LA Sheriff Union Votes No Confidence in McDonnell

The primary union representing the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced this morning a Vote of No Confidence in the department’s current leader, Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

The vote comes after a rocky four years for the LASD, which has struggled with rising crime across the county, ongoing allegations of abuse and sexual assault by deputies, violence by deputy cliques, an ongoing focus on deputy tattoos, allegations of racial profiling, a massive and unprecedented budget deficit, a worsening mental health crisis–which McDonnell proposes to address through incarceration, departmental morale and proactive policing at historic lows, and widespread complaints about McDonnell’s lack of transparency and mismanagement.

It also comes after rising disappointment with McDonnell from the county’s minority communities.

According to a recent survey of its members by the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), 82% of LASD deputies do not have confidence in McDonnell; 88% say McDonnell has been ineffective in managing the ongoing staffing shortage. Over 85% of deputies do not feel McDonnell is competent to move the department forward.

ALADS characterized the deputy participation rate in the survey as “above average”.

ALADS, which has endorsed reformer Alex Villanueva to be the next Sheriff of Los Angeles County, also held a press conference this morning. Villanueva spoke as well. You can find the video of that press conference here.


McDonnell Throws Tantrum After Union Endorses Villanueva for Sheriff

Struggling Sheriff Jim McDonnell flashed the anger, contempt and casual relationship with the truth he is known for Wednesday in responding to LASD’s largest union endorsing his challenger, retired Lieutenant Alex Villanueva.

In a graceless statement posted to his Facebook page, McDonnell said:

I’m not surprised by the announcement made by the Board of Directors of ALADS today. By endorsing my opponent, ALADS has endorsed a candidate who has publicly opposed the reforms underway that have reduced jail violence and increased accountability. He would take the Department backwards to a time of chaos and corruption like it was under Baca and Tanaka.

I have come in and implemented accountability measures and the ALADS Board has taken issue with that, and I am not going to apologize for holding accountable those who tarnish the badge.

Thousands of individual deputies and civilian personnel have indeed worked hard to earn back the trust of the public after many years of crisis. I do not believe the ALADS Board of Directors speaks for the overwhelming number of Deputies who are active partners in moving the Department forward. Together, we have a responsibility to make Los Angeles County as safe as possible while continuing to earn the public’s trust every day.

What an astonishingly passive-aggressive, dishonest, bridge-burning, and childish bunch of nonsense. Had ALADS endorsed him, McDonnell would’ve instead been talking about how honored and humbled he was for their support and partnership.

In other words: you don’t think I’m doing awesome so you’re part of the problem.

This sort of denial and blame-shifting wouldn’t be tolerated of a deputy sheriff trainee in the academy; we absolutely shouldn’t tolerate it from the elected sheriff. He’s had four years to learn our standards. This is Phase 1 roll-up behavior.

Is it any wonder McDonnell’s community relations are so fraid? That he was absent from much of the community for the last four years until, surprised into a runoff, he’s running around hat-in-hand, begging for money from wealthy West Siders? That he views the Citizens Oversight commission as his liaison to the community rather than an actual oversight panel?

Can you imagine if this guy were your boss and you had to disagree with him? (Demoted Captain Chris Brackpool can.)

What is this, Russia?

Petulant as McDonnell’s statement is, it’s a window into how his Father Knows Best mindset reacts when a partner dares to challenge him. No wonder suck-ups and sycophants have done so well promoting under McDonnell, especially all the Tanaka-acolytes who so quickly changed their colors?

McDonnell’s statement is completely unhinged.

Here are the facts:

  • Jim McDonnell has accomplished very little in four years as sheriff. Crime is up, proactive police work is way down, morale is probably the lowest its ever been, chancing arbitrary and career-altering/ending discipline by ambitious middle-managers and self-styled “executives” is viewed as a risk of showing up for work, acting with integrity is viewed as an act of foolishness, while the executive ranks themselves are riddled with suck ups and people with extensive records of misconduct (some quite recent).
  • Alex Villanueva hasn’t opposed significant reforms because McDonnell has neither made significant reforms nor even suggested what they might be. All he talks about is implementing systems of processes of layers of paper-pushers (all wearing brass belt buckles and sewn-down epaulettes, of course; all telling him how great he is). And this is without even getting to the 300 admin staff he says he’d need to run a body cam program.
  • In fact, the only major McDonnell “reform” LASD.News can recall Villanueva opposing was releasing an informal list of deputies previously accused of having integrity issues to the District Attorney’s office (the so-called “Brady List”), including its apparently intentional and criminal leak to the media. And the reason Villanueva has given for disagreeing is not that he opposes the list in principle but because the list is not accurate–it includes people who don’t even know they’re on it or why they would be; it includes people who were bullied into accepting a punishment that without their knowledge landed them on the list rather than risk loss of pay while fighting an internal case; indeed the Los Angeles Times has itself reported that deputies have been removed from the list after someone realized they were there in error. That McDonnell is comfortable needlessly and perhaps falsely tarnishing peoples’ reputations to achieve the appearance of having achieved something says more about him than it does about anyone else.
  • Actually, Villanueva has campaigned extensively on the assertion that McDonnell’s reforms have been fake in effect, not that they’ve been wrong in intent.
  • Indeed, under McDonnell’s leadership numerous deputies have been arrested or convicted of crimes, firings have gone through the roof (as have reinstatements through the legal system and back-pay awards), including firings of “executives” McDonnell sought to defend one day and kicked out the window the next. As any deputy knows, firing is viewed internally now as a management stunt easily and often entered into to make the lawyers happy and “leaders” look good, with the understanding that the legal appellate process will do the actual managing.
  • By the way, anyone know what’s going on with Todd Rogers’ civil suit against McDonnell alleging he was retaliated against after the last election? Did the County settle that one yet?
  • And speaking of integrity issues, what does it take for McDonnell to end up on his own Brady List, with all his own false statements? Such as when he told the media last year that no uses of force had been recorded on deputies’ personally-owned body cams (which they have bought due to his refusal to distribute them)? Or his claiming above that an “overwhelming number of deputies” support him in “moving the Department forward” when, in fact, 97% of deputies voted their lack of confidence in McDonnell? Or his many false statements to reporter Annie Gilbertson in her REPEAT Podcast (especially episodes 5 and 6)? He must know what he is saying is false, but he’s saying it so his LA-establishment backers who don’t know how failed and unpopular he is, who will simply take his word for it.
  • While McDonnell claims to be a reformer, in fact he hasn’t gotten much done–other than gorging on the vain perks of his office: his $2 million luxury SUV and entourage, the hats and jackets and uniforms and brass buckles and the decals, LASD’s new theme song (which deputies can listen to when the countywide radio system crashes), the travel, and the use of county resources for campaign purposes, and the mountain retreats, to say nothing of his nearly half-million dollars in annual taxpayer-funded compensation.
  • McDonnell’s attitude–and that of his supporters–seems to be that if the unions disapprove of his performance, he must be doing something right. That’s cute, except LASD’s unions endorsed him four years ago and have complained constantly since then not about McDonnell’s policy positions but mostly about his lack of vision, understanding of the organization, and his leadership. They’ve complained about his not responding when a deputy was shot in the neck because it was late at night. They’ve complained about his ineffectiveness; about his inability to recruit, about the wave of deputies immediately lateraling to other agencies, about being $200 million over budget, about detectives being put into patrol cars to achieve minimum patrol levels. The unions are raising serious concerns about a sheriff which experience is showing is not up to the job. (See, also.) You can ignore the warning light if you like, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to crash into the mountain.

Maybe this frequent commenter on the LA Times article summed it up best:

“I think Jim is the biggest let-down of ANY elected official in the last 25 years,” she said. “Now even I refer to Jim as Sheriff McBuckles. Sad. So disappointing. Jim, I hate to say this b/c I was such a huge fangurl, you had your chance and choked. Time to step aside my friend.”

Indeed. And drop the patch.

Eight LASD and Election Updates

It’s been a busy few days in LASD and election news and we have summarized a few of the bigger updates for you here:

Lindsey Feeds The Troops at West Hollywood Station

Bob Lindsey randomly showed up at West Hollywood Staton with food the other night, like some sort of sheriff superhero. Here’s a little video of it Lindsey put out on his Instagram. We asked the Lindsey campaign for the backstory and they said he had just wrapped up a successful fundraiser nearby, had a bunch of leftovers and thought the deputies would appreciate the chow. Amazing.

Another Inmate Accuses a Deputy of Sexual Assault
Despite Jim McDonnell’s assertions that he has cleaned up and turned around LASD, yet another jail inmate has come forward alleging they were sexually assaulted by a deputy while in custody in the last couple years. This is at least the third or fourth such case LASD.News has reported on. In fact in this instance, the inmate alleges the assault occurred after LASD brass was already aware the deputy may have been preying upon inmates while in custody. And in related news, LASD.News reported several weeks ago that the department has dismally failed to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.

LA Times Lists Why McDonnell Is A Terrible Sheriff–Then Endorses Him Anyway
The troubled and out-of-touch Los Angeles Times, building upon its three-time endorsement of Sheriff Baca, endorsed McDonnell for a second term as sheriff.  In what is probably the least enthusiastic, most nose-pinching endorsement in its history, the Times wrote:

“Poor communication leaves the department aloof from the public. Workforce problems (low morale, an inability to hire) persist. As other law enforcement leaders around the nation assert leadership in solving pressing criminal justice issues, such as smarter bail policies and diversion programs for less serious criminals, McDonnell sometimes appears to be leading California’s forces of reaction and retrenchment. Changing times call for the leader of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department to take a central role in mapping out forward-looking public safety practices that emphasize rehabilitation and diversion from arrest and incarceration for people suffering addiction or mental illness; but the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is not currently among the groundbreakers.

There has been a discomfiting array of deputy misbehavior or worse on McDonnell’s watch. Consider, for example, the deputy alleged to have raped inmates at the women’s jail in Lynwood; the video of the deputy ignoring a call of “shots fired so he could talk on the phone to his girlfriend; the offensive racially charged emails sent by the sheriff’s then-chief of staff; the succession of shootings of unarmed men; the continuing deaths at the county jails; the charges against a sergeant for demanding sex in exchange for time off; the questionable purchase by an assistant sheriff of a car seized from a drunk driving suspect.”


And that’s without even mentioning the numerous instances unethical conduct, incompetence and wasteful spending detailed on this site.

Yet, nonetheless they endorsed this clown. Despite his abject failure to meet the expectations the Times set of him in their 2014 endorsement and their inability to make any case whatsoever for him this time around. Though the Times suggests they did not endorse Lindsey or Villanueva because they lack a broad plan for the criminal justice system, this does not stand up to basic scrutiny: both candidates have debated their plans at length in public forums (including this weekend) and on their websites; McDonnell has no plans posted to his website, has no social media presence, and has refused to participate in debates.

In our view, refusing to participate in debates should be disqualifying.

That this endorsement also comes on top of McDonnell’s refusal to participate in debates (including this weekend’s second and final ACLU-sponsored debate) or outline a vision for the future (while his opponents have) makes it all the more pathetic.

Should Bob Lindsey or Alex Villanueva prevail in the election despite the Times’ endorsement for someone they have nothing good to say about, it will truly call into question the Times’ credibility and relevance on LASD matters going forward.

Lindsey On Chinese-American TV
Bob Lindsey was on Chinese-American TV recently. That community is extremely concerned about the rising crime rate in Los Angeles County and the Department’s strained relations with the community. Here’s a link to that.

Lindsey and Villanueva Ads and Endorsements
Ads and endorsements for Bob Lindsey started popping up on the radio, on billboards along major highways, and in mailboxes countywide. Alex Villanueva was also endorsed by some more Democrats.

ALADS Newsletter Recap
The April edition of the ALADS Dispatcher newsletter is out. Here are the key take-aways:

  • Do not talk to supervisors about anything because they cannot be trusted under the McDonnell regime–though ALADS isn’t doing anything about it (p. 8)
  • LASD has long had a problem with deputies (and command staff) driving under the influence of alcohol and this continues to be an issue. Discipline is being stepped up, so everyone should be policing themselves and each other. While ALADS isn’t doing anything to protect you from Jim McDonnell, they are looking out for you on this–including providing free Uber/Lyft rides around the holidays–so this is a story you should read and that should be briefed. (p. 13-14)
  • ALADS has made dozens of endorsements for the June 5 election, without the need for 33% of deputies to sign off on them–except for in the race that effects you the most. (p. 29)
  • The Department continues to be short 1,500 deputies. (p. 32)
  • Congratulations to LASD Academy Class 427!  Hopefully not too many of you have already been relieved of duty pending termination.  (p. 64)
  • ALADS met with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander to discuss an effort to repeal Propositions 47 and 57. (Englander is a big McDonnell supporter and his brother, last we heard, does ALADS’ PR work.)
  • Despite not taking a stand in the race for sheriff on the grounds that doing so might cause McDonnell to retaliate during contract negotiations, ALADS seems to have made no/little progress with the county. (p. 81)
  • The Supreme Court is expected to rule in June or so on a case which will make it easier for deputies to drop ALADS for its failure to represent you. (p. 81)
  • ALADS discourages deputies from using personal body cameras, presumably because the department does not have a good record of dealing with its personnel in good faith.

Transient Arrested In Robbery-Turned-Murder in Rolling Hills Estates
An arrest was made in the murder of Susan Leeds, who was stabbed to death at the Rolling Hills Estates Promenade mall. According to detectives, Cherie Townsend, a 39-year old transient from Victorville, stabbed Leeds during a robbery in the mall’s parking garage. This is noteworthy because robberies have increased nearly 200% countywide under Sheriff McDonnell’s “leadership”, according to LASD statistics procured by department watchdog Surruo.com.

LASD Reserve Deputy Present for Recent Palmdale School Shooting
LASD Reserve Deputy John Johnston was working his day job as a school teacher when the recent Palmdale school shooting happened. LASD brass apparently tipped off the media as to his status as a reserve and NBC 4 has the story.


Main Newspaper Covering LASD Spotlights Deputy No Confidence

The primary newspaper covering the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported Tuesday that deputy sheriffs participating in ALADS’ poll of who the union should endorse supported Bob Lindsey over Jim McDonnell by a count of 1,302 to 34. 

In its report, the Santa Clarita Signal–which does the most frequent and detailed reporting on the LASD (with at least four articles in the last week)–highlighted the deputy vote of no confidence and the reasons behind it. And it focused on the consequences of law enforcement applicants deciding to apply and work at agencies other than the LASD: morale is worse than any time in the department’s history; recruiting can’t keep up with attrition, forced overtime is through the roof, terminations and IA investigations are up ten-fold, and people just see a better future elsewhere.

“While the poll represents a completely unofficial result, it indicates the inroads that sheriff candidate Bob Lindsey has made in gaining support of the rank-and-file in his bid to unseat Sheriff Jim McDonnell,” the Signal reported.

McDonnell and his campaign (to the extent one exists) refused to comment.

For the full story, click here.



ALADS Reports No Confidence In McDonnell

The primary union representing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Saturday a vote of No Confidence in Sheriff Jim McDonnell exactly one month out from the June 5 election.

The results of the survey are staggering; with 1,423 deputies (about 20%) of deputies voting.  This is largest percentage of deputies to participate in a vote in memory.

In fact, 97% of deputies participating in the vote registered their lack of confidence in McDonnell.

“The underlying sentiments which drove responses should certainly be of concern to Sheriff McDonnell,” ALADS said in a statement. “In particular, the Sheriff should take note that this vote represents a loss of confidence in him by a significant number of his deputies.”

Although only about 10% of ALADS members participate in its annual elections, its Board of Directors required an unprecedented 33% of members vote in order for the union to make an endorsement in the election (despite the fact that it regularly endorses candidates without any member input).  As of the Wednesday cut-off, a highly-motivated 17.9% of members had voted. The voting was conducted through a secure login to ensure its credibility and was promoted extensively by ALADS and on social media and was in addition to two interviews with each candidate ALADS has conducted in the last six months.

These results illustrate clearly that whether or not Sheriff McDonnell was the right vote four years ago, he has alienated those he needs to lead (as well as many of those who previously supported him).  New leadership is needed to move the organization forward.

“When ALADS’ Directors and Field Representatives speak to members, they primarily hear complaints over the seriously flawed disciplinary system and the use of that flawed system to tarnish the reputation of deputies (even after the California Appellate Court ordered them not to do so),” the ALADS statement continued.

“Following close behind, are member complaints of harsh working conditions stemming from the staffing crisis and substantial shortage of deputy sheriffs, ending [the reassignment of detectives to plug holes in patrol, known as CARPing], the failure to provide proper training and equipment, stopping forced overtime which jeopardizes the safety of deputies, poorly planned scheduling, and inaccurate budgeting for positions. Correcting these issues will doubtlessly go a long way to making the L.A. Sheriff’s Department a place where deputies want to stay and attract new and desperately needed candidates to the Department.”


How To Vote For The ALADS Endorsement

LASD Readers: Please share this message via your social media and with your partners at work.

In order to make an endorsement in the race for sheriff, ALADS is requiring that 33% of voting members complete a survey for who ALADS should back or they won’t even count the votes.  While, yes, this is like three times as many people as voted in the last ALADS election, it is what it is and we’ve gotta respond in overwhelming numbers now.

All you/your partners need to do is go to ALADS.org and click on the Sheriff’s Election banner. Or just click here. Login and cast your vote. Votes will be accepted until Wednesday, May 2 at midnight.

If you have trouble logging in, call ALADS at 323-213-4005.

Why does an ALADS endorsement matter?  Bragging rights/credibility and money.

The candidate that gets the ALADS endorsement will be flying that flag all over town.  Who do you want to be flying the flag of the working deputy sheriff?

That candidate will also get financial support, which they can use to mobilize the public vote.  Money for TV and radio advertising, or mailers.  Who should ALADS’ money (which was taken from your paycheck) go to support?

Hopefully someone who has your interests (and those of the communities we serve) at heart.

Since ALADS is requiring 33% of deputies to respond in order to even count the votes, not voting is a vote for no endorsement/more of the same.

So, make your voice heard.  And make sure your partners do so, too.

And if you know any District Attorney Investigators, get them on the horn also!  Every vote counts–and non-votes count most of all!


At ALADS, Bob Lindsey Confident He’ll Rebuild LASD; McDonnell Offers More of the Same

LASD.News brings you inside the room yesterday when the three candidates for sheriff addressed the ALADS board seeking their endorsement.  Bob Lindsey spoke first, followed by Alex Villanueva and then Jim McDonnell.

UPDATE: LASD.News has removed the audio recording of the event as we were not aware it was not supposed to be recorded. However, there is an election going on and it’s important department personnel know where the candidates stand so we are continuing to include a summary.

To summarize the full 44 minute event, Jim McDonnell basically promised more of the same.  Alex Villanueva went on for over 20 minutes, mostly about how Democrats are turning away from McDonnell and toward him.  And Bob Lindsey told the board that although he intends to win with or without their endorsement, their support would dramatically increase the chances that the people of Los Angeles County will not be saddled with McDonnell for another four years.

We thought Lindsey’s comments were so on point that we’ve decided to excerpt them for you here:

You know…this election is 30 days away.  30 days.  Thats when the absentee ballots come in.  The last couple of elections, that’s when Baca won.  He won the absentees. It was over.

So, we have 30 days to convince the public that Sheriff McDonnell isn’t the right guy for this job.  He never has been and he never will be.

And I can tell you this, if I don’t prevail, you’re gonna live with this guy for a decade.  This department won’t be yours.  You won’t be making any decisions.  He’s going to do exactly what he’s trying to do.

When Chief Parks walked in to the Protective League, looked at ‘em all and said, “You know what?  You’re all going to do what I say or I’ll cut you down.  I’ll discipline you.  I’ll find a way to get you.  That was [McDonnell’s] training.  And you know what?  That’s exactly what he did–at Long Beach, and that’s what he’s done [at LASD].

I know you’ve all been paying attention and I don’t know why you’re waiting [to endorse]. Maybe you’re waiting because you think, ‘ahhh, this is going to go ‘till November.’  It’s not going to.  Its going to be ended in June.

And I’ll tell you: I’m going to prevail in June.

But here’s the sad part: if I miss it by 1% or 2% or 3%, that’s on this board.  That’s on each member of this board.  Because you know you could push 10% of the vote my way—at least.  Based on your skills, based on your money, based on your endorsement, based on the power you have.

And whether this board endorses me or not, I know I’ve got the endorsement of most deputy sheriffs in the field…

So I’m not here to ask for your support.  I’m here to let you know that I believe you should have already made a decision: that’s my position…

So, with that, I will tell you this: my team is in it for the long-haul.  In for the long-haul.  And everything that I need is already in place.  That goes for the ballot, being first on it.  That goes to me being the only person on the ballot with a candidate statement, because McDonnell underestimated my power.  That goes to all the churches that I have aligned, and the rest of everything that I have put together with the help of experts…

So I’m not here to plead for your endorsement because I think I’m going to win without it, but it sure would be nice if you stood up now.  It would be nice if you asked the deputies what they wanted.  It would be nice if you followed up with what the membership says, whatever it is, whatever they want.  That is my request to you.  They endorse McDonnell, great.  They endorse Villanueva, great.  If they endorse me, great.  But give them an opportunity to live their lives as deputy sheriffs knowing they don’t have to watch out for management more than they have to watch out for the suspects.  

God bless all of you.  I know that you have a tough job.  And I know there’s politics involved in everything.  But sometimes you gotta take the politics out and push it aside and you gotta say to yourself, ‘Is this really where we want to end up?  Is this really who we want running this agency?  Is it really worth sitting back and taking the chance that this guy could own us for a decade?

Thank you.