On Saturday August 4, 2013, the LA Times Editorial Board sent a loud message to Sheriff Lee Baca.
"Don't run again, Sheriff Baca" was the opinion of the Times, and if past elections are anything to go by, advice from the Times is to be taken seriously. The Times has a reputation of being something of a "kingmaker" with their recent endorsements for LA's new Mayor, City Attorney and Controller giving them a clean sweep of the winners of the City's top elected officials.
Last year the Times backed Jackie Lacey for District Attorney in a county-wide race that sowed the seeds for the two downfalls of Carmen Trutanich; first when he didn't even make it past the primary in his bid to be DA, and second when he made history by becoming the first incumbent City Attorney to fail to be reelected.
If the Times is a kingmaker, the same cannot be said of Baca. He was a stalwart Trutanich supporter, even violating state law by making an illegal, in-uniform endorsement for Trutanich's ill-feted DA campaign. When Trutanich faced the music on election night in the recent City Attorney race, the former DA wannabe shunned his supporters at his 'Victory Party' and remained holed up with Baca in a nearby real estate office. Baca's unyielding support for Trutanich is but one of many poor choices he has made; the Times editorial lists others.
If Baca is weakened by the spate of headlining scandals plaguing the Sheriff's Department, his reelection hopes were boosted when Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell dropped out of the race. McDonnell appeared to be the only viable challenger to Baca and his departure left Baca the likely favorite in a race that would pitch him against two virtually unknown challengers; retired Sheriff's Lieutenant Patrick Gomez and LAPD Detective Lou Vince. There is also the prospect of former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka joining the fray to challenge Baca, but the mutual mud-slinging that would undoubtedly result would likely harm Tanaka more than Baca.
The field seemed wide open for Baca to seek and win his 5th term as Sheriff, and he made his reelection plans official this week at the Long Beach Rotary Club.
But before Los Angelenos resign themselves to four more years of Sheriff Baca, rumors have it that a viable challenger will enter the race. The Dragnet is informed that an official announcement is imminent, and it will be a game-changer.
Stay tuned for news!