Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ADDA Due In Court for Some 411, on 411

Despite denials of secrecy and claims of transparency, the ADDA has not responded to requests posted here for information concerning the effects of the loss of their appeal. In the absence of any response from President Hyatt Seligman, we publish here what we understand to be the current state of affairs.

It is understood that DDA Doug Sherrod has resigned as Treasurer, although there is no official word of this, and the ADDA website continues to display his name as Treasurer. It is believed that DDA Steve Ipsen has been appointed to replace Sherrod, a move unlikely to be popular with all the members who voted against Ipsen in the last election.

The ADDA's position on the dissemination of information to its members appears to be simply this: If you want to find out anything, show up at the ADDA monthly meeting, otherwise you are not entitled to any information at all.

If that's how the ADDA regards its members, then any chance of being trusted with an Agency Shop, let alone anything else would seem to be highly remote.

We understand that the $160,000 in legal fees now owed to DDA Peter Burke as a result of the litigation surrounding the ADDA's refusal to follow its own bylaws and hold a timely election, will be the subject of a Debtors Examination on April 11, 2011. At that point, perhaps, ADDA members might get some idea of what has been done with the $20,000 a month in members' dues that the ADDA has been receiving for the past two years.

Once again, President Seligman, we offer you a viable solution to your inability to issue emails or update the ADDA website, and invite you to email your explanation, statement or comments here, as you have done before.

"Those that accuse the ADDA Board of trying to hide or do things in secret are off the mark.  We are desperately trying to get our message out on all of the issues of concern to every deputy.  We want every deputy to know what we are trying to do and why so we can do a better job of serving everyone.  That's the simple truth."

Hyatt Seligman
President, ADDA
March 3, 2011 

It really does seem that you do not want members to know;
(a) why the Treasurer resigned?
(b) who has been appointed to replace him? and
(c) what has been done with members' dues?

That's not to much to ask is it?
Remember, the truth will set you free, so how about it?

Alan Jackson On The Airwaves

District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson hit the airwaves in the 4 o'clock hour Tuesday afternoon.

Jackson was a guest of Hugh Hewitt on KRLA 870AM's afternoon rush hour talk show, talking about his candidacy and his work on behalf of victims of crime in the run up to Victims of Crime Awareness Week.

Jackson drew high praise from Hewitt who later blogged:

"April 10 marks the beginning of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.  I am talking about victims' rights in hour two of today's program with Collene Campbell, Alan Jackson and Steve Twist.

Campbell's son and brother were murdered in separate incidents years apart.

Jackson, a candidate for Los Angeles County District Attorney, prosecuted the killer of Campbell's brother.

Twist, a former prosecutor and co-author of a text of criminal procedure and victims' rights, is one of the guiding lights of the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to add victims' rights to the text of the Sixth Amendment.

Alan Jackson's website is here. Jackson's thoughts on "The Lost Voice" --the victim's voice-- are here.  He will make a superb District Attorney for Los Angeles County."

Expect to hear more from Jackson on the Hugh Hewitt show as the campaign rolls on.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DA Candidates In The News

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, and Deputy District Attorneys Danette Meyers and Bobby Grace made the news with a questions over transparency, a brewing high-profile trial, and an outstanding murder verdict respectively.

ContractGate Scandal Reveals Other Trutanich Removals

TRU is False created the photo montage above using an allegedly deleted photo (left)
to contrast Trutanich's campaign pledge not to run for District Attorney
(Credit: TRU is False)
TRU is False, the blog that apparently exists for the sole purpose of trashing City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, picked up on the brewing ContractGate scandal revealed by FishBowl LA. TRU is False alleges that in addition to the removal of the 'contract search tool' disclosed by FishBowl LA, Trutanich also recently removed a photograph of him taking his oath of office. TRU is False has what they claim to be the original photo, and suggest that the removal was designed to deflect criticism about Trutanich reneging on a campaign promise not to use the City Attorney's Office as a political springboard to higher office.

Although Trutanich has not officially announced his candidacy for the 2012 election to replace District Attorney Steve Cooley, Trutanich told the LA Times that he did not consider himself bound by his 2008 promise. Perhaps the picture of Trutanich taking an oath was removed to prevent it being used by rival campaigns, however, it seems that TRU is False has a copy.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers To Go To Trial in Lindsay Lohan Necklace Case

No shortage of headlines for DA hopeful Danette Meyers as Radar OnLine broke the news that troubled Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan was rejecting a plea bargain that involved spending time behind bars to settle the dispute over Lohan's appropriation of a necklace. The case will now proceed to a preliminary hearing where even more news coverage is likely.

That preliminary hearing is set for April 21, 2011 in Judge Stephanie Sauntner's court. Radar OnLine is also reporting that they have inside information on how Lohan's lawyer, Shawn Holley, plans on keeping Lohan out of jail when (notice we don't say 'if') Lohan is held to answer after the preliminary hearing, and found to be in violation of probation. More speculation on the defense strategy at Radar OnLine.

Meyers gave a clue to her strategy when, according to the Disney InfoNet,  it was revealed that the prosecution could include evidence of prior bad acts by Lohan. Apparently there are some questions Meyers wants answered regarding a $35k gold Rolex watch that Lohan was slow to return to its rightful owner. More here.

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace Wins Major Murder Trial

LA Times NOW broke the story of a great trial success.

While the Lindsay Lohan case made news everywhere for Meyers, Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace got his fair share of headlines at the conclusion of long and difficult murder trial of a former fire captain. We previously reported that Grace has successfully prosecuted 60 murder trials, I guess we can now revise that to 61. Congratulations on a well deserved victory for justice.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Hour With Carmen Trutanich?

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich faces a new crisis - a growing number of disaffected voters.

Are the wheels finally coming off the Trutanich wagon?
A surprise slew of negative comments at the Ron Kaye L.A. Blog
suggests that former supporters are less than impressed with Trutanich.

Longtime Trutanich supporter, Ron Kaye, former editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, published the innocently titled article "An Hour with Carmen Trutanich: Defending, Attacking, Answering Tough Questions" over this past weekend on his Los Angeles political news blog Ron Kaye L.A.

The article offers readers the chance to watch a video recording of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich speaking to the Sherman Oaks Homeowner's Association, but the reaction from readers was largely unfavorable, suggesting that Trutanich's days of adoration are over.

Like a shark smelling blood in the water, the Political Pantloads blog picked up on the City Attorney's fall from grace with a hit-piece entitled "An Hour With Carmen Trutanich? I'd Rather Be Water Boarded!"which quotes a number of less than flattering comments from Ron Kaye L.A.'s readers.

Humorously, Political Pantloads suggests a possible use for the hour with Carmen Trutanich video: 
"He [Trutanich] could have unintentionally discovered a new interrogation technique for LAPD - they can now threaten suspects by making them watch "an hour with Carmen Trutanich" until they confess. I bet even the most hardened criminal won't last ten minutes!"

Pantloads may be on to something...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Extent of ADDA's Losses "Shocking"

The Association of Deputy District Attorney's was mentioned in both Los Angeles's legal newspapers Friday March 18, 2011, in connection with the loss of a lawsuit; Burke v. Ipsen, reported at 189 Cal.App.4th 801.

The Los Angeles Daily Journal published brief details of the loss of an appeal by the ADDA of Judge Chalfant's trial court ruling, quoting ADDA President Hyatt Seligman comment that the $100,000 loss was "a hurdle, but we'll overcome it."

But while the Daily Journal article was short on details, the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise article revealed the full extent of what some might say are shocking details of this case.

The ADDA had appealed Judge Chalfant's original ruling that the ADDA had "violated the California Corporations Code and its own bylaws." ADDA member Peter Burke brought the lawsuit to challenge what he believed to be unlawful changes to the ADDA bylaws and its failure to hold an election. Judge Chalfant agreed with Burke after trial, and issued a writ of mandate ordering the union to hold an election for its board and declaring the amended bylaws were invalid. Additionally, Judge Chalfant awarded Burke costs believed to be in the region of $60,000.

Having lost at trial and being saddled with paying Burke's legal fees (as well as the ADDA's own legal fees) the ADDA decided to appeal Judge Chalfant's ruling. No explanation was given as to the legal theory behind the ADDA's decision to appeal the ruling, leading some to speculate that the ADDA was simply gambling on Burke not having the resources or stamina to fight the appeal.

If it was a gamble, it was a bad one, perhaps even a reckless one. In the absence of any clear statement from President Seligman, one can only assume that the costs of the original trial and the appeal all have to be paid by members' dues - $160,000 in Burke's legal fees, and the unknown costs of the ADDA's own attorneys.

The Met News reported that "the ADDA had collected approximately $20,000 a month in dues, over a two year period, while the case was pending." However, Judge Chalfant noted that the ADDA had introduced “no evidence of what’s been done with that money.”

ADDA President Hyatt Seligman told the Met News that 'he was “extremely disappointed” with Chalfant’s ruling yesterday, but vowed: “We’ll overcome this, no matter what happens to our finances.” He said the union will “have to seek an alternative remedy,” but declined to elaborate on how that will occur.'

Despite the tone of President Seligman's statement, the lack of detail must be troubling especially as he plans to go forward with an Agency Shop where all 700 Deputy District Attorneys in grades I through IV will each be forced to give the ADDA $900 a year; that's a total of $630,000 a year.  Perhaps that is the "alternative remedy" of which he speaks?

There can be little doubt that many will see the loss of this lawsuit and appeal as a costly, even reckless, mistake. It is notable that President Seligman apparently even failed to properly introduce an affidavit opposing the award of attorney fees, the Met News reporting that President "Seligman had submitted an affidavit containing his allegations in opposing Burke’s request for attorney fees, but [Judge] Chalfant said he could not consider the document since it was not properly before him."

Not properly before him? That's also quite a mistake.

As always, the Los Angeles Dragnet will be happy to publish President Seligman's response.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kevin James to run for Mayor of Los Angeles

Kevin James Announces His Campaign for Mayor 2013

 Kevin James took to the steps of City Hall to announce
 his candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles today.
(Photo credit: David Berger on Los Angeles)
An outsider today joined the growing list of candidates to replace the Mayor of Failure, Antonio Villaraigosa. Kevin James, a former Assistant US Attorney and current host of a late night radio talk show, announced a business-friendly agenda for Los Angeles and a willingness to tackle the difficult issues that the current crop of "insider" candidates are likely to avoid, given their track record.

Los Angles District Attorney Steve Cooley joined James and a small crowd on the steps of City Hall to cheer James in his bid to become the next Mayor of LA. James said he expects to raise up to $3M in his campaign and already has commitments of "over a hundred thousand dollars" since announcing his candidacy yesterday. James's campaign is managed by John Thomas of Thomas Partners Strategies, who previously worked on City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's successful 'outsider' campaign.

Thomas did a creditable job in rustling up most of LA's media for his announcement, with the event widely reported at the Daily News, LA Times, LA Weekly, Street-Hassle's scribe par excellence Mulholland Terrace, Ron Kaye LA, the ubiquitous Mayor Sam Blog, The City Maven, and last but by no means least, the LA Downtown News.

James already has a campaign website up and running at, and for more on today's announcement, click here.

Troubled Times for Trutanich?

As if rumors of a rift with his Senior Special Assistant Jane Usher were not enough, rumors of the breakdown in the City Attorney's relationship with District Attorney Steve Cooley seemed to gain credence with Trutanich's absence from the DA's side at Kevin James's announcement today. The announcement was on the steps of the south lawn at City Hall, a stone's throw from Trutanich's executive suite, and Trutanich previously enjoyed the support of Kevin James during his campaign, yet the City Attorney stayed away.

Speculation amongst the many 'gentlemen of the press' on Trutanich's absence ranged from theories that after his disastrous "I'm not a thug!" interview with the LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus, Trutanich is keeping a lower profile, to suggestions that Trutanich is deeply troubled by growing talk that Assemblyman Mike Feuer will successfully oust him in 2013.  Feuer is termed out of Sacramento in 2012, and rumored have wide support for a return to the City where he served as a Councilmember and was narrowly defeated by Rocky Delgadillo for City Attorney in 2001.

Another reason why Trutanich may have been feeling less inclined to face the Press at James's event, might be to avoid awkward questions raised in Fishbowl LA yesterday, that "when LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich took office, his staff removed a handy search tool from the city attorney’s website that allowed the public to search through various city contracts." The City Attorney's website itself seems not to have been updated for some considerable time, and largely devoid of current information apart from Trutanich's photo-ops.

Troubled times indeed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday's Rumor Mill

Upset in Trutanich Administration?

'Mulholland Terrace' cites a City Attorney Observer
as the source for a rumor of a split at the CA's Offic
Psuedonominous blogger, 'Mulholland Terrace' of Street-Hassle, posted a rumor this morning that all may not be well between Senior Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher and her boss, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. No reason is given for the upset, which will doubtless give rise to speculation.

Usher is known to be a hard-liner on billboards, and perhaps is perplexed that Trutanich might consider throwing his support behind the Wilshire-Grand Sign District. The City Attorney had previously opined that any new billboards in the City could undermine the validity of his citywide ban and lead to another billboard bonanza.

Trutanich may nevertheless be inclined to support the Wilshire Grand project in order to curry support from the Mayor's Office and others for his ACE Program, which was the subject of harsh criticism over the weekend. Purely coincidentally, the long dormant City Clerk file on the ACE Program (File 10-0085) was the subject of activity last week when it received a "Thumb's Up" report from the City's Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who reports to the Mayor's Office ...

Trutanich, it seems, may be learning that you have to "get along to get on" after all, and finally shed the mirage of being an outsider.

Alan Jackson - Steve Ipsen Partnership?

Pure speculation, but the rumor is that Steve Ipsen will not run for District Attorney as previously reported here, and instead support Alan Jackson's candidacy.

ADDA Officer Resignation?

Comments received here over the weekend suggest a senior officer of the ADDA has resigned. Despite attempts to confirm or deny the rumor with ADDA President Hyatt Seligman, Los Angeles Dragnet has not received any confirmation or denial from Seligman.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace Joins The Race

Respected career prosecutor Robert "Bobby"Grace becomes the 7th Candidate
in the race to be the DA in LA (Credit:
KPCC broke the news this morning, veteran prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Robert "Bobby" Grace has joined the race to become the District Attorney for Los Angeles County. Grace has his website up and running at Grace's announcement brings the number of candidates in the race up to 6, with City Attorney Carmen Trutanich the only candidate not to formally declare his candidacy.

Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo's Website Goes Live

As previously reported,  Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo's website has completed it's update from a placeholder and is now a fully featured website. Go to for more.

Rumors of Troubles At ADDA

The Los Angeles Dragnet received an email indicating that all may not be well amongst the ADDA leadership. An email was been sent to ADDA President Hyatt Seligam asking for confirmation or denial, however, despite Seligman's previous assurance that he would be responsive to requests for information, no response has been forthcoming.

Correction: We earlier stated the number of candidates to be 7. This was in error, Grace's candidacy now brings the number of declared candidates up to 5, plus City Attorney Trutanich who has retained a campaign consultant but is not formally declaring his candidacy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BREAKING NEWS - Gil Garcetti, Former District Attorney, Endorses Danette Meyers for District Attorney

LOS ANGELES, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles County's twice-elected District Attorney today officially announced his endorsement of Danette Meyers for District Attorney.
Garcetti stated: "I have known and worked with Danette for over 20 years. She is a premier trial lawyer with more significant felony trial experience than 99% of her colleagues. But Danette is more than simply a very accomplished trial lawyer, she is also a leader, a visionary, and a person who clearly understands and accepts the responsibilities of being the elected District Attorney heading an office of 1000 prosecutors. I am confident that she will be a District Attorney who will focus on success in the courtroom, but she will also use her position to develop programs that prevent crimes involving juvenile offenders and domestic violence. This is what is so different about Danette. She understands that the elected District Attorney has the opportunity to shape and direct the focus of the criminal justice system.

Given Danette's many years of high level involvement in the civil and criminal law communities and the universal respect she has earned from judges, police, and civil and criminal defense lawyers, Danette is a uniquely qualified candidate for District Attorney. I endorse her with enthusiasm and a belief in her strength of character and integrity—both traits which are absolutely essential for a person seeking to become the Los Angeles County District Attorney."
Danette Meyers headed the Bellflower and Florence/Firestone Offices as Deputy-in-Charge during Garcetti's second term as District Attorney. While holding these administrative positions Meyers continued to prosecute high profile cases securing multiple first degree murder convictions in some of the county's most brutal killings.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers announced her candidacy for the 2012 LA County District Attorney election on December 31, 2010. The Los Angeles native and 24 year veteran prosecutor has already received numerous endorsements from a diverse group of distinguished individuals and is considered a top contender in the race. If elected, Meyers will be the first female and first African American District Attorney of Los Angeles County. More information on Ms. Meyers may be found on her official website and at

SOURCE Danette Meyers Campaign Headquarters

Monday, March 7, 2011

DA Candidates In The News

Chief Deputy Jackie Lacey - Promotion Boosts Campaign

Lacey's promotion to the number 2 slot at the DA's Office received the nod of approval from Rick Orlov at the Daily News today.

We were unable to report on Lacey's kickoff fundraiser as our roving reporter (who happens to be a Deputy District Attorney) was unable to purchase a ticket. No, it's not a reflection on the limited financial resources of our informant, but rather a policy that Lacey has adopted. "Jackie said that she will not accept donations from DDAs because she is in a position to influence promotions. She does not want the appearance of impropriety that might result from DDAs contributing, neither does she want DDAs to feel obliged to make contributions." our reporter said.

Lacey's policy reflects that of DA Steve Cooley who has declined to accept donations from DDAs when he ran for re-election in 2004 and 2008, as well as in his bid to become Attorney General.  Cooley did accept donations from DDAs in his original bid to become DA in 2000, but that was before he was in a position to influence promotions.

Lacey's ethical position is laudable even if it does limit her fundraising ability. It is also likely one of many reasons why Cooley promoted her, he "wants to be sure he will be succeeded by someone whom he believes will continue his policies." according to Orlov, and this would be one of his policies.

Other candidates probably will not adopt that policy as they are more akin to Cooley's position back in 2000; they are not in a position to influence promotions so no issue arises.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson - A Prosecutor's Thoughts

Jackson shares his thoughts on his website,, but don't strain your eyes to read the small print, it says "United States Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland once said that in a criminal prosecution, the prosecutor's role is not that he or she shall win a case, but that justice shall be done." 

Another laudable maxim, and one we hope is held by all candidates.

Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo - Website Changes Afoot?

We were unable to access Trujillio's website, instead getting the message above. A sure sign that Trujillo's website is undergoing a major revision in anticipation of his kickoff fundraiser on Friday, March 18, 2011.

News of Trujillo's progress and his kickoff event can be found on his FaceBook page:

Trujillo has 248 followers on his FaceBook page, and is aiming for 1,000, so go on, click the link and give Trujillo a thumbs up.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers - Making the rounds

News of Meyers' campaign progress can be found on her FaceBook page as well as her website.

According to her FaceBook page, she attended the Domestic Violence Project's 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles last week, as she continues to build support for her campaign.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich - Called a "Chicken" and Has Some 'Splainin To Do

Former Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Walter Moore called Trutanich a "chicken" on his website

Moore criticized Trutanich from backing down on his treat to throw political protesters in jail after months of bragging and bloviating of an "aggressive stance" on political protesters. On Friday evening the stealth candidate gave an interview to KFI AM640's John & Ken Show, where he apparently tried to explain that he used the threat of criminal proceedings to teach the protesters a lesson.

Perhaps Trutanich should check out Alan Jackson's website for some tips on the role of a prosecutor, and most would agree that threatening to prosecute and then backing down would seem to be abusive of the process. We should expect more, but don't when it comes to a City Attorney who can now add the epithet "Chicken" to the other one; "Clown."

But being called a "Chicken" or a "Clown" may be the least of Trutanich's worries.

Walter Moore also followed up his "Chicken" piece with the potentially disturbing news that Trutanich had accepted a donation from AEG.  Readers will recall that Trutanich had launched an investigation into 'criminal aspects' of AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial. That investigation appears to have been dropped shortly before Trutanich's Officeholder Committee accepted a donation of Lady Gaga tickets from AEG.

Trutanich might like to do a little research on the appearance of impropriety. He could, ask his "buddy" Steve Cooley, however, we understand that the pair are no longer on speaking terms with reports suggesting that apart from meeting at unavoidable public events, Cooley and Trutanich have not spoken privately since December 2010.

We will have more on Trutanich's Ticketgate in the near future.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Trutanich: "I am not a thug!"

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich loses it in interview with LA Weekly

You can't make this stuff up.
(Photo Credit" Political Pantloads Blog)
Yeah right! 

Pressure on City Attorney Carmen Trutanich seems to have produced a Nixon moment as the wheels come off the Trutanich wagon. "I am not a thug!" Trutanich told LA Weekly reporter Gene Maddaus. You can't make this stuff up.

Trutanich gave his Nixonesque quote during what Maddaus described as a Godfather style lunch interview. Apparently the interview did not go well. At one point, Trutanich's Chief Deputy Bill Carter actually interjected with the pity comment "Y'know, Nuch is actually an intellectual." I kid you not, I thought he was a "decline to state."

In addition to Maddaus' scathing account of Trutanich's failing efforts to convince the LA Weekly that he was "Doing the right thing" in threatening to jail political protesters, more pressure on the embattled City Attorney over his "aggressive stance" came from Trutanich's alma mater, USC's Neon Tommy news blog.

Trutanich must have gotten a severe case of indigestion after failing to con Maddus, as according to the LA Times, Trutanich promptly decided to drop all charges against the student protesters. The Political Pantloads Blog has a very insightful piece on Trutanich's failed strategy, in the light of which perhaps this years Websters Dictionary will  add the word "Nuched" to their ever-growing lexicon.

During the course of the interview, Trutanich denies reports that his relationship with DA Steve Cooley is over. "He's my buddy," he says. "There's no rift." A comment left on the LA Weekly Blog casts some doubt about that, claiming that Cooley hasn't spoken to his "buddy" Trutanich for over three months. Still, if Trutanich says it, it must be true ...

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers Interviewed by LA Watts Times

As wannabe DA Trutanich came apart during his LA Weekly interview, DA candidate Danette Meyers gave a confident interview to the Los Angeles Watts Times yesterday. Meyers spoke candidly about her qualifications and plans for the office. It's worth reading and leaves no doubt at all that Meyers is serious about her candidacy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ADDA President Hyatt Seligman Responds to Criticism

We received the following from ADDA President Hyatt Seligman in response to comments raised by our February 17, 2010 post:

"I would like to use this forum as another way to help the ADDA reach out to our fellow deputies and help overcome the legitimate criticism that we have done a poor job of communicating.  That is the subject of my comment.

Board meetings are open to all deputies.  We try and get the word out before every meeting, more on that later, but for years, and now into the future, they are every third Tuesday of the month, starting at 6 PM.  They are held at AFSCME, 514 Shatto Place, LA 90020, near the major cross streets of Wilshire Boulevard and Virgil.  I hope to see 50 of you at the next meeting on March 15!  It's all of our union, not mine.

Equally importantly, I am open to talk to any deputy any time he or she wants.  You can call me at my work in Long Beach in your free time, which as a salaried professional, thanks to your union, is pretty much up to you.  Or you can email me personally at  And, yes, we are gathering signatures for an agency shop election which I am happy to discuss in detail with any deputy or group of deputies openly.

Those that accuse the ADDA Board of trying to hide or do things in secret are off the mark.  We are desperately trying to get our message out on all of the issues of concern to every deputy.  We want every deputy to know what we are trying to do and why so we can do a better job of serving everyone.  That's the simple truth.

I must say, if I thought our Board was controlled by the sinister, secret, manipulative characters that are depicted here by some, I would not support this union either.  After attending one monthly Board meeting, however, one would be disabused of such notions immediately.  The meetings are full of diverse and deeply felt opinions.  No one person or group controls anything or anybody.  Every decision made, good or bad, is approved by the Board, and normally by large, nearly unanimous numbers.

Have you ever tried to herd cats?  How about 21 lawyers, most of whom think they know everything?  That's not a criticism of my fellow Board members.  It's just crazy it is to think of the Board in dark, conspiratorial terms.  The Board and I are committed to transparency.

Our most fundamental problem is communications.  It is embarrassing that in this electronic age, our union is hamstrung in getting its word out, but let's not lose focus as to why, good people.

The office has an electronic email system, Lotus Notes, that would be perfect for our union to communicate with each and every deputy in our represented unit instantaneously.  Since we are under a fiduciary obligation to represent all deputies, union and non-union, we have asked management for years to use Lotus Notes for that legitimate  business purpose in the interests of better morale and comity.  This was most recently requested, again, at our first Joint Labor Management Council meeting about two weeks ago.

Unfortunately, the County and management have a very narrow interpretation of the phrase "County Business."  So they have said no, so far.  We believe the law and good, common sense is on our side, so we are trying to reason with them to agree or find a suitable alternative.  It's all part of the process of better labor relations which we are pursuing.  Nevertheless, the main reason we can't just touch a keyboard and instantly message our deputies at this time isn't because we don't want to or are trying to hide what we are doing.  It's because management won't let us use the best available tool for it.  Hopefully that will change.

So it's left up to us, right?  So let's look in the mirror.

Our own website is in need of dramatic improvement, a fact long recognized, but here is the rub.  We need a union member to volunteer to keep it updated and maintain it with all the bells and whistles like Facebook and Twitter.  The person tasked with it now, frankly, is overwhelmed with other duties.  I would welcome those who wish to help out in this area.  If one critic would volunteer to do so, he would make a tremendous contribution to our union and all deputies.

In the meantime, we are left to use email addresses voluntarily given to us by deputies with their permission or to use the worksite, snail-mail, addresses provided by management, which frankly, are often wrong.  This means, regrettably, that our message, actions, notices, and requests are not sent to every deputy.  It is this unintended vacuum of information that allows misperceptions about our union to sprout seed and to weaken it, thus damaging all of the deputies in this great office.

I hope this comment is the start of a productive dialogue.  I want to address each of the serious issues raised here, one at a time, as long as I am allowed to do so.  As always, I welcome constructive criticisms or suggestions from any deputy.

Hyatt Seligman
President, ADDA
March 3, 2011"

So, take this opportunity to have an open dialogue with the ADDA by commenting here, either anonymously or use your name. Either way, it's time the majority of DDAs who often find out too late that something has been done in their name, got involved.

If you want to let the ADDA know your thoughts on the Agency Shop, there's also an unofficial online survey at the Los Angeles League of Independent Deputy District Attorneys where you can also have your say.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Assistant District Attorney Jackie Lacey Gets Cooley's Approval

Anyone following the District Attorney campaigns through "Google Alerts" must have been surprised that Radar Online had the news of Assistant District Attorney Jackie Lacey's promotion to Chief Deputy well before anyone else.

Radar had the news of Jackie Lacey's promotion to Chief Deputy District Attorney
at 8:05AM - well before the midday announcement from District Attorney Steve Cooley
The promotion is a major boost to Lacey's campaign, as noted by LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus who said: "The promotion to chief deputy helps Lacey in at least two ways as she mounts a campaign for district attorney in 2012. First, it gives her greater management responsibility and more experience that would allow her to argue -- as Hillary Clinton used to say -- that she'll be ready on Day One. And second, it gives her a ballot title -- "Chief Deputy" -- that should be an advantage with low-information voters."

While Maddaus has a point about being ready to hit the ground running, his choice of ballot designation, "Chief Deputy," may not be the strongest Lacey can now legitimately use; how about "Chief Criminal Prosecutor?"

Lacey's choice of ballot designation will probably be the result of some skilled and careful consideration from whoever is managing her campaign. Lacey has yet to publicly disclose the identity of her choice for campaign manager, but whoever it is obviously had the savvy and connections to give Radar Online the exclusive.

Ballot designations are critical as perhaps as many as 10% of voters are guided by ballot designation alone. It is for this reason that misleading ballot designations are often the subject medial criticism as well as litigation. During District Attorney Steve Cooley's primary election campaign, he successfully challenged misleading ballot designations by his opponents.

 City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who will most likely now have to formally announce his candidacy for District Attorney so as not to lose out on fundraising, is no stranger to using misleading ballot designations - during his campaign for City Attorney, he called himself an "Environmental Attorney." His chief opponent did not challenge that designation, a mistake he probably still regrets as Trutanich's true occupation at that time, "Criminal Defense Attorney," likely would not have appealed to voters.

Indeed, when Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego ran for election as Superior Court Judge for Office #117, Trutanich transferred Griego to the Criminal Division of the City Attorney's Office for the sole reason that Griego could then use the ballot designation "Criminal Prosecutor" in his failed bid to become a Judge.

Trutanich apparently saw nothing wrong with what many believe to be the use of deceptive practices in electioneering, either for himself or for Griego, a strategy he may well believe to be summed up as "nothing personal, it's just business."

The mind boggles at Trutanich's choice of ballot designation for his campaign to become District Attorney in 2012. A few come to mind, but perhaps we'll let you comment as you think fit. Please keep it clean.