Paul Tanaka was calm, cool, collected, polite and polished as always as he defended his record of 33 years in law enforcement in front of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association Sheriff's candidates debate, in a crowded cafeteria at Notre Dame High School.
His fellow candidates, four of whom showed up, are demanding he withdraw from the race to succeed Lee Baca because it's finally been confirmed that Tanaka himself is the 'subject' as it's called, of the ongoing Federal investigation into corruption and abuse of inmates inside the massive LA County Jail system, an investigation that has already resulted in 20 deputies and higher ups being indicted, but no one at Tanaka's level. He is the former ''Undersheriff'', or Baca's number two man. "I have never once condone encourage or tolerate abusive behavior or misconduct by anyone in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, or government for that matter . '' Bob Olmsted, a former Sheriff's Commander who has positioned himself as the ''whistleblower'' on the jail violence issue, that both Baca and Tanaka turned a blind eye towards, says he's just convinced Tanaka is not the right person to be Sheriff at this time, in a race that's about public confidence and restoring integrity to the Department. The others there, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, and current Assistant Sheriffs James Hellmold and Todd Rogers couldn't have agreed more, each saying they have the experience, knowledge, integrity, and determination to bring about reform in the largest Sheriff's Department in the country. They'll need it. And if no one gets more than 50 % in the June 3rd primary, we do it again with the top two in November.
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