Before the Sheriff Lee Baca’s retirement announcement, there were a number of critics of his and all of the charges of corruption and abuse of power. One of those is Gardena Mayor Paul Tanaka, who is also a retired undersheriff from the LA County Sheriff’s Department. Tanaka served under Lee Baca and he joined The Morning Answer to talk about his candidacy and the scandals plaguing the Sheriff’s Department.
Brian Whitman started out by asking Tanaka to refrain from the political “thanking” of Lee Baca as he did to another candidate for Sheriff Bob Olmstead.
“Well, I would like to say we’ve had our differences regarding leadership and management of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and certainly [I] intend to highlight those during our campaign,” explained Tanaka. “But I also think it’s important to thank the Sheriff for his 48 years of service to the people of Los Angeles County and I do wish him well in retirement.”
Ben Shapiro asked Tanaka to address opponent Bob Olmstead’s criticism that he was complicit in a lot of the activities that were going on. Tanaka replied that “nothing could be further from the truth” and he has a “very clear and proven record” in his 33 years in the Department reducing crime and fiscal responsibility. He also added that he has the same record as mayor of Gardena.
Elisha Krauss wondered if Tanaka though the problems of the Department would leave with Lee Baca’s departure or if they were more systemic. “There are definitely problems within the organization that need to be changed,” replied Tanaka, “and that is why I had decided a few months ago to run for Sheriff.”
Elisha then pressed him to define what those changes are.
“First order of business is just bringing order to the house,” responded Tanaka. “If you look at the organization structure of the Department today, there is no undersheriff. The chain of command is erratic and confusing and people don’t know what their responsibilities are… and you can’t have that in an organization structure…”
Tanaka then went on to say that he saw the same thing in the hiring process, where it had become “subjective” and “inconsistent.”
Brian jumped in and asked Tanaka if spoke up at the time when he was in the uniform.
“Absolutely, that’s the primary reason that I had to leave the organization as time went on the Sheriff and I—really—our differences, management and philosophy differed greatly.”
Click on the player above to hear more of The Morning Answer’s interview with Paul Tanaka, candidate for LA County Sheriff.