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Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Musings; Daily News endorses Jackson & Lacey, Trutanich 'Empty Head' Feuer 'Empty Suit' Smith 'A Good City Attorney,' Trutanich to renege on billboard ban?

Daily News editorial backs Jackson and Lacey for District Attorney

In the wake of last week's LA Times endorsement of Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey to take over from retiring DA Steve Cooley, the LA Daily News declined to pick either of the two challengers. Both Alan Jackson and Jackie Lacey get glowing reviews in the Daily News. Both are credited with 'pulling of stunning upsets in the June primary' when they 'knocked out' Carmen Trutanich. Both too, are credited for having 'strikingly similar' plans for the District Attorney's Office.

So what distinguishes Lacey and Jackson so far as Daily News readers can glean from the article? In terms of fundraising, the Daily News notes that 'Lacey appears to have a significant fundraising advantage, collecting more than $500,000 in the last quarter (July-September) to Jackson's $180,000.'

As for experience, Lacey is quoted as saying her '16 years in the courtroom, followed by 12 years on Cooley's management team, makes her far better qualified than Jackson to become the next district attorney.' Jackson's quote in response states 'the public wants "a real prosecutor to lead the largest municipal prosecutorial agency in the country" because "we are at a crossroads in public safety."'

Unlike the LA Times endorsement, the Daily News refrains from opining as to whether the nation's largest prosecutorial agency will be better run by an experienced member of the executive or an accomplished trial attorney. The LA News does give mention to the party affiliations of Lacey (Democrat) and Jackson (Republican) while acknowledging that this is a non-partisan race. Perhaps the Daily News position is that it will nevertheless be a partisan choice for many of its readers?

Trutanich & Feuer blasted as 'Empty Head' & 'Empty Suit.' Smith emerges as 'A Good City Attorney'


Writing at CityWatch LA, Joseph Mailander, noted scribe and Trutanich's longtime nemesis who had the foresight to crown Trutanich as 'Carmen the Clown' while the rest of LA were still intrigued by the clod-hopping theatrics of the former slip and fall lawyer turned career politician, weighed in on the public spat between Trutanich and his former campaign manipulator mis-manager strategist, John Shallman.

Mailander's perspective is interesting, even if it takes a swipe at print media and the blogosphere for relishing too much in the spectacle of Trutanich being excoriated by his former confidante; Shallman, the man Trutanich used to call 'My ambassador of Quan,' stealing a line from the movie Jerry Maquire.  Shallman has thus far refrained from stealing another line from that movie, 'Show me the money!,' in pursuit of Trutanich's unpaid bills from his failed DA campaign.

Mailander's point is that while Shallman and Trutanich exchange blows, Shallman is succeeding in thoroughly trashing Trutanich while his client, Mike Feuer, stays away from the fray and continues to be an 'empty suit.' While Trutanich is unquestionably an 'empty head,' it has escaped media attention that Feuer is basically only slightly less qualified for the job of City Attorney than the Clown.

Indeed it seems that Feuer's only claim to the City Attorney's office is his failed 2001 run for the office. He lost that to Rocky Delgadillo and was so disinterested in the position that he failed to challenge Delgadillo in 2005 when Rocky was re-elected unopposed. Feuer was, of course, far more interested what Sacramento could do for his political career. Now that he's termed out of the State Assembly his interest in being City Attorney has been rekindled - perhaps much in the same way that Trutanich now wants to keep the job he didn't want while he was sashaying around LA County in his taxpayer funded SUV chasing his dream of being DA.

But while Mailander notes that the empty head and the empty suit are making the most noise at the moment, perhaps validating an adage about empty vessels, Mailander also notes that there is a third man in the race; police rights attorney Greg Smith. 'The often overlooked third candidate in the race, Smith can skate a little while the two scary monsters slam things out.' Mailander says. 'I've interviewed and profiled outsider Smith, and once the present November election cycle is over, it will be easy for media to see he's competent enough to do the job.' he says, adding that 'Smith also seems aware that the office they seek requires a quiet dignity.' 

'Quiet dignity?' Now there's a novel concept. One that would go a long way to restore the damage Trutanich has wreaked on the City Attorney's office while he used it as a stepping stone stumbling block to higher office.  The staff at the City Attorney's office have suffered immeasurably as Trutanich has succeeded only in lowering the already low moral there. Things have got so bad that Trutanich had to cancel his 'annual City Attorney BBQ' in the face of almost zero attendance. Deputy City Attorneys were 'devastated' when their despised boss failed to bunny hop to the DA's office. They all hoped they would be rid of the Clown in 2012, and not have to endure the embarrassment of having to listen to his diatribes on how to try (and loose) cases with his childlike schoolyard bully-boy 'Porcupine Defense.'

So confident were some senior managers that Trutanich would be a happy and distant memory, that rumors suggest Councilmember Mitch Englander had been entrusted with ensuring the appointment of a senior manager in the office as 'Interim City Attorney.' The senior manager, who once harbored elected office ambitions himself, was to hold Trutanich's $214k/year job on condition that he would then endorse Mike Feuer to take the top job, while he would become the Chief Deputy. Nice to know that Feuer has such high regard for the democratic process that the notion that voters would put the brakes on his Machiavellian plans was not even a factor in his plans.

Which leaves us with City Attorney candidate Greg Smith.  Once the presidential election is over expect to hear more from him. He has already been honored by the Los Angeles Police Protective League, and looks likely to be the law enforcement choice for City Attorney. His campaign continues to quietly gain momentum, and while the empty head and the empty suit continue to duke it out, that momentum grows. It is time for a City Attorney who actually wants the job for what it is, not for what they want it to be; a step on a political career. Yes, Mr. Mailander, some 'quiet dignity' sounds like a very good idea and Greg Smith sounds like a 'Good City Attorney.'

Trutanich to renege on Billboard Ban?


As embattled City Attorney Carmen Trutanich struggles to find support for his failing attempt at re-election, an email blast circulated to 'concerned Los Angelenos' last week suggests that Trutanich will renege on his city-wide ban on new digital billboards and 'get with the program' to welcome hundreds of new digital billboards.
LA City Councilmembers Quietly Pass a Digital Billboard Motion

The email has been widely circulated together with comments that Trutanich is now supportive of the motion to allow more digital billboards, despite his previous assurances and promises that he would enforce a city-wide ban on the issuance of permits for new digital billboards.

BanBillboardBlight.org, the community activist group that has been so effective in putting the brakes on the out of control billboard bonanza that blossomed under City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's tenure, is echoing the same message as the email blast.

At the core of the motion to allow more digital billboard is the suggestion that the landmark case of Summit Media LLC v. City of Los Angeles is going to be overturned on appeal. In that case, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Green slammed Delgadillo for reaching a 'settlement' that carved up Los Angeles' billboard opportunities in favor of billboard giants Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor to the exclusion of other billboard companies. In describing the settlement as 'poison', Judge Green paved the way for Los Angeles to put the brakes on the feared explosion in digital billboard advertising.

Not surprisingly, Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor appealed Judge Green's ruling, and now the Appeal Court is set to rule. According to Councilmembers Paul Krekorian, Ed Reyes and Tony Cardenas, there is a risk the Court of Appeal will not agree with Judge Green and uphold the 'poisonous' agreement giving Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor 840 digital billboards. They've put forward a motion that will be heard by the City Council on Tuesday, October 16, 2012. They want to 'make nice' with the billboard companies before the Court of Appeals gives its ruling. In essence, they want to allow all the companies to be able to erect digital billboards, but less than the 840 allowed by the 'poisonous' settlement agreement. Oh, and there's money for the City in the new deal too...

Sounds like a sensible plan? Well only if there is any likelihood that the Court of Appeal will come to a different conclusion than Judge Green did. However, the reality is that Judge Green's analysis is likely to be upheld. The Rocky Delgadillo 'settlement agreement' with Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor was widely believed to be exactly what Judge Green said it was; poisonous. It is highly unlikely that the Court of Appeal would decide otherwise.

The email blast suggests that Councilmembers Krekorian, Reyes and Cardenas are basically engaging in scare tactics. They're trying to convince the City Council that a basically sound legal ruling by Judge Green could be overturned and the billboard bonanza will be back. So instead, they want a mini billboard bonanza.

Of course, the City Council will want to hear from the City Attorney as to whether the analysis put forward by Krekorian, Reyes and Cardenas holds any water. It is widely rumored that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich will ask for a 'closed session' where he will 'brief' the Council on the situation and give them the benefit of his legal analysis. With an awful lot of billboard money on the table for Trutanich's re-election campaign, perhaps Trutanich's legal analysis needs to be looked at by outside counsel? Actually, in the light of Trutanich's appalling mess-up with the medical marijuana ordinances and the string of expensive trial losses that occurred on his watch, maybe Trutanich is precisely the 'empty head' those in favor of the mini billboard bonanza want.

One thing Trutanich may not tell the Council is that, according to the email blast, the Krekorian, Reyes and Cardenas motion 'was written by Clear Channel lobbyist/attorney, Cindy Starrett at the prestigious law LA law firm Latham & Watkins (http://www.lw.com/people/LucindaStarrett) in concert with CBS's bulldog litigator (who has made a career out of suing and legally strong-arming the City of LA) Laura Brill (http://www.kbkfirm.com/attorneys/laura-brill), in concert with the coterie of lobbyists and consultants.' the email said.

Of course, many in the community have now been made aware of the growing public awareness of attempt to foist another poisonous agreement on them, so things may no go exactly to plan. On thing is certain, Los Angeles needs to have some clarity and a livable policy when it comes to digital billboards. That clarity and policy is far better thrashed out in the open, than by backroom deals. The City of Los Angeles will be in a far better and stronger position to enact a workable and liveable ordinance to provide for sensible digital billboard advertising after Judge Green's ruling is upheld by the Court of Appeal, not before it.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mailander's point about not being so quick to enjoy the sight of that sanctimonious prick Trutanich boiling in his own juice is valid, but believe me, seeing Trutanich going down is worth it. Feuer is another Trutanich, by January or February, when voters wake up to the local elections, they will no more vote for Feuer the frontrunner than they voted for Trutanich the former frontrunner. All the endorsements and all the money in China isn't going to make Feuer or Trutanich electable. It will make Shallman richer, which is why he's in the game so deep. Keep the pressuer on both these pricks.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Friday or Mr. Berger, whichever you prefer, I really urge you to deleted the comment at 12:48PM as being "abusive" according to your own guidelines. To allow the commenter to call Mr. Trutanich a "sanctimonious prick" is clearly abusive and depreciates the overall message. Gratuitous insults are a sure sign of a losing argument. It should be deleted.