My most controversial writing has to have been the Lili Hadsell piece. (Article here: Police Chief's Daughter Caught With Narcotics). I've never had a piece go more viral nor one that generated so much controversy and discussion. In my Chief of Police, Lili Hadsell piece, I discuss how the Chief's daughter was caught possessing narcotics, outside Motel 6 with a strange man named Chase. Most of the article, however, focused on her gross under-performance and failure as a city police Chief.
A good majority of my readers and critics expressed a sense of justice when reading it. A minority of them; however, were concerned I "went too far." Their logic was that it was too personal and that the link between Hadsell's drug use had no bearing on her leadership. I'm writing this comment to explore these criticism.
First, let me start by stating what was said to me by these critics. A long time blog reader and a dear friend of mine told me that it went too far because she's in a position of leadership and that her child's failure shouldn't reflect on it. I have nothing but respect for this reader and the great wisdom and advice she's given me over the years, and I don't believe if her child committed a crime of commission or omission, it would be her fault at all.
Another reader told me she had a sister who was a heroin addict and that her father was one of the best fathers you could have asked for. I knew the father too, and I agree. In this case, as well, it seems highly unlikely that there is a link between the daughter's drug use and the father's competence. To be sympathetic, this reader had said, "Oh, the suffering that family must be going through."
Yet, human and emotional reasoning tends to make this jump: drug addicts come from broken families. People believe this because there is a high correlation between the two, even though it doesn't mean the two are always linked.
Also, in my defense, which isn't much of one, I'm a biased writer. I try not to be. But I am. To be honest, I became an accidental journalist. I never thought my blog would take the role of the local newspaper, but the San Gabriel Valley Tribune was doing such a horrible job in exposing the issues in my city. I definitely remember the moment when I told myself - the hell with the Tribune. I'll write myself. And I did, and it had a huge impact on our community. It cost the former Council Member Marlen Garcia her election.
But because I took on this role, of course I couldn't be as objective as a journalist should be. One, Chief Hadsell retaliated against my First Amendment rights. And instead of apologizing, she only snickered at me, when I brought it up. Two, she had her police called upon me just because I was going to file a complaint at City Hall against her. This was another retaliation against my rights as a citizen. So, my view of Hadsell is that she was certainly a Chief that promoted corruption, instead of taking on the role of keeping the citizen's needs first and foremost.
Therefore, although it's possible that Megan Hadsell's drug use could have been independent of Lili's influence, I personally doubt it. I base that off of my previous experience with Hadsell. Marlen Garcia simply put an unqualified lieutenant in a position she couldn't handle in exchanging for sponsoring the illegal actions of the Garcia-Lozano regime.
Furthermore, something I didn't mention previously, was that Lili used to head the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). Yes, again, there's a tenuous link between her mothering and her police leadership, but how are we supposed to expect the DARE Head to help prevent drug use in our city when she can't do it at home? In all probablity, DARE doesn't work. Or Hadsell doesn't work. Or both of them don't work.
Another point - the publication of the piece helped prevent Hadsell from tampering with witnesses and the justice system. Once already, West Covina had to open an investigation against Hadsell for intimidating her sister-in-law from testifying against her brother. Why? Because Hadsell's brother had allegedly spousally raped the sister-in-law. Although the final outcome from the internal police probe was that the Chief was exonerated, members of our community believe otherwise.
Although I sincerely feel sorry for any youth who gets caught up in our justice system, especially for drug use, such as Megan Hadsell, I have a deeper conviction that the law should be enforced equally against the rich and the poor, the commoners and the daughters of police chiefs. Empirical research is fairly consistent that blacks and the Latins get over-policed, over-prosecuted, and under-protected. What will happen in Megan's case? We're waiting We're seeing.
Also - I just wanted to mention that Megan's arrest and court filing is a public record. Therefore, I didn't breach any duty that Megan or Lili may have had to privacy.
Nonetheless, I'm glad for the criticisms I received. It will make me more careful in evaluating such a controversial move in the future. In the end, balancing all the factors, and sincerely believing that Hadsell is an unfit leader as well as an unfit parent, I did publish what I thought I had to.
Finally - I wanted to end with the point that any good piece of journalism should encourage a discussion with the community. When readers in France are asking what's happening with the family of police Chiefs, when my readers of the minority populace are talking about the disparity in punishment for blacks and browns, and when my boxing kids are saying "Oh my God!", I believe, at the very least, I have achieved the purpose of provoking the readers to admit America has a bigger drug problem than we wanted to admit. Baldwin Park isn't evening keeping good statistics on drug related arrests. But in line with Alcoholics Anonymous' motto: the first step is to admit you have a problem. Baldwin Park, and it looks like LA at large, has a big drug problem.