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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

As we wind down the year, we wish all Dragnet readers (yes, even the haters who never fail to amuse with their colorful comments) the Season's Greetings and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Special thanks to Jo-Ann and Roger Grace at the Metropolitan News-Enterprise for the seasonally-appropriate graphic above.

If you think snowfall in Los Angeles is as unlikely as straight talk from a politician, take a moment to review the video below. It's an excellent compilation of the way Los Angelenos are bracing themselves for the big freeze that apparently has us in its icy grip.



Brrrr.

The Dragnet will be back with a review of the top topics of 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Trutanich to blame for high settlement cost in Ticket Quotagate Scandal

We wrote last week about the criticism leveled against LAPD Capt. Nancy Lauer by pseudonymous LAPD Cop "Jack Dunphy" for being the cause of the $6M settlement that LA taxpayers have to pay. But Dragnet readers will not be surprised to find that there's more to the story and there's more than one person to blame for the high cost of this calamity.

Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich's bungled handling of the first traffic ticket quota case
traced as the cause of the massive payout in the second case settled December 10, 2013.

Yes, it's the Dragnet's favorite political phony, Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich, the former and failed City Attorney who was too busy running for DA to do his job.

The 11 motor officers who complained about being forced to write 18 tickets a day (let's call their case Quotagate II) were not the first to sue over being subjected to illegal quotas. The first to sue were two motor officers from the very same division, under the very same Captain (Quotagate I). Two weeks ago, the LA City Council voted to settle Quotagate II for $5.9M because a jury awarded $2M in Quotagate I; they did the math, if 2 cops get $M in Quotagate I, then 11 cops would get $11M if Quotagate II goes to trial. Settling was a no-brainer.

But who set the benchmark of two cops getting $1M apiece for being forced to follow an illegal quota?

There's an old maxim in fraud investigations; "Follow the money, and you'll find the fraud," and if you follow the money in Quotagate II, it traces back Quotagate I, and to the doorstep of the Clown.

Quotagate I could have settled for $500K
It's 2011 and Carmen the Clown is busy chasing headlines to bolster his campaign to become District Attorney. He's playing tough guy with our dollars, insisting that Deputy City Attorneys follow his asinine "Porcupine Defense" whenever and why-ever the city is sued. So when Quotagate I was set for trial, tough talking Trutanich refuses to settle the case for the $500k the officers were willing to take (see LA Times, April 12, 2011). The case goes to trial and, as was expected, Trutanich loses. It cost us $2M; $1.5M more than it should have.

If, instead of having his head up his ass with his pipe dream of being DA, Trutanich had settled the case for $500k, the benchmark, the starting place for negotiations in Quotagate II, would have been $250K a cop. Do the math; that's 11 cops at $250k apiece, the case is worth $2.75M. Half of what it ended up costing us. Thank you Carmen Trutanich.

Trutanich blew the Appeal
But wait, there's more. Bad enough that Trutanich's flawed trial strategy cost us $1.5M more than it should have done, the egocentric blowhard blew the deadline to appeal the jury's verdict.

It's 2012 and Carmen the Clown is now "officially" running for DA. Any thoughts of appealing the $2M verdict in Quotagate I are overshadowed by the campaign borne of a lie. June 5, 2012 and Trutanich loses the primary election for DA. In the days that followed his political castration, Trutanich was scarcely seen at his office. Too busy, perhaps, suing his former campaign manager while trying to patch together a doomed reelection bid. The Quotagate I appeal slipped through the cracks.

If Trutanich had appealed the $2M verdict, informed sources tell the Dragnet that the verdict would, at a minimum, have been halved. Without going into details, there were "problems" with the case that likely would not have withstood appeal. But the Clown blew the deadline to appeal.

An appealed verdict of $1M would have set the benchmark for Quotagate II far lower. Do the math. 2 cops go to trial over ticket quotas, and get $500k apiece. That values Quotagate II at $5.5M after trial and appeal. That would have given a savvy City Attorney something to argue about, something to negotiate with, and something likely to settle the case for around $3M, well bellow the $5.9M paid out as a result of Trutanich's botched handling of the case.

Even though Trutanich was finally unceremoniously thrown out of office, it seems that Los Angelenos have not yet finished paying the price for entrusting this charlatan with their vote. Where will the the next Trutanich screw up impact taxpayers? Well you could take a look at the unseemly haste with which Trutanich paid off two women unfortunately shot by LAPD during the hunt for Christopher Dorner.

Many believe Trutanich's super-quick settlement was a very expensive ploy to
curry favor in the Latino community for Trutanich's reelection

Three weeks before the election that sealed Trutanich's removal from public office, Trutanich gave $4.2M to these women, who happened to be Latino, a voting block Trutanich was counting on. No depositions were taken, no forensic examination into the value of the damages sought, no Porcupine Defense strategy, nothing. Throughout the office, questions were being asked as to the impropriety of this brazenly political payoff payout.

So what? Well the next time there's a lawsuit involving an mistaken shooting by LAPD, Carmen 'the Clown' has set an unusually high benchmark for pre-trial settlement there too. That may not be LA's problem right now, but elsewhere, the ghost of Tutnanich haunts. The City of Torrance is currently unable to settle a lawsuit brought by a third shooting victim during the Dorner manhunt; David Perdue, a 38 year old Redondo Beach resident who was shot at by Torrance Police Dept. officers during the manhunt. He has turned down a $500K settlement offer, no doubt because his lawyers see his case being worth at least as much as the $2.1M per victim settlement that Trutanich established in his desperation to be reelected.

As the season of goodwill to all approaches, there should be little goodwill for Trutanich. We will be paying for his screw ups for a long time to come.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

LAPD Captain in Traffic Ticket Quotagate under fire ... from a Cop!

Last week LA residents reeled over the high cost of poor management in LAPD that resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement caused by LAPD Captain Nancy Lauer's mismanagement of motor officers under her command. 11 officers complained of being forced to write 18 traffic tickets a day - an illegal quota under state law. They sued, they won $5.9M. The taxpayer picks up the tab, not LAPD, not the Captain.

KABC's Doug McIntyre was the lone voice in the media who asked the question, why aren't Lauer and the higher-ups in LAPD who supervised her being held responsible for the cost of this outrage?

McIntye blasted the silence of the lambs (City Hall) in his Daily News Op-Ed, posing a few inconvenient questions that neither City Hall nor LAPD want to answer:

"If Capt. Lauer is guilty of ordering officers to write tickets based on quotas in violation of state law, why isn’t she being prosecuted?" 
"Why is she still employed by the LAPD?" 
"Why has she been promoted?" 
"Why is she still on the list for future promotions?"

Now, it seems, comes an answer, and it's not pretty...


The answer comes from pseudonymous LAPD Cop "Jack Dunphy." Here's an excerpt from what he wrote at PJ Media:

"... it’s important that I explore for the reader some of the LAPD’s inner workings. When I became a cop more than 30 years ago, I assumed one had to be pretty smart to promote to the rank of sergeant, and even smarter to make it to lieutenant. To promote to captain, I assumed, one must be possessed of extraordinary intelligence, and to go beyond captain, to the ranks of commander and deputy chief, required nothing less than genius. It did not take long to disabuse me of these notions. Yes, there are some exceptionally bright people in the upper ranks of the LAPD, but there are of course just as many at the opposite end of the bell curve. And even among the smarter ones there are those for whom leadership is something to be talked about rather than practiced.

So from time to time there comes along a captain who has been wafted aloft through the ranks on the basis of considerations other than the ability to manage and lead. When such a person has proven himself inept at the rank of captain in one of the LAPD’s 21 patrol stations, he (or she, as the case may be) is sometimes installed in one of the city’s four traffic divisions under the theory that it is there, where the scope of his command is limited, that he can cause less damage to the department and the city. Captains assigned to traffic divisions know this and resent it, and they sometimes take their resentments out on their subordinates in the form of unreasonable expectations. For the seasoned motor cop, an unbroken line of marginal captains brings its frustrations, especially when each successive one tries to increase “productivity,” i.e., ticket writing, through suspect means.

Such was the case at West Traffic Division, from whose officers these lawsuits originated. The captain in question had transferred in from a patrol station where her leadership was found wanting, a deficiency that, ironically, earned her a promotion into the commanding officer’s chair at West Traffic. Eager to prove herself, she demanded that officers increase their ticket production, going so far as to memorialize in writing when they failed to do so. Her management style was all stick and no carrot, and some of the officers responded as anyone with common sense would have expected. In the 2011 case, a jury agreed with the officers that the captain had imposed a de facto quota; when the officers in the more recent case made identical claims with identical evidence, the city had little choice but to settle the case for about half the amount a jury would likely have awarded.

And in case you’re wondering, the captain has been promoted and transferred yet again, much to the delight of her former subordinates and the chagrin of her new ones. I haven’t yet heard of any lawsuits coming out of her current command, but I suppose it’s just a matter of time."

Wow.

Click here for the full text of "Jack Dunphy's" article.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Baca Blues Brings Fundraiser Flop

Sheriff Baca's reelection bid took a nose dive Monday, according to LA Times columnist Steve Lopez.


Billed as a "help our friend" event, and hosted by "A trio of losers" according to John and Ken. Lopez apparently couldn't resist dropping in on the fundraiser Monday night, held at Engine Company 28, a fashionable downtown restaurant a stone's throw from the US Attorney's Office where 18 Deputy Sheriffs were indicted earlier that day.


The $1,500 a head event was slated to attract a crowd of 45, but only 15 showed up, most were likely freeloaders brought along to try to make the event look like a success. According to Lopez, it flopped, with few attending and Governor Gray Davis giving it a miss.

Bad as it is for Baca, Lopez senses that he's doing ok on the fundraising front, but tellingly, Lopez also quoted LA County Sheriff candidate Bob Olmsted's response to Baca's latest scandal, an indication that print media will likely endorse Olmsted as Baca's replacement. The value of media endorsements far eclipses fundraising in a county wide election campaign, as one of the events' co-hosts, Carmen Trutanich, learned when his multi-million dollar campaign to become DA failed spectacularly.

Was it association with a bunch of losers that ruined the fundraiser, or more bad news for Baca? Either way, many are saying the writing is on the wall for Baca.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday Topics; Times Trashes Trutanich, The Bell rings for Spaccia, More Baca Blues

LA Times Trashes Trutanich (again)


While often criticized by commenters for hounding the ghost of onetime DA wannabe Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich, it appears that the Dragnet is not alone in reminding readers of the historic political failure of the man who succeeded only in alienating allies, squandering political capital, and earning the headline "Carmen 'I am a Liar' Trutanich." The LA Times, Monday, chose to use Trutanich as it's leader for their recap of the winners and losers of 2013. The Dragnet, it seems, is in good company.

Headlined "The Final Flameout of Carmen Trutanich," this from the LA Times: "He was once celebrated as a breath of anti-establishment fresh air in Los Angeles City Hall, but the beginning of the end of Carmen Trutanich's romance with voters came last year when he broke his pledge to stay as head of the city attorney's office and not seek the district attorney's post. Voters spoke what is likely the final word on his political career on May 21, when they defeated him soundly for reelection as city attorney."

Interestingly, the Times chose Trutanich ahead of their other two notable losers; failed San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and FBI suspect Ron Calderon. Trutanich, it seems, also in good company.

It is also, perhaps, not without coincidence that the Times' piece on Trutanich came out on the same day as he co-hosted a fundraiser for Sheriff Lee Baca. Baca also hit the headlines Monday with the not altogether unexpected news that 18 Deputy Sheriffs have been indicted in a "wide ranging jail probe." Must have been quite a fundraiser...

Bell Rings for Angela Spaccia - Guilty in Corruption Case


The LA Times reports that after eight days of deliberations, which must have had heads scratching as to what was taking the jury so long, a downtown jury found former City of Bell Assistant Manager Angela Spaccia guilty on 11 of 13 felony charges.

The verdict must come as a huge relief for DA Jackie Lacey, this being perhaps the highest profile conviction on her watch. Lead prosecutor, Max Huntsman also must be glad to know that he is leaving the DA's Office on a high note, to become County Inspector General with oversight of the Sheriff's Dept, even though he might be feeling like he has jumped from the frying pan into the fire in the light of Monday's Federal indictment.

Former District Attorney, Steve Cooley, must also feel a certain pride in the successful conclusion to the Bell corruption case that he initiated. Cooley can also point to yet another vindication; Spaccia's defense attorney, Harland Braun, had argued to jurors that Cooley had only initiated the Bell corruption cases because it would help him in his bid to become Attorney General.  It seems the jury did not buy what Braun was selling.

Blaming then District Attorney Steve Cooley for a politically motivated prosecution
and likening Spaccia and Rizzo to Adolf Hitler "evil people can do good things,"
defense attorney Harland Braun tosses arguments to the jury.
Curiously, Braun compared his client's boss, Robert Rizzo, to Adolf Hitler arguing "I've said what terrible things he [Rizzo] did to the city, but even evil people can produce good things. You've all heard of Adolf Hitler and Volkswagen," he said, referring to the car developed by Nazi Germany, the Times reported. Alas for Braun, who apparently represented Spaccia pro-bono, the "evil people can do good things" argument did not impress the jury any more than the "politically motivated prosecution" argument.

More Baca Blues


Monday was likely not the best day embattled LA County Sheriff Lee Baca ever had. Perhaps the only thing worse than the prospect of attending a fundraiser co-hosted by Carmen Trutanich was the devastating news that 18 Deputy Sheriffs have been indicted in what the LA Weekly reports is a "Wide-Ranging Jail Probe" encompassing 5 cases of alleged misconduct. Ouch.

An 18-page indictment concerning one of the five cases was posted by the LA Weekly and can be viewed here.


LA Observed reported that Baca released this statement in response:

"While the indictments were not unexpected, it is nevertheless a sad day for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We do not tolerate misconduct by any deputies. This department is grounded in its core values, namely to honorably perform our duties with respect for the dignity of all people, and integrity to do right and fight wrongs. We have cooperated fully with the federal investigation and will continue to do so.

Please know that I respect the criminal justice system. No one is above the law."

Tellingly, however, US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., said "The five cases allege a wide scope of illegal conduct. This investigation started by focusing on misconduct in county jails, and we uncovered examples of civil rights violations that included excessive force and unlawful arrests. Our investigation also found that these incidents did not take place in a vacuum. In fact, they demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized."

The LA Weekly reported that Birotte was repeatedly asked about Baca's role in these incidents, but he declined to comment, except to say that "the investigation is ongoing."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the LA Weekly reported that former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is running to replace his former boss, "declined to comment."

In stark contrast to Tanaka's silence, another candidate for Sheriff, retired Commander Robert 'Bob' Olmstead, was surprisingly well prepared to comment. "Today's arrests underscore the high level of corruption that has plagued the Sheriff's Department under the failed leadership of Sheriff Lee Baca and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka," Olmsted said in a statement. "It would be no surprise to me at all if there was a direct link between Sheriff Baca and Undersheriff Tanaka and these arrested sheriff's regarding their actions of obstructing justice and their attempts to prevent the FBI from further investigating corruption inside the department."

Outside the federal building, Olmsted gave several media interviews. "This is just the first wave," Olmsted predicted. "They're going after the low-lying fruit first... Everybody indicted today does not have the authority to do what they're accused of doing. This could not have happened without the top people knowing about it." The LA Weekly reported.

If Trutanich, Baca and Tanaka don't like Mondays, it seems Bob Olmsted does. This is likely the big break he has been waiting for in his campaign. With dark clouds over Baca and Tanaka, Olmsted could emerge from being labeled as a "long shot" (LA Weekly) to a front runner if, as seems likely, the media gets behind him. Given the level of Olmsted's preparedness in his response, it is likely that the popular former Commander had some advance notice of the indictments. Perhaps a leak or two from within the Sheriff's Dept., where many remember Olmsted as a firm but fair leader, likely the kind or person they would like to see as their next boss.

Olmsted will be on the ballot in the June 2014 primary, along with the other challengers to Sheriff Baca's reelection bid. His campaign slogan, "Olmsted Instead," might just have enough of a ring to it to resonate with voters if Baca's blues continue to dog him.
 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday's Free For All; Brazil, Tavelman Appointed to Bench, Ipsen's Misconduct Outlined

Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Brazil and Frank Tavelman appointed to Los Angeles Superior Court

While eight, or possibly nine, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys have announced plans to run for open seats for the Superior Court in the June 2014 primary elections, two other DDAs won't have to worry about campaigns and elections to become judges.


Governor Brown announced Thursday that he has appointed Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Brazil and Frank Tavelman to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Brazil is the only Republican amongst the eight appointments made by Brown. Both Brazil and Tavelman obtained their JD's from Southwestern Law School, and both have had long and distinguished careers at the DA's Office. They deserve our hearty congratulations.

Ipsen fired for "improper and egregious conduct"

Documents obtained by the Dragnet pursuant to a Public Records Act request made of the Employee Relations Commission (ERCOM) show that former ADDA President and failed DA candidate Steve Ipsen was fired by the District Attorney's Office on July 20, 2012 after a year-long investigation into his "improper and egregious conduct as a Deputy District Attorney."

One of the documents obtained by the Dragnet is a 16-page "Notice of Discharge" letter outlining Ipsen's misconduct. The letter is understood to have been hand delivered to Ipsen two months after he had been ordered to leave his office at the Antelope Valley Branch Office on May 15, 2012 and assigned to his home, without duties.


The Notice of Discharge letter would not normally be a matter of public record, however, on November 9, 2012, Ipsen decided to challenge his dismissal by filing a complaint with ERCOM, and the Notice of Discharge letter was filed in response to Ipsen's complaint, or 'charge' in ERCOM-speak.

In his complaint, Ipsen asserts that his termination violates the Employee Relations Ordinance prohibiting unfair employee relations practice, and contends that his dismissal was pretextual, based solely on his union activities, and that he did not "engage in conduct which was not either consistent with office policies and/or common practice county-wide." Additionally, Ipsen contends that his termination is "disproportionate to any actual mistakes or errors that were made," perhaps a curious contention given that Ipsen asserts he did nothing wrong.

In the interests of full disclosure and fairness, Ipsen's complaint (or charge) appears below:



While Ipsen extensively quotes an earlier finding of ERCOM in his current complaint, it should be noted that the prior ERCOM finding has been thrown out after it was discovered that Ipsen and other ADDA officers had engaged in improper ex parte communications with ERCOM.

Despite Ipsen's assertion that in essence, he either did nothing wrong, or that what he did do was common practice in the DA's Office, the 16-page Notice of Discharge presents a very different picture.

For the most part the Notice of Discharge speaks for itself, however, we do note that there cannot be any DDAs who have:
1) Used their position as a DDA to further their political campaign in the courtroom.
2) Misrepresented to a judge that a sentencing scheme known as 'Reform First' as the official policy of the DA's Office when in truth and in fact it was part of a campaign to become DA.
3) Boasted in a YouTube video that they act "in violation of the policy of the District Attorney of Los Angeles" on a daily basis.
4) Took photographs of a defendant at sentencing to be used to "show the governor, legislators, attorney general in an effort to get the law changed."
5) Entered into illegal sentences whereby a defendant is required to admit a prior 'strike' and be sentenced to a doubled prison term which is suspended on a grant of probation.
6) Dismissed prior serious or violent felonies ('strikes') without obtaining Head Deputy approval.
7) Submitted Disposition Reports indicating a felony conviction, but then agreed to a different disposition without obtaining approval.

The misconduct outline in the Notice of Discharge clearly demonstrates the impropriety of Ipsen being honored by the ADDA at their recent Awards Dinner. It is incredible and disgraceful that the organization purporting to represent all DDAs should condone Ipsen's conduct. Some might argue that the extent of Ipsen's misconduct was unknown to the ADDA, however, readers may be shocked to hear that the ADDA has filed a parallel complaint or charge with ERCOM, making essentially the same claims made by Ipsen.
 
Worse, it appears that the ADDA is bankrolling the legal fees in these two ERCOM charges; the same law firm, Rothner, Segall & Greenstone, appears as attorney for Ipsen and the ADDA in both charges.

Many reading the 16-page Notice of Discharge will likely find Ipsen and the ADDA's assertions that this type of conduct is county wide practice, untenable, incredible and shameful. They will be outraged at the thought that the ADDA union dues withheld from their pay are being used to finance this fiasco. It is time that the ADDA made its conduct in this case clear for all to understand.

Your thoughts?



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

John & Ken Blast Trutanich for headlining Sheriff Baca Fundraiser

Kevin Roderick's excellent LA Observed posted a piece entitled "Sheriff Baca still has political friends" Tuesday, December 3, 2013.

Roderick posted this copy of an invitation to a fundraiser to be held Monday, December 9, 2013 in downtown LA's fashionable eatery, Engine Co. 28.


Roderock observed that despite much of the current press being negative about Baca and the Sheriff's Dept., "it's hard to unseat a sitting sheriff with all of his arrangements, deals and incumbent's advantages. Witness this: Next Monday night, a fundraiser for Baca will be co-hosted by former Democratic governor Gray Davis, former City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and high-profile defense lawyer Mark Geragos. The $1,500-per-ticket reception is being held at Engine Co. 28, the Downtown eatery that has been the venue for many fundraisers. Doesn't look like Baca is hurting for friends." Roderick said.

But LA's top-rated evening drive-time talk show hosts, KFI AM640's John and Ken, were less than impressed by Baca's friends. During the 5 o'clock hour, Tuesday night, they took a few well-aimed shots at former City Attorney and one-time DA wannabe Carmen Trutanich describing him as part of a 'trio of losers' and a 'troika of evil and incompetence.' They said.




Adding insult to injury, John and Ken questioned Baca's logic in allowing Trutanich & co to host a fundraiser for him. "He couldn't have picked three bigger boobs" and "bumbling fools," they said as they lambasted Trutanich for losing a 'simple election for City Attorney,' and Davis for being recalled, and Geragos for his unsuccessful defense in the Scott Peterson case.

"Likes end up being friends with likes" John and Ken said, "They are all kinda stupid, they are all bad at their jobs, they all lie a lot, they're clearly available, and they're all like borderline corrupt in different ways" they said.

Perhaps Sheriff Baca should look around for some different friends?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday's Free For All: Cooley Vindicated, Huntsman on the Move, Rumor Mill Musings

Retired District Attorney Steve Cooley Vindicated by Superior Court

The LA Times reported Wednesday on a story previously covered by the Dragnet and the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lavin has thrown out a decision of the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission (ERCOM) finding District Attorney Steve Cooley and the District Attorney's Office had retaliated against disgraced, fired, former Deputy DA Steve Ipsen and other members of his kangaroo court-like grip on the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA).

Judge Lavin found that ERCOM's then Executive Director, Paul Causey had "numerous ex parte communications" with Ipsen and other ADDA members, that Causey was "heavily involved in the ERCOM decision making process," and that there was "substantial evidence in the record of actual bias by ERCOM." For those reasons, Judge Lavin found that DA Steve Cooley and the DA's Office "did not receive a fair hearing before ERCOM" and therefore ERCOM's July 25, 2011 decision was thrown out.

Although Judge Lavin ordered ERCOM to hold a new hearing "to be conducted by a neutral and unbiased hearing officer," it is unclear whether Ipsen or the ADDA will want to re-litigate the matter in the light of not only the collapse of Ipsen's Federal Lawsuit (which argued essentially the same conspiracy theory), but also in the light of Ipsen's 2012 termination from the DA's Office, the reasons for which are now coming to light (see below).

Deputy DA Max Huntsman to be Appointed Watchdog over Sheriff's Dept.

The LA Times reported Tuesday that Deputy DA Max Huntsman, the longtime corruption tackling Assistant Head Deputy of the Public Integrity Division, will be the head of a new agency that will scrutinize the LA County Sheriff's Department.

Huntman's appointment as Inspector General is expected to be confirmed by the Board of Supervisors on December 3, 2013.

Rumor Mill Musings 

Ipsen fired for misconduct

Pursuant to a Public Records Act request made to ERCOM, the Dragnet has obtained voluminous records pertaining to the 2012 dismissal of disgraced former Deputy DA Steve Ipsen. Documents filed by Ipsen and the District Attorney's Office regarding Ipsen's claim that his dismissal was a result of 'unfair employee relations practice' are public record, and their contents cast further doubt as to the propriety of Ipsen being given the 'President's Award' at the recent ADDA Awards Dinner.

Significantly, documents discovered pursuant to the Dragnet's PRA reveal that Ipsen apparently used, or rather, abused his position as Deputy DA to advance his campaign to become District Attorney. Ipsen apparently misled a Superior Court Judge into believing Ipsen's 'Reform First' campaign slogan was actually the policy of the District Attorney's Office. In doing so Ipsen caused numerous cases to be 'settled' by using what appear to be illegal sentences in violation of Penal Code Sections 667(c)(2) and 1170.12(a)(2). Those section prohibit the granting of probation to a defendant who admits a prior strike conviction, and makes the suspension of a doubled prison term unlawful and most likely unenforceable.

A full report is to follow.

And then there were nine?

The Dragnet's recent reportage of the number of Deputy DAs seeking election to the Los Angeles Superior Court in the June 2014 primary, indicated that eight Deputy DA's have thrown their hats in the ring. However, eight chasing two open seats may soon become nine, if rumors are correct.

More to follow.

.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And then there were eight ...

The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that DDA Ann H. Park has thrown her hat in the ring and will run for Judge of the Superior Court in the June 2014 primary.


The announcement of Park's candidacy brings the total number of DDAs seeking judicial office to eight. Currently two open seats are known to be on the June ballot and it is possible that further seats might open up. However, it is unlikely that there could be as many as eight open seats, making it likely that DDA candidates will have to run against each other.

According to the Met News, a ninth candidate is also rumored to be in the running; Douglas Weitzman, a real estate broker and civil lawyer (previously rated by the LA County Bar Association as "Not Qualified") announced on a legal marketing website that he intends to announce another candidacy in February.

Our previous post detailed the seven other candidates.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

7 Deputy District Attorneys run for Judge of the Superior Court

Seven Deputy District Attorneys have announced their intention to run for seats in the Los Angeles Superior Court in the June 3, 2014 primary election.

While all would doubtless prefer not to run against a fellow DDA, that prospect seems unlikely as, so far, there are only two open seats currently available; Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Joseph DiLoreto and Jessica Perrin Silvers have announced that they will not seek reelection.

Although it is likely that other seats will open up, candidates will have to make tough choices as to which seats they will seek and who their opponents will be.

Here are the seven candidates listed alphabetically, with links to their websites.

Andrew Cooper


Website: http://AndrewCooperForJudge.com

Christopher Frisco



Website: tba
 
Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong


Website: http://www.ArmstrongForJudge.com

Dayan Mathai


Website: http://MathaiForJudge.com

Alison Matsumoto Estrada


Website: http://EstradaForJudge.com

Stacy Okun-Wiese


Website: http://WieseForJudge.com

Teresa Pineda Magno


Website: http://www.MagnoForJudge.com

We wish them all the best of luck.

UPDATED: DDA Ann H. Park has now thrown her hat in the ring, bringing the total number of DDAs running for Superior Court to eight.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Ipsen no-show at ADDA Awards Dinner

Disgraced former ADDA President Steve Ipsen was a 'no-show' at the Thursday night's ADDA Awards Dinner.


Despite an announcement that Ipsen was unable to attend due to "family illness," speculation was rife as to the real reason why Ipsen, who was fired from the DA's Office last year, failed to appear.

Many believe that Ipsen was 'dis-invited' when a significant number of honorees made it clear that they would not attend if Ipsen was present. Others opined that the prospect of being greeted by jeers or even a pelting with rotten tomatoes, may have convinced the self-styled 'Reform First' DA candidate, to stay far away.

Regardless of the real reason, the fact that Ipsen was prevented from destroying the Awards Dinner is another 'feather in the cap' for ADDA President Donna McClay, and represents the clearest example yet of the kind of leadership she intends to bring to the ADDA; one where the ADDA can shake off it's tarnished image caused by Ipsen and his "crazies," who used the ADDA to further their personal agendas, gripes and grievances to the detriment of the rank and file.

McClay earned another feather as, significantly, District Attorney Jackie Lacey not only attended the event, but remained throughout the proceedings. McClay's leadership marks the first time in recent history that the President of the ADDA is not embroiled in personal litigation with the District Attorney's Office. Former ADDA Presidents Ipsen and his appointed successor, Hyatt Seligman, both sued the DA's Office in Federal Court claiming a conspiracy theory laundry list litany of reasons why they were transferred and/or denied promotion. But after two weeks of trial, it took the jury less than two hours to decide that they had no case.

Perhaps now that McClay has stamped her mark on how she intends to lead the ADDA, she will be able to attract new members to run for board positions. Elections are rumored to be in the process of being announced, and it can only serve the interests of Deputy DAs that good people are elected to help McClay in repairing the damage caused by Ipsen.

If anyone deserved the President's Award on Thursday night, it was Donna McClay.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ADDA Awards Dinner to be held under cloud of Steve Ipsen Award

As reported last week, disgraced former ADDA President Steve Ipsen, who was fired last year by the District Attorney's Office, is indeed to receive the 'President's Award' at the November 14, 2013 ADDA Awards Dinner.


The shocking news that Ipsen was to attend the event, let alone receive an award, attracted a flood of comments far overshadowing Friday's main feature detailing Ipsen's improper ex parte communications with the Employment Relations Commission (ERCOM).


Although many readers expressed their dismay at Ipsen's continued involvement with the ADDA (he remains a Board Member until he is removed at the next election), the notion that he would be the recipient of an award at a ceremony honoring Deputy DAs and a DA Investigator for their outstanding and selfless work in furtherance of the mission of the DA's Office, casts a pall over the event.

Disgraced, fired, Steve Ipsen is to receive the President's Award
at the ADDA Awards Dinner to the dismay and disgust of most in the DA's Office.

The inclusion of Ipsen appears to be the result of a last minute move by Ipsen "crazies" who believe that Ipsen should be honored for his efforts in unionizing the ADDA. The old adage "There are none so blind as those who cannot see" comes to mind, for there is no doubt whatsoever that Ipsen's efforts were more motivated to advance his own "Reform First" political agenda, than to benefit the rank and file members of the DA's Office.

Equally few would deny that Ipsen's self-promoting tactics did untold harm to the ADDA and deterred the active involvement of many who would have become involved, but for the taint of association with Ipsen and his record of prosecutorial misconduct and attempts to prevent one of his "closest friends" (a three-time convicted sex offender) from being required to comply with Penal Code Section 290.

By the same token many, if not all of those receiving awards are likely to be shocked to learn that they will be sharing the podium with the antithesis of what a prosecutor should be. Whether the late news of Ipsen's award will prompt a slew of cancellations is unknown, but many 'on the fence' will likely give the event a miss until the stench the Ipsen era is finally expunged from the ADDA.   

Evidence in support of there being a last minute move by the Ipsen "crazies" to blindside honorable DDAs with the specter of Ipsen appears to be borne out by the timeline of announcements for the Awards Dinner. The original annoucement, on September 27, 2013, made no mention of any President's Award, let alone one to Ipsen.

The original announcement of the Awards Dinner made no mention
of a "President's Award' let alone one to be given to Ipsen.
 However, on November 8, 2013, the ADDA sent out an email announcing the extension of the deadline to purchase tickets to November 12, 2013, two days before the event. It was only when those receiving the email drilled down to the image contained in the email, did it become clear there was to be a 'President's Award' and that Ipsen was one of three recipients.

Only one week before the Awards Dinner could invitees discern that
Steve Ipsen was to receive the 'President's Award.'
For newly installed ADDA President Donna McClay, the inclusion of Ipsen must come as something of a blow. McClay has worked tirelessly to rid the ADDA of the taint of Ipsen's divisive leadership. McClay successfully organized the DA Candidates Forum last year, and oversaw useful and productive negotiations with DA Jackie Lacey's administration to secure the first pay increase for Deputy DA's in six years.

The Awards Dinner was as much to be McClay's moment, as it was to be an an event honoring outstanding hard working District Attorney professionals. However, such is the narcissistic nature of Ipsen, that he has not got the grace to bow out and let McClay have her moment.

If indeed Ipsen does appear to collect his award, perhaps the awkward silence of the majority of the audience will remind him that he is not wanted.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Another Ipsen caper goes down the crapper

ERCOM ruling in favor of ADDA thrown out - tainted by bias and improper ex parte communications.


The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin has "tossed out" a controversial ruling by the Employee Relations Commission (ERCOM) Hearing Officer Thomas Kerrigan which fawningly supported then ADDA President Steve Ipsen's assertions that ADDA officers had been the subject of retaliation.

In vacating the July 25, 2011 ruling, Judge Lavin found that ERCOM's Executive Director, Paul Causey, had engaged in improper ex parte communications with Ipsen and other ADDA officers. Furthermore, Judge Lavin found that Causey had not only selected Kerrigan as Hearing Officer, but had also relayed Ipsen's communications to Kerrigan, thereby influencing Kerrigan's ruling in favor of Ipsen and the ADDA.

Kerrigan and Causey, Judge Lavin noted, were former law partners and that there was "substantial evidence in the record that Causey and Kerrigan were biased against the District Attorney's Office." Judge Lavin also found that during the pendency of the ERCOM hearings, Ipsen had sought to develop a "personal relationship" with Causey, citing emails showing that Ipsen had invited Causey to a "complimentary lunch" on "National Remembrance Day" and that Ipsen took Causey to show him an "exotic Italian sports car" and allowed him to drive it.

Despite Judge Lavin's findings, the ADDA continues to display a portion of Kerrigan's invalid ruling on their website, captioned "ERCOM Decision re Retaliation by DA."

ADDA Website hails Kerrigan's corrupt ruling as "Decision re Retaliation by DA"

Perhaps the ADDA will now also provide a link to the full text of Judge Lavin's findings, captioned "Misconduct by [former] ADDA President Steve Ipsen invalidates ruling in favor of ADDA." In the event that the ADDA do not have a copy of Judge Lavin's Writ of Prohibition tossing out the bogus "decision," we provide it in full below.



Evidence of the bias and improper ex parte communications came to light when the District Attorney's Office learned of numerous email messages between Ipsen, other ADDA officers and ERCOM. Although ERCOM had steadfastly refused to disclose the improper emails, lawyers for the District Attorney's Office ultimately prevailed and obtained the 'smoking guns' showing Ipsen's improper conduct.

Readers familiar with Ipsen will recall that this is far from the only time that Ipsen has engaged in misconduct. In 2003, the LA Times reported that "A Los Angeles judge has found that Deputy Dist. Atty. Steve Ipsen intentionally argued inconsistent theories of the same murder in two death penalty trials in order to present the most damaging case against each defendant."

In overturning the death penalty conviction obtained by Ipsen, the Metropolitan New- Enterprise reported that the California Supreme Court found that Ipsen had "engaged in willful misconduct by arguing different theories of each defendant’s role in order to maximize the possibility of winning two death sentences."

If a Supreme Court finding of "willful misconduct" isn't a large enough red flag as to Ipsen's unfitness for holding the Office of District Attorney,  let alone a leadership position in the union purporting to represent 1,000+ Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys, there is also the very troubling admission by Ipsen that a three-time convicted sex offender was one of his closest friends, and that Ipsen had testified as a character witness for the defense in the trial of the sex offender. 

All the more surprising then, that notwithstanding all his 'baggage' and the fact that Ipsen has been fired from the DA's Office, he nevertheless continues to hold the position of "Director" on the board of the ADDA.

Steve Ipsen continues to serve as a "Director" on the ADDA Board

Many in the DA's Office cringe at the mention of Ipsen recalling his cynical manipulation of the ADDA to serve as the springboard for a political career. Ipsen's political aspirations took a Trutanich-like nose dive when he was apparently forced to withdraw his candidacy from the 2012 race to become Distict Attorney. That withdrawal is understood to have been influenced by attempts to obtain his personnel records. 

Despite multiple findings of misconduct it is understood that the ADDA has plans to "honor" Ipsen at an event in the near future. Unsurprisingly, many Deputy District Attorneys seem to have other plans that evening. It is an open secret that Ipsen continues to be a divisive figure at the ADDA, and that many on the Board would like to see him removed. That, apparently, will only happen if a few good people run for positions on the ADDA Board and succeed in winning enough votes to oust him. If you don't like the idea of someone like Ipsen having a presence on the ADDA Board, then get involved. Either run for a Board position, or help to support someone who is going to run. It's called democracy, and it's time we had some at the ADDA.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Deputy District Attorney Dayan Mathai kicks off campaign for Judge of the Superior Court

Tuesday, October 29, 2013, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Dayan Mathai launched his campaign to win an open seat for Superior Court Judge at a well attended event in downtown Los Angeles at the Bonaventure Hotel.

Flanked by his former boss, Retired Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley,
Deputy DA Dayan Mathai launched his campaign to be Judge of the Superior Court
Retired District Attorney Steve Cooley was guest of honor at the event, and introduced the man he described as "most qualified" to join the ranks of many other former Deputy District Attorneys who have successfully made the transition from the DA's Office to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Mathai, in his 15th year at the DA's Office, is currently assigned to the Organized Crime Division after a successful stint in the Hardcore Gang Division. With a trial record of more than 30 murder cases, Mathai feels he is ready to make the step to the bench. He is not alone is holding that belief. Also joining Mathai at his kickoff event were District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Kanabe, both of whom have endorsed his candidacy.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Mathai said "I want to be a judge because I’ve had the opportunity to get some great trial experience," he said. Over his years as a prosecutor, he added, he "got to see how important the role of a judge is in seeing that everybody gets a fair trial."

He is also motivated, he said, by the experience of his parents, immigrants from India, who "didn’t have the rights and privileges" that are sometimes taken for granted in this country.

At present it is unknown how many open seats will be up for grabs in the June 2014 primary. Thus far three other prosecutors have announced their intention to be on the ballot; Alison Matsumoto Estrada, Stacy Okun-Wiese, and Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong. Also rumored to be in the running is four-time loser Douglas Weitzman, a real estate broker and civil lawyer, who was previously rated by the LA County Bar Association as "Not Qualified."   

Mathai's website is MathaiForJudge.com and you can 'like' him on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/DayanMathaiforJudge.

Wendy Greuel's new job - first step to rehabilitate reputation ahead of political run?

Wendy Greuel reinvents herself - Shallman in the background?


The LA Daily News reports that former Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel has taken a consulting position with a planned children's museum in the San Fernando Valley. Greuel will oversee fundraising and help put together the museum’s board of directors, Discovery Science Center President Joe Adams said. It is understood that Greuel will be paid for her services on an hourly rate, however, it is unlikely that a paycheck is Greuel's primary motivation.

Greuel is reportedly being urged by supporters to have another run for political office, and if the rumor mill is correct, she has her eyes on termed-out L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s seat. A high-profile role in the leadership of a major philanthropic effort such as the children's museum  would not only maintain Greuel's name recognition, but would also go a long way to rehabilitate Greuel's tarnished image after her close association with the demonic DWP union cost her the keys to the Mayor's office. LA's residents continue to receive bi-monthly reminders of how much they have to pay to maintain the grossly inflated salaries of DWP workers employees.

If Greuel's use of a philanthropic effort to rehabilitate her tarnished image sounds a little too far-fetched, Machiavellian even, then remember that the architect of Greuel's Mayoral campaign, John Shallman, give similar advice to his former client Carmen Trutanich.

The spectacular failure of Trutanich's campaign to become District Attorney
has been likened to the Hindenburg Disaster.
 Within days of Trutanich's witheringly humiliating defeat in his Hindenburg-like DA campaign, Shallman advised the wannable presumtive DA heir not to seek reelection as City Attorney. Shallman counseled that the reelection bid would not only fail, but it would also harm any political aspirations possibly held by Trutanich's son, Nick, who had been linked by the Trutanich 'inner circle' to possible runs for City Attorney, District Attorney, or even appointment as US Attorney. Instead, Shallman advised Trutanich to rehabilitate his image by engaging in philanthropic causes to "help reshape his name in the community and the press."

Shallman's advice was contained in what became known as the 'Exit Memo,' Shallman's nine-page analysis of Trutanich's downfall and advice for a graceful exit strategy. The Exit Memo was apparently 'leaked' to the press after Trutanich tried to blame Shallman for his downfall to avoid paying a pile of unpaid bills.

Needless to say, Trutanich ignored the advice and the rest, as they say, is history.

Whether or not Greuel's decision to work as a consultant for the children's hospital is, indeed, a page out of the Shallman political playbook, remains to be seen. Equally, it is unclear whether Shallman would be a consultant for another campaign. Greuel has thus far declined to comment on any future political ambitions. 

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We're back!

Yes Dragnet fans, we've been in hibernation for some time while we took a reflective look at where the Dragnet has been and where we should go in the Post-Trutanich world.

Judging by the following the Dragnet enjoyed, our readers come from all across the political spectrum but have a few things in common - a hatred for phony political parvenus and other scumbags, a respect for unsung heroes who quietly, selflessly and effectively get on with the job, and a desire to see and help good people enter leadership positions in our community. With that in mind, the Dragnet will drag on and offer updates on the things you need to know.

The Face of The LAX Shooter Murderer
Murderer Paul Anthony Ciancia
(credit: FBI)

File this one in the 'other scumbags' category.

On Friday, November 1, 2013, 23 year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia murdered TSA Agent Gerardo Hernandez at a document checkpoint inside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport.

Ciancia also shot and wounded two other TSA Agents and a passenger, causing the shutdown of the Airport for most of the day.

Ciancia's murderous mayhem was swiftly brought to a halt by the brave actions of Los Angeles Airport Police Officers, who shoot and wounded the crazed gunman before he could kill anyone else.

According to the LA Times, Ciancia shot TSA Agent Hernandez at point blank range and then proceeded up an escalator in search of new targets. Witnesses say that as Ciancia rode up the escalator he turned around and noticed Hernandez still moving. Chillingly, Ciancia then went back to Hernandez and shoot him again, this time killing him.

If you want to see what Ciancia looked like after the Airport Police stopped him, click here, but be warned, this is a very graphic image. Credit for the photo of Ciancia laying wounded on the floor of LAX Terminal 3 goes to KFI's Gary Hoffman, who Tweeted the image @garhof.

R.I.P. TSA Agent Gerardo I. Hernandez - "a very nice man"

Slain TSA Agent Gerardo I. Hernandez
(credit: Luis Sinco LA Times)

TSA Agent Gerardo I. Hernandez was "always there to help anyone in need," his wife Ana Hernandez told the LA Times a day after the shooting.


"We are hurting," she said. "I am truly devastated." Flanked by TSA Administrator John Pistole, Ana Hernandez said her husband was "always excited to go to work."

The youngest of four siblings, she said, Gerardo moved to the United States from El Salvador at age 15 and graduated from Los Angeles High School.

Ana Hernandez said she was 16 and he was 19 when the couple met. They married in 1998 on Valentine’s Day.

"It's devastating because he was such a great guy," one of Hernandez's friends, Kevin Maxwell, told KNBC. Maxwell said Hernandez was the "very proud" father of a boy and a girl.

One neighbor, who declined to give his name, said Hernandez once paid him a visit after the neighbor's home was burglarized. He offered help and gave tips on installing security and surveillance. Hernandez's home was burglarized soon after.

"He was a very nice man," the neighbor said. Another neighbor said Hernandez would chat -- and sometimes commiserate -- about being government employees. It was rough, Hernandez would say, getting up early enough to be at his post at the airport by 3 a.m.

Doctors at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said that when Hernandez arrived, it was evident there was no chance of survival. A round of shots broke into fragments inside his torso and caused chest injuries and debilitating internal bleeding. "We made every effort to stop the bleeding and get the heart to beat on its own," Dr. David Plurad told NBC News.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Gerardo's wife and children.

Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight


Blogger Johnny 'Jet' DiScala, The Travel Insider, thought his flight on Delta 2255 from Atlanta to LAX to be 'ordinary' until an announcement from the aircrew thanking a number of uniformed soldiers on-board for serving our country. 45 minutes before landing, the captain came on the PA and told passengers that they were transporting a fallen soldier.

According to DiScala, "The plane went quiet as he explained that there was a military escort on-board and asked that everyone remain seated for a couple of minutes so the soldiers could get off first. He also warned us not to be alarmed if we see fire trucks since Los Angeles greets their fallen military with a water canon salute."

"A few minutes after touchdown, we did indeed have a water canon salute, which I’d previously only experienced on happy occasions like inaugural flights. This time, the water glistening on the windowpanes looked like tears." 

DiScala: "The water glistening on the windowpanes looked like tears."


"Passengers in the airport must have been worried when they saw our plane pull into gate 69A, as we had a full police and fire escort, front and back." 

DiScala posted this video of the arrival of his flight on YouTube:



Saturday, November 2, 2013 DiScala, a frequent guest on Tech Guy Leo Laporte's weekend radio show, was choked to tears as he related the what he described his "most memorable flight," witnessing a fallen soldier being returned to his hometown.

DiScala described how the Honor Guard for fallen soldiers came about thanks to a baggage handler at NorthWest Airlines who "got tired of treating fallen soldiers like baggage" and organized an Honor Guard to pay respect to our fallen soldiers.

The saddest moment, DiScala said, was watching the casket draped in the Stars and Stripes being unloaded. "It only got more emotional when I deplaned. There was a large number of passengers, who are normally in a hurry to get home or make a connection, standing by the window to witness something truly moving."

"To see the Honor Guard and family waiting patiently, while LAX baggage handlers and a military loadmaster remove the flag covered casket first from the cargo hold, was humbling to say the least."

"I’m not sure if it was the fallen soldier’s mother or wife who I watched slowly walk up to the coffin while a few other family members, wrapped in blankets, stood near with a dozen or so of the Honor Guards standing in salute."

"As soon as I saw her reach out to put her hand on her baby’s casket, I walked away. This ordinary flight became extraordinary and is one that I will never forget."


Thanks, Johnny, for reminding us of those in our military who pay the ultimate price for our liberty.

Read more: http://www.johnnyjet.com/2013/10/fallen-soldier-on-my-delta-flight/
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Greg Smith announces CD4 Campaign - wakes up a sleepy race

Former City Attorney candidate Greg Smith today announced his candidacy in the race to replace Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who represents Council District 4. LaBonge will have served on LA's Council for almost 14 years when he is termed out in 2015. He is currently LA's longest serving City Councilmember, having first won a special election in 2001 when CD4's hugely popular Councilmember, John Ferraro, sadly died in office. LaBonge, who had been Ferraro's Chief Deputy, served the balance of Ferraro's term and succeeded in filling "Big John's" shoes so well that he went on to win a further three terms in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

But with term limits now bringing a close to LaBonge's tenure, the race to fill his shoes has thus far only seen a handful of little known 'insiders' vying to represent one of the city's most influential districts. Greg Smith's candidacy now wakes up what was beginning to look like a sleepy race.    

Former Los Angeles City Attorney candidate Greg Smith enters the race for Council District 4.
This from the Smith campaign:

Los Angeles, October 1st – Today attorney Greg Smith announced his candidacy for the 2015 race to fill the Los Angeles City Council’s 4th District. Currently a public safety attorney in private practice, Greg Smith plans to run a campaign focused on the nuts and bolts of local elected office - good jobs, safe streets and exceptional constituent services. Smith’s previous run for City Attorney was lauded as a campaign based on speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Greg Smith stated, “I’m excited to announce my campaign for City Council. Having dedicated nearly my entire life as a top attorney fighting for others less fortunate I believe I can do more good service as councilman. The 4th district is a wonderful community, but we can do better. I’ll work to make sure everyone’s voice is heard at City Hall.”

“This campaign will represent an opportunity at a fresh start where we can focus on the people’s priorities – good jobs, clean air, safe streets for our families and exceptional constituent services. I have a lifetime of experience standing up for others and I plan to take that same mentality with me to City Hall to ensure our constituents voices are heard,” continued Smith.

“If elected, I will be your tireless advocate at City Hall. You have my word.”

A Los Angeles native, Smith was born and raised in Los Angeles and has strong ties to the district. The mainstay of Greg Smith’s private practice has been representing members of law enforcement and citizens who have been victims of corruption, waste and abuse.

For more information please visit Greg Smith’s official campaign website at www.SmithforCD4.com

 #  #  #

Smith has retained John Thomas as his campaign consultant. Thomas previously masterminded Smith's City Attorney campaign, launching Smith into the arena of city politics and earning Smith a citywide reputation as trusted advocate for victims of corruption, discrimination and retaliation. After garnering almost 18 percent of the popular vote in the 2013 City Attorney primary election, Smith wisely supported City Attorney Mike Feuer in his hugely successful bid to unseat an unpopular incumbent.

Although Smith's entry into the CD4 race will likely be well received amongst voters looking for a proven victor in the fight against corruption in City Hall, something especially close to voters hearts in the light of the scandalous lack of explanation for the D.W.P.'s $40M waste of ratepayer's money on nonsensical 'non-profits,' there others likely less pleased at Smith's candidacy.

Those would be the five other candidates who have their eyes on LaBonge's seat.

Former Villariagosa spokesman, Teddy Davis, was first to file papers to run for CD4. Davis, who describes himself as an "attorney/educator," was born in Los Feliz and grew up there and in Sherman Oaks. In addition to working for Villariagosa, Davis was a Special Assistant for Governor Gray Davis and worked on and off camera for ABC News in public affairs and politics. He is currently a fellow at the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. His website is  http://www.teddydavisla.com.

Perhaps Smith's strongest rival in the race is Joan Pelico, currently chief of staff to Los Angeles City Council District 5 representative Paul Kortez. Pelico was previously a field deputy to Los Angeles Councilmember Jack Weiss. Despite Weiss being widely unpopular in CD5, Pelico managed to charm and placate his all to often irate constituents. Joan's campaign website is http://joanpelico.com.

Two other women join Pelico in their bid to bring a female presence back to City Hall's chamber. Carolyn Ramsay, currently LaBonge's Chief of Staff, and Tara Bannister, Vice President for National Apartment Association and former aide to Gray Davis have both announced their candidacies. Neither appear to have campaign websites at this time.

The fifth and thus far final insider is Steve Veres, a Community College District Trustee and a district director for state Sen. Kevin de León. He too does not appear to have a campaign website at this time.

One potential candidate who will not be running for CD4 is former Mayoral candidate Kevin James. James, who looked certain to continue his quest for elected office after a stellar third place finish in the Mayoral race, has told the Dragnet that he "definitely will not run for CD4." James has been appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the Board of Works, and he says he has his hands full with the job.

With the primary election due to be held on March 3, 2015, there is every likelihood that others may enter the race for CD4, perhaps running 'grass roots' campaigns. However, there is no doubt that Greg Smith's campaign is likely to lead the field given the name recognition he enjoys in the district.

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