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Paul Tanaka blasts Lee Baca with opening salvo for LA County Sheriff’s campaign

Paul Tanaka makes his campaign announcement for LA County Sheriff on Thursday. Photo from the Tanaka campaign.

Paul Tanaka makes his campaign announcement for LA County Sheriff on Thursday. Photo from the Tanaka campaign.

By Brian Hews

(Los Angeles)  – Former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka officially confirmed at a press event on Thursday that he will indeed be taking on his former boss Sheriff Lee Baca in next year’s election that is still 10 months away.

Tanaka made his declaration at a press conference in Griffith Park, flanked by several law enforcement officials who are already committed to his election against Baca.

Dressed in a suit and tie, it didn’t take long for Tanaka to lob salvos at Baca at the press event that was attended by several journalists including a number of television news crews.

Tanaka slammed Baca by stating: “Our County’s Sheriff’s Department is in desperate need of new leadership.”

“As one of the most complex police agencies in the country, our Sheriff’s department’s responsibilities to the community require a leader that is engaged, trustworthy and dedicated to the future of the department,” Tanaka continued.

“It is crucial, now more than ever, that our department’s leaders are unified in their goals to maintain safety within our jails, decrease crime in our communities and preserve a fiscally transparent department budget. When I am elected Sheriff, I will ensure our employees have leadership that is clear, consistent and sensible.”

Tanaka also announced that he has been endorsed by several top personnel inside the LA County Sheriff’s Department including   Commander David Waters,    Captain Merril Landenheim,  Captain Kevin Hebert, Captain Robert Tubbs,     Captain Duane Harris, Captain Louis Duran, Captain Chris Nee, Captain James Ritenour,  Captain Chuck Antuna,  and Captain Crystal Miranda.

Tanaka is also the current mayor of Gardena and said that Gardena Police Department Chief Ed Medrano would be supporting his effort as well as   Huntington Park Police Department Chief Jorge Cisheros.

Tanaka and Baca are two longtime, close associates who recently turned into fierce opponents.

“We used to have this saying amongst the top executives that our greatest job is to manage the sheriff and make sure that he doesn’t do anything that we can’t clean up,” Tanaka told ABC 7 Reporter David Ono in an interview earlier this year.

Critics of Tanaka have told Hews Media Group-Community News in past interviews that Tanaka “ruled the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department” by building a system of favoritism and only “rewarded his friends” with key jobs and penalized those who “challenged his authority.”

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