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Monday, November 28, 2011

District Attorney candidates in the news

Chilling video from Fayed murder for hire case released in Eyewitness News exclusive

District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson was interviewed by ABC Eyewitness News regarding key evidence that led to the recent death penalty conviction of one-time wealthy gold trader James Fayed.


In an Eyewitness News Exclusive, James Fayed, a wealthy gold trader who hired hitmen to murder his wife, is caught on tape. Fayed, of Camarillo, received the death penalty for the murder of his wife earlier this month. Now evidence from the trial not aired before has been obtained by Eyewitness News.

Pamela Fayed was stabbed 13 times and her throat was slashed by three men who had been hired by her husband, James Fayed. During his trial, jurors got to see a key piece of video that led to his conviction.

Pamela Fayed was fatally stabbed in a Century City parking garage on July 28, 2008. She was walking toward her car when she attacked.

Exclusive video obtained by Eyewitness News shows a scene from a courtyard outside of the parking garage moments after Fayed was attacked.

People reacted to blood-curdling screams, glancing up at the parking structure and moving in that direction. All but one person: James Fayed.

"Just about every single person in that video, every single pedestrian, turns their attention to where the screams, where the calls for help were emanating from, and began to migrate toward that building," said L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson. "There was one person who never turned his head, one person who never migrated in that direction, and that was James Fayed."

Jackson was the prosecutor in the murder trial of 48-year-old James Fayed, who in May was convicted of masterminding his wife's murder.



(Copyright ©2011 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)


Where in Occupy Los Angeles is Carmen Trutanich?

While Alan Jackson makes the news for what he has actually done, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's absence from the Mayor and Police Chief's press conference announcing the plans to being an end to Occupy Los Angeles made the news this weekend for what he did not do - participate in the press conference.

LA Talk Radio's Live LA Saturday Night talk show speculated that Trutanich was 'disinvited' from the press conference because of his past record of making threats to prosecute protesters, but failing to follow through. Perhaps the Mayor and Chief Beck felt that Trutanich would only make matters worse and left him off the invite list?

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

City Attorney absent from end of Occupy LA press conference

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined forces with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to announce that, with effect from 12:01am on Monday, November 28, 2011, the law will be enforced to bring to an end the illegal occupation of the park surrounding City Hall.

Fox 11 News carried the press conference live, along with worldwide media coverage. Noticeable by his absence, was City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich (pictured right sporting a photo-op raid jacket)
was surprisingly absent from the press conference announcing the plans to end Occupy LA.
Speculation as to Trutanich's absence from a worldwide media event ranges from the Mayor and Chief Beck making the tactical decision not to inflame the Occupy LA protesters with Trutanich's presence, to the City Attorney chickening out as he did with the recent Los Angeles District Attorney candidate's forum.

Trutanich, who is believed to be about to come clean with his plans to run for District Attorney in violation of his 'Pledge to Serve,' may have chosen to chicken out of the Mayor's press conference to avoid further putting his credibility in issue. Trutanich had previously threatened to jail professional protesters for a year, however, all cases against the Dream Act protesters were dismissed.

With media attention bound to be focused on the way City Hall brings to an end the seven week Occupy LA protest, Trutanich is seemingly faced with a dilemma; how can he maximize media attention for himself, without drawing attention to his record of empty threats and grandstanding?

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Mayor declares war on Occupy LA

Thanks to the Mayor Sam Blog for posting videos of the breakdown in 'negotiations' between the City of LA and the Occupy LA movement.



The political hot potato that the big mouths are trying to avoid having to handle, is basically how, after weeks of ignoring the Occupy LA's occupation, the Mayor, Chief of Police, and the City Attorney are going to deal with the mess they have allowed to develop.

Interestingly, the Mayor dispatched a deputy to the meeting to state the Mayor's position, and Chief Beck had one of his executives in attendance too. But it does appear that the City Attorney ducked out of this meeting. Perhaps it was thought that the meeting would be more productive without the City Attorney threatening to arrest protesters, again?

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday's Hot Topics

US Congressman Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon Endorses Alan Jackson for Los Angeles District Attorney


District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson's campaign announced last week that it has secured the prestigious endorsement of US Congressman Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon in support of Jackson's bid to replace Steve Cooley as the District Attorney for Los Angeles County.

This from the Jackson campaign:

Los Angeles, November 17th – Congressman Buck McKeon announced his endorsement today in support of Alan Jackson for District Attorney. Jackson continues to outpace everyone in the contest for District Attorney by nearly all measurements. This latest endorsement highlights Jackson’s support from elected officials from all over the county on both a local and national level. It is clear that Alan Jackson is the choice of law enforcement and elected officials who understand the importance of having the right kind of District Attorney in office.

Representative Buck McKeon strongly stated, "I want to commend Deputy DA Alan Jackson for his military service and for his nearly twenty years of public service as a prosecutor putting criminals behind bars. I am proud to endorse Alan Jackson for District Attorney of Los Angeles County. He will make an exceptional District Attorney."

“I am humbled and honored to have earned Congressman McKeon’s endorsement and as District Attorney fully intend to partner with both local and national members of our government and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our families and children. When it comes to public safety, we must all work together. I am proud of the coalition of support my candidacy has drawn thus far,” Deputy DA Alan Jackson claimed.

Deputy DA Alan Jackson has earned strong support from other public officials such as County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, State Senator Tony Strickland, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Los Angeles City Councilmember Dennis Zine, Long Beach City Attorney Robert Shannon, former La CaƱada-Flintridge Mayor and current City Councilmember Steve Del Guercio, San Gabriel City Councilman Mario De La Torre, Honorary Mayor of San Pedro Anthony Misetich, Inglewood Police Association and El Monte Chiefs of Police Bill Ankeny, Tom Armstrong, Wayne Clayton and Ken Weldon.

For more information, please visit Alan Jackson’s campaign website at www.VoteAlanJackson.com.

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Trutanich endorses Joe Buscaino for Council District 15

City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich shows CD15 candidate Joe Buscaino how to look like a politician
'Villariagosa style' as they don dayglow jackets to view the collapse of a portion of roadway in San Pedro.
LAPD Senior lead Office Joe Buscaino's bid to become councilmember for LA's 15th council district has apparently received the endorsement of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. Comments on the LA Weekly report of Buscaino's campaign suggest that Trutanich's endorsement might be the 'kiss of death' to Buscaino's chances to defeat veteran Assemblyman Warren Furutani in the January run-off election.

Curiously, the announcement of Trutanich's endorsement came from Trutanich's campaign strategist, John Shallman, and not from the Buscaino campaign. The Mayor Sam blog carried Shallman's endorsement statement on Friday, November 18, and on Saturday, Trutanich's nemesis, blogger Mulholland Terrace, reported on the Trutanich-Buscaino landslide inspection photo-op. Strangely, Buscaino's campaign website's 'endorsement' page was still silent as to Trutanich's endorsement as we go to press.

No mention of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's alleged endorsement appeared on
Joe Buscaino's website as we close for press on Sunday, November 20, 2011.
Whether the Trutanich endorsement was sought or even welcomed by Joe Buscaino appears to be something of a mystery. However, few would be surprised if Trutanich's endorsement is ultimately rejected by Buscaino who may wish to distance himself from the never ending controversy surrounding the San Pedro ambulance chaser plaintiff's attorney turned career politician.

Trutanich, of course, has a disastrous record in terms of endorsements, throwing his weight and political capital behind failed CD2 candidate Chris Essel and, of course dramatically losing the support of one time ally District Attorney Steve Cooley after Trutanich reneged on his 'Pledge to Serve' barely nine months after taking office.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery 

The Los Angeles Dragnet may have to change it's title to the official Los Angeles Dragnet as a copy-cat blog 'Dragnet LA,' launched itself on Saturday, November 19, 2011. Authored by 'Sgt. Joe Friday,' the Dragnet LA looks set to rival our coverage of Los Angeles politics, and we look forward to reading their views.

Since the Los Angeles Dragnet first appeared in the blogesphere, we believe that we have added to the freedom of speech enjoyed in the greatest democracy in the world, and unlike some who seek to stifle the free expression of independent thought, we welcome an alternate viewpoint. Good luck Sgt. Joe Friday, see you at the next DA candidates' forum?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Themes

Joensing for Meyers

District Attorney candidate Danette Meyers' campaign got a boost this week with the announcement that music legend Quincy Jones had endorsed her. According to a statement released by the Meyers campaign, Jones said "Danette Meyers' credentials as an accomplished trial lawyer and veteran criminal prosecutor are without question. But what makes Danette unique is she understands that the justice system extends beyond the criminal side. Throughout her 25 year career she has spent her own time outside the District Attorney's office to ensure that the entire justice system is working. Danette's broader community perspective is key to the effective pursuit of justice. I wholeheartedly endorse Danette Meyers as the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County."

Jackson Campaign phone bank takes early lead


The phones in the homes of LA County's 'high propensity' conservative voters started ringing this week with calls from Alan Jackson's campaign. The volunteer corps of 50 callers are believed to be striking deep into the very same territory once regarded by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich as 'his,' no doubt based on Jackson's campaign manager, John Thomas, having previously organized the successful phone bank for Trutanich's 2009 City Attorney campaign.

It is understood that callers are making between 20 and 30 calls each, every evening, averaging around 1,000 calls a day. Although the script for the calls is a closely guarded secret, it would not be surprising to find that as well as highlighting Jackson's career achievements and conservative values, callers are able to play ten second sound bite of Trutanich's 'Pledge to serve' as City Attorney and not to run for District Attorney, when questions are asked about other candidates. That ten second sound bite could include some of the following statements made by Trutanich:

Trutanich Pledge to Serve by LA Dragnet

It is believed that Jackson's callers includes a number of retired law enforcement officers. According to the Jackson campaign, the phone bank will run every day right up to election night and will add additional callers in the final run up to the June 5, 2012 election.

Big Hollywood gives it up for Jackie Lacey


Rumors suggest that immediately prior to the APABA District Attorney candidates' forum, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey stared at a 'Big Hollywood' fundraiser to boost her campaign to become LA's next District Attorney. The fundraiser is understood to have taken place at the home of am Oscar winning actor with around 150 guests in attendance.

Lacey's campaign is said to be ramping-up with several key changes in campaign staff and strategy, and will likely include District Attorney Steve Cooley being at Lacey's side to underline his stated support for Lacey as his chosen leader to continue the mission of the Office.

Trutanich's 'Prosecutor of the Year' award questioned

While City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's collected his CNOA 'Prosecutor of the Year' award for doing nothing, many were wondering why the 22 deputy district attorneys 'singled out' by Trutanich for 'praise' were not also given awards by the CNOA.

Trutanich, it seems, preferred the CNOA award to be exclusively his so that he could use it for his campaign to be District Attorney. The 22 deputy city attorneys 'singled out' by Trutanich for 'praise' will likely receive cheesy ink-jet printer awards from him as a token of his praise, but nevertheless continue to suffer the enforced pay-cut and furloughs that he declines to share.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Trutanich gets award for doing nothing

The growing scandal over the misuse of a city contract worker in connection with a political campaign overshadowed the announcement of Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's latest play-pretend award.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise article detailing City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's
latest phony award did not include the ambulance-chaser graphic included above.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise reported that the California Narcotics Officers' Association named Trutanich as its 'Prosecutor of the Year.' The award is not entirely surprising given Trutanich's considerable influence over the CNOA; the former president works for Trutanich and is also behind the phony 'Draft Trutanich for District Attorney' campaign.

The award itself is surprising in view of the number of significant narcotics cases prosecuted by Trutanich, which is estimated to be zero.  Trutanich does not prosecute serious narcotics cases which are, of course, felonies prosecuted by either the District Attorney or the US Attorney.  But a minor detail like that should not stand in the way of adding to the illusion that the former ambulance chaser turned career politician is a tough crime fighter.

Perhaps the CNOA got their awards mixed up and meant to give Trutanich the 'Grandstander of the Year' award? After all, few would deny that Trutanich has formidable record of claiming the credit for prosecutions conducted by other agencies. Apart from the ridiculous claim that Trutanich 'busted' the 38th Street Gang, Trutanich also recently claimed he was 'moving forward' with the prosecution of those responsible for the Bryan Stowe beating at Dodger Stadium.

Those, perhaps, highlight Trutanich's credibility issues. There are, however, no shortage of others including, but not limited to, the lies he told about the origins of 'his' ACE Program, which thankfully remains stalled in City Council, and his claim that there were 'criminal aspects' to the Michael Jackson memorial at AEG's Staples Center.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Themes - Trutanich in trouble? Jackson rises, Conrad Murray convicted, Meyers muses

Trutanich's use of city-paid workers for political campaign activities questioned

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's campaign staffer spied on the
DA candidate's forum while Trutanich was a no-show
(click here to see original photo)
As previously reported, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich chickened out of attending the recent DA candidates' forum. When Trutanich's original claim that 'he was not invited' was challenged as yet another lie from the embattled former plaintiff's attorney, he changed his lame excuse to 'he was not officially invited,' prompting one commenter to question what form of invitation, exactly, the City Attorney expected; 'a calligraphic scroll with Trutanich's name embossed in gold foil?'

While Trutanich's stated reason for chickening out of being publicly humiliated for reneging on his promises are not likely to impress anyone but the most ill-informed, Trutanich made sure he was fully informed of events at the candidates' forum. City Attorney employee Dan Raskov, who receives over $1,000.00 a week of taxpayer money under an obscure contract to provide Trutanich with '... Grant and Alternative Funding Specialist' services, attended the DA candidates' forum, doubtless to report back to Trutanich on how the opposition is shaping up.

City Attorney contract employee Dan Raskov attended the DA candidates forum
and was seen making copious notes of the proceedings for his report to Trutanich
The use of taxpayer-funded city employees for political campaign activities is strictly prohibited, as is their use for personal purposes, such as the child minding and shopping errand scandals that wracked the Delgadillo administration. Trutanich will likely claim that his contracted employee was attending the forum and making notes in his 'personal time.'

However, given Trutanich's now well established reputation as a liar, and his incredulous responses to the recent BillboardGate and RentGate scandals, it's a claim that most believe would fail the straight-face test. It is a sad reality that Trutanich's credibility continues to plunge in the eyes of those who reasonably expected him to abide by his 'pledge to serve,' and are appalled at his apparent comfort level with reneging on his solemn, sworn promise to voters.

Equally, given Raskov's obscure job title and function, it is perhaps fair to question precisely the role that Raskov played at the candidate's forum. It might also be reasonable to ask for some accounting for the amount taxpayer funded time devoted to sourcing 'Grant and Alternative Funding' compared to the success, or lack thereof, of any efforts actually made in that regard. Apart from Trutanich being accused of funding his office with the proceeds of alleged 'extortion,' it is unclear precisely what 'Alternative Funding' activities remain within Raskov's purview.

Trutanich, who issues Press Releases like confetti, does not appear to have issued a press release lauding the success of Raskov's quest for 'Grant and Alternative Funding,' at least not according to the press release archive currently viewable on the City Attorney website.

In view of Trutanich's alleged commitment to 'transparency' and 'no politics at my desk' it certainly seems reasonable that the public receive some credible assurances that Raskov's political campaign activities are indeed separate from his taxpayer funded position, and that Raskov's position is a legitimate charge to taxpayers.

Jackson ramps up campaign with early mailers & phone bank

Coming to a mailbox near you... Thousands of mailers from Alan Jackson
are being received by high propensity voters as Jackson ups the stakes in his campaign.
While most of the candidates at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's forum were likely taking a breath from making their first public appearance last week, Alan Jackson's campaign wasted no time building on the momentum he received in his bid to become LA's next District Attorney. Thousands of campaign mailers were sent out to 'high propensity' voters likely to be impressed by Jackson's conservative candidacy.

In addition to the mailers, the Jackson campaign also launched a phone bank staffed by volunteers who will take the lead in making calls to LA County voters to promote Jackson's candidacy. While the script of the callers is a closely guarded secret, sources tell the Dragnet that portions of the script include references to Jackson's numerous law enforcement endorsements, his high-profile trial successes, and his Air Force background. It is understood that the phone bank volunteers have also been given a cheat-sheet list of broken promises and failures by Carmen Trutanich who is believed to be vying for the same group of voters.

The early initiation of a targeted campaign strategy is believed to have taken Jackson's opponents by surprise and is also understood to have impressed several key endorsers in law enforcement. Jackson's early moves could effectively capture the conservative voter base and thus ensure him a place in a  run-off that looks like pitching traditional values against the liberal values propounded by the opponents.

District Attorney's statement on conviction of Michael Jackson killer Dr. Conrad Murray

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley gave full credit for the successful prosecution of  to the hard work of Deputy District Attorneys David Walgren and Deborah Bazil in a short statement to the press, shortly after Murray was remanded into custody on Monday afternoon following the verdict.



Cooley's concise statement took commentators by surprise for the lack of self-aggrandizing and false credit-claiming that has come to be expected from City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who releases press statements like confetti, claims credit for cases that are not even handled by his office, and allegedly uses threats of imprisonment to try cases in the court of public opinion, rather than in a court of law.

The successful prosecution of Dr. Conrad Murray was the result of a well disciplined and competently managed team of law enforcement and prosecutors who prevailed in a court of law by the use of real evidence and legal reasoning, not the kind of ridiculous self-promoting and false promises that have become the Trutanich brand.

Danette Meyers to speak on alternatives to incarceration


Hot on the heels of securing a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Tyquan Knox, a former Crenshaw High football star, District Attorney candidate Danette Meyers will be lecturing about alternatives to incarceration at the Messerau Free Legal Clinic on Saturday, November 12, 2012 at the Morningside Church in South Los Angeles.

Meyers' spirited comments at the DA candidates' forum are likely to be repeated as Meyers continues to define her candidacy as a tough on crime reformer. Those attending might be surprised by what appears to be Meyers' campaign catchphrase; 'You might not like me, but you will respect me.'

We understand that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has not been officially invited to Messerau's Free Legal Clinic. Yet.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

District Attorney candidate's forum fallout

Although the Dragnet was the first to report on Wednesday night's APABA hosted Los Angeles District Attorney's candidates' forum, the LA Weekly and the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise swiftly followed with their reports.

Six of the District Attorney candidates participated in the first forum held at the
Japanese American National Museum to a capacity crowd.
The LA Weekly report led with City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's latest failure - he failed to attend the forum.
Trutanich's campaign
adviser John Shallman
Many believe that Trutanich was a 'no show' because he was scared at the prospect of being outed as a sandbagging deceitful grandstander by his opponents.

LA Weekly reporter Gene Maddaus tracked down Trutanich's campaign adviser John Shallman to see if there was any other reason why Trutanich hid from his critics. Shallman's response, however, unwittingly helped maintain Trutanich's reputation as a liar.

Shallman stated that Trutanich did not participate in the debate because "He wasn't invited." But one of the debate organizers, Halim Dhanidina, said he reached out to the Trutanich campaign to ask if the city attorney wanted to participate, and never got a call back. According to sources, attempts to reach the embattled city attorney included phone calls to his secretary, and Shallman's cellphone.

One observer commented that "it was interesting that Trutanich was now lying about not being invited, instead of lying about not running for DA." Trutanich has, perhaps, set himself up for the unique ballot designation "Liar" by his signed sworn 'pledge to serve.' The pledge 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’.

Public disdain for Trutanich's tactics appears to be growing. According to sources, Trutanich was forced to leave a local Republican party meeting when the "booing and jeering" that greeted the former plaintiff's attorney turned career politician "started to get out of hand." Trutanich was said to be both shocked and furious that he was told to leave.

Alan Jackson Campaign - Announcement
DA candidate Alan Jackson presses
the flesh after the candidates' forum
The day after the candidates' forum, the Jackson Campaign added to Trutanich's woes by announcing that Alan Jackson had secured the endorsement of Tom Tait, the Mayor of Anaheim. This from the Jackson campaign:

Los Angeles, November 4th – Today Mayor of Anaheim Tom Tait declared his enthusiastic support for Alan Jackson’s candidacy for LA County District Attorney. As an adjacent major city to LA County, Mayor Tait understands the importance of electing the best qualified neighboring District Attorney to stop criminals in their tracks with tough and swift prosecutions. Mayor Tait’s endorsement arrives on the heels of numerous other elected officials from across LA County who stand with Jackson. Alan Jackson remains a frontrunner in the race for District Attorney.

"As Mayor of Anaheim, I understand firsthand that crime knows no geographical boundaries or city limit lines. The next DA of LA County will have a clear and direct impact on our ability in surrounding counties to keep our families safe and criminals in jail. I am honored to endorse Alan Jackson for District Attorney. He is without a doubt the best prosecutor to lead the office. Jackson has my full support,” declared Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait.

Deputy DA Alan Jackson stated, “I look forward to partnering with Mayor Tait to ensure crime is reduced, our families are safe and public safety remains a top priority across county lines. Thank you to Mayor Tait for his strong support of my candidacy.”

Mario Trujillo Campaign releases video advertisement
DA candidate Mario Trujillo courts supporters
after the DA candidate forum
Hot on the heels of defining himself as a reformer at the District Attorney candidate's forum, Mario Trujillo released a video advertisement aimed at LA County's Spanish-speaking community.

The advertisement makes effective use of video footage from the forum and serves as a reminder to Trutanich that he can kiss goodbye to the support he previously enjoyed from the Latino community now that Trujillo has the support of the Mexican American Bar Association.

The video was released on YouTube yesterday:



DA Candidate Marcus Musante - channeling Charlie Sheen?
The latest candidate to enter the race to replace Steve Cooley as LA County's top cop, Marcus Musante, was not allowed to 'spice up' the candidates' forum but did nevertheless 'occupy' a front-row seat in the audience.

Musante, pictured here talking to Met News staff writer Kenneth Ofgang, previously told the LA Weekly that he's "bringing the hot sauce to the party, and they won't let me in the room."

It seems that Musante was allowed into the room, but the 'hot sauce?' Not so much.

Whether Musante is serious about his campaign remains to be seen. His campaign website, www.MarcusForDA.com, went live last week, however, it appears to be something of a 'work in progress' effort and does not yet have the requisite campaign committee ID disclosure statement.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fontrunners emerge at first District Attorney candidates' forum

If the audience of around 300 at the Asian Pacific American Bar Association's Los Angeles County District Attorney candidates' forum could agree on one thing, it would be that the forum was a resounding success.

As to which of the six candidates emerged as winners, opinions are going to differ. 

The Los Angeles District Attorney candidates' forum took place in crowded
auditorium of the downtown Japanese American National Museum
An APABA representative stated that 270 guests had rsvp'd and seating for 250 was provided  in anticipation of the 'flake factor.' It was, nevertheless, a standing room only event as all seats were quickly occupied. Judging by applause that at times seemed unwarranted, it was clear that the candidates had done a good job in securing the attendance of their supporters.

APABA President Ed Song moderated the forum, initially calling on each candidate to give a short opening statement. First to speak was Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace. The Dragnet has often commented on Grace's outstanding record of back to back trial victories. However, Grace concentrated instead on the challenges facing Los Angeles with high recidivism and the as yet unknown effects of realignment; the Sacramento solution to prison overcrowding and out of control public expenditure  that will dump an estimated 15,000 felons on LA's streets in the next two years as prison ceases to be the penalty for non-violent felons.

If one thing was surprising about Grace's opening statement and, indeed, his responses to questions, it was his low energy delivery. There simply was no passion in what he had to say. It's a pity that Grace didn't tell the audience that he might be a little preoccupied; Grace is in the middle of a complex preliminary hearing on L.A.'s most prolific serial killer, Chester D. Turner, already on death row, who is charged with 4 more murders. The prelim continues Thursday.

Steve Ipsen spoke next. He is a former President of the ADDA, and soon to be a former Deputy District Attorney if the rumors are true. Additionally, Ipsen's use of the past tense when he stated that he was "proud to have been a deputy district attorney for twenty five years," suggests that his time as a prosecutor may indeed be over. His opening statement, as well as his answers, suggested that his candidacy is based on being all things to all felons; tough on violent crime, lenient on violent criminals who get probation rather than prison. It was a confusing and poorly delivered pitch, and one had to wonder whether those applauding his statements had any idea why.

If Grace and Ipsen's openings were disappointments, Alan Jackson probably emerged as the most polished and most prepared candidate. It's no secret that Jackson has carefully planned his campaign for a long time, and the preparation and planning paid off. He was supremely at ease in his delivery, with a well articulated four point plan to take the DA's Office into the future focusing on tackling public corruption, combating gang crime, modernizing prosecution to deal with high-tech crime, and taking steps to prevent youth crime.

Jackson was followed by Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey. She quickly separated herself from the other candidates by standing to deliver her statement. It was a bold move and one that left little doubt that Lacey is seriously committed to the race, and perfectly comfortable in the heat of debate. Lacey's message was, essentially, that her 10 years of experience and achievement in senior management best qualifies her to be the next DA. It was a theme Lacey effectively and consistently returned to during the questions and answer session. Lacey also stamped her authority on the proceedings by openly admonishing Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers for attacking the qualifications of DDAs currently engaged in training law enforcement. It was an attack that most agreed was unwarranted, and perhaps was attributable to a degree of over enthusiasm on Meyers' part.

And so to Danette Meyers. There is no doubt that Meyers is both passionate about her candidacy, and angry at the status quo. She decried hiring and promotion policies based on appearances rather than 'merit,' but did not provide her definition of merit. Meyers vision of her role as DA can, perhaps, best be described as 'combative.' She is not afraid to tackle cops, judges and fellow DDAs who don't see things her way. In many ways Meyers provided much of the same bluster and bravado that could have been expected from City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, if he had the guts to show up.

Last, but by no means least, was Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo who opened by condemning the criminal justice system as being "addicted to incarceration." Unlike most of the candidates who discussed realignment, Trujillo clearly has decided that the best plan of action is to work with Sacramento in refining realignment to achieve its stated goals. Trujillo questioned why, if the goal of realignment was to rehabilitate offenders, was the lions share of the budget for realignment being given to the Sheriff's Department? "To hire more cops to arrest and incarcerate more people?" he posited. A good point. Currently, the Sheriff's Department stands to receive $60M from Sacramento under realignment, but only $5.5M will go to community-based programs aimed at rehabilitation. It's an imbalance Trujillo promises to redress if elected.

Although, as previously stated, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich refused to participate in the forum, perhaps in fear of being confronted with his record of failures and broken promises, he did apparently dispatch his City of Los Angeles contract employee Dan Raskov to observe the forum and report back.

Deputy District Attorney Marcus Musante was, as anticipated, in the audience as an observer. Musante announced his candidacy last week, too late to be included in the forum. Musante promises to 'spice up' the race and has launched his campaign website www.MarcusForDA.com. We look forward to more from Marcus at the next forum.

Jackson's performance at the forum was undeniably strong, with Lacey and Trujillo in close contention. The remaining candidates have some catching up to do. Your thoughts?

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