Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday's Free For All: McDonnell for Sheriff Gains Support, Leader Emerges in Race for Assessor

Candidate filing closed Wednesday for two important races in the June 3, 2014 primary; LA County Sheriff and County Assessor. Both races share significant similarities; both have scandal ridden pasts, both have large fields of candidates many of whom worked in the those troubled administrations, and both feature highly qualified 'outsiders' as candidates to clean house; Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell for the Sheriff's Dept., and Head Deputy District Attorney John Morris for the County Assessor's Office.

McDonnell for Sheriff Campaign Gains Support of Attorney General

In the Sheriff's race McDonnell leads the field of seven challengers as the sole high ranking peace officer never to have worn a sheriff's badge. He is the consummate outsider that the Dept needs and, since announcing his candidacy, has attracted a slew of endorsements from high ranking law enforcement and civic leaders. Last week we reported on McDonnell's kickoff fundraiser, and that same day California Attorney General Kamla Harris announced her endorsement of his candidacy. It's an important endorsement for McDonnell, underlying the widespread bi-partisan support McDonnell enjoys; he is already endorsed by District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and retired District Attorneys Steve Cooley, Robert Philibosian and John Van de Kamp.

Next month Harris will co-host a fundraiser for McDonnell, adding to the momentum that has propelled his campaign to frontrunner status.

McDonnell clearly has his opponents worried. At a recent candidates' forum hosted by the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, the Daily News reported that his rivals focused their presentations on attacking McDonnell, while McDonnell took the high road and fended off the attacks without returning blasts of his own. A wise move not wasted on the audience who clearly recognized the obvious; everyone else at the candidates' table had been part of the problem at the Sheriff's Dept. and their claim to now be part of the solution seems lacking in credibility.

"My style is to try not to attack someone else, but rather try to showcase what I bring to the table and how that fits with the needs of the Sheriff’s Department in today's environment," McDonnell told the Daily News. Former Van Nuys Neighborhood Council President Don Schultz said he thought McDonnell’s strategy at Wednesday debate in Van Nuys will pay off. "I think by laying back (McDonnell) is probably playing it smart," Schultz said.

Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka probably has the most to fear from McDonnell. With rumors growing that he was more closely involved in the decision making process that led to a keystone cops style attempt to hide an informant from the FBI, his credentials grow more tarnished on a daily basis. Tanaka's recently announced plan to "restore trust" in the Sheriff's Dept. received more wry smiles than it did attention from the mainstream media.

Tellingly, the only news outlet to cover the plan, the Los Cerritos Newspaper Group, belied their support for Tanaka by misleading readers with the statement "Tanaka is facing five challengers in the June 3rd California Primary election."  The LCNG named those five challengers as Patrick L. Gomez, James Hellmold, Bob Olmsted, Todd Rogers, and Lou Vince. But Tanaka faces six challengers, and the one challenger the LCNG failed to mention is the one who will likely beat Tanaka and become LA's next Sheriff; Jim McDonnell.

Tanaka is understood to be desperately courting the endorsement of ALADS, the union representing  rank and file department deputies. But that endorsement is proving to be elusive. The LA Times reported that Armando Macias, the President of  ALADS was recently "removed" by the board of directors, who cited "problems of attendance" as the reason for his removal. Rumors suggest the removal had more to do with pressure on ALADS to make an endorsement for Sheriff...

McDonnell's campaign website is

John Morris for County Assessor Campaign Gains Key Endorsement

Head Deputy District Attorney John Morris has been quietly gaining support for his campaign to clean up the scandal ridden County Assessors Office. Incumbent, John Noguez, is not seeking a reelection he would certainly lose in the face of multiple fraud and corruption charges arising from allegations that he accepted bribes to cheat Los Angeles County out of property tax revenue by improperly lowering property tax assessments for favored individuals.

As Morris ramps up his campaign ahead of the June 3, 2014 primary, he today announced that he has secured the endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

This from the Morris for County Assessor campaign:

Los Angeles, CA  John Morris campaign to defend Proposition 13 as Los Angeles County Assessor gained major backing today with the endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

"We believe you will be an excellent representative for taxpayers and look forward to working with you in the years ahead," said Kris Vosburgh, Executive Director for the Association said.

Since the passage of Prop 13 in 1978, property tax collection in California has grown faster than any other major source of state tax revenue.  The key mechanism in the law is setting property assessments at 1% of the purchase value of the home and allowing up to a 2% annual increase in value.

"Californians put great faith in Prop 13 because it took politics and personal decisions out of the assessment process," said John Morris.  "When I am Assessor, I will introduce reforms that safeguard against internal fraud, speed up appeals, and protect both taxpayers and the hard working professionals within the agency that have been harmed by the fraud of the current Assessor.  It is a great honor to have the support of HJTA in this campaign."

John Morris is a veteran 23-year prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He is the only candidate for Assessor that is a prosecutor, holds a real estate license, has years of real estate law experience, and is a published author.  He and his wife, Mary, are raising their children in the San Fernando Valley where they are active locally and in their church. 

John Morris is Endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Association of Deputy District Attorneys, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, and taxpayers from throughout Los Angeles County.

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Morris is one of twelve candidates seeking to replace Noguez. Most of the other candidates in the race have close ties to Noguez, having worked in the Assessors Office under Noguez while those alleged bribes were made. Morris' chief rival, Jeffrey Prang, who is widely seen as a career politician and is currently a Councilmember for the City of West Hollywood, was Noguez's Special Assistant and also served as a Field Deputy for Sheriff Baca in the controversial Civilian Field Deputy Program recently shut down by interim Sheriff John Scott.

Despite Prang's two ties to scandal ridden administrations, he has amassed a laundry list of political endorsements. However, with the race for Assessor likely to attract more attention from the mainstream media, Morris looks favorite to secure all important media endorsements.

In a race with twelve candidates, a runoff is a certainty, and with Morris running with the ballot designation "Head Deputy D.A.," Morris has a good chance of placing in the runoff.

Morris' campaign website is:
'Like' him on FaceBook at


Anonymous said...

Olmstead stood up to Baca and Tanaka and testified against them. McDonnell is a good guy but he didn't have the courage to do that. LASD needs a good housecleaning, and while McDonnell's status as a true outsider may make him attractive, only Olmstead (be it out of bravery or spite) will do what needs to be done: flush out the holdouts from the Baca years.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:49PM. I agree with you, Olmsted was my pick and would make a great Sheriff. Unfortunately McDonnell jumping in has changed the dynamics. Before, it would have been Olmsted vs. Tanaka, where Olmsted would have had a good shot at raising money to defeat Tanaka. But the money is flowing (flooding?) to McDonnell now, and he has the really powerful law enforcement endorsements and a multi million dollar PAC to make up the shortfall in fundraising because of his late start. Olmsted is a good guy but in a countywide race, he will be lucky to place third. I just hope he joins forces with McDonnell in the runoff. He would make a good #2 for McDonnell.