Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 – 12:00 am

Were one to identify California’s 10 most powerful political offices, the list would, of course, begin with the governor.

The two top leaders of the Legislature would follow, along with the attorney general.

Arguably, the next five slots would be occupied by Los Angeles County supervisors, once dubbed “the five little kings.” Governing a county with 10 million people means big-time clout, which is why two rare board vacancies are drawing heavy political attention this year.

But what about No. 10? Would it be the mayor of the city of Los Angeles, or that of San Diego or San Francisco?

A strong argument could be made for making the sheriff of Los Angeles County No. 10.

Sheriffs are always powerful local politicians, because they represent law and order to the public and spend big chunks of county budgets.

But the sheriff of Los Angeles County is especially powerful, with influence that reaches into the state Capitol on issues that involve a lot of money and a lot of visceral impact.

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