Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka has received support from one of his former rivals in the race for Los Angeles County sheriff.
Patrick Gomez, a retired lieutenant who served with the Sheriff’s Department for over 31 years and one of seven candidates for sheriff in the June primary, released videos in both English and Spanish on Oct. 8 announcing his endorsement of Tanaka.
“I’m honored to have the support of former sheriff candidate Pat Gomez,” said Tanaka. “The future of the department is crucial to the safety of our county. When elected sheriff, I will bring order and common sense leadership back to the organization.”
Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell received 49 percent of the vote to Tanaka’s 15 percent in June. Four of the former candidates — retired sheriff’s Cmdr. Bob Olmsted, Assistant Sheriff Jim Hellmold, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers, and LAPD Senior Detective Supervisor Lou Vince — immediately threw their support to McDonnell.
“L.A. County needs a sheriff who understands what must be changed within the department,” Gomez said in the video, “and a sheriff who has the courage to make the tough decisions that our department desperately needs. We need a sheriff with the experience to take on that role Day One, and that person is Paul Tanaka.
“Besides being a retired lieutenant, a father, husband and longtime resident of Los Angeles County, I believe L.A. County should be the safest place to live, work and raise your family. Paul Tanaka shares in those same values.
“And with Paul’s 33 years of law enforcement experience, his background as a certified public accountant, and his leadership as mayor in the City of Gardena, he is the only qualified candidate to be our next sheriff. I have seen Paul’s proven crime-fighting record and leadership in all ranks throughout his 33 years in law enforcement. Paul is the right leader to take the position as sheriff.”
In a video posted Monday on Tanaka’s Facebook page, victims’ rights advocate Jeannette Chavez said, “Six years ago, my daughter Sammantha Salas was the innocent victim of a violent crime. When we could not find her killers, Sammantha’s unsolved murder was brought to the attention of Paul Tanaka, who assigned a team of investigators that worked tirelessly to identify them.
“Thanks to Paul’s compassion, my family, the community and I were able to obtain a sense of justice … I and many other victims of violent crime urge you to vote for Paul Tanaka.”
As mayor of Gardena, Tanaka has endorsed another candidate on the Nov. 4 ballot, small businessman David Hadley, the Republican challenger to Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance).
“David Hadley will fight the job-killing regulations that hurt our communities,” Tanaka is quoted as saying on one of Hadley’s campaign mailers.