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.