|Before: Trutanich's billboards blighted|
Ventura Blvd. for over two years.
A tip-off received by the Dragnet stated that Trutanich was devastated by the negative attention that had been drawn to this issue.
The situation was not, apparently, helped by the shambolic responses of Trutanich's deputy and a Building and Safety inspector. Those responses, perhaps best characterized as a botched attempted cover-up, were published in the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise on Friday, August 26, 2011.
In essence, Trutanich's deputy claimed that the determination of the legality of billboards was not the function of the City Attorney's Office; a statement that would be laughable if it were not so patently false.
|After: As of Tuesday evening, Trutanich's off-site signs had been removed.|
It is understood that "Trutanich's Billboard Blunder" and the pathetic cover-up rapidly became the talk of City Hall, doubtless assisted by the damning remarks published in CityWatchLA condemning Trutanich's "vanity and hypocrisy" over this matter. With the pressure building on Trutanich to follow his own law and avoid further embarrassment, it seems that Trutanich acted swiftly to try to contain the damage and abandoned any attempt to try to justify the continued presence of these billboards.
The damage, however, has been done. The billboard bandits are likely to seize on the equivocal and inconsistent statements concerning the interpretation of the city's billboard laws and re-ignite the billboard blight bonanza.
Furthermore, the credibility of both the City Attorney's Office and the Dept. of Building and Safety has now been badly damaged. This comes at a time when Trutanich has been trying to convince the City Council that he can be trusted to oversee the Administrative Citation Enforcement ("ACE") Program. The ACE Program empowers the Dept. of Building and Safety to issue citations to homeowners and businesses for minor code violations without having to use the court system to collect the "administrative penalties." That is because Trutanich will run his own kangaroo court system to collect those penalties.
Trutanich has promoted ACE as a revenue generating machine, capable of restoring much needed money to the General Fund. After witnessing the scandalous behavior of the City Attorney's Office and the Dept. of Building and Safety over Trutanich's Billboard Blunder, the Council would be unwise to entrust Trutanich with these powers. They have now seen how the two offices interact, and it is not a healthy or transparent relationship.
But back to the billboards. It is highly likely that new Trutanich billboards will reappear shortly. Trutanich recently told the Studio City Chamber of Commerce that he was "already looking for a local storefront for an office to run his district attorney campaign." Of course, should Trutanich establish such an office, any new billboards would be "on-site" and not subject to his citywide ban on "off-site" signs. It is not known whether Trutanich will return to the site of his former campaign headquarters; there's an old adage about people who return to the scene of the crime. It is one that Trutanich might want to avoid...