|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: Patch.com video)
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 Patch.com.