|Los Angeles City Attorney candidate Greg Smith is clear about his campaign. |
Trutanich and Feuer seemingly have some horse-trading to do.
Two weeks ago Carmen the Clown Trutanich thought he was going to be the star player in a shell game of political musical chairs that would have seen him wafted into the DA's Office and the keys to the City Attorney Office neatly packaged up and delivered to termed-out State Assemblymen Mike Feuer. The puppet-master of this unseemly and distasteful arrangement was campaign strategist John Shallman, who directs both the Trutanich and Feuer campaigns.
All seemed to be going to plan for Shallman, Trutanich and Feuer. Trutanich had raised over $1.8M and had the key endorsements of Governor Jerry Brown and Sheriff Lee Baca. Feuer had raised $345k and had the promise of the Trutanich political powerhouse behind him. It was the political insider's dream deal, the quintessence of the 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' kind of pay to play politics that these arrogant career politicians thought would go unnoticed.
History will record differing accounts of what, precisely, went wrong with the Trutanich-Feuer nightmare deal, but whether it was general public revulsion at Trutanich's lie laden candidacy, or a more particularized disgust at the way Trutanich lied about being shot at by gangmembers, there seems little doubt that Trutanich, Feuer and Shallman forgot that voters might upset their Machiavellian power plans.
On June 5, 2012, the voters of Los Angeles rejected Trutanich with such unexpected ferocity that it left the clown speechless, incapable of making a concession call, utterly dumbfounded about his downfall. Nearly 80% of the electorate had not only rejected Trutanich, but had also rejected the politicians who had held their hands up for Trutanich; Governor Jerry Brown, Sheriff Lee Baca, Councilmember Dennis Zine, and Assemblyman Mike Feuer. They had all tried to sell Trutanich to their followers, they had all said that Trutanich's lies did not matter. They had all stood behind Trutanich as he openly and unashamedly reneged on his 'Pledge to Serve,' they all openly embraced the Trutanich brand of misleading and deceiving.
Now that the voters have given their verdict on Trutanich and his supporters, the question is no longer whether Trutanich has a political future in Los Angeles - even Trutanich must privately acknowledge that he gambled and lost the farm on June 5, and there's no coming back. The real question is how far has association with Trutanich damaged Feuer's plans to inherit the City Attorney's office?
Had Trutanich won the primary outright (as he had boasted), or even made it into the runoff, Feuer would have had a relatively clear shot at the City Attorney's office. He would, of course, have been bolstered by support from Trutanich himself, as well as Governor Brown, Sheriff Baca and Councilmember Zine. But now Feuer finds himself up a proverbial creek without a paddle.
Trutanich will not back Feuer for City Attorney, because Trutanich has now decided to keep the job he hasn't wanted for the past year and a half. It is also highly unlikely that Governor Brown, Sheriff Baca and Councilmember Zine will back Feuer for City Attorney over their 'golden boy' Trutanich, so they are no help Feuer either. In fact, it looks highly likely that may well decline to support Trutanich in view of his toxic poll rating.
Feuer himself appears to be unclear about the precise terms of the deal he struck with Trutanich about inheriting the City Attorney's office if the unimaginable happened. Feuer recently refused to discuss what he would do if Truanich failed to become DA. Feuer was so confident that Trutanich would succeed that it wasn't worth consideration. Well, now that it is worth consideration, it seems that Feuer is not sure what he can do, or even what he wants to do. Perhaps Feuer is not that keen on becoming City Attorney at all, or just not keen if it involves a fight with Trutanich? Either way, it does appear to leave the City Attorney's office up for grabs for those who have the interest and ability to do the job that Trutanich didn't want to do.
Regardless of whether Trutanich tries to hold on to his unwanted City Attorney gig, Greg Smith is one candidate who has no doubts about wanting the job, but more importantly has no fear when it comes to challenging Trutanich's unfitness for the position. Smith told the Daily News that he has been in private practice for 24 years, said he brings a rare expertise to the race. "I have been litigating against the city for decades," Smith said. "I know many of the deputies. I know where the weaknesses are and where the strengths are. I know what the city needs to do in its civil division."
Smith, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and now lives in West Los Angeles, said he still has the same concerns over quality of life issues that many Valley groups are concerned with."One of the first things I would do is restore the Neighborhood Prosecutor program," Smith said. "It's been butchered the last couple of years, and it was one of the most effective programs the city has had."
Trutanich began decimating the Neighborhood Prosecutor program almost as soon as he took office, blaming 'budget problems,' however, many believed that Trutanich felt threatened by the program because he not only had little or no control over it, but he also feared Neighborhood Prosecutors could become more popular than him. Ironically, as part of his failed DA campaign, Trutanich had promised to establish a Neighborhood Prosecutor program in the DA's office.
Apart from Feuer and Trutanich, other politicians said to have their eyes on being LA's City Attorney include Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Jose Huizar. Krekorian told the Daily News that he had not yet "decided," but was "looking," and "will have to make a decision soon, but I'm just weighing it at this point." Krekorian's decision could be influenced by what Feuer decides to do.
Huizar was understood to have been interested in taking Trutanich's spot only if Trutanich became DA. It was to have been deal similar to the one that Feuer had - that Trutanich would give an endorsement and access to support from Governor Brown and Sheriff Baca. With Trutanich now determined to stay in the City Attorney's office, Huizar will need a different strategy.
As things currently stand then, Greg Smith appears to be the only candidate committed to running for City Attorney. Mike Feuer and Carmen Trutanich appear to have yet to work out another deal to decide which of them will run. And Paul Krekorian is waiting to see the outcome of the Feuer-Trutanich deal. In the meantime, pundits seem increasingly convinced that regardless of Trutanich's decision, the public are likely to give Trutanich another drubbing in 2013. He is finished in LA politics.