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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday's Rumor Mill

With the November 6, 2012 Presidential Election only 9 weeks away, 63 days from today to be precise, national politics will likely dominate the political news landscape for the immediate future. With that said, however, local politicians should not think they're getting a free ride.

Trutanich's motives questioned as pay to play appears to explain Scalpergate


When newly politically castrated City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced that he would be 'getting tough' with ticket scalpers, many observers believed it was just another of the former DA wannabe's headline grabbing gimmicks; like accusing AEG of 'criminal aspects' to the Michael Jackson memorial, suing a major bank for being a slumlord, or claiming to have singlehandedly shut down the 38th Street Gang.

Others were scratching their heads wondering why, at a time when there's an increase in gang crime,  when crimes of opportunity are flourishing thanks to the flood of freshly released AB109 'realignment' criminals, and credit card fraud and identity theft are exploding, that the former pretender to the office of the Chief Criminal Prosecutor should be so obsessed with ticket scalpers?

Most Los Angelenos are not cowering under their bedsheets in fear of being 'victimized' by ticket scalpers. It really did look like LA's loudmouth lawyer was basically looking for a problem to solve, most likely because he has been utterly feckless in every other one of his endeavors. However, Trutanich's eagerness to solve a problem that didn't need to be solved with a new law (an injunction, no less) seems to be explained by the fact that executives of a leading legitimate ticket resale business had contributed $18,000 to Trutanich's political campaigns.

The LA Times broke the Scalpergate scandal before the Labor Day holiday weekend, suggesting in their headline that there was a conflict of interest. The Times quoted Bob Stern, former president of the defunct watchdog group Center for Governmental Studies, who said 'The appearance looks like he is catering to campaign contributors.' Stern's observation was denied both by Trutanich's campaign and his office, however, Trutanich himself did not make a statement. Regardless of the denials, Trutanich's proposed attack on ticket scalpers appears to be very much a 'special interest' solution for those ready, willing and able to bankroll his political career.

The Los Angeles Downtown News also criticized the 'special interest' injunction, questioning the rationale behind using an injunction typically associated with gangs and violent criminals when existing laws appear to exist to punish offenders. 'An injunction,' The Downtown News concludes, 'overdoes it. This is the wrong approach to the problem.'

The fact that no resolution was passed by the Los Angeles City Council calling for action by the City Attorney's Office for this previously unknown problem lends further support to the view that this appears to be a case of Trutanich catering to the special interests of campaign contributors.

Met News-Enterprise debunks accusation of 'Conflicting Testimony' by Lacey

The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise provided a detailed analysis of the basis of a campaign attack made by District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson's political strategist, John Thomas, against Chief Deputy Jackie Lacey.

Met News-Enterprise Editor/Co Publsher Roger M. Grace placed the entire issue sharply into focus in one of his 'Perspectives' columns entitled 'Was Lacey’s Recantation of Earlier Testimony a Routine Correction or Perjury?' Grace leaves little doubt that an alternate headline could easily have been 'No good deed goes unpunished,' for it emerges that there would be little to attack Lacey with had she declined to offer sound advice to a friend; have nothing to do with Steve Ipsen, the former President of the ADDA, and former Deputy District Attorney.

The suggestion that Lacey's advice to DDA Rob Dver not to associate with Ipsen amounted to 'union busting' has long been dismissed. Lacey herself was dismissed from the ADDA's lawsuit and her recent sweep of organized labor endorsements seems to make it clear anyone taking an impartial view of the matter is left in little doubt that the problem lay with Ipsen, not with the formation of a union.

Under Ipsen's stewardship the ADDA struggled to present itself as an association truly representative of the rank and file, and appeared to be more of a stepping stone for Ipsen's political ambitions. It is notable that Ipsen had to step down from his coveted presidency of the ADDA for the association to become a union.

While Ipsen's departure from the ADDA apparently served to convince a sufficient number of DDAs that the ADDA could become a truly representative body, his ties to and hold over the ADDA appear to run deep. So deep, it seems, that rumors suggest the ADDA has voted to pay for Ipsen's legal battle with the DA's Office arising from his termination. Perhaps a representative of the ADDA could advise members whether or not this is the case? According to the Met News-Enterprise, Ipsen could not refute the allegations of misconduct at a pre-termination Skelly hearing, and has not requested a Civil Service hearing. In the circumstances it is unclear why the ADDA has chosen to take up Ipsen's cause, and it would seem incumbent on the ADDA leadership to offer its members an explanation, if only to refute the accusations of secrecy, ulterior motives and a lack of transparency that characterized the ADDA in the Ipsen era.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be so coy, Joe, you know that the ADDA doesn't give a rats ass about the rank and file, they never did before when Ipsen ruled, and as long as his DNA is in the ADDA, nothing will change. Lookit, the ADDA were wetting themselves trying to make nice with Nuch when they thought he had a chance at winning and maybe throwing a few grade 5 slots to their board members. This union is so unconcernd with members needs that it was fully prepared to support that asswad Trutanich as the next DA. So if you want an explanation for the ADDA wasting money on a lawyer for Ipsen, here it is; they can do whatever they like, whatever hit costs, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Anonymous said...

Does the ADDA have any credibility anymore when it comes to the District Attorney Election? Seriously. The ADDA has been insanely, heavily invested in labeling Jackie Lacey as a "UNION BUSTER." What have the facts shown?

On August 22 even the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor ENDORSED This "UNION BUSTER" LACEY. Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the LA Federation of Labor, stated "L.A. County’s labor movement overwhelmingly supports Jackie Lacey because she has the experience and commitment to work for a safer community and to be a powerful advocate for justice for all."

This "UNION BUSTER" has also been endorsed by the Service Employees International Union (S.E.I.U.) Local 721; The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Joint Council 42; the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 (Longshoremen); United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770; Transportation Communications Union (T.C.U.) Local 1315.

So either A) the ADDA no longer has credibility as a political force in labor, or B) Someone needs to clarify what the hell a "UNION BUSTER" is.

Anonymous said...

Dragnet, maybe you can check out the rumor that Steve Ipsen has been making appearances as a defense attorney. If so, that would be a trip! The shot-caller in the union representing prosecutors is a criminal defense lawyer! I love this! Only in LA!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Ipsen is taking a leaf out of Trutanich's book - Nuch was a criminal defense attorney for most of his legal career.

Anonymous said...

@7:54PM If Ipsen is doing criminal defense work then its not a surprise - he was a defense witness for a convicted sex offender, so he is probably more comfortable at the other end of counsel table. He has every right to make a living, but I do not think he should get DDAs to pay for his lawsuit.

Marc Debbaudt said...

The ADDA Board was advised by AFSCME that the AFSCME constitution mandates that Ipsen remain on the Board until all appeals to his termination are exhausted. So, even if the Board wanted to, we cannot remove him. Apparently this is a simple rule that is designed to prevent a hostile administration from tampering with the Board of a union by firing those who stand up to them, so I think it makes sense.

The Board voted to contribute money to Ipsen's Civil Service appeal. Ipsen has apparently elected not to file a Civil Service appeal and I understand the time for doing so has passed. Any future appeals with different agencies, like ERCOM, or forums, will require a new Board vote.

I, too, understand that Ipsen is doing some criminal defense work. My only response to that is simply that if you get fired as a DDA, and you need an income to support your family, doing defense work is certainly a logical and immediately available path to choose. To comment that it is anything more than earning a living I believe is silly.

The Board voted to do a public candidates forum, to open the questions up to submissions by DDAs, and to conduct a plebiscite thereafter. My best guess is the Board will not endorse either candidate, but only publish the results of the plebiscite vote. I believe that the Board is remaining neutral on the appropriate candidate, but I obviously do not know the hidden and secret agendas of any one on the Board except my own which, given my compulsions, are hardly secret. I honestly think up to this point there has been no influence on this forum even by those who have revealed their preferences.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Marc Debbaudt for informing us about the Ipsen situation. Until someone told me about the comments on this blog I was unaware of the fact that Ipsen had been fired. I guess that's the problem, there is too much secrecy both by the administration for not explaining why they fired Ipsen, and by the ADDA for not explaining why they're defending him.

It seems, from what Marc is saying, that the issue is moot now because Ipsen blew the deadline for filing his Civil Service claim, but if he does file any other claims, I hope the ADDA board will remember who's side Ipsen is on these days.

calwatch said...

Ipsen is still challenging his performance evaluation, though. http://file.lacounty.gov/compub/minutes/2004/cms1_182917.pdf#search="ipsen"