Posts Tagged ‘Lee Baca’

Brass Tacky

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

This week, former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted of obstructing an FBI corruption investigation of the jails he oversaw. But despite having once been a part of his fundraising machine, all I can think about is the Department’s new belt buckles.

I can go two ways here: ask what the hell these guys are thinking spending $300,000 on new belt buckles to give their uniforms more shock and awe, or write off new-guy Jim McDonnell as meddling and distracted.

Isn’t this the controlling, big spender schtick that the newly formed, McDonnell-supported Civilian Oversight Commission is supposed to question?  (more…)

A Felon, Just Like Me

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Former LASD Sheriff Baca_Where Excuses Go to Die__Photo ABC NewsHaving written fundraiser remarks for disgraced LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, and having been big-bro bear-hugged by him after confessing to teleprompter typos, it’s hard to hate the man who ran a law enforcement mafia.

He hugged me because he was relieved to be offstage. Fifty-cent words weren’t easy for Baca, I’d been warned, and this was a big night. Just before he’d taken the podium, I realized I’d failed to yank one word in particular, and sure enough he flubbed it. Regardless of how I felt about his Men’s Central Jail deputies — or anything else related to that American flag-wrapped night at the Beverly Hilton — I was the show writer. I had to tell him it was my mistake, not his. (more…)

Apocalypse Hoosegow 9

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Apocalypse-Hoosegow__9__Where-Excuses-Go-to-DieA newly-appointed federal monitor will now oversee the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail and the wider LA jail system. Finally, movie nights –and maybe even civil rights– are back.

Changes are afoot, and prisoners housed at 441 Bauchet St., LA’s notorious Men’s Central Jail, may soon be eligible for social skill-strengthening activities and other privileges that have been forbidden since…who knows? 1965? The year after the facility opened? Well, decades, at least.

And that makes me wonder:

  • Might newly elected Sheriff Jim McDonnell do away with the Fight Club free-for-all day rooms, with their non-running water, MCJ 3000 Floor Day Room_Where Excuses Go to Diebacked up toilets, and rodent infestations?
  • Will rampant abuse and neglect in this, the nation’s “largest care-taking facility” for the mentally ill, finally start to slow?
  • Will the Sheriff’s Deputies and civilian jailers stop tossing decks of cards through the bars as a substitute for rehabilitation?
  • Or will those same individuals continue to celebrate excessive force and use it with enthusiastic prejudice?
  • Will the screams of men being sexually assaulted at MCJ no longer stomp bootprints of bad memories into the heads of those fortunate enough to only be plugging their ears?
  • Will Badges finally start assigning chores or handing out mops and brooms to inmates other than those willing do “torpedo runs” and other scheming favors?
  • Will visitors to the facility at last see an end to beat downs while handcuffed to a bench?

(more…)

LA County Sheriff’s “CRRC”

Monday, May 26th, 2014

And it begins – the rehabilitation of the LA Sheriff’s Department…

LA County Sheriffs Department calls for a Do-overInterim LA County Sheriff John Scott’s news conference last week announced the opening of the Sheriff’s Department’s Community Reentry and Resource Center (CRRC). It’s a new component of the department’s  Education Based Incarceration/Merit Program

As he has several times before, Scott stood in contrast to the Department’s typically defensive posture, indifference toward matters of prisoner reentry, and former Sheriff Lee Baca’s endless insistence that only more money can resolve overcrowding and the problems faced in running the nation’s largest jail.

In terms of my love-hate relationship with the LASD, some of these men are cops this former criminal happens to be rooting for. I’ll set aside my cynicism and suspicions to appreciate Scott’s effort to repair the damages wrought by corrupt, Nazi-gang-affiliated, vengeful Department brass (and –as described by insiders– its cult-like following).

SO LONG LA Sheriffs Spokesman Steve WhitmoreIt’s no small thing that this first high profile attempt to reverse the Men’s Central Jail’s inhumane and festering image addresses the causes of recidivism rather than demonstrating a tougher resolve or blaming budget woes. Scott is clearly borrowing a page from the national dialog on prison reform, and yes, it’s a little Simpsons-esque to watch this particular department pitch their newfound forbearance to the public. But folks, this is how it’s gonna be for a while. Luckily, I’ve spoken with several respected officers in the department who have an impressive sense of humor about their profession and their beleaguered employer.

And what is the LA County Sheriff’s Community Reentry and Resource Center?

Through the CRRC, return-to-the-community services such as drug and alcohol treatment, job placement assistance, temporary shelter, tattoo removal, family reintegration, and mental health counseling will be made available to anyone emerging from the building that’s been making headlines as “one of the worst jails in America.” Its offices have been set up right across the street from the ‘ol dungeon itself (the one the county might either expand, tear down or, if there is a God, turn into a mall).

So what’s it like to walk out of Men’s Central Jail, anyway?

This might be difficult to imagine if you’ve never experienced it, so I’ll start by describing release from MCJ this way: it’s like being kicked out of your own failure, especially if you don’t have someone ready and waiting to get you out of the area. (more…)

L.A. Sheriff Baca Steps Down

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

You can’t run for reelection when you’ve been indicted by the Feds.

He was the most powerful elected official in Southern California.
His jail was compared to Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.
He was called “deliberately indifferent” to civil rights abuses and corruption among his deputies.
He saw controversy and criticism as opportunities.
He compared his job to missionary work.
What a surprise.

3000_Baca_Photo by Grant Slater–KPCCI once came across what I thought was a dead or dying 50-something Asian man in the 3000 block of the Men’s Central Jail. He was lying with his head between an open cell’s steel toilet bowl and the concrete wall. This last cell in the row had been left open for those of us housed on the tier because of overcrowding. The old man was there for two days; others used the bowl around him and on him. Someone should’ve been told, but not an eyebrow had been raised by the other inmates, so I was afraid to speak up.

These units at MCJ are referred to as modules, and their ground floor walkways –still very much in use– have been dubbed “The Freeway.” That was just about the worst place an arrogant fuck-up like me could imagine, and I was there to stay. One afternoon, from outside that open cell, I heard someone yelling angrily because the man was in their way, and I was torn up in ways I’ve never felt. So I walked up to the module’s sally port cage door, got the attention of a Sheriff’s deputy, and told him the old guy needed to be dragged out of there. I got waved off and told to get lost. (more…)

LA County Sheriff’s Christmas Special

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Top 10 reasons you’re glad these

losers are being made examples of

County Sheriff’s Christmas Special_Where Excuses Go to Die

“There’s no perfect law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, let alone the United States.”
– Sheriff Lee Baca on the FBI indictment of 18 LA Sheriff’s Deputies
(A ceremonial dagger of an excuse for poor leadership if there ever was one.)
(more…)

“I Told You So” Level 8

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

On September 28, 2012, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence released its official report on what the L.A. Times called, “a lack of meaningful oversight” within the County jail system, as well as “an institutional culture of arrogance and impunity” with regards to the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.

‘Course, when you’re one of the “bad guys,” you think twice about mentioning crappy accommodations and the uppity desk clerk. In part, that’s how things in L.A. got so bad – some people needed to forget, others questioned their right to say anything, and most doubted the likelihood of their being listened to. (more…)

Apocalypse Hoosegow 5: L.A. Sheriff Face-palm Edition

Monday, August 20th, 2012

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) says reforms designed to address violence in county jails have worsened morale, calling recent reports of abuse “exaggerated.” L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, who on the one hand claims to have implemented those reforms, now says his beleaguered Deputies can’t do their jobs ‘cause they’re being picked on. The “Teflon Sheriff” blames jail inmates for increasing violence instead, saying they’ve grown “significantly more hostile toward Deputies and resistant to their directives.” 

“At some point in time, if the inmates feel empowered, they will riot. They will try to take it over,” said Floyd Hayhurst, president of the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. “You can feel it in the building when the morale is down. The inmates sense that too.” (more…)

Apocalypse Hoosegow 4: Of Heroin Burritos and “Dings” at L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

I’ve seen the mentally ill scurry from beatings under bunks, behind trashcans, and between walls and toilets. I’ve also witnessed Sheriff’s Deputies chasing these “Dings” down to hogtie ‘em and leave ‘em that way until their wrists and feet turned so purple I wanted to scream in anger. It’s all coming back now – but this time, finally, it’s coming back publically.

First of all, “Ding” is a jail term for prisoners suffering from obvious mental health issues. Jabbering crazy dudes are everywhere in jail, and most of ‘em like to hide – in corridors, showers, laundry areas, etc. They also jump out at you, yell at you, grab your food while you’re eating, and keep you up at all hours. So naturally, Dings get the shit beaten out of ‘em night and friggen’ day. (more…)

From Beat-downs to Bear Hugs

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

My Journey from L.A. County Custody to Sheriff Lee Baca’s Wild World of Wheelin’ and Dealin’

'03 Gold Star AwardsIn 2003 I was hired to write a teleplay for the 2nd Annual California Gold Star Awards: Dedicated to Homeland Security – a Donald Sterling, black-tie, $25,000 per-table fundraiser for the Orange County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association held at the Disneyland Hotel. L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was representing, and security for the luminary-laden event was, according to the official press release, listed as “war mode.”

Now for those of you somehow unfamiliar with the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, the event’s principal underwriter, Donald Sterling, is one of Southern California’s largest real estate moguls. He’s also routinely accused of flagrant racism, not least of all by the U.S. Department of Justice for his attempts to exclude blacks, Latinos and prospective tenants with children from renting apartments in properties he owns. Even when it appears as though others are honoring him, words like “fake,” “ugly,” and “mirage” have been used to describe Sterling’s garish “philanthropy,” while he himself enjoys a widespread reputation for being miserly, sexist, and self-aggrandizing. (UPDATE: 8/6/14 Well, I guess there’s no question now what the world thinks of the man now, eh?)  (more…)