Sheriff Candidate Baca Defends Offer to Block

Sheriff's Chief Lee Baca used a debate among candidates for Los Angeles County sheriff that was broadcast Friday to defend his attempts to induce incumbent Sherman Block to drop out of the race as motivated by compassion.

"I didn't want to see my boss being hoisted out of office by the electorate," Baca said during a debate taped Thursday at the Century Cable studios in Santa Monica. "If having compassion for my boss . . . is a crime and a lack of ethics on my part, then I plead guilty."

Block charged last week that Baca offered him a variety of benefits to forego running for a fifth term, including continued use of a private office, car and driver as well as a new role as sheriff emeritus.

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