The Italian American Lawyers Association and the Metropolitan News-Enterprise co-hosted what is understood to be the penultimate DA candidates' forum at a well-attended event at Casa Italia, just north of downtown LA.
In marked contrast to the flying brickbats of last month's LA COPS forum, both candidates chose to refrain from direct attacks and instead stressed their qualifications to be LA's next DA.
Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson won the toss to deliver his opening statement, and took the opportunity to outline his tripartite vision for his administration. In a classic What? Why? and How? opening, Jackson's 'What' was his commitment to bolster the Public Integrity, Hi-Tech and Crime Prevention divisions of the Office. His 'Why' was ascribed to what he has learned during his 16 years' experience as a Deputy District Attorney, and his 'How' was his plan for a 'modern leadership' of the office, something he has instilled as Assistant Head Deputy of the prestigious Major Crimes Division of the DA's office.
Despite the quick-witted and often hilarious efforts of forum moderator Judge George P. Schiavelli (ret) to limit Jackson to his allotted three minute opening, Jackson ran well over the time limit with a purposefulness that showed he had prepared himself arduously for the task of convincing the audience of the validity of his credentials.
When Judge Schiavelli then gave Jackie Lacey the opportunity to deliver her opening, she was not in the least bit fazed when told that Jackson had used so much time that she only had thirty seconds for her opening. Graciously ignoring UCLA graduate Schiavelli's swipe at Lacey's alma mater, USC, (something of a constant theme under Schiavelli moderation), Lacey showed that her trial advocacy skills as a line prosecutor were still potent.
Lacey used an analogy to demonstrate the need to elect an experienced leader as DA. Recounting a tale from a time long past, Lacey described how, when she and her husband David purchase their first home, it was badly in need of repainting. Her husband, a qualified accountant, figured out that they could arm themselves with paint brushes and buckets, and accomplish the task themselves. Lacey was leaving the office for a weekend of painting when she noticed a County employee about to paint the office. She asked him for any tips on how to paint her home. 'Hire a painter' was the advice she received and Lacey subtly parlayed that into a compelling argument that 'while everyone thinks they can be DA, you need someone who knows how to be DA to run the office.'
Lacey reasoned that she best knows how to run the office; of her 26 years with the office, 12 have been as an executive, rising through the ranks to hold the position of Chief Deputy with day-to-day responsibility for running the office. Lacey argued that her experience explained why she had garnered so many endorsements, including her 'sweep of law enforcement endorsements.' It was a message that, judging by the nods of approval and applause from the audience, clearly resonated.
The first question posed to the candidates concerned whether there was a need for greater transparency in the office, and if so, how would they achieve it? Both Lacey and Jackson agreed that there was a need for more transparency, but they differed as to how that would be achieved. Jackson favored the establishment of a 'Community Liaison Commission' to directly report on community concerns. Lacey, however, countered that the best approach would be to maintain the independence of the office and use direct outreach and contact with the community, warning that commissions can often be hijacked by individuals with personal agendas that are not truly reflective of the community.
Lacey and Jackson also differed on their answers to questions as to whether the DA's office should support or oppose the Secure Communities Program, a federal mandate to law enforcement to submit biometric data of arrested persons who are not citizens. Jackson's position was that it was the duty of the District Attorney to follow the law, however Lacey maintained that this was not an area of the law that engaged the DA's office; rather it was the concern of the arresting agency, and therefore the DA's office should not 'exceed our authority' by weighing in on the issue.
On how Realignment was to be funded, the candidates also differed. Governor Brown's sponsored Proposition 30 would raise taxes to provide funding for county-based treatment of low level offenders, something that Lacey, perhaps reluctantly supports in the absence of any other source of revenue to cover the burden now placed on counties. Jackson, however, said he was opposed to increasing taxes and believed that greater efficiencies in Sacramento, such as merging the Franchise Tax Board and the Board of Equalization would yield savings that could provide the necessary funding.
Thus far, Lacey and Jackson had offered differing approaches to the matters effecting public safety, however, on the topic of the Death Penalty, both disagreed with the premise that the 'Death Penalty is broken and does not work.' Both agreed that the Death Penalty was a necessary sanction reserved for the worst crimes, and that greater reform was needed in the appellate process that seemingly delays justice for victims.
Lacey and Jackson also seemed to believe that the DA's office will have to adapt to the almost inevitable cuts to the Courts' budget; perhaps as much as $80M that will result in more court closures and cutbacks in services. Lacey stressed the need for the office to be better prepared, show up on time and tighten filing policies. Jackson believed at a more uniform, county-wide case settlement policy was needed to ensure the same case disposition 'from Lancaster to Long Beach, and Santa Clarita to Santa Monica.'
The Italian American Lawyers Association DA Candidates' Forum gave Lacey and Jackson an opportunity to show how and where they differed on their vision of the future of DA's office. It was a civil and polite debate on the issues. Tomorrow night's ADDA sponsored forum may not be so convivial. It will be the last opportunity for the candidates to demonstrate their differences, and we could see more fireworks than fundamentals.
City Attorney candidate Greg Smith claims a 'first' in City Attorney race
Police rights attorney Greg Smith's bid to become LA's next City Attorney gained powerful momentum with the announcement that he as secured a valuable 'first.' He is the only City Attorney candidate to have secured the endorsement of law enforcement, something he expects to be the first of many endorsements from law enforcement associations.
This from the Smith campaign:
INGLEWOOD POA ENDORSES GREG SMITH
FOR CITY ATTORNEY
Los Angeles, September 18th – Today the Inglewood POA endorsed Greg Smith for Los Angeles City Attorney.
With a field dominated by career politicians, Smith is quickly becoming law enforcement’s choice for City Attorney. Lloyd Water, President of Inglewod POA stated, “Greg Smith is beyond a doubt the clear choice of law enforcement to become the next City Attorney of Los Angles. We want to partner with him to crack down on gangs and keep families safe. Greg gets it - we can't simply handcuff our way out of this problem. Greg wants to partner with cops to keep kids out of gangs in the first place. We are proud to enthusiastically endorse Greg Smith for City Attorney."
“I could not be more proud to have received the early support of the men and women of Inglewood police and look forward to partnering with them as City Attorney to protect families and keep kids out of gangs in the first place,” claimed Greg Smith.
For more information please visit Greg Smith’s official campaign website at www.GregSmith2013.com
Owner of a private law firm and Vietnam era Veteran, Greg Smith is a top notch attorney who has practiced for over 25 years representing members of law enforcement and community members who were victims of discrimination from all over the City. Smith has grown a reputation for being unafraid to take the tough cases and has worked with clients to expose waste fraud and abuse. He represented one of the early whistleblowers that helped expose the Bell corruption scandal.
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Trutanich pimps wife as nobody else supports re-election bid
Failed DA wannabe Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich issued an impassioned plea from his wife to support his doomed campaign to hang on to his City Attorney job. Toxic Trutanich has thus far failed to attract the support of any elected official or police agency in his bid to be re-elected to the job he once thought was beneath him as he blithely reneged on his 'Pledge to Serve' and in pursuit of his dream to become LA's biggest nightmare; District Attorney.
In the absence of any credible, or even incredible, support to be re-elected, Trutanich apparently had his wife issue an email basically begging for the former ambulance chaser turned career politician to have another chance. It is, of course, not the first time that the man labeled a liar by the LA Times has used his family to invoke sympathy for his cause.
During the time Trutanich was trying to deny that his was going to run for DA, he claimed he was too busy looking after his son, who had 'just come back form Iraq,' injured, implying perhaps that his son was a serviceman injured in the line of duty.
In fact Trutanich's son, an Assistant US Attorney, is believed to have sprained his ankle during a friendly sports event while overseas on assignment with the Department of Justice.
Trutanich also famously 'partially suspended' his DA campaign in its final weeks because he had to take care of his sick mother.
Many believe that this was a rather crass attempt to hide from the media in the face of allegations that he had lied about being the victim of an assassination attempt when he falsely claimed to have been 'surrounded and shot at by gangmembers' in Green Meadows Park in the 1980's.
Trutanich, of course, dramatically failed to con LA voters into electing him as District Attorney, despite raising more money and boasting more endorsements than his rivals. The picture of Trutanich taking the 'walk of shame' at his ill-fated Victory Party on the night of his electoral defeat continues to the the number one downloaded picture from the Dragnet.
|Trutanich's Walk of Shame|
Credit: Daily Breeze
Trutanich's ill-fitting suit jacket, forced smile and awkward stance belies the enormity of the humiliation that Trutanich was faced with on June 5, 2012 when LA voters told Trutanich precisely what they thought of his unfitness for public office.
It is believed that Trutanich will succumb to entreaties to withdraw from his re-election bid and accept the advice of his former campaign strategist John Shallman to 'finish his tern strong' by bowing out with as much grace as he can muster, and devote his post-political career to supporting charitable endeavors. One such endeavor would be for Trutanich to concentrate his efforts on paying LA's BEST After School Program for underprivileged school kids the $70,000 he still owes them.