the Attorney General.

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    1. When did he take back his endorsement?

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    2. I think it is that "troubled times" argument that many use to justfy the exponentially greater amount of American citrizens killed by police here than in other indistrial nations.Maybe the right to kill without consequence is another police entitlement. Like 6 figure pensions.

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    3. Japan is a civil nation. We are not! No wonder they have so few killings.

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    4. I agree that Japan is civil, now. But don't expect any of the people who lived through the Nanking massacre to agree with you. Also compare the suicide rates in Japan with an area of equal size in the US.
      Still violent - different targets.

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    5. Japan is civil the same way the Civility Party in town is civil.

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    6. 12:07, check out an event in American history known as Pearl Harbor.

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    7. I meant to say I don't like tanaka a. By troubled times I meant the government spying on citizens, etc. I need to read before I post. Sorry.

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    8. I'm dismayed that the Mod left 2:36, 2:37, and 2:48 pm's posts. :36 and :37 are questionable, but :2:48 is egregious. Shame on you Anonymous and please Mr. Mod, remove these racist comments.

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    9. Can you please explain why you think they are racist? My take is that the original commenter was pointing out that the Police in Japan don't kill their citizens. Unlike here. That makes them better than us.

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    10. 409 Americans shot dead by their own police. That is an unbelievable number!

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    11. Why is the mention of Pearl Harbor racist?

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  6. A lot of police departments are so heavily armed now that they have become more paramilitary than police.

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    1. There could be some truth to the idea that police are violent people who are attempting to control the violence by being on the right side of the law. But American culture is full of violence. Just consider what is on TV as entertainment.

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  7. Tanaka is dead in the water. He has all but closed up shop. What a loser.

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    1. His campaign website hasn't been updated since the primary.

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  8. News flash!.... The Titanic sinks in North Atlantic!!....This Tanaka business is old news...and people in this town still want sheriff's in town...

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    1. Then why are the last two Mayors of Sierra Madre on record as endorsing this guy? Kind of embarrassing.

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    2. Very embarrassing. And shows us up to be proper fools.

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  9. jeez I hope Harbedian doesn't get reelected

    what's he endorsing candidates for? he's just clamoring for attention and using SM

    we should never elected another lawyer for Council again - ever



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  10. Tanaka is asking his staff "who is this guy Harabedian?"

    we all know that Harabedian sought out Tanaka and offered his endorsement

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    1. If you check out the Tanaka site you'll see that mayors from several cities endorse him. By coincidence they are from cities where Ed Chen is the Chamber of Commerce president. Boy did he lead these people down a primrose path.

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    2. Great connection. Old Ed using his sale skills.

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    3. when did SM Mayors and Council members start endorsing regional political candidates and marketing themselves regionally to promote themselves

      Buchanan did that, Walsh and Harabedian, who else?

      it's the brat generation - somebody look at me - I'm important!!!!

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    4. Isn't Chen a garbage company sales dude?



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  11. sometimes Harabedian makes Walsh look almost competent

    till the both open their mouths

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  12. Johnny's endorsement carried a lot of weight here in town. McDonnell got 815 votes in Sierra Madre, Tanaka 218. Tanaka also got Nancy Walsh;s endorsement and Susan Henderson's. Real political power there, yessir!
    http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2014/06/mountain-views-news-election-losing.html

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    1. Yow. That is 109 votes per Mayor. Noah did better dropping trou.

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    2. Walsh and Henderson lol

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. Since this was before the primary, I'll forgive Harabedian that transgression, but I hope he has more sense than to come out now with an endorsement.

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    1. what? why? he's just to promote himself

      I still think he's a lawyer snake after he skirted on the ethics during his campaign, photo shopping out police patches and then denying it, saying the patches were never there and when we all knew he was lying he still got elected

      A lot of people are giving him a pass cause he did the only obvious thing and voted to conserve water?

      Please, we all know that if he had half a chance to get two votes he'd voted against us - it's what he does

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  14. Redondo Beach City Councilman Stephen Sammarco Backs Retired Undersheriff Paul Tanaka
    FOR IMMEDAITE RELEASE
    Thursday, May 22, 2014
    Contact: Ed Chen 626.233.5524

    Immedaite? They have some serious spelling issues on the Tanaka website!

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    1. Maybe Susan Henderson edits it.

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