Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Free For All: Trutanich's Desk of Silence, Kevin James' Campaign Cash, ADDA Agency Shop

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich remained tight-lipped when questioned by Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise reporter Sherri M. Okamoto about rumors that he had abandoned his personal dream to become LA's next District Attorney due to the City Council's recent vote of no confidence and the shocking revelations arising from the Martin Declaration scandal. Both raised doubts about Trutanich's fitness to run the DA's Office (the largest prosecutorial agency in the nation), however, the damaging findings of the Fire Commission Report would seem to leave little doubt as to his inability to effectively run as large a law office as the District Attorney's Office let alone be re-elected as City Attorney in 2013.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich pictured at his desk
where he doesn't "talk politics."
(Photo credit: Spencer Weiner / LA Times)
Perhaps taken by surprise by Okamoto's enterprising pursuit of a statement by using his personal cellphone to make contact, Trutanich was unable to dodge the call and sheepishly responded “I am at my desk, and I don’t talk politics at my desk.” According to Okanoto, he deferred any inquiries into the matter to his consultant, John Shallman.

Shallman, perhaps wisely, did not immediately return a call seeking comment, heightening speculation that he is considering how best to spin an exit strategy from the erstwhile DA campaign that might yet allow for his leader's re-election as City Attorney.

Trutanich's "I don't talk politics at my desk" statement may be viewed by some as raising even more questions as to the credibility of the former plaintiff's attorney turned politician. The notion that Trutanich does not talk politics at his desk is as laughable as it is unlikely and begs the question, where does he talk politics? Alongside his desk? In the hallway? In his assigned City chauffeured SUV?

One thing seems clear, allowing Trutanich to make comments that have not been screened by Shallman is a disaster. Shallman did follow up with some carefully crafted comments which still left the fate of Trutanich's Dream unanswered, but he declined to offer any verification of Trutanich's desk excuse. Perhaps he also sees the "I don't talk politics at my desk" comment as being as utterly lacking in merit or credibility as his client.


Los Angeles gets a new Mayor in 2013, and KRLA 870AM's Kevin James is the only "outsider" in a field that includes Councilmember Jan Perry, former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner and City Controller Wendy Greuel.

This from the Kevin James campaign:

James’ campaign fundraising enjoys grassroots support demonstrating early momentum.

Los Angeles, July 27th –Today the Kevin James for Mayor Campaign announces that it has raised $100,000 from well over 400 donors. This early show of strength from a true reform candidate demonstrates James’ broad support from across the community. James’ clear strengths as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Co-Chair of AIDS Project Los Angeles, and ability to call attention to problems in City Hall and offer real solutions from the radio airwaves continue to serve as significant assets for his candidacy.

Kevin James stated, “I am honored to receive such strong early support from so many members of the community made up of every-day hard-working Angelenos and small business owners to former prosecutors and local community leaders. The next Mayor of Los Angeles must be unafraid to challenge the status quo head-on, remove the culture of corruption in City Hall and oversee a city government that provides core services to all Angelenos in an effective and efficient manner.”

“James’ early fundraising numbers from numerous smaller donations position him as the outsider candidate whose candidacy is being embraced by the residents of LA. He is well situated to mount a competitive campaign going forward,” said James’ campaign strategist John S. Thomas.

James opened a campaign committee in late March.

For more information, please visit Kevin James’ campaign website at

Kevin James has been a radio broadcaster for over eight years where he has been an advocate for hard working residents, neighborhood councils, and common sense solutions to the challenges that face our city. Prior to being a broadcaster, James was an Assistant U.S. Attorney where he received the Director’s Award for his distinguished skills and dedication to cracking down on illegal conduct. James served on the Board of AIDS Project Los Angeles for six years. Currently, James is an entertainment attorney during the day and radio broadcaster by night. He plans to continue his neighborhood council tour and focus on local issues throughout the campaign.

# # #


Not Just No, HELL NO! flyers have started to appear around the DA's Office some left casually on tables and desks, others on walls, and some unashamedly on ADDA notice boards. There is no reason why opposition to the Agency Shop should not be voiced on ADDA notice boards, they all carry the same instruction "Please do not use this bulletin board for any other purpose" and allowing DDAs to voice their opinion on whether they should be forced to pay dues to a big labor organization (AFSCME) would seem to be as valid an "ADDA purpose," as posting a "Yes on Agency Shop" flyer.

So download your Not Just No, HELL NO! flyers here, and post them at will on the ADDA notice board. It's called democracy and the most basic of First Amendment rights. Surely the ADDA are in favor of that?

Alan Jackson came in for some criticism for part of his latest internet attack ad against Trutanich. activist Dennis Hathaway took exception at Jackson's condemnation of Trutanich's $1M bail for a misdemeanor violation of the LA Municipal Code. Read Hathaway's article at CityWatch LA.

Trutanich's schoolyard legal strategy, the "Porcupine Defense," suffered another humiliating setback according to the LA Times, when a former LAX Police Officer won nearly $1M in a discrimination lawsuit.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Independent Assessors Office Blasts Trutanich: "Inconsistent" "Unresponsive" "Mistaken"

EXCLUSIVE: The Los Angeles City Board of Fire Commissioners may want to "fire" City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for failing to provide competent, responsive and reliable legal services, according to a 13-page report submitted to them by the Independent Assessors Office.

The Independent Assessors Office held back nothing in condemning Trutanich for providing what appears to be a shockingly low level of legal services in their report to the Fire Commission, dated July 13, 2011.

The Fire Commission Report details an almost unbelievable record of failure after failure to provide adequate legal services starting in December 2009 when Trutanich's office was asked to provide legal advice as to whether the Independent Assessors Office should be allowed to have access to the Fire Department's personnel files, disciplinary records and investigative materials.

It is always a difficult question when an employer is asked to provide confidential information about its employees. There can be serious and costly penalties for disclosing personnel records. So, like any responsible employer, the Fire Department sought the advice of their attorney; City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who, in December 2009, was asked to provide advice on the fundamental question; is it lawful to provide the Independent Assessor with these records?

However, 20 months later, as the Fire Commission Report documents, Trutanich had consistently failed to provide an answer. Ultimately the advice of "Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law Erwin Chemerinsky" had to be sought. Chemerinsky's opinion was that "the City Attorney's August 2010 advice is mistaken." which is, perhaps, a far too polite way of saying "Trutanich was wrong." 

The Fire Commission Report is peppered with statements condemning Trutanich, such as "Repeated unsuccessful attempts have been made since December 2009 to have the City Attorney's Office provide and clarify legal advice…",  and "In August 2010, the City Attorney's Office provided advice that was inconsistent …", and "… the City Attorney's Office has not responded …  or answered the Board's written questions …" Most damaging, of course, is Chemerinsky's opinion that Trutanich's "advice is mistaken." It is hard to conceive of a more damning condemnation of Trutanich and his notion of legal advice, than to be told, unequivocally, that he was wrong.

Trutanich must have hoped that the Fire Commission Report would remain buried and far away from the eyes of the City Council. Fortunately, such is the level of disaffection with Trutanich in City Hall, that the Dragnet was tipped-off about the Fire Commission Report by multiple sources.

The Council recently passed what has been described as a "vote of no confidence" in Trutanich. As a result of that vote, the Council is currently exploring alternate ways to obtain more qualitative and responsive legal advice than Trutanich appears to provide. The Fire Commission Report will doubtless provide the Council with further evidence of Trutanich's shortcomings when they receive the report on  how other municipalities obtain satisfactory legal services.

Many believe that Trutanich may be too busy campaigning for District Attorney or pursuing media attention by grandstanding at headline grabbing press conferences, to pay adequate attention to the needs of his client. The recent leak of the Martin Declaration was, perhaps, the first indication that all was not well in the Trutanich administration. The Martin Declaration now appears to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of Trutanich's failure to provide the "best legal representation" that he promised on countless occasions.

It is, perhaps, not entirely coincidental that the period of time identified in the Fire Commission Report during which Trutanich provided mistaken advice, coincided with Trutanich's 'criminal aspects' investigation into AEG's handling of the Micheal Jackson Memorial. That investigation is believed to have substantially consumed Trutanich's administration and assured Trutanich of the nationwide, if not worldwide, media coverage that he appears to crave. Trutanich ultimately dropped what many believe was a witch hunt against AEG, without comment.

The full text of the 13-page Fire Commission Report can be viewed online from the Fire Department's website under file number BFC 11-104, or downloaded directly using this link:

UPDATED: The super-critical report seems to have gone missing from the City's website, how strange. Fortunately, we archived a copy that can be accessed here.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DA Candidate Alan Jackson First to Announce Six Figure Funds Raised

Alan Jackson got the jump on the other DA candidates with the early release of his fundraising successes in the last reporting period. This from the Alan Jackson for DA campaign:


Los Angeles, July 26th – Today the Alan Jackson campaign released their fundraising totals showing approximately $230,000 collected from more than 350 donors. Jackson exceeded his fundraising goals even while successfully prosecuting a complex death penalty case. Jackson’s dedication to justice in the courtroom remains unwavering.

Deputy DA Alan Jackson said, “I am grateful to have earned such broad and deep support throughout the County. It is my intention to become the next DA and make sure that victims and their families have an advocate who fights tirelessly for justice.”

John S. Thomas, Jackson’s strategist noted, “By hitting our campaign goals we are very competitive in this race. Just like in the courtroom, Jackson is yet again surpassing expectations and proving that he is a force to be reckoned with. Clearly this contest is evolving into a two person race.”

Alan Jackson has been a prosecutor in the LA County District Attorney’s office for over 16 years where he has tried nearly 60 felony cases, more than half of which have been murder trials. He spent five years prosecuting hardcore gang cases in Compton, after which he moved to the Major Crimes Division where he has led the prosecution in some of California’s highest profile cases. Prior to becoming a Deputy DA, Jackson served in the United States Air Force as a Jet mechanic. Currently, Jackson serves as the Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division where he oversees the office’s most complex and high-profile cases.

# # #

Despite reports that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has raised $507,000 for his 'exploratory' committee designed to test the waters as to whether voters will forget the countless promises made not to run for District Attorney, rumors persist that Trutanich has other plans for his campaign war chest.

Sources say that Trutanich was shocked by the City Council's recent vote of no confidence in his first 24 months in office, and the startling if not shocking revelations in the Martin Declaration about Trutanich's level of unpreparedness to handle City affairs.

Trutanich probably thought that he could count on being re-elected as City Attorney should his plans to become DA fail. However, the numbers of former supporters who have abandoned him in the light of false promises, grandstanding and outright falsehoods, now means that re-election is far from a certainty.

That, coupled with Alan Jackson's well-funded campaign which has attacked Trutanich for reneging on his campaign promise and is likely to continue to do so relentlessly, may have been enough to convince Trutanich that his money is better spent on trying to rebuild his image as City Attorney in the hope that he can at least hang on to that job.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rumors Grow That Trutanich Will Quit District Attorney Bid

Thus far unconfirmed rumors continue to suggest that Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich will withdraw his candidacy to become Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012. Rumors first started appearing at the Mayor Sam political blog, followed by the Los Angeles City News, and the Dragnet.

The wheels are believed to have started coming off the Trutanich wagon last week after
the City Council unanimously voted to "neuter" his office, followed by the Martin Declaration
 The basis for the rumors appears to be recent action by the Los Angeles City Council to "neuter" Trutanich's office by stripping him of control over the handling of legislation and liability defense. Councilmember Jan Perry led the Council in a unanimous vote to study ways that other municipalities obtain quality legal representation when their own City Attorney fails to deliver. The 13-0 unanimous vote was seen by many as a vote of no confidence in Trutanich's ability to run the second largest governmental law office in the County of Los Angeles, and an even bigger condemnation of his suitability for District Attorney.

If the Council's vote of no confidence wasn't bad enough, hot on the heels of their slap in the face to the once popular San Pedro criminal defense attorney turned politician, came the shocking revelations of the Martin Declaration, a legal document filed by a deputy city attorney in which it was admitted that the City Attorney's Office was "unprepared" to handle representation of the City's affairs. Staffing cuts and a lack of resources attributable to Trutanich's management were apparently to blame.

The embarrassing admissions in the Martin Declaration were said to be caused by the diversion of legal resources from the core mission of the City Attorney's Office, to pet projects which apparently lack for nothing. The implication was clear; if the matter is not important to the boss, it gets no attention. It's an implication that will resonate well with the City Council in their bid to curtail the City Attorney from injecting himself into policy making instead of legal representation.

Now at the mid-point of his his failing first term as City Attorney, and clearly weakened by the double whammies of last week, many believe that the withdrawal from the District Attorney race comes too late to salvage a political career that started with so much promise, but evaporated into falsehoods, grandstanding and perhaps an ego that is too big even for Los Angeles.


Monday, July 25, 2011

ADDA Seeks Agency Shop

The announcement, last week, that the ADDA is pressing ahead with their so-called "Agency Shop" to force all DDAs in Grades I through IV to pay up to $903.60 a year in "dues" to fund even more of what many believe to be their record of deceptive, divisive and duplicitous agendas, should not go unopposed.

Thus far, the ADDA headed by Steve Ipsen through his mouthpiece, Hyatt Seligman, has succeeded only in turning DDAs against fellow DDAs, pursuing a legal vendetta against Peter Burke (whose "crime" was forcing the ADDA to abide by its own bylaws), and driving the ADDA to the brink of bankruptcy with costly, failing litigation.

The ADDA claims to represent all DDAs. They do not. They think they can intimidate DDAs from voicing opposition. They cannot. They think they can rely on apathy to win them power. They cannot.

Now is the time for DDAs to stand up and say not just "No," say "HELL NO!"

You can start by downloading, printing and displaying the first of our "Not Just No, HELL NO!" flyers. If you are stuck for a place to display it, use the ADDA notice boards - there's nothing else there anyway.

You can also use the "ADDA 411" link at the top of this page to download, print and share some of the recent articles the Dragnet has published on some of the ADDA shenanigans.

See today's Metropolitan News Enterprise to read comments by DDA David Berger and ADDA President Hyatt Seligman over the Agency Shop. Berger calls ADDA leaders the “most undemocratic, unrepresentative group of poor examples of what a deputy district attorney should be.”


Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Free For All

Timing is everything in politics, and this week timing couldn't have been worse for City Attorney Carmen Trutantich. First the news that the City Counsel voted unanimously to strip Trutanich of his control over drafting legislation for the Council and representing the City in civil cases.

Then the shocking contents of what has become known in City Hall as "the Martin Declaration" revealed the depths to which Trutanich's leadership of the City Attorney's Office has plunged; a deputy city attorney is forced to make embarrassing a statements to a court regarding her state of unreadiness and unpreparedness in a case. The Martin Declaration blames "budget cuts" for being unready and unprepared, but Councilmembers are already armed with figures showing that when the matter is one that Trutanich wants, he devotes unlimited resources to it. However, when the matter is one that Trutanich disagrees with, it lays on the back-burner.  The Council need only contrast the efforts and resources Trutanich has dedicated to the ACE Program to the lack of progress on the Arizona boycott ordinance; one gives him more power and influence, the other runs against the grain of Trutanich's political beliefs and support base.

If the Council needs better proof of Trutanich's unsuitability to represent the City's interests beyond their suspicions that Trutanich is spending too much time grandstanding and campaigning to become District Attorney, then you can expect the Martin Declaration to be Exhibit One when Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller delivers his report.

 Taking advantage of the summer period when many DDAs will be on vacation and perhaps unable to vote against the mandatory imposition of union dues on all DDAs, the ADDA Board gave notice that less than 2 weeks from today, those DDAs who are around to vote, will cast votes for or against the so-called Agency Shop.

Timing is everything in politics, and the timing of the Agency Shop election will be seen by many as deliberately calculated to ensure that as many DDAs as possible will not be prevented from casting 'No' votes. Those familiar with the ways that the ADDA conducts its affairs will not be surprised.

However, the ADDA Board Majority may be surprised to find that many DDAs disgusted by the ADDA's actions, or perhaps, the lack thereof over the loss of DDA's confidential information, as well as their vindictive persecution of a fellow DDA who insisted that the ADDA abide by their bylaws, could result in an upset to their plans.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shocking Unpreparedness by City Attorney's Office - Mismanagement To Blame?

As the City Council considers stripping City Attorney Trutanich of his power to advise the council on civil cases and legislation, evidence is emerging that appears to reveal the true extent of the woefully poor level of service that Trutanich is supplying.

It appears that the wheels have been coming off  the Trutanich wagon for some considerable time, and that is likely the reason for the City Council's startling unanimous vote to reduce Trutanich's responsibilities so that he can cope with his current legal obligations.

In a sworn declaration to the Court dated April 21, 2011, Deputy City Attorney Claudia Martin states "I am unable to prepare Respondent's Brief by it's current due date of April 27, 2011."

Martin continues "I have not had enough time to review all pertinent documents related to the appeal and need further time." and "I have not had a chance to review the entire appellate file." Tellingly, Martin states "I have previously been one of (7) attorneys covering West Bureau and now I am the only attorney left to cover multiple divisions. Due to budget cuts, one attorney (myself) remains and so my courtroom obligations have increased."

Martin's entire declaration can be viewed by using this link.

While Trutanich seems to have no problem tasking countless attorneys to work on matters that are important to him, such as his awful ACE Program, Martin's declaration shows that he is apparently incapable of providing basic legal services having stripped departments of attorneys so that they can presumably work on his priorities.

Councilmember Ed Reyes recently raised the issue of what had happened to the Arizona boycott ordinance that Trutanich was tasked to draft. Perhaps the one year delay in producing that ordinance has it's own Martin declaration to excuse poor management and an inability to competently assign resources where they are needed.

Whether Trutanich has a plausible explanation for Martin's declaration, or whether he again chooses to hide behind his Chief Deputy when having to confront inconvenient truths about his mismanagement of the city's affairs, it is becoming clear that managing a large legal office in difficult times is beyond Trutanich.

The Martin declaration will doubtless provide useful evidence for the City Council when they further consider their proposal to relieve Trutanich of the burden of having too many tasks that he fails to accomplish. It must surely also raise doubts about his suitability to run the much larger District Attorney's Office.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

City Council Votes To Remove Trutanich From Civil Cases

A unanimous 13-0 vote against Carmen Trutanich for his abysmal record of failure to fulfill his City Charter defined role as an independent attorney is the latest in a series of setbacks for the City Attorney who promised much, but delivered little.

Trutanich used to joke that he quit working for his predecessor Rocky Delgadillo
after "the wheels started coming off his wagon." That joke may prove to be
Trutanich's deja vu all over again moment as the wheels come off his wagon.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the City Council voted to consider removing Trutanich's jurisdiction over drafting legislation and representing the city in lawsuits.

The City Council's unanimous vote of no confidence in Trutanich is more than just an expression of dissatisfaction with the recent string of embarrassing and expensive losses that Trutanich's deputies have suffered as they have struggled to use Trutanich's schoolyard 'porcupine defense' in the courtroom. Rather, it appears to stem from his apparent inability to understand that his Charter imposed duty to be an independent city attorney does not allow him to be a policy maker when it comes to the affairs of city governance.

Trutanich has fought the city's elected officials over numerous policy matters, insisting that it's "his way or the highway" over hot button issues like billboards, medical marijuana and the costs of the Micheal Jackson Memorial.

In the process, Trutanich has destroyed morale in the city attorney's office, where many believe their livelihoods have been compromised as Trutanich's headline-grabbing antics have resulted in enforced furloughs, hiring and promotion freezes and staffing reductions. "It's ten-times worse than when Rocky [Delgadillo] was in office," one anonymous commenter observed.

Trutanich was not apparently available to respond to requests for his response to the city council's slap in the face, and left his Chief Deputy William Carter to do the talking. Whether that was by design or simply because Trutanich was away from the Office pursuing his campaign to become District Attorney, is not clear.

What is clear is that the city council is entitled to competent and politically independent legal advice, and that as Trutanich marks the halfway point in his troubled first term, the city council clearly does not have any confidence in his ability to deliver the goods. Many who voted for Trutanich likely feel the same way.


DA Candidate Danette Meyers Proves Third Time's The Charm

Congratulations to DDA Danette Meyers for obtaining a difficult and hard fought murder conviction in a witness intimidation case.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Meyers convicted Tyquan Knox of murder after two previous trials ended with hung juries. "The key to this case was motive," Meyers told the Times.

In addition to the murder conviction, Knox was also found guilty of robbery and witness intimidation charges. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced Sept. 7.

The LA Times reported that "In the first two trials, Meyers had relied heavily on the testimony of Knox's girlfriend Keeairra Dashiell. Dashiell had been a top student at Crenshaw and was awarded a full scholarship to UC San Diego. She was accused of driving Knox to and away from the shooting. In exchange for a lenient, seven-year prison sentence, Dashiell had agreed to testify against Knox, but she proved to be reluctant and unconvincing, often contradicting herself and getting caught in lies.

For the third trial, Meyers decided not to use Dashiell and believes the change in strategy, in large part, made the difference. Also, mobile phone records showed that Knox was within two miles of the crime scene several minutes after the shooting, Meyers said. She declined to say whether she plans to revoke the deal with Dashiell and prosecute her."


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alan Jackson Blasts Trutanich's Record of Failures and Failed Promises "Election Hangover 2"

District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson is not pulling any punches when it comes to outing City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's woeful record of failures and failed promises. The following from the Alan Jackson campaign:


Video Ad Entitled “Election Hangover Part II”

Los Angeles, July 19th – Today the Alan Jackson campaign released a web ad response to Carmen Trutanich’s candidacy for District Attorney. Since his decision to run, it is clear that Trutanich will be turning his attention away from his job as City Attorney to launch a campaign for higher office. Using a parody of the Hangover Part II movie trailer, the ad highlights Trutanich’s broken promises and failed record since he was elected City Attorney. The spot is called “Election Hangover Part II.”

Not only has Carmen Trutanich broken his promise not to run for higher office, he has been an unsuccessful City Attorney. Under his watch, the City of Los Angeles is undergoing a widespread corruption probe by the FBI. Meanwhile, Trutanich has stifled first amendment rights, choosing to cut vital programs and staff salaries while refusing to cut his own. With all this mayhem, Trutanich is now looking for higher office.

To view the advertisement, please visit

“Not only is Trutanich breaking his sworn promise to the voters, but he’s been a huge disappointment as City Attorney. Now he wants a promotion and a pay raise?” asked Jackson’s strategist John S. Thomas.

“Apparently Mr. Trutanich is as serious about fighting corruption in the city as he is about completing his term as City Attorney,” said Thomas.

Thomas continued, “With the early release of prisoners from California State prisons looming large, we need a District Attorney who takes his job seriously and will put the people of LA County before his own political career.”

Trutanich’s “Pledge to Serve” stipulates that if Trutanich breaks his promise to serve two terms as City Attorney and not seek higher office, he must pay $100,000 of personal funds to the Best Afterschool Program for Kids and place a full-page ad in every major daily paper with a picture of himself and text stating ‘I AM A LIAR’.

Click below to view Carmen Trutanich’s original “Pledge to Serve.”

See below for several news articles explaining in more detail how Trutanich has performed as a City Attorney.

Second L.A. building inspector pleads guilty in federal bribery probe (LATimes)

Businessman held on $1-million bail in supergraphic case (LATimes)

Is Carmen Trutanich L.A.'s Mubarak? (LATimes)

L.A. leaders reject pay cuts for themselves (Daily News)
L.A.'s latest budget victim (Daily Breeze)

More at:



DA Candidates On Non-Revocable Parole

Non-Revocable Parole ("NRP") is a budget balancing move that some believe will increase the risks to public safety by essentially removing non-violent ex-convicts from the already minimal supervision and sanction of parole.

Under NRP "Non-violent" parolees are no longer subject to "costly" incarceration in prison if and when they violate parole. Current statistics indicate that 70% of parolees violate within 3 years of release, so the savings to the state will be significant. But at what cost to public safety?

As we reported yesterday, a movement has been started to ban NRP. highlights murders committed by "non-violent" parolees and has reached out to State Senators Ed Hernandez and Ted Lieu to to write new legislation to revoke the current Non -Revocable Parole Policy.

Another recent case that readers may recall, is the tragic slaying of 17 year old Lily Burke, who died at the hands of Charlie Samuel, a killer labeled "non-violent" by prison authorities.

The Dragnet yesterday invited DA candidates to offer their thoughts on the movement to ban NRP, and it is perhaps not surprising that the first response we received came from the candidate who successfully prosecuted Charlie Samuel in the Lily Burke case; Alan Jackson:

"Senators Lieu and Hernandez have it correct—the non-revocable parole program, as it is currently being administered, is broken and is compromising public safety. The consequences of misidentifying violent or serious felons are dire, and the situation stands to get worse with the impending release of additional prisoners under the governor’s realignment program. I fully support the effort to draft new legislation that will revoke the current policy, and as District Attorney I will work closely with our state officials to ensure that our public safety remains the highest priority." 
Alan Jackson
Candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney 2012

We hope to hear from the other candidates with their thoughts on NRP.

UPDATED: We are please to note that Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian (CD2) has joined the movement to reform the way "non-violent" ex-convicts are handled by California Department of Corrections. 


Monday, July 18, 2011

Will DA Candidates Join Movement To Ban NRP?

No, not NPR as in National Public Radio, but NRP as in Non-Revocable Parole.

The following from the Mayor Sam blog.
The campaign to stop the practice of "Non-Revocable Parole" gained political support last week according to retired Parole Officer Caroline Aguirre. "On Friday July 15. 2011 Immediate family members and close friends of recent murder victim Erica Escobar had a meeting with California State Senator Ed. Hernandez. Ms. Escobar was recently murdered by a recently released parolee classified as a low-level, non -violent criminal offender who had been placed on Non -Revocable Parole.

State Senator Hernandez made a pledge that he would assist and work side by side with State Senator Ted Lieu to write new legislation to revoke the current Non -Revocable Parole Policy."

Below we post the latest video from the "Stop Killers--Stop NRP Campaign". Please share so that the likes of Erica Escobar and others do not die at the hands of supposed "Non-violent Parolees".---Scott Johnson

It's a hot button issue and while some candidates may prefer to ignore it because it goes against the grain of progressive touchy-feely reform movements, it is also one that strikes fear into the hearts of voters who may be seeing themselves and their families becoming victims as the State struggles to balance the budget.

The Dragnet invites all DA candidates to submit their thoughts on NRP, we will publish all responses unedited.

[Credit to Mayor Sam blogger Scott Johnson for bringing this important matter to our attention.]


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Carmageddon? Carmaheaven? Carmaheathen?

Without doubt, the non-story of the weekend was the closure of the 405 Freeway to facilitate the deconstruction of the Mulholland Bridge.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gives Fox 11's roving reporter Hal Eisner his thoughts on Carmageddon
while a bystander seems very keen to take a picture of a Dracula doll with the Mayor in the backround.
Can't imagine why ....
The closure of a ten-mile stretch of the 405 freeway failed to produce the feared Carmageddon 'End of Days' traffic nightmare, and as the planned removal of the Mulholland Bridge proceeded on schedule, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a predictable visit to ground zero for photo ops.

Hailing Los Angelenos as heroes for staying off the roads and creating one of the most traffic-congestion-free days since A Day Without Immigrants (2006), Villaraigosa proclaimed the day to be "Carmaheaven" rather than Carmageddon.

But not all Los Angelenos seemed quite so enchanted with the surprisingly trouble free progress of the largest single freeway closure since the Santa Monica Freeway collapse following the Northridge earthquake. One of a small group of spectators who gathered at ground zero was armed with a digital camera and a Dracula doll for what must have been his dream photo-op, and as Villaraigosa waxed lyrical with Fox 11's Hal Eisner, the unknown man who has become known as "Carmaheathen" snapped away.

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa waxes lyrical with Fox 11's Hal Eisner
with the Mulholland Bridge in the backgound.

Mayor Villaraigosa was the center of media attention
as the non-event of the decade proceeded on schedule.
The Dragnet will join the mainstream media in continuing to monitor Carmageddon non-events throughout the day. So far City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has not claimed that the closure of the 405 freeway was his idea, but perhaps he is waiting for the complete success of Carmageddon before he claims credit for something else that he has absolutely no connection to.

Trutanich has previously been outed for lying about "busting" the 38th St. Gang, and being the "brains" behind San Diego and Santa Monica's Administrative Citations programs.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Free For All - Liars' Lair


If City Attorney Carmen Trutanich thought that he was the one who came up with the idea for the Administrative Citation Enforcement Program ("ACE"), then that was news to his Chief Deputy, William Carter, who refuted Trutanich's claims in an interview with the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise.

Trutanich, when interviewed on the Kevin James Show, stated that "This is an idea that I came up with, uhm, early, er, er, when I became, er, City Attorney." Perhaps emboldened by having escaped any challenge to that lie, Trutanich continued to say "This is, er, er, er, a program that when I came up with it, I shared it with other cities, and now San Diego has it, and it's working just fine, Santa Monica has it and it's working just fine, and there are other cities up north, up in northern California that have employed the same administrative code enforcement program."

The implication was clear; it was Trutanich's idea and he shared it with San Diego and Santa Monica who adopted it and it was "working just fine." But Trutanich's Chief Deputy, perhaps the latest high ranked City Attorney official to disagree with Trutanich's grandstanding and apparent lying, told the Met News that when he checked into Trutanich's idea, he found that "other cities were already doing it."

The lies about the ACE Program being Trutanich's idea are baffling. Why would the City Attorney tell such a tall tale that even his Chief Deputy could not defend? By all accounts other cities have had programs similar to ACE long before Trutanich became LA's City Attorney, so what was the harm in Trutanich simply saying that all he did was adapt San Diego and Santa Monica's programs to suit Los Angeles? That would appear to be the truth, yet the truth seemingly sticks in Trutanch's throat. Before the City Council adopts the ACE Program, they really need to have an independent analyst take a close look at the ACE Program to see why Trutanich lied. If you cannot trust the messenger, how can you trust the message?


Comments in response to our article on ADDA President Hyatt Seligman's "clarification" of his lie regarding entry level DDAs being paid "tens of thousands less per year than City Attorneys" suggest that Seligman's misrepresentation and exaggeration of the $2,336.40 annual pay difference to similarly situated Los Angeles Deputy City Attorneys, was motivated by the need to engender dissent and a sense of unfairness among young DDAs.

Seligman's adgenda is clear, he wants support for his AFSCME driven agency shop, and telling a few lies about pay differentials seemed to be the answer. Unfortunately for Seligman, the Metropolitan News Enterprise exposed his lie and in the process, hopefully gave the actual facts about pay to DDAs.

Seligman's demeaning comments about City Attorneys who he said "only prosecute misdemeanors in criminal cases, [and] are paid substantially higher than the Deputy District Attorneys who prosecute all of the tens of thousands of major felony cases in court from murder to kidnapping to rape and robbery," was equally inept. Not only is it laughable to suggest that Grade I DDAs "prosecute murder, kidnapping, rape and robbery," but most DDAs would readily acknowledge that prosecuting misdemeanors is every bit as hard as felonies, indeed, it is often harder.


Reliable sources have tipped-off the Dragnet that the 405 Freeway will be closed between the 10 and 101 freeways this weekend. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich will hold a press conference to claim it was his idea...

In response to a large number of requests for printable copies of Dragnet articles for distribution or display anywhere in accordance with your First Amendment right to free speech, the Dragnet will make select articles available.

The first is a reprint of our Thursday July 14, 2011 article on ADDA President Hyatt Seligman's lie about pay differentials:

July 14, 2011. A cynically manipulative lie, or a stupid mistake belying a lack of research, knowledge and preparation?

Permanent links to these articles will also be available from our ADDA Page.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

ADDA President Seligman "Clarifies" False Pay Disparity Claims

In what can only be described as an embarrassing admission to the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise, ADDA President Seligman was forced to concede that his previous claim that “young deputies today start out tens of thousands less per year than City Attorneys,” was basically false.

Trapped in a false statement regarding pay disparities
ADDA President Hyatt Seligman was forced to "clarify"
that he was not making a fair or valid comparison.

Research by the Met News revealed that a Grade I LA County Deputy District Attorney's starting annual salary is $74,764.32, whereas a LA Deputy City Attorney I receives $77,130.72 annually, a difference of $2,366.40. When confronted with the apparent lie of his claim that $2,366.40 was a difference of "tens of thousands less," Seligman stated that he was comparing the annual pay of Los Angeles DDAs to that of Long Beach City Attorneys, a detail Seligman had previously omitted.

If Seligman thought he had the "Gotcha!" answer to the Met News reporter's question,  he was wrong. Another detail Seligman, perhaps conveniently, omitted was that the Long Beach City Attorney's Office does not employ entry level prosecutors, but only recruits experienced attorneys. It is fairly obvious that a comparison between a entry level Grade I Los Angeles DDA to an experienced Long Beach City Attorney is completely misleading.  

Whether Seligman just made a foolish, rash misstatement based on a lack of knowledge and research, or whether he deliberately lied to create the false impression that there was a substantial pay disparity is doubtless going to be a matter of opinion.

Some might say that as Seligman ramps up his efforts to secure an agency shop that would force all DDAs to pay dues to his ADDA union, he is cynically trying to manipulate younger DDAs into believing that his ADDA union can somehow rectify what he described as an "unfair" pay disparity.

If it was a ploy to engender dissent and curry support for the agency shop, it failed miserably. If it was a stupid mistake resulting from a lack of research and preparation, it perhaps provides the clearest evidence of Seligman's unsuitability for a leadership position when dealing with the interests of the 1,000 prosecutors he aspires to represent. 

Credibility is everything for a prosecutor, and having a leader who either made a deliberate misstatement, or was simply recklessly false, sets an appalling image for DDAs. Seligman should resign as his "clarification" just dug him deeper into the dirt, and will drag DDAs down with him.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Eyes on 36th Congressional District Special Election

There is a special election in LA today to fill the seat vacated by Congresswoman Jane Harman in February. Democrat Los Angeles City Councilmember Janice Hahn is the widely tipped favorite to win what has been a bitter campaign against outsider Republican Craig Huey.

Is it simply going to be Democrat versus Republican, or will the Tea Party movement against political insiders regain momentum to unseat Hahn? The polls close at 8pm and results will be available on line from the Secretary of State's website.

Those closely watching this race include City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who endorsed Hahn. Trutanich, a life-long Republican, changed his party allegiance and ran as a "decline to state" for his City Attorney position. He has been rumored to be switching to Democrat for his DA campaign.

Trutanich's interest in helping Hahn in leaving Los Angeles is certainly not based on Hahn's prior support for Trutanich as she declined to endorse him. But politics being what it is, and Trutanich being the politician that he says he isn't, it isn't too hard to see why Trutanich wants Hahn elected. First, it probably gets him Hahn's support for his awful ACE Program. Second, it's widely rumored that Trutanich wants his son Nick to run for Hahn's old position.

If indeed Trutanich is lining up his son for a run for City Council, it would certainly make sense of Trutanich's statement on the Kevin James Show, that his son had just returned from Iraq, injured.

Of course, anyone listening to Trutanich's statement would assume that his son, Nick, was injured in the line of duty in the military. It seems, however, that Nick was in Iraq, but not in the military, and the injury appears to be a sports injury.

Whether Nick will nevertheless run as an injured war veteran remains to be seen. Hopefully he does not share his father's strained relationship with the truth.

Hahn's victory party is being held at the Ports O' Call in San Pedro tonight. Trutanich and his formerly injured son are likely to be in attendance, along with famed City Hall lobbyist John Ek who recently hosted a fundraiser for Trutanich's phony DA Campaign.

The Dragnet predicts Hahn will win this election by a slender margin.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Briefs

Fox 11 News - A Tale of Two Fences

As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa enters the final two years of his term, his "one rule for you, another for me" style of leadership comes under focus in this well-researched piece of investigative journalism by Fox 11 News reporter John Schwada.

Bottom line, if you're like Walter Garcia in Hollywood, and you want to protect your family, the City of LA demands a $4,800 "variance" or you will have to take down that fence, if you're the Mayor of LA, the people of LA pay for the variance and the wall.

ADDA in Catch 22 Dilemma Over Protecting Members' Data?

Revelations over the ADDA's lack of security protocols highlighted last week as news of the full extent of ADDA Treasurer Loren Naiman's loss of members' confidential personal and financial data became know, now puts the ADDA in a Catch 22 dilemma. If the ADDA Board acts to assure members that their confidential data is secure, and that appropriate protocols are in place should another security breach occur, they are effectively admitting that they failed to act protect members following the July 2010 security breach.

Thus far, the ADDA Board's response has been silence which may not be a winning strategy as they push forward with their plans for an agency shop.

Fewer Follow Politics - Field Poll Reveals

The Mayor gets his fence while mere residence can eat cake, the ADDA Board acts as if nothing ever happened over a major scandal, and voters wonder why their elected officials seemingly never pay the price for their lack of accountability and transparency. A recent Field Poll suggests the answer; fewer Californian's follow politics in the news.

But some clouds do have silver linings. That same Field Poll suggests that those who do care are increasingly getting the news that matters to them from the internet.

Small numbers of better informed voters may yet bring some form of accountability to these otherwise imperious electeds.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Free For All - Trutanich's ACE Lie Confirmed and more ...

City Attorney Official Confirms Trutanich's Lies About ACE Program

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich deferred to his Chief Deputy, William Carter, when the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise yesterday sought to confirm allegations that the ACE Program was going to provide Trutanich with Grand Jury-like Subpoena powers, in an apparent end-run of the City Council's previous denial of a Grand Jury for Trutanich.

Carter said that the comparison of the ACE Program's Subpoena Powers with a Grand Jury Subpoena was "ludicrous," but offered no explanation as to the difference in being served with an ACE Subpoena and a Grand Jury Subpoena. Both, seemingly, command the recipient to appear personally and answer questions under oath and under penalty of perjury, and/or to produce documents. Those who fear that Trutanich will use ACE Subpoena Powers to bully enemies or as a basis for further grandstanding, are unlikely to be convinced.

Thanks to the skill of Met News Staff Writer Sherri M. Okamoto in probing Carter on other troubling aspects of the ACE Program, Carter refuted Trutanich's statements on the Kevin James Show, that he was the originator of the ACE Program, and that he has shared his idea with other cities, and "now San Diego has it and it's working just fine, Santa Monica has it and it's working just fine," clearly implying, indeed stating, that he had given them the idea, they had adopted it, and it was all peachy.

Carter, who seemingly values his credibility even if his master does not, admitted that "we saw other cities were already doing it."

That Trutanich lied about the ACE Program must surely raise a gigantic red flag to those who fear that Trutanich will abuse this power.

Alan Jackson Releases New Campaign Ad

It's certainly a professional and well produced ad, and will make for an effective tv ad in the future. The Jackson campaign released this statement:

Los Angeles, July 7th – Today the Alan Jackson campaign released a web ad highlighting Jackson’s abilities as both a tough prosecutor and someone who cares deeply about victims and their families. The spot is called “Prosecutor” and features both Deputy DA Alan Jackson and renowned victim rights advocate Collene (Thompson) Campbell whose brother, legendary race car driver Mickey Thompson, was unceremoniously executed along with his wife Trudy nearly two decades ago.

Deputy DA Alan Jackson said, “I have dedicated my entire career to fighting crime and serving the public. As the next District Attorney I promise to continue to protect victims of violent crimes and their families and ensure justice is served.”

“Alan Jackson has the experience, understanding and vision to lead the District Attorney’s office,” stated Jackson’s strategist John S. Thomas.

Alan Jackson gave an interview to Street-Hassle's pseudonymous blogger Mulholland Terrace. MT was impressed with AJ. Read more about "Alan Jackson - Action Figure" at Street-Hassle.

Councilmember Janice Hahn's Congressional Campaign Dogged By Gang Affiliations

FOX 11 News were not impressed by a "cease and desist" letter from Hahn's lawyers. Reports of Hahn's irresponsible support for using active gang members to be paid for "gang intervention" have dogged her campaign, and perhaps she thought threatening Fox11 would put an end to the negatives surrounding her campaign.

It clearly did not work. Interestingly, Fox 11 reported that a deputy city attorney has confirmed that Hahn had requested the "OR" release of an arrested gangmember. It's interesting because that deputy city attorney's statement will not please his boss. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is very, very keen to help Hahn. He has endorsed her candidacy, and is counting on her support for his ACE Program. Rumors also persist that Trutanich is keen to field his own candidate to replace Hahn should she succeed in her congressional bid.

That one of Trutanich's deputies has the courage to speak out against the wishes of his leader is a sure sign that rumors of Trutanich's poor relations with his rank and file may have some considerable validity. Morale is said to be generally lower that it was under Rocky Delgadillo, and with Trutanich believed to be spending time away from the office campaigning, perhaps the rank and file detect a weakness. 

ADDA Alleged To Have Changed Bank Account After Security Breach
Our previous report of the loss of personal and financial data by the ADDA Treasurer yielded some interesting comments.

This from "Anonymous 2:35pm":
In relation to the theft of Naimen's laptop, there is one important aspect to this whole mess that everyone is overlooking: who were the DDA' whose checks had been scanned.

These weren't just normal ADDA members. These people had been targeted. You see, an importent part of the Burke lawsuit that many forget is that Burke also alleged that the ADDA board had illegally raised the price of the dues. Through an illegal vote, the Board changed the dues from $30 a year to several hundred dollars a year (just how bad a hit is determined by the DDA's rank).

Burke challenged this, and solicited a number of DDAs to join at the "$30" rate to contest the hike in dues and preserve their voting rights as members. By submitting the $30 check, these DDA's were protesting against the ADDA Board and the Board knew it.

So why was Naimen paying special attention to these particular ADDA members by scanning in THEIR checks and collecting THEIR data? What did the ADDA board have planned for them? What information had been collected about them? One thing is certain, behind the scenes they were being treated differently than the members who simply agreed to the massive increase in dues.

And "Anonymous 6:04pm":
2:35pm - thanks for explaining this. I was wondering why they wanted to keep scanned copies of checks. this makes sense now. BTW the ADDA did take action to protect themselves after the laptop was stolen - they changed their bank accounts.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Criminal Suspects Tipped-Off as Result of ADDA Treasurer's Security Breach

The Treasurer of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys had hundreds of unauthorized copies of confidential District Attorney's Office files relating to auto insurance fraud investigations on his personal laptop, together with details of Deputy District Attorney's residences and bank accounts when his laptop was stolen from his vehicle last summer, the Los Angeles Dragnet can reveal.

Criminal suspects' details were amongst the confidential files copied from the ADDA Treasurer's secure workstation to his insecure personal laptop. The DA's Office was legally required to notify and warn hundreds of persons potentially effected by the security breach, including those criminal suspects. As a consequence, criminal suspects were most likely "tipped-off" that they were under investigation by the District Attorney's Office Auto Insurance Fraud Division.  

An anonymous comment posted on June 2, 2011 was the first indication
that an ADDA Board Member had caused a major security breach thought, at first,
to be limited to ADDA member's details. It now appears to have been a much larger
security breach resulting in the tipping-off criminal suspects.
It is not known whether any investigations were compromised as a result of the ADDA Treasurer's unauthorized handling of the DA's Office's confidential information, nor can it be determined whether witnesses who were among the thousands who received warning letters were deterred from cooperating with on-going investigations.

California's Security Breach Notification Act, State Bill 1386, embodied in California Civil Code Sections 1798.80 through 1798.82, requires disclosure of "any breach of the security of the system following discovery or notification of the breach in the security of the data to any resident of California whose unencrypted personal information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by an unauthorized person."

The DA's Office is believed to have based its warning letters on
this "Sample Notice Letter" suggested by the COPP.
In order to ensure full compliance with the laws governing the content of warning letters required by California's Security Breach Notification Act, it is believed that the DA's Office used a "Sample Notice Letter" suggested by the California Office of Privacy Protection as the template for the hundreds of warning letters that were sent out on official District Attorney letterhead. The Sample Notice Letter is contained in the COPP's "Recommended Practices on Notice of Security Breach Involving Personal Information," which can be downloaded from the COPP website.

It is understood that the DA's Office assigned Senior Investigators from the Bureau of Investigation and support staff to spend weeks debriefing the ADDA Treasurer in order to identify the hundreds of individuals named in the files lost when the laptop was stolen. Having identified the potential victims, they then had to locate current addresses for those individuals, and then send them warning letters. The costs of complying with the Security Breach Notification Act are not known at this time, but can be reasonably expected to have been substantial.

A criminal defense attorney told the Dragnet that if his client had shown him the warning letter sent out by the DA's Office, he would have advised his client that he was "probably under investigation."

ADDA Did Not Warn It's Members of the Security Breach
While the DA's Office had no option but to comply with the notice requirements relating to the loss of  confidential information, the ADDA does not appear to have felt obliged to act similarly in compliance with the Security Breach Notification Act. The ADDA member information held by the ADDA Treasurer certainly appears to meet the definition of "personal information" within the meaning of the Act, according to our sources.

The confidential data held by the ADDA is understood to have consisted of scanned image files of DDAs who paid $30 to the Association by check in order to participate in a vote. The scanned images of those $30 checks contained the addresses, bank account details, and spouses names of Deputy District Attorneys. It is also believed that additional files containing members' details were stored on the laptop.

No Comment From the ADDA
Although the security breach has been known about for at least four weeks since the first comment appeared on the Dragnet, the ADDA Board has not contacted the Dragnet to either confirm or deny the allegation that they neither complied with the law, nor acted to protect their members from the obvious risks posed by their security breach. ADDA President Hyatt Seligman had previously contacted the Dragnet regarding ADDA matters, so it can be assumed that he was fully aware of the allegation, but for whatever reason, has chosen not to respond.

One DDA who paid the ADDA with a $30 check, told the Dragnet that he had not received any notice from the ADDA regarding the loss of his personal and bank information. Equally, no DDA has contacted the Dragnet to say they did receive a warning notice. While some comments posted over the past few weeks since the Dragnet became aware of the security breach purported to defend the ADDA's actions because "the loss of encrypted data does not have to be reported," the actions of the DA's Office in issuing thousands of warning notices, indicates that the data was not encrypted and that warning notices were required both from the DA's Office and the ADDA.

ADDA Treasurer Loren Naiman Named As Responsible For Security Breach
"Anonymous 12:15AM," who posted the comment in response to our June 15, 2011 article provided many of the missing details to this scandal, naming DDA Loren Naiman, the ADDA Treasurer, as being responsible for the security breaches.

It is known that Naiman either resigned or retired from the ADDA Board shortly after the security breach. No reason was given by the ADDA for Naiman's departure, and DDA Doug Sherrod was subsequently elected as Treasurer, beating former ADDA President Steve Ipsen for the position.

However, barely weeks after becoming Treasurer, Sherrod also suddenly resigned. Once again, the ADDA offered no reason for Sherrod's resignation, and the ADDA Board promptly appointed Naiman to resume his duties as Treasurer.

Although Naiman has resumed his duties as ADDA Treasurer, the DA's Office transferred him out of the Auto Insurance Fraud Division. We understand that Naiman believes that the transfer was in retaliation for his ADDA activities. It remains to be seen whether the merits of Naiman's beliefs will allow him to join the ADDA's much touted "federal lawsuit" challenging transfers such as his as "union busting."

The apparent failure of the ADDA to follow the law and warn members of the risks to their personal and financial security posed by their personal information falling into the hands of criminals will do little to boost the image of the current leadership of the ADDA. Many DDAs who spoke to the Dragnet on background were shocked that the ADDA would try to cover up such a serious security breach, "our families and finances were put at risk by these people." one DDA said.

ADDA Bylaws Devoid of Member Privacy Protection Regulations
Although Naiman's unauthorized copying and storage of the DA's Office confidential information appears to be in violation of Section 7.12.00 of the Personnel Policies Handbook (Confidential and Sensitive Information - Policy) and the "Policy Statement - Privacy, Security and Confidentiality," Naiman's copying and storage of members' checks as well as any other ADDA member data that was on his laptop does not appear to violate any section of the ADDA's Bylaws. That's because the ADDA does not have any measures designed to protect its members from the loss of personal confidential information.

ADDA Board Accused of Hypocrisy
While the ADDA have sued DDA Peter Burke for "violating privacy" and "union busting" because he was freely given a list of ADDA member names by the County Employee Relations Commission (ERCOM), and that list was turned over to the DA's Office Administration, it does appear that the ADDA has a different definition of "privacy" when it comes to allowing criminals to obtain the names of ADDA members.

That point was made by the "Anonymous 12:15AM" comment which can be seen by scrolling down to the bottom of our June 15, 2011 article, however, we repeat what some might agree to be a particularly apt portion of that comment here:

"It is ironic that when Peter Burke was freely given a list of the names of ADDA members which he turned over to the administration, the ADDA "had a cow" about it claiming it was a violation of privacy. Had Burke allowed that list to be stolen from his car, I guess you would have no beef. What a bunch of hypocrites!"

"Anonymous 12:15AM" ends his comment the Latin phrase "Res Ipsa Loquitur," generally accepted to mean "The facts speak for themselves." 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trutanich Gets Last Laugh on City Council - Sneaks Grand Jury Powers into ACE Program

(Reprinted from our Tumblr website: "Trutanich's ACE Program Sneaks In Grand Jury Like Powers")

The lies about the origins and provenance of the ACE Program had scarcely left City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's lips last month when the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office acted swiftly to present a revised version of the ACE Program containing hidden Grand Jury-like subpoena powers.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich wants Grand Jury powers as an "investigative tool"
Similar powers were routinely abused by Joseph McCarthy in an era that Trutanich probably
wishes the City Council have forgotten.

Barely a year has passed since Trutanich's original plan for his own Grand Jury was thwarted by the City Council. Although budgetary constraints were then cited as the reason for denying Trutanich powers that could be abused in the wrong hands, few doubted that fears of Trutanich becoming a modern-day McCarthy were truly behind the City Council's actions.

But Trutanich wasn't going to take the loss of what he has characterized as a "valuable investigative tool" lying down (others saw it as an intimidation tool). Sources say that following the death of his Grand Jury plan, Trutanich secretly ordered his deputies to sneak similar Grand Jury-like subpoena powers into the ACE Program.

Trutanich recaptures Grand Jury-like subpoena powers through
Section 11.2.09(b)6 of the latest version of the ACE Ordinance
 The Grand Jury-like powers are well hidden "in plain sight" at Section 11.2.09(b)6 of the proposed ACE Program ordinance. If enacted as currently written, Trutanich has granted himself the power to order the Administrative Hearing Officer (believed to be called "Judges" by Trutanich) to "subpoena witnesses, documents and other evidence"  in accordance with procedures he dictates.

Prosecutors Can Be ACE Judges
Trutanich has made no secret of his plan to use his own prosecutors as Judges, and again, Trutanich has hidden that power "in plain sight" at Section 11.2.09(a):

Under Section 11.2.09(a) of the ACE Program ordinance
Trutanich can appoint "independent" Judges. Trutanich conveniently
refrains defining "independent" or from excluding Deputy City Attorneys
from being appointed as his Judges.
The ACE Program ordinance does not define the term "Independent Administrative Hearing Officers" thereby giving Trutanich broad powers to appoint whoever he considers suitable to serve his needs.  If Trutanich believes that his prosecutors can be independent, then nothing in the ACE Program ordinance prevents that.

Furthermore, Trutanich has the power to tell his "Judges" what to do and how to do it by developing his own "written policies." Regardless of the written policies, few would doubt that his "Judges" will grant any request he makes to issue subpoenas for "witnesses, documents and other evidence."

Coucilmembers Support Likely With Promise of Major Contribution To General Fund
With Trutanich promising that ACE will provide a veritable cash cow of administrative penalties to swell the starved coffers of the General Fund, it is likely that Trutanich believes he has the eight votes he needs on the Council to get the ACE Program passed. The eight councilmembers that will likely  support the ACE Program are thought to be Zine, Hahn, Englander, Alarcon, La Bonge, Koretz, Huizar and Rosendahl. City Controller Wendy Greuel is also likely to give ACE her blessing.

Trutanich Gets The Last Laugh(s)
In selling the 'eight' on ACE as a cash cow, Trutanich gets the last laugh on his enemies in City Hall, by neatly performing an end run on their previous efforts to deny him the power he so desperately craves.

But there's more to Trutanich's last laugh than simply out-smarting the City Council. The ACE Program can only live up to Trutanich's promise of being a cash cow if it is used against homeowners and small businesses. The scofflaws that Trutanich says he will pursue simply don't have the money to pay the fines, and there is little enforcement action in ACE that could have any meaningful effect on them. But a crackdown on non-compliant yard fences (anything over three and a half feet in height) or replacement water heaters installed without permits, or small businesses who have un-permitted off-site advertising on their premises, now that would yield millions of dollars for the General Fund from the ACE Program.

Of course the outcry from voters would likely cause the Council to stop such crackdowns. And thus the promised cash cow will become the Trojan Horse that it really is. Trutanich gets his power, the General Fund gets nothing, and the Council gets egg on its face.

The McCarthy era abuse of grand jury-like powers proved to be perhaps even more dangerous and destructive to a free society than the evils McCarthy sought to defeat. With Trutanich's track record of bullying, thuggery, grandstanding and most recently, flat out lying, few would doubt that the powers he has sneaked into the ACE Program will enable him to be the next McCarthy.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Independence Day 2011 is particularly relevant to Los Angelenos and DDAs this year. Both need to fight to preserve their hard fought independence.

Los Angelenos face an assault on their liberties in the form of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's nefarious ACE Program, which promises to raise millions of dollars on the backs of homeowners and small businesses once it gets the City Council's seal of approval.

 That Trutanich has already lied about the origins and provenance of the ACE Program should raise a sufficiently large red flag that all is not what it seems with the ACE Program. We will continue to raise that red flag in the hope that despite the attempts of the Trutanich regime to stifle free speech and disguise and deflect criticism, our red flag will still be there and perhaps some more people will realize the very real dangers of empowering a liar to shake down the people of Los Angeles.

Closer to home, the now big labor affiliated Association of Deputy District Attorneys continues to impose its will on the vast majority of DDAs who have, perhaps wisely, chosen to avoid becoming involved with the ADDA and thereby embroiled in the ADDA's stealth campaign to assist its leader, Steve Ipsen, in fulfilling his ambition to become the next District Attorney for Los Angeles County.

The spirit of 1776 was all about fighting off oppressive minority rule, yet the ADDA today represents just that. In it's recent vote to become part ofAFSCME;  the states' biggest organized labor union, 133 votes made the decision for the 1,000 plus DDAs, most of whom were not trusted to even have a vote, far less have it counted.

The ADDA's next stated goal is to force all DDAs to pay dues to them, with a suitably large piece of the action going to AFSCME - the vig for bailing out the staggering losses the ADDA suffered from  fighting fellow DDA Peter Burke. Burke was brave enough to stand up and force the ADDA to abide by their own rules. He personally bore the costs of fighting the ADDA's meritless lawsuit which they lost. Twice. Their reckless waste of members' dues brought the ADDA to the brink of bankruptcy, and forced them to drag us all into bed with an organized labor union that represents interest diametrically opposite to those held by most DDAs - such as defeating 3rd Strikes.

In the months, perhaps only weeks ahead, as the ADDA tries to build on the momentum from their sell out to big labor and force an "agency shop" on us, DDAs need to take a stand against ADDA shenanigans and get involved. Get involved not by joining this unsavory alliance of disparate self interests and hidden agendas, but get involved by saying "NO" as loudly and often as you can. The automatic ADDA response to anyone who does not see things their way is to label them as "union busters," but like the boy who cried wolf, they're wearing that plaintiff's plea thinner and thinner.

To those who feel disinclined to voice their dissent because of what has been described as abusive intimidation by the ADDA, we remind you of the remarks recently made by retiring Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles "Chuck" Horan, criticizing his colleagues for remaining silent on important matters: "... apathy and learned helplessness are very damaging to the judiciary, and judges need to take back their courts.” To do this, he insists, “judges have to step forward and be involved,” but should that occur, “great changes are more than possible, they’re inevitable.”

For those readers who were not fortunate enough to know or have appeared before Judge Horan, he was a Deputy District Attorney for seven years before being appointed to Glendale Municipal Court in 1988 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, and two years later, Deukmejian elevated him to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Horan perhaps sums up the plight of rank and file Deputy District Attorneys who find themselves excluded from a say in matters like "affiliation," "agency shop" or ludicrous and vindictive political endorsements; we have allowed "Apathy and learned helplessness" to empower a small group of people with their own agendas to force their will on the majority. It is time for that to change. We have to take back our right to have our legitimate interests represented by a voice free from politically motivated self-interested insurgents.

Saying "NO" to the ADDA's will is not union busting. Advising a friend to stay away from a small group of people with hidden agendas and shady pasts is not union busting, it's our right and it's our duty. It's why we chose to be DDAs and why we proudly took that oath to uphold the laws of our state and the constitution of the United States of America. It's why, as we mark the 235th anniversary of our nation's independence, we should remember that freedom has a price and it's not being forced to bow to the will of tyrants any more than it is being forced pay ACE Program "administrative citation fines" to pay off the City of LA's debts, or being forced to pay union dues to pay off the vig on Ipsen's foolhardy mismanagement of the ADDA.