Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Endorsements for the June 3, 2014 Primary Election

Voter turnout for the June 3, 2014 Primary Election may hit an all time low. FOX News poses the question "Will this upcoming election have the lowest voter turnout?" the San Diego Union-Tribune bemoans "Voter ennui as June 3 approaches," and Dan Walters at the Modesto Bee warns "Expect record-low voter turnout June 3." If the doom and gloom merchants are correct, then this post is directed to a very small group of people who will actually vote next week. For them we start today with our comments and recommendations for candidates in the races for Los Angeles County Sheriff and Los Angeles County Assessor. Our endorsements for Judge of the Superior Court will appear on Friday.

Endorsement: Jim McDonnell for LA County Sheriff

Former LA District Attorney Steve Cooley (left) and current LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey (right)
stand beside their choice for the next LA County Sheriff, Jim McDonnell.
The picture above summarizes one of the many reasons why Los Angelenos should cast their vote for Jim McDonnell for Sheriff; he is the choice of law enforcement and civic leaders throughout the county; just take a look at the number and quality of endorsements on his campaign website.

McDonnell, former number two to LAPD Chief Bill Bratton and currently Long Beach Police Chief, is the only viable outsider in a field of seven candidates, most of whom were uncomfortably close to the scandal ridden Sheriff's Dept. McDonnell has the experience necessary to address the breakdown in public confidence with leadership at the Sheriff's Dept.; he was a central figure in reforms at LAPD that resulted in the lifting of the Federal consent decree at LAPD, and he is widely respected in law enforcement. He is what Los Angelenos and the Sheriff's Dept. needs to bring an end to scandal after scandal at the Department and herald a new style of leadership. Perhaps for that reason he is also the choice of LA's leading newspapers; McDonnell has the endorsement of both the LA Times and the Los Angeles Daily News.

McDonnell's chief opponent Paul Tanaka is also a former number two; he served as Undersheriff to retired Sheriff Lee Baca and recently admitted to being "under investigation subject of inquiry" by the FBI an a Federal Grand Jury into "excessive force and corruption in the county's jails," the LA Times reported. Many have expressed surprise that Tanaka has continued to stay in the race given his close association with disturbing events in the jails. Tanaka recently testified as a defense witness in the case against Deputy James Sexton, one of twenty lower-level Sheriff's Dept. personnel currently charged in the Federal probe in to abuse in the county jail.

Some may believe that by staying in the race, Tanaka has possibly succeeded in delaying an indictment as prosecutors generally do not want to be seen as potentially interfering in an election by charging a candidate prior to an election. Support for the belief that an indictment could be in the pipeline for Tanaka following the election comes from comments made by Loyola Law Professor Laurie Levenson, a former Federal Prosecutor. Levenson  told the LA Times that Tanaka is a "subject" rather than a "target" of the investigation ... "a 'target' is someone who prosecutors have already decided they intend to indict, whereas a 'subject' is someone whose conduct is under investigation but for whom that determination has yet to be made." Levenson said (emphasis added).

Notwithstanding the many reasons why Los Angelenos should not vote for Tanaka, the LA Times reports that he has eclipsed McDonnell in fundraising by $140k. But before McDonnell supporters become overly concerned at Tanaka's shakedown fundraising ability let us not forget the recent election for Los Angeles District Attorney where the scandal-ridden Carmen Trutanich succeeded in out-raising opponents Jackie Lacey and Alan Jackson. Trutanich, it will be remembered, suffered a humiliating and well-deserved defeat in the primary election.

In a low turnout election, those who vote will generally be informed voters, and despite Tanaka's well-funded campaign, he may not be able to fool enough voters to even claim a place in the runoff and may suffer a worse fate than Trutanich.

On June 3, 2014, vote Jim McDonnell for Sheriff.

Endorsement: John Morris for LA County Assessor

Until former County Assessor John Noguez was arrested for fraud and corruption, few Los Angelenos had paid attention to the role of the County Assessor in what is generally considered to be a 'down ticket' item on the ballot. It was the perfect climate for the bribery scandal surrounding Noguez to fester and grow as he allegedly traded payoffs for lower property taxes while nobody was paying attention to what leading candidate for County Assessor John Morris calls "a little known position with a BIG impact on residents and businesses."

Morris, a Head Deputy District Attorney, has vowed to "restore ethics and integrity to the LA County Assessor's Office," and of the 12 candidates running for County Assessor, Morris is the only outsider with the ability to do that; he is a career prosecutor who parlayed his skill and ability in the courtroom to lead a division of the District Attorney's Office charged with prosecuting fraud and corruption.

There are many parallels between Morris for Assessor and McDonnell for Sheriff; both County Offices are ridden with scandals, and in both races, most of those running in this election come from the ranks of the offices where scandals abounded seemingly unchecked. The need for a qualified and experienced leader from the outside has never been greater at both the Sheriff's Dept. and the Assessor's Office. Like McDonnell, Morris too has the endorsement of both the LA Times and the Los Angeles Daily News.

Morris's main opponent is Jeffrey Prang, a career political aide who served former Sheriff Lee Baca in the now disbanded "Field Deputy" program, and more recently was appointed by Noguez as a "Special Assistant." Where, one might ask, was Prang while his boss was allegedly accepting bribes to lower property taxes? Equally one might wonder how could anyone hand picked by Noguez for his crucible of corruption, possibly be trusted with this "little known" position?

Shockingly, Prang does not even have the necessary qualification to be Assessor. According to the LA Times, he is not a licensed appraiser and would have to obtain a license if elected. The Times also reported that a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled that Prang was not allowed to use a false and misleading ballot title in his bid to become assessor; he had tried to call himself a "Deputy Assessor" on the ballot, but because his real job was "public affairs manager" for Noguez, and he does not hold an appraiser license, he was prevented from using that title. Perhaps readers are now getting a sense of who Jeffrey Prang really is, and why he is literally unqualified for the position, and wholly unfit for public office. 

It is time to shut down corruption and deception in the Assessor's Office, and there is no doubt that John Morris is the right choice for this position. For that reason we urge readers to vote for John Morris for County Assessor.


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