Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

With the final twenty four hours of 2012 slipping away like the grains of sand through the hourglass, we take a moment to remember some of the winners and losers of 2012.

Winners (in no particular order)

Steve Cooley, Los Angeles District Attorney #41 (Retired)

Cooley said he was leaving the Office 'in good shape, and in good hands'
at his retirement dinner
Cooley's remarkable record three terms as LA's DA is worthy of inclusion in the 'winners' category alone. But he scores twice by capping his masterful navigation of the shark infested political waters of LA by also picking the winner of the DA race; Jackie Lacey. In fact he scores thrice with his historic victory in federal court which put an end to former DDA Steve Ipsen's much vaunted 'federal lawsuit.'

Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney #42

Lacey's campaign reached out to civic and business leaders to earn their support
for her historic victory as the most qualified candidate for District Attorney
Lacey won the hotly contested race to be LA's first female and first African American District Attorney. In the primary election she bested rival Deputy DA Alan Jackson and trounced Carmen Trutanich into a lowly third place, likely marking the end of his political career.

Michael Goldstein, Attorney

Mike Goldstein sets the stage for Jackie Lacey's historic victory party.

If Goldstein ever tires of practicing law, he likely has a successful career ahead of him as a political consultant. Goldstein was the dynamo force behind Jackie Lacey's successful campaign, working tirelessly to cajole and corral leaders in the entertainment industry to support Lacey for DA.

Greg Smith, City Attorney candidate

Greg Smith (right) receives the LAPPL 'Line of Duty' award
Smith gets a place in the winners category for timing his entry to the City Attorney's race to perfection. The incumbent, Carmen Trutanich, is roundly despised, hated and vulnerable after suffering a humiliating defeat with his Hindenberg-like campaign to be DA. Termed-out State Assemblyman Mike Feuer vies with Trutanich only in terms of unpopularity based on the generally poor perception of Sacramento politicians as well as AB109; the crime wave stimulus package he so stalwartly supported. No surprise then, that Smith received the 'Line of Duty' award at the Los Angeles Police Protective League's annual dinner, he's clearly law enforcement's choice. Smith has the finances in place to mount a robust campaign to give Los Angelenos a real City Attorney and break the mold of career politicians using the office as a stepping stone to higher office.

Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys

ADDA President Donna McClay (left) proudly opens the ADDA DA candidates debate
Under the Presidency of Donna McClay, the ADDA earns a place in the winners category by her successful hosting of the District Attorney Debate, and allowing a members vote to take place which overwhelmingly voiced the opinion of members by supporting Jackie Lacey for DA. Past Presidents Ipsen and Seligman would likely have take every step possible to block such a vote, but under McClay's leadership it seems that the 'Ipsen Era' is over.

Losers (in no particular order)

Carmen Trutanich, failed career politician

Trutanich does the 'walk of shame' at his Victory Party on the night his political career ends.
 There is little more that can be said of Trutanich, other than he has well and TRUly earned his place in the losers category. He has broken just about every promise he made and his word on anything is worthless. He wrested defeat from the jaws of victory by trashing his 'Pledge to Serve' as a 'campaign stunt' and foolishly allowed his over-blown ego to steer his political career into a field of icebergs. Had Trutanich concentrated on running the City Attorney's Office rather than running his political campaign(s), he would be in strong position going into the primary election in March 2013. But the memories of Los Angelenos are not so short that they will forget why they voted A.B.C., Anyone But Carmen, in June 2012. 

The rest?

You know who they are, your comments are welcome, but please keep it clean so they can be published.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Trutanich's poll data hints at desperate campaign

Embattled City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's re-election campaign sent out a desperate email blast December 20, 2012. Would you believe the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician wants you to believe that he has a 23 point lead in the polls? Just six months after Los Angelenos gave him a distant third-place with 21% of the vote in the District Attorney primary election, the man the LA Times called 'Liar' wants you to believe he has miraculously doubled his vote, and and is once again the 'front runner.' Yeah right.

If you can believe anything about Trutanich, it's surely that you cannot believe anything he says. Just like the vain arrogant Emperor who was the subject of Hans Christian Andersen's fable 'The Emperor's New Clothes' was bolstered by his tailors' imaginary new clothes, so too has Trutanich been given a some see-through feel-good self-aggrandizement by Rick Taylor, 'Chief Reelection Strategist,' to the soon to be forgotten 'Chief Criminal Prosecutor.'

If the email blast was supposed to do more than make a very worried man feel less so, it failed. No media source picked up the remarkable news. Perhaps they crunched the numbers before crunching the press release into a ball, and found two things highly unlikely. First, of course, is the idea that 42% of voters will vote for the man they so soundly rejected six months ago. It is laughable, bordering on pathetic, and wholly unrealistic.

Second, the feel-good poll asserts that only 23% of so called 'likely voters' polled by the campaign are undecided. That stretches credulity to the point where any expert would say the poll is a farce and should have been saved for April Fool's Day. At this point, none of the campaigns have engaged in any advertising, and there has been little or no press coverage of the City Attorney election.  For the most part, 'likely voters' are likely largely undecided. 

Other polls conducted more seriously suggest that while Trutanich has undeniably got a name recognition lead, his name is recognized for all the wrong reasons. Los Angelenos may have short memories, but not that short that they have forgotten all the reasons why they rejected him six months ago. Add the fact that rival candidates are going to devote substantial portions of their campaign warchests to remind voters why they should vote A.B.C., and it looks increasingly likely that the self-proclaimed front runner will be in third place after the March primary, again.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ipsen's "Federal Lawsuit" goes down the crapper

The LA Times has confirmed comments posted in response to our last post that Steve Ipsen's much vaunted "Federal Lawsuit" has indeed gone down the crapper.

After two weeks of trial, it took a Los Angeles federal jury less than 90 minutes to find that former DDA Steve Ipsen's allegations that District Attorney Steve Cooley had engaged in 'employment retaliation' and 'union busting' were wholly and utterly without merit. As a result, Ipsen and fellow litigant Hyatt Seligman will receive 'not one red cent,' and will likely face a substantial bill for costs. Equally, DA Steve Cooley emerges fully vindicated for the effective and appropriate action taken in the face of unacceptable conduct. 

As the trial entered its final phase, the rumor mill was rife with reports that any remote hope of a windfall multi-million dollar sympathy-based jury award had vaporized when Ipsen folded under cross-examination.

According to the LA Times, Ipsen's 'union busting' claim seemingly fell apart when his assertions that he was given poor reviews and transferred because of his union activities were roundly countered by evidence that  he 'was rude to his supervisor at the Inglewood office, comparing her to Jewish collaborators in Nazi Germany. At the same time, he was repeatedly late for work and court appearances, upsetting at least one judge.' the Times reported.

Court documents indicate that Ipsen then filed motions, perhaps to try to remedy the irreparable damage he inflicted on himself; the first was to fire his attorney - presumably so that he could present his own closing argument. The second was to fire the judge who Ipsen claimed was biased. Those motions were denied.

Seligman's claims were equally unsuccessful. On cross examination, evidence was presented that he was transferred because he had 'failed to act appropriately as a manager, making sexual references and using profanity during a meeting with his new subordinates. One prosecutor filed a complaint alleging that Seligman had created a hostile work environment. Eighteen months later, Seligman failed to report an allegation of workplace harassment when he heard that a prosecutor had used a racial slur when talking to a black secretary.' the Times reported. It is also understood that he had to admit that he liked the location of his transfer, that it was close to home, and that he had retained the same pay and grade as in his previous assignment.

Seligman told the Times that 'he disagreed with the verdict but would respect the jury's conclusion.' The Times reported that Ipsen 'released a statement after the verdict saying he would continue to fight the case in court.' Whether Ipsen was referring to a possible appeal of the verdict, or to litigation relating to his recent dismissal, is unclear. Sources indicate that the costs of an appeal would be substantial and that the chances of success are minimal.

Regardless of how Ipsen continues his vendetta against the administration, the current verdict will likely be welcomed by all who perceived Ipsen as non-representative of their concerns and as a selfish self-promoter. Many will be shocked to learn that even though Ipsen is no longer a Deputy District Attorney, he nevertheless remains an active ADDA Board Member. According to a comment posted by ADDA Past President Marc Debbaudt 'the ASFCME constitution [which apparently now controls the ADDA By Laws] says that until the termination is final after all remedies are exhausted in order to prevent an Administration from disrupting a board by a termination, he is entitled to stay on the Board. The way to overcome this is to get rid of AFSCME.' Debbaudt said.

Whether the solution is as Debbaudt says, to disengage from AFSCME, or for a demand for immediate board elections to oust Ipsen and others like him, will depend on how effective current ADDA President Donna McClay can be to assure all that the Ipsen era is over.

So far, McClay has done some good work in that direction. McClay's successful hosting of the recent DA Candidates' Forum was the first real sign that there is meaningful change at the helm. The ADDA website now has a new look - seemingly vanquishing that which prevailed under Ipsen and Seligman's tenure when the ADDA website looked more like the Unabomber's manifesto.

While the consignment of Ipsen's "Federal Lawsuit" to the crapper partially clears the dark clouds he cast over the ADDA and its claim to represent all DDAs, the damage he has done remains to be fully eradicated. It will take more than simply imploring members to become involved to rid the ADDA of Ipsen's toxic DNA. Removing Ipsen and his ilk would appear to be of paramount importance if the ADDA is to become truly representative of all DDAs.


Friday, December 21, 2012

City Attorney candidates take differing positions on assault weapons control

The mindless slaughter at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut has stirred a national debate on gun control and the need to prevent another tragedy. The three leading candidates for Los Angeles City Attorney weighed in with their thoughts and suggestions.

Greg Smith takes the lead in weapons ban debate

Showing his rising stock, Public Safety Attorney Greg Smith, set a leadership example by providing a clear and concise statement.

Smith's clarity and unequivocal statement must have struck a chord with the media, with CBS giving his endorsement for a full federal ban on assault weapons top billing in their tv and radio coverage.

CBS quoted Smith directly “I cannot begin to fathom what the children of that Connecticut school and their parents have been going through these last few days,” said Smith. “My heart breaks for them.” Smith – who is campaigning to replace current City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, along with other candidates including former Los Angeles City Council member and California Assemblyman Mike Feuer – was also the latest candidate to support legislation introduced by Senate Dianne Feinstein to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons like the AR-15 used in the Sandy Hook shootings. As City Attorney, Smith said he would specifically act by focusing on gun reduction programs and increasing penalties for illegal possession of firearms.

 Feuer writes rambling op-ed at the Huff Post

Termed out State Assemblyman Mike Feuer penned an op-ed that rambled through his personal experiences as a parent during the 1999 North Valley Jewish Community Center attack, praised President Obama's response to the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy, and suggested it was up to "an army of determined parents to change the debate on gun legislation in Congress." 

If you read Feuer's op-ed, you might find yourself scratching your head wondering where, exactly, Feuer suggests any solution - such as the one endorsed by Smith. It might be there, but good luck finding it. Feuer's op-ed has all the hallmarks of the kind of Sacramento political doublespeak that kisses political asses, shifts blame and responsibility, and then kicks the can down the road. The notion that 'an army of parents' take responsibility for coming up with a solution is a perfect example of why Los Angelenos do not need a termed out Sacramento politician as City Attorney; we need solutions not rhetoric.

Trutanich believes the pen is mightier than the assault rifle

The laughing stock of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich wasted no time clambering to grab the headlines with his swift action to respond to the nation's need for sensible solutions to end senseless gun violence; he's writing letters to registered firearms owners.

The letters, co-signed by LAPD Chief Beck and Attorney General Kamala Harris, will warn law abiding firearm owners "that failure to notify authorities when they sell their weapons or when their firearms are lost or stolen is a misdemeanor." How Trutanich thinks his letter will do anything to address the issue of firearm control is unclear. Perhaps he should cc law enforcement officials in Connecticut with his solution, they need a laugh.

Trutanich, whose former law firm boasted its representation of the NRA amongst its clientele, made no mention of how he would communicate his warning to those who are not registered firearms owners, neither did he state how much taxpayer money would be wasted on postage and printing in his pointless political stunt.

Trutanich may have been depressed by the low turnout at his office holiday party where he was reportedly 'distracted.' The former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician was seen frequently huddled with his senior staffers, perhaps in search of some words of cheer at a time when his political career heads into oblivion.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seasons Greetings! Holiday Special

It's been a quite an interesting year in Los Angeles politics, and as we enter the holiday season, we leave you with a few thoughts as things wind down until the next year.

LA Times reminds Jackson, he's nothing special

Not a single comment was posted in support of defeated DA candidate Alan Jackson's position bemoaning his fears about his career taking a backward move following his transfer from Major Crimes to Central Trials. Most seemed to think Jackson was treated better than most considering his position, pay, and place of work all remain the same. The LA Times also weighed in on Jackson's whine, and chronicled how much better Jackson has fared compared to others who found themselves in second place on election night.

Jackson ran a decent campaign in the primary, ousting the ridiculous challenge from Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich, for which he deserves our gratitude. But in the run-off election, Jackson directed the thrust of his campaign towards a negative, unwarranted and unjust attack on Jackie Lacey. He must have known it was a 'do or die' strategy, one that might have resulted in retaliatory action by his new boss. That hasn't happened.

If, indeed, Jackson cares about the mission of the office, then he now has the perfect opportunity to show that he is a team player and is willing to share his trial attorney experience with others. He might want to start by publicly retracting his statement depreciating the value of the hard work performed by those in trenches. They prosecute the vast majority of the 80,000 plus cases the DA's Office handles every year, and judging by the comments posted, they are less than impressed by Jackson describing their work as 'garden variety.'

Federal Lawsuit nears end

Former DDA Steve Ipsen is having his day in court as the much vaunted 'federal lawsuit' enters the final argument stage. Jury trial started December 4 and has been remarkable not so much for the evidence presented, but for the antics of Ipsen. According to court documents filed during the closing phase of the trial, Ipsen tried to fire his attorneys and when that failed, he tried and failed to fire the judge. Whether that is reflective of Ipsen's feelings that the trial is not going his way is unclear.

The jury should have the case by the weekend, and their verdict will be anxiously awaited.

City Attorney race now a three-way battle

While termed out State Assemblyman Mike Feuer's recuperation from serious injuries sustained in an automobile accident has slowed down his campaign, Greg Smith has gained ground as voters learn more of his candidacy. In the meantime,  Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich has seen his chances further diminish as word spreads of his blunders in defending the City against lawsuits.

It seems that the more people learn about Smith, the more they are inclined to vote for him. Conversely, the more people learn about Trutanich, the more they are inclined to vote A.B.C. - Anyone But Carmen. With Smith now firmly in the race and gaining ground, he will likely earn a place in the runoff election. The only question is whether he will face Feuer or Trutanich.

Feuer is popular with liberal democrats but as the public becomes increasingly alarmed by the monumental failure of AB109, the so-called 'realignment' that continues to dump dangerous and violent felons on the streets of Los Angeles, his popularity may wilt.

Trutanich has more baggage than a first class passenger on the Titanic, and far less of a chance of buying his way onto a lifeboat. He will likely be remembered as the first politician to lose two elections in less than a year, and the first incumbent City Attorney to be kicked into oblivion.

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Trutanich loses $24M lawsuit as Porcupine Defense bombs, again

The monumental failure of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's infantile 'Porcupine Defense' has set a new record in costly lawsuit losses. On Friday, December 15, 2012, a Los Angeles jury returned a verdict awarding $24M to the victim of a LAPD shooting where an officer mistakenly shot a 13 year-old boy playing 'cops and robbers' with his friends.

Trutanich's 'Porcupine Defense' is believed to be responsible for the record award against the City
According to the LA Times, 'The award is believed to be the largest sanction ever against the LAPD for a single event and perhaps the largest of any kind against the department. It comes as the LAPD is trying to stem the number of costly lawsuits brought against it.' 

The verdict comes at a time when the City Council is looking at ways to outsource much of the work of the City Attorney's office to private lawfirms, a move spurred by a lack of leadership by Trutanich. Although the essence of the Council's complaints against Trutanich have centered on delays in responding to requests for legal services, the staggering losses in this case are likely to add fuel the fire to bypass ineffective leadership by a career politician more focused on headlines and desperate attempts at re-election following his devastatingly humiliating defeat in the DA primary elecection.

The $24M verdict is the latest in a string of multimillion dollar losses suffered by City Attorney Trutanich, who has insisted that his deputies employ his 'Porcupine Defense' strategy to defend the City. Under the strategy, settlement negotiations are not meaningfully pursued and plaintiffs are forced to go to trial. Trutanich, who invented the 'Porcupine Defense' stated that it was something he learned in school 'You may eat me, but I won't taste good going down,' the abrasive former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician recently explained.

Recent examples of the failure of the Porcupine Defense include a $2.8M award in a case that could have been settled for $700,000, and a $2M award in a case that could have been settled for $500,000.  It is not know how much the $24M case could have settled for, and Trutanich declined to make a detailed statement.

LAPD Chief Beck stated that he was 'encouraging the City Attorney to appeal because I believe the judgment is unwarranted.'  Beck, however, may be unaware that Trutanich recently 'dropped the ball' by forgetting to file an appeal within time limits, a failure which left the City of Los Angeles with no option but to pay the award in full, plus an additional a quarter of a million dollars in interest.

In other news ...

Former District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson complains of transfer; suggests retaliation

Jackson drew short of directly accusing District Attorney Jackie Lacey of retaliation when he spoke the the LA Times about his transfer from being Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division to an Assistant Head Deputy position where he will 'supervise deputy district attorneys handling what he described as "garden variety felony" and misdemeanor cases,' Jackson told the LA Times.

Jackson has been assigned to one the Central Trials divisions in the same building where he currently works. According to the Times, Jackson's transfer is 'a "lateral move" that had nothing to do with the campaign.' 

District Attorney spokesperson Jean Guccione said 'more than half of the office's managers were reassigned on Friday as part of a shake-up by the new administration. Jackson's salary, title and office location in downtown Los Angeles will remain the same,' she said.

"This is not retaliation," Guccione said. "This new assignment provides an excellent opportunity for him to share his courtroom experience with other prosecutors."

Jackson, however, told the Times that he 'disputed that the transfer was a lateral move. "It's a move backward in my career," Jackson said. "This decision is specifically designed to remove me from the courtroom and from access to complex and high-profile litigation."'

Jackson stopped short of saying he believed the new assignment, which takes effect Jan. 7, was 'punishment for his criticism of Lacey during the campaign,' but he said he 'could think of no other reason for the transfer.' "Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Not just for me, but I'm disappointed for what it says about the mission of the district attorney's office," he said.

While Jackson may be disappointed, he should not be surprised. Transfers take place routinely during the course of any administration, and particularly when there is a change of leadership. If anything is disappointing, it is Jackson's characterization of his new assignment as 'garden variety.'

The bulk of the work of the District Attorney's Office, indeed its mission, is handling felony and misdemeanor crimes of all types. While most of those cases do not make the headlines, the effective prosecution of all cases is of paramount importance to all victims of crime. The unsung heroes of the Office are those Deputy DA's who handle their assignments professionally, effectively and with respect for all victims of all crimes.

Jackson describes his new assignment as 'backward' in his career. That is, perhaps, a very telling statement. One that suggests that Jackson considers his career as more important than the mission of the Office. If Jackson thinks so little of some victims of crime that they are 'garden variety' unless they garner him a headline, then perhaps he needs to change what's growing in his garden. From what he says, it sounds like he's growing sour grapes. Perhaps he's using a little too much manure?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trutanich blunder costs City millions; blew deadline to file appeal

Next time embattled City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich tells you that he has 'saved the City millions of dollars,' you might want to ask him about his latest blunder - failing to timely file an appeal against a multi-million dollar verdict in the case of LAPD Officers Howard Chan and David Benioff who successfully sued the City for being unlawfully required to meet traffic ticket quotas.

The jury's verdict will stand after Trutanich missed the deadline to file an appeal.
According to the LA Times LAPD Officers Howard Chan and David Benioff, from West Traffic Division, '... sued the department in 2009, alleging that they had been punished with bogus performance reviews, threats of reassignment and other forms of harassment after objecting to demands from commanding officers that they write a certain number of tickets each day.'

Trutanich, using his 'Porcupine Defense,' rejected an offer to settle the case for $500,000. Because of Trutanich's infantile defense strategy, the jury awarded Chan and Benioff over $2M plus attorney fees.

But Trutanich's ineptitude does not stop there. The loudmouthed former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician was, perhaps, too busy campaigning to become District Attorney to worry too much about the losses he had inflicted on the taxpayers of LA who have to pick up the tab. The case of Chan et al v. City of Los Angeles probably dropped off Trutanich's radar as he sought fresh headlines to bolster his political aspirations. Those aspirations vanished in a New York minute in June 2012 when Trutanich suffered one of the most humiliating political defeats in history.

But while Trutanich licked his political wounds and re-grouped his political machine to launch his re-election campaign, the clock was steadily ticking away on the time left to file an appeal against the $2M verdict. As a further example of Trutanich's ineptitude, it now appears that Trutanich forgot to file an appeal. Some believe that an appeal would have succeeded in reducing the award, but in plain terms, Trutanich 'blew it.'
As a result of Trutanich's lack of attention not only does the jury award stand, but the City is also liable for interest on the award. That interest is understood to be calculated at 7% and is believed to be $398.39 a day for the 611 days since the April 11, 2011 verdict.

Because Trutanich failed to either pay the award or file an appeal, the City of Los Angeles will now have to pay an additional $243,419.29 in interest.

While Trutanich boasts and brags about the $235M he has 'saved the City,' the fact remains that those so-called savings are illusory - it's not real money that you can take to the bank. It's like going to CostCo and buying a flat screen tv for $500 that has a retail price of $1,000 - you 'saved' $500. But it's not real money. On the other hand, Trutanich's losses are real money loses. In the case of Chan et al v. City of Los Angeles, Trutanich has cost LA taxpayers $2.25M in real money. Money that could fill potholes, fix sidewalks, and pay for more police.

How much longer will Los Angeles put up with Trutanich's drunken sailor spending?


Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Musings

Medical Marijuana collectives could receive 'limited immunity' if ballot initiative passes in May 21, 2013 General Election.

From left to right:  Brennan Thicke, Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance Steering Committee Member and Founding Member of Stop the Ban LA, Don Duncan Co-founder of Americans for Safe Access, Yamileth Bolanos, Founder and President of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and Matt O'Malley of  UFCW Local 770. 
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich's so-called 'Gentle Ban' on Medical Marijuana was stomped out of City Council when it looked like a ballot initiative to repeal Trutanich's ban would qualify for the March primary. Trutanich is understood to have been concerned that the initiative would be a de facto referendum on his poor performance as City Attorney generally, and in particular, a pay back for his betrayal of the Medical Marijuana community who supported his candidacy in 2009 when he promised to support them.

Although the death of Trutanich's so-called 'Gentle Ban' removed the immediate threat of closure to LA's legitimately run Medical Marijuana dispensaries, there remained the awful mess resulting from  Trutanich's three failed attempts to regulate Medical Marijuana. Rather than leave it to Trutanich to try to write a fourth ordinance, on December 7, 2012, at 9:00 AM, the Committee to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods (CPPN) took matters into their own hands and delivered over 72,000 signatures calling for a voter initiative to the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office.

This from a press release from CPPN:

CPPN represents patients, caregivers, and dispensary employees and was created by a coalition of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance (GLACA), Americans for Safe Access-LA (ASA), and UFCW Local 770. If certified sufficient by the Clerk’s office, an initiative will be placed on the May 21, 2013 Los Angeles General Election Ballot to create an ordinance granting a “limited immunity” to the city’s original, registered medical cannabis collectives. To be certified sufficient, the Committee must submit 41,138 valid signatures. "When the City repealed the ban, it sent a powerful message to patients. The next step needs to be an ordinance that ensures real safe access," said Linda Leek, a two-time cancer survivor who suffers from multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.

Leek is one of the initiative's proponents The City of Los Angeles is working on its own version of a Limited Immunity Ordinance, but five months have passed since the City’s ban was overturned, and the proposed ordinance still has not come to the Council for a vote. “We cannot abandon those who are sick, to a political process that appears to be stalled by opponents of safe access. We will continue to work with the City in the hopes of overcoming this impasse, but it has been nearly half a year since the ban was overturned. We need to ensure patients have the access mandated by state law and that all citizens have the protection an ordinance provides,” remarked Yami Bolanos, President of GLACA. "Patients understand that the proposed City ordinance needs to do more to ensure safe access," said William Rusbosin, an initiative proponent and patient. “We are filing the initiative petition signatures today to make sure Los Angeles does right by the people who depend on this medication.” 

 “While the City’s proposed ordinance represents movement by the city towards ensuring safe access for patients, it still remains far from being an effectual ordinance which protects our communities and enables the ill to receive their needed medication. Our plan will help provide safe access to needy patients while dramatically reducing the number of clinics and significantly increasing oversight and transparency of their operation. The city plan isn't guaranteed to accomplish that, and we need to keep working until we can reach complete agreement, or we’ll take our vision to Los Angeles voters next May," said Mr. Icaza, President of UFCW Local 770.

The text of CPPN's Ballot initiative can be viewed here:
Limited Immunity Initiative for Medical Marijuana Collectives

CPPN's move in presenting their own ballot initiative is likely to be seen as yet another example of Trutanich's failure as City Attorney to promulgate legislation in line with the wishes of the City Council as well as the public. Recently, Councilmember Paul Krekorian criticized Trutanich for delays in producing legislation in response to motions passed by the Council.

Krekorian has sought permission to use outside counsel to draft legislation to put an 'end run' on Trutanich's obstruction and obfuscation. One example of the way Trutanich has failed the City Council is the way he has handled the ACE Program. As a result of the way Trutanich changed the original intent of the ACE Program and morphed it into a perceived power grab rife with civil rights violations, the ACE Program has been stalled for more than two years because of grave concerns over the way Trutanich has 'hijacked' the plan to streamline and simplify code enforcement.

Concerns about the ACE Program were first raised when Trutanich appeared on the Kevin James Show and claimed the ACE Program was his idea. In fact it was based programs already existing in San Diego and Santa Monica and had been the brainchild of Councilmember Paul Koretz' Chief of Staff.

Polling figures in City Attorney race expected to  trouble 'frontrunners'

Rumors suggest that polling on candidates for Los Angeles City Attorney are expected to be released this week. The results may give frontrunners a shock - while they consider themselves frontrunners, prospective voters don't see them the same way.

It is widely known that failed DA candidate Carmen Trutanich considers himself a frontrunner, just as he did in the 2012 DA race. But while voters recognize his name, they may recognize it for all the wrong reasons. 'Everyone recognizes the name Charles Manson, but who would vote for him?' may well be the way polling data confirms the impending end of the Trutanich era.

Expect a press release from one of the candidates for City Attorney later this week.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

City Attorney candidates pitch SEIU for endorsement; Trutanich the biggest loser

Embattled City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich got ripped a new one Wednesday night when what he thought would be an easy ride turned into a heated debate that saw the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician out-smarted, out-debated, and ... out.

Trutanich probably expected to have the undivided attention of SEIU with rivals Mike Feuer hospitalized and Greg Smith unexpected. But Feuer's campaign sent former City Controller Rick Tuttle in place of Feuer, and Greg Smith secured an invitation.

Tuttle slammed Trutanich for his abysmally arrogant and elitist refusal to share the sacrifice of his employees and take a matching pay cut. Smith attacked Trutanich for his poor record defending the city in employment litigation. Trutanich appeared surprised and unprepared to defend his record of failure. So bad was the damage inflicted on Trutanich that his campaign responded on Thursday with a sheepish release condemning his opponents for 'negative' campaigning.

Trutanich, it seems, wants to concentrate on the 'issues' and avoid being drawn into having to defend his record of falsehoods and failures. But the issue really is Trutanich's disastrously poor leadership of the City Attorney's office, and given Trutanich's truth challenged reputation, nothing he says about what he plans to do has any credibility, because time and time again it has been proven that he neither be believed nor trusted to follow through with the campaign promises he doles out like confetti.

Trutanich probably would have done better if he had not shown up at all. He embarrassed himself when he claimed that Smith's 'last case was overturned on appeal.' It seems that Trutanich is so preoccupied with his desperate attempt at hanging on to the job he didn't want last year, that he didn't realize that Smith's 'last case' was decided last week; a $2.8M verdict that Trutanich could have settled for $700k.

Although Feuer is seen by many to be the candidate most likely to secure SEIU's endorsement based on his pro-organized labor record, Smith scored valuable points demonstrating his proven record of defending the rights of police and firefighters and was likely the strong favorite amongst the audience.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trutanich to face questions over alleged Northridge mass murderer

Many believe that it was only a question before one of the 11,000 plus convicts released into Los Angeles County from State Prison under the so-called 'realignment' program supported by City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich resulted in a horrific crime. That time has arrived.

The arrest of suspected mass-murderer Ka Pasasouk, who is alleged to be the gunman responsible for the slaying of four people at an illegal boarding house in Northridge, appears to confirm the worst fears of opponents to Assembly Bill 109. He was one of the 11,000 plus prisoners who were released into Los Angeles County for 'local supervision' under the 'realignment.' He is now in custody in Las Vegas, facing extradition for murdering four people in Northridge.

Los Angelenos were assured that those prisoners released under realignment would be 'non-violent,' and that the controversial budget-saving measure would provide adequate supervision to maintain public safety.  Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich supported the release of Pasasouk when he voiced his support for Governor Jerry Brown's realignment during his failed campaign to become District Attorney. According to a report by ABC 7 News, Pasasouk is anything but a 'non violent' convict, and had he remained in prison, four people would be alive today.

Many believe that Trutanich only supported Brown's realignment plan in order to gain the endorsement of Governor Brown in support of his bid to become District Attorney.

Trutanich duly received his reward for selling out public safety for his political ambitions when Governor Brown announced his endorsement of Trutanich. However, the endorsement failed to propel Trutanich from the City Attorney's Office to the District Attorney's Office when Trutanich suffered a humiliating defeat in the June 2012 primary election for District Attorney.

Trutanich is now campaigning for re-election as City Attorney, and his increasingly desperate  campaign now faces a further hurdle - his public safety sellout has now cost the lives of four people.

While a number of Los Angelenos may be able to tolerate Trutanich's 'truth challenged' tendencies, few will be comfortable voting for the man who decided a political endorsement was more important than public safety.

The Northridge murders are likely to become the hot topic at the City Attorney candidates' debates scheduled for the run-up to the March 2013 primary election, and Trutanich will have to defend his decision to allow Pasasouk to be released. Whatever his explanation, it is unlikely that Trutanich be able to shake off the perception that his political ambitions were more important to him, than the lives of four people in Northridge.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Topics - Lacey sworn in as DA, Trutanich 'Porcupine Defense' bombs, again

District Attorney Jackie Lacey sworn in

A large crowd gathered at USC's Galen Center Monday afternoon to see history being made - Jackie Lacey was sworn in as Los Angeles County's first female and first African American District Attorney. Former District Attorneys John Van de Kamp (1975-1981), Robert Philibosian (1981-1984), Gil Garcetti (1992-2000), and retiring DA Steve Cooley (2000-2012) joined US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. to witness the swearing in of LA's 42nd District Attorney.

The crowd, estimated to be over 1,200, was comprised of local politicians, civic leaders, law enforcement leaders and a sizable number of Deputy District Attorneys who Lacey hailed as 'my heroes.' Click the links for full coverage from the Los Angeles Times, the Daily News, and some excellent historical perspective from the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

Noticeably absent from the event was current City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who was roundly defeated by Lacey and Alan Jackson in the primary election. Also on the missing list was termed out Assemblyman Mike Feuer who, along with police rights attorney Greg Smith will likely emerge as the frontrunners to replace Trutanich in 2013. Feuer had planned to attend the swearing in ceremony, but was involved in an automobile accident when his Toyota Prius was struck by a truck.

Trutanich's 'Porcupine Defense' costs taxpayers $2.1M

The LA Times reported 'Another costly verdict goes against the LAPD' last week, but the true story of yet another costly loss for the taxpayers of Los Angeles is the monumental failure of embattled City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich's infantile 'Porcupine Defense' strategy.

In 2007, LAPD Officer Pedro Torres was on patrol when he saw a van speeding away. The van contained an unconscious kidnapped rape victim and her attackers. Alone, and without backup, Torres fired at the tires of the van, and succeeded stopping it. In doing so he prevented an already shocking crime becoming a likely horrific murder. Torres received immediate praise from then LAPD Chief Bratton for his quick and laudable reactions. However, Torres heroism was later turned against him when he was suspended for five days without pay for what was determined to be 'excess use of force' and an 'out of policy' discharge of his firearm. Torres believed his suspension was actually retaliation for his previous testimony in a case where a fellow officer was the subject of racial discrimination. Torres retired and sued LAPD for the shabby way they treated him.

The case came under current City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's 'Porcupine Defense,' a schoolyard bully-boy strategy that Trutanich hails as his 'secret weapon' to win cases - only time and time again it fails miserably. According to Trutanich, the Porcupine Defense was something he learned in school. 'You may eat me, but I won't taste good going down,' is how the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician defines his strategy.

Former LAPD Officer Pedro Torres was represented by City Attorney candidate Greg Smith, who tried to settle the case for $700,000, but Trutanich refused to negotiate. The case went to trial, and not surprisingly, the jury came back with a verdict awarding Torres $2.8M, that's $2.1M more than the case could and should have been settled for, but for Trutanich's bizarre defense strategy. 

The Torres case is but the latest of a string of losses suffered by Trutanich as his Porcupine Defense bleeds the city coffers dry. Trutanich is quick to claim that he has 'saved' the City millions, but those 'savings' are highly questionable; had Torres claimed $4M in damages but been awarded $2.8M, Trutanich would claim he had 'saved' the City $1.2M. In other words, Trutanich's so-called savings are not made up of 'take it to the bank money,' but pretend or theoretical dollars. However, Trutanich's losses are made up of real dollars, taxpayer dollars, dollars that could fix potholes, dollars that could pay for more police officers, dollars that could even prevent the 13% pay cut that Trutanich's deputies have to suffer.

The jury verdict in the case of Torres v. City of Los Angeles is probably something Trutanich will not boast or brag about as he hawks his failing re-election campaign to audiences who have to endure his rambling stream of irrelevant campaign rhetoric. Neither will it be mentioned by Mike Feuer, who may never have actually tried a multimillion dollar case personally. But it is likely to be raised by his principal opponent, Greg Smith who appears to be the only real lawyer in the race to become LA's next City Attorney. Who better to defend the City from lawsuits than someone who actually knows the value of a case?

Someone who does know the value of a case is former Deputy City Attorney Robert Pulone, who observed much of the Torres case and was 'third chair.' According to Pulone, he has defended the City of LA in hundreds of cases, but 'this was one that should have settled.' Pulone had no hesitation in blaming Trutanich's 'inane Porcupine Defense' for costing the City millions of dollars. Pulone also noted that the actual loss to the City will be higher than $2.8M, once attorney fees are added.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trutanich blames wife, family for financial woes, says can't afford a pay cut

Embattled Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich stunned some observers recently when he blamed his wife and 'four children' for his financial situation, one that prevents him from taking the same pay cut as the rest of his staff.

Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich told Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association that
he cannot take a pay cut because his wife's pension was 'wiped away.' (Photo credit: video)
Trutanich appeared at a November 14, 2012 City Attorney candidates' forum hosted by the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, and had been challenged to explain why he would not take the same 13% pay cut suffered by the rest of his staff. As a result of the City's budget crisis, city workers have been forced to take 34 furlough days annually, days without pay equivalent to a 13% pay cut.

Both of Trutanich's rivals in the March 2013 primary election, Police rights attorney Greg Smith and termed-out Assemblyman Mike Feuer, have said they would set a 'leadership example' by taking the same pay cut as the rest of the City Attorney's Office. It's a leadership example that Trutanich, however, has not set. For the past two years since the furlough days were forced on his staff, he has continued to receive his full $214, 547 salary plus benefits that include a chauffeur-driven SUV, while his staff can seemingly eat cake.

Trutanich's explanation for exempting himself from the pay cut seems to be that he cannot afford it. At least that is what appears to be the logical conclusion derived from his response to the challenge. He blamed his wife's loss of her pension, 'wiped away' when her former employer declared bankruptcy, and the needs of his 'four children' when he said 'my wife, my four children, we live on my salary,' adding that 'we are not a rich family.'

Trutanich's blame-shifting response may have confused the audience at the candidates' forum. Earlier in the evening, Trutanich had delivered a rambling opening statement during which he hailed the achievements of his family; his 'four children' who 'live' on his salary, are all adults and all fully and gainfully employed.

As such is it hard to see how Trutanich's 'children' comprising an Assistant US Attorney, a Deputy District Attorney, a Special Education Teacher and an English teacher for Project America, all 'live on my [Trutanich's] salary.' It seems they don't.

Trutanich, of course, heads towards electoral defeat in 2013 tarnished with the same 'truth challenged' reputation that dogged his Hindenburg-like 2012 campaign to become District Attorney. His latest truth challenged statement about the state of his family finances will do little to dispel the LA Times headline 'Trutanich: I am a liar' that has come to define his campaign, candidacy and character.

Some might see Trutanich's attempt to blame his wife and family for his unwillingness to share the sacrifice his staff have to suffer as simply another example of the way Trutanich sees himself as part of an exempt elite.  He, perhaps, considers himself better than those who have devoted their careers to public service - he won't take the pay cut because he doesn't have to.

Others might well see Trutanich's 'we are not a rich family' claim, as just another lie.  By any analysis, the combined income of the Trutanich family far exceeds not only those who work for him, but that of most Americans.

Elitist, liar, or both, Trutanich's re-election hopes seem to be pinned on voters not paying attention to reality. But that reality is something that Trutanich cannot shake off. He first defined his campaign, candidacy and character when he flip-flopped on his promise to support the City Controller's right to audit programs run by elected officials, and he affirmed his unsuitability for public office with his bold-faced violation of his 'Pledge to Serve.'

You can run Mr. Trutanich, but you cannot hide, and you cannot win.

 Full video coverage of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association candidates forum is available at