Tag: Leadership

Sheriff McDonnell Refuses to Debate, Refuses to Lead

After three weeks on vacation, LASD.News is back in business. We have a whole slew of news to catch you up on, but first let’s start with news out today:

The elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County again demonstrated the deep contempt with which he holds the department, those who want to improve the department, anybody who disagrees with him for that matter, the African American and Hispanic communities, the local media, the faith community, and the community more generally when he once again refused to participate in a debate over the department’s direction … or what should be done about the future of law enforcement in California–period. 

He refused to debate, his campaign strategist essentially told the LA Times, because challenger Alex Villanueva is mean to him. Because McDonnell disagrees with what Villanueva has to say, and since we all know McDonnell doesn’t like being disagreed with, or having his inaccurate statements called out, he’d rather not put himself in that position.

An empty chair stood in his place. A metaphor for so many things.

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This should be disqualifying. In our view, it is. What a pathetic “leader”. What a hack. A coward. It’s disgusting we’re led by such an entitled, empty suit.

It would be one thing if Alex Villanueva were pulling 1% of the vote. He isn’t. A majority of primary voters felt LASD was going in the wrong direction. Expected to pull 3% of the vote, Villanueva received nearly 35%; he received the endorsement of LASD’s largest union. And he is talking about issues department members and the community care about, which McDonnell is not. McDonnell is literally counting on the power of incumbency and voter apathy to let him eek in another unproductive term (before his establishment friends can bump him up to some appointed state or federal gig where he doesn’t have to slum it with voters or people like you ever again).

McDonnell did not participate in a single debate during the primary. He did attend one debate with Villanueva earlier this summer and reviews of both were decidedly mixed. McDonnell apparently decided not to subject himself to scrutiny since—though he does make himself available to friendly (generally supplicant) audiences.

McDonnell is counting on his mainly white, coastal voting base (who he was courting today) saying, in effect, “Let’s vote for the old-school guy with the crappy record, who likes to play dress-up but who doesn’t bother to show up, who has few new ideas [McDonnell], because he’s been a rank-chaser longer than the guy who dedicated his life to LA County, who is showing up [Villanueva] and who does have interesting, progressive ideas.”

Based on what? Why? An Irish accent? Would you really vote for an incompetent person because he has more experience than the person who is offering specific ideas how to do a better job?

As the LA Times wrote Saturday, McDonnell instead spent the morning campaigning in uniform at an event in Long Beach.

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“I’m disgusted,” a woman in the audience told the Times. “I feel McDonnell doesn’t respect the voters.”

That woman made time to attend the forum–to our knowledge, the ONLY remaining debate before the election. KPCC moderator Frank Stoltze made time to attend the forum. The ACLU made time to attend the forum. Maya Lau from the LA Times made to time attend the forum. The dozens of people in the room made time. The elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County refused–so he could instead talk to a friendly crowd on the beach.

McDonnell claims to be a reformer; he loves to hold others to account, yet refuses to stand tall himself.

Pathetic.

To watch the debate–such as it was–for yourself, you can do so here:

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LASD and McDonnell To Be Sued for Preventable Death of Young Girl

At a press conference outside Sheriff’s Headquarters yesterday, the family of 11 year old Ashley Flores announced their intent to file what one would imagine will be a pretty hefty lawsuit against Sheriff McDonnell and the LASD due to a misrouted 911 call which they say resulted in Ashley’s death.

The family told CBS reporter Randy Paige they were forced to file a lawsuit because the Sheriff’s Department has not told them anything since the incident happened five months ago. They are literally saying that they are suing because the sheriff has not been up-front with them about what happened to their daughter and why.

“Waiting for answers, and nobody told me nothing,” Ashley’s father Alfonso Flores told CBS. “Nothing. Nobody. So, this is what I need for answers and justice.”

As CBS 2 reported last month (and with additional reporting from LASD watchdog Surruo.com), Flores suffered an asthma attack this past Christmas Eve. A 911 call was placed to Century Station but the deputy who answered the call–who was apparently untrained on the phone system–either misrouted the call or hung up on it entirely while trying to transfer it. Many minutes passed without a paramedic response and by the time help got to Ashley she was dead.

“Based on the current state of the investigation, but for the extended delay in getting medical help, Ashley would have lived. The claim alleges that the delay was caused by totally inadequate training and gross negligence by Los Angeles County and Sheriff McDonnell who are responsible for the training,” the Flores family said through their lawyer.

“The family wonders if this would have happened if they lived in an affluent community, and question whether their community is getting fair and equal treatment,” the statement concluded.

While an inflammatory accusation, it’s also probably a correct one.

In fact, sources tell us that Century Station (which serves the Lynwood area) has failed its annual audit of its “desk” operations for years, yet nothing has been done about it. The “desk” is LASD lingo for the 911 operation: calls for help coming in, the relevant details being collected, calls being entered into the dispatch system, and deputies being sent to calls. But it’s not just Century Station that has had problems. So, too, have other stations serving the county’s poorer and darker-hued communities such as Compton, South LA and East LA stations.

Stations with a good record of passing their desk audits tend to be in the more affluent/fair-skinned communities: Crescenta Valley, Lakewood, West Hollywood, Malibu.

So, what explains the difference?

There’s a long history of inconsistent standards between what happens at “ghetto stations” and all the others. They get worse equipment and cars, less training and there’s just an overall vibe of do-more-with-less. And the deputies serving those communities take pride in their ability to do just that. The deputies aren’t the problem. The problem is the Sheriff’s Department leadership that starves them of the resources they need and the community deserves. Leadership that doesn’t prioritize all communities equally.

This isn’t cynicism: it’s Politics 101.

Indeed, look no further than Sheriff McDonnell’s reported obsession with announcing the arrest of whoever killed Susan Leeds in white, affluent and politically-involved Rolling Hills. He reportedly demanded daily updates on the case, personally involved himself in it, and prominently announced an arrest at a press conference on Friday. (The alleged killer was released back into the community yesterday because the District Attorney said the case was rushed to cameras.)

How often do the victims of murders in Compton, South LA, East LA or Lynwood receive such attention? How often does the sheriff himself hold a press conference to announce the killers’ apprehension?

We all know the score here. LASD has long starved Century Station–and others in more urban areas–for resources and accepted failures that wouldn’t be tolerated in more affluent communities.

What’s really disappointing is that Sheriff McDonnell didn’t have the spine over the last five months to simply stand up and say, “We screwed up. We’ll pay for it and we’ll fix it.”

He’s not doing it because his lawyers (the real leaders of the Sheriff’s Department) are telling him not to. We’re going to be sued, they’re saying. You can’t admit anything.

That’s not leadership, sheriff.  This is.

Bob Lindsey Lands Endorsement of California Reserve Peace Officers

Shortly after we reported last night that Jim McDonnell has utterly destroyed LASD’s reserve program in just three years, we learned that the California Reserve Peace Officers Association just endorsed Bob Lindsey to be Los Angeles County’s next sheriff.

Like many of us, CRPOA endorsed/voted for Jim McDonnell four years ago…but they’ve seen how LASD’s reserve program has been decimated, how its reserves and community are being abused, and have taken a stand.

The organization represents California’s approximately 6,200 reserve deputy sheriffs and police officers, including by representing reserve issues in Sacramento, updating reserves on news/law/policy issues effecting them, through legal protection, through significant training at their annual conference, insurance, and numerous other benefits.

CRPOA’s endorsement of Bob Lindsey is a testament that they get it.

If you are an LASD reserve deputy, you need to protect yourself–from LASD.

First, you need to vote for Bob Lindsey to be sheriff–and get everyone else you know to do the same. Don’t just tell them. Don’t just ask. Make sure they do it.

Second, you need to join CRPOAThey’re standing by you when LASD and its unions haven’t.

Third, you might also consider becoming a reserve member of the Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA). If you get into something, McDonnell will still fire you because he’s a terrible person, but until then at least you’ll get some discounted uniforms from PPOA’s in-house store.

Don’t join ALADS. They cost three times as much as CRPOA and won’t do anything for you. They won’t let you vote in their elections, you won’t get discounted uniforms, and if you get in trouble they’ll shrug and say you’re S-O-L. Several sources have told us this from personal experience. And after their failure to endorse Bob Lindsey despite the wishes of 93% of their most active members, they may not even be around in a year anyway.

Thank you to the CRPOA for standing with LASD’s reserves, and for standing with everyone fighting to make LASD great again.

Former LAPD Leader Doesn’t Spend Millions On His Own Sweet Ride

Former Los Angeles Police Department Commander Andrew Smith sure could teach former LAPD First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell a thing or few about leadership.

And humility. And being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. And being a servant leader. Or just a credible leader.

After 27 years at the LAPD, Smith became the Chief of Police in Green Bay, Wisconsin. When it came to selecting his official vehicle, he decided against using public funds to buy an extravagant, luxury guzzler of taxpayer-funded gas driven by a $2 million stable of sworn chauffeurs and opted instead for a 2007 Jeep obtained through asset forfeiture.

“I take it as a point of pride that I drive pretty much the crappiest car in the fleet,” Smith says.

Meanwhile at LASD, McDonnell has spent around $100,000 that could have gone to replace unsafe deputy patrol cars or training 911 dispatchers on a blacked-out Denali and at least $1.4 million in deputy drivers (who should be in the field doing police work).

Check out the video below from the Green Bay Press-Gazzette; their article is also here.

 

LASD Mismanagement Cost A Little Girl Her Life

CBS News and LASD watchdog Surruo.com just reported that four months ago a little girl in Century Station’s area lost her life in an asthma attack.  Her family had called 911, but the call taker at Century Station hadn’t been trained to use the phone, so the fire department did not arrive until it was too late.  She died.

What happened is tragic.  But why it happened is a matter of policy.  And it’s inexcusable.

Because Sheriff McDonnell has–now over three years into his term–blown millions of dollars on himself while starving patrol stations and deputies of necessary training.

This makes us sick.

Maybe the deputy screwed up.  But not knowing how to use the phone isn’t his/her fault.  The Department failed to train them.  As it fails to train deputies in many aspects of what the public expects them to do.  Now, the Department isn’t even standing tall–but, rather, hiding behind a statement nearly five months after the fact.

This is LASD’s fault.  Our fault.  Our unwillingness to say so is shameful.  Neither the sheriff, nor anybody else, was even willing to appear on camera.

LASD.News voted for Sheriff McDonnell four years ago.  But people are getting hurt.  People are getting killed.  The public–certainly this child’s family–are losing faith in their Sheriff’s Department and their government.  He has lots of excuses about how “hard” and “challenging” everything is–but precious little in the way of the leadership the Department has needed for a long time, and results that our community deserves.  We need to get somebody else in there.

CBS News has the emotional story.

And Surruo has the story behind the story.  How this happened, why, and what the community can do about it.

PPOA Stands Tall While Others Hide

For a profession comprised of so many Type-A, highly opinionated people willing to run into gunfire, it’s amazing how few are willing to make their voice heard when it counts.  This site included, as while we are speaking out, we are doing so anonymously for fear of departmental retaliation.

So, it’s noteworthy that PPOA President Brian Moriguchi came out Friday with a column highly critical of departmental brass and its continued inaction on the biggest issues facing the Sheriff’s Department over the past four years.

For those unfamiliar, the Professional Peace Officers Association is one of LASD’s three unions–this one representing sworn personnel at the rank of sergeant or above, as well as civilian professional staff.

Please click here to read the full column, but here are a few excerpts:

“What we need are Department executives willing to recognize problems and offer solutions (in other words, lead). Saying ‘there is no morale problem’ over and over doesn’t mean there isn’t a morale problem. Telling the Sheriff ‘there isn’t a morale problem’ and ‘things are great under your leadership’ may help you get promoted, but it doesn’t address the problems in the Department.”

*          *          *

“For many years, PPOA has been telling this Sheriff and the sheriffs before him that the Department needs to make recruitment and retention a top priority. We recommended the creation of a recruitment task force to address the problem. Our concerns fell on deaf ears until last year, when Sheriff McDonnell announced he would make recruitment a top priority.”

*          *          *

“Recruitment is only part of the problem. Retention is the other. We have seen a sharp rise in folks retiring early (before age 55). Many are retiring after the 25-year mark so they get the medical coverage in retirement. Many have said they are unhappy with the Sheriff’s Department or unhappy with the negativity associated with the job because of negative media coverage and anti-police sentiment. Some say they are fed up with the favoritism, excessive discipline and overall (mis)treatment of the employees.”

*          *          *

“Each day and each month the Department wastes before it implements real solutions, the bigger the problem becomes. My greatest fear is an employee will be killed falling asleep on the job because of excessive overtime. This fear should exist in every Department executive and motivate them to fix the problem! Let’s not wait until that day comes.”

*          *          *

“I would rather see Department executives take a chance at something and fail than see them sit on their hands for fear of failing.”

Lindsey and Villanueva Debate in East LA but McDonnell Blows Off the ACLU & NPR Hosted Forum

It takes a special kind of hubris to blow off the people on which you are the most dependent.  To ditch the one that brung ya.  Yet that’s exactly what Sheriff McDonnell did on Saturday when he UTH’d a debate of sheriff candidates hosted by the ACLU of Southern California, moderated by Frank Stoltze, who covers both politics and the Sheriff’s Department for National Public Radio station 89.3 KPCC.  The event was held at East LA Community College.

Candidates Bob Lindsey and Alex Villanueva did show up, however, and debated serious issues for over an hour.  The ACLU live streamed the debate (a common courtesy ALADS failed to extend to members or the public when candidates addressed it two week ago) and their recording is copied below.  However, Bob Lindsey’s live stream had better audio and picture, so we are also including that.

You should definitely listen to the debate during your drive to work or something because important questions were asked, serious issues were discussed and real positions were taken.  But, to us, the MAIN STORY is that McDonnell failed not just to show up, but to even complete the written questionnaire the ACLU sent him.

McDonnell not showing up is a really big deal because McDonnell ran four years ago on a platform of transparency and of improving relationships with the community, and he was heavily dependent on the support from LA’s more liberal, NPR-listening, ACLU-aligned community.  And yet here he was showing absolute contempt for them (a feeling deputy sheriffs and many other constituencies already know far too well).

This is really bizarre behavior by McDonnell.  He seems to assume voter apathy gives him a lock on reelection.  That’s pretty shameful, undemocratic and pathetic behavior on its own.  But beyond that, it’s mistaken.

Between Villanueva’s Democratic Party endorsements and (to be honest) Hispanic last name, and Lindsey’s strong electoral, financial and social media support from many communities (Hispanic, African American, faith, deputies and their families, pro 2A, the cannabis community, and many others), it’s hard to understand how McDonnell thinks he gets over 50% of the vote on June 5.  It’s hard to understand how McDonnell thinks he gets over 30%.  He isn’t Sherman Block, Leroy Baca, Peter Pitchess or Eugene Biscailuz.  He’s been in the sheriff job for a minute, hasn’t gotten much of anything done, and people like him less than they used to.  So, his actions here are telling.

McDonnell won three years ago competing against a felon with one foot aboard the bus to Englewood Federal Prison, he hasn’t been around long enough to have much name recognition, and his relations with key community groups have only worsened since then.  In our analysis, it’s mainly just the LA establishment and the ACLU/KPCC left–the very folks he snubbed today.  The folks already upset with him over aggressively failing to deliver the transparency he promised (note KPCC’s Repeat podcast and the LA Times lawsuit).

As the moderator Frank Stoltze put it, the Sheriff of Los Angeles County is a very important position.  Far more important than the Los Angeles Chief of Police.  The issues should be debated and the candidates should show up.  Refusing to show up sends a message stronger than words.

Well, enough of our analysis.  Listen for yourself.  Here are the links.

From the ACLU

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From Bob Lindsey’s Campaign

Part I

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Part II

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