Thursday, January 31, 2013

LA Times teases City Attorney endorsement - Anyone But Trutanich?

The LA Times gave readers a glimpse of what they're looking for in LA's next City Attorney.

The Times Editorial Board sets out some parameters for LA's next City Attorney 'The Los Angeles city attorney's duties are numerous and diverse, and the office demands someone who approaches them with creativity, common sense and a commitment to justice.'

Based on what they say, it looks unlikely that Carmen Trutanich will be able to qualify for the Times endorsement. Unless 'creativity' means blanket bans on problems, Trutanich is out of the running there. His 'creative' solution to the billboard problem was to ban them. Same with medical marijuana dispensaries. Bans are not solutions, they are stop gaps, and stop gaps don't solve problems.

How about 'common sense?' Trutanich bombs in that category too. Threatening to jail political protesters 'for a year,' like the Dream Act and the Occupy LA protesters, shows an alarming lack of common sense. Especially when all he succeeds in doing is making himself look like a boob when his cases collapse due to 'paperwork' errors.

Finally, in the 'commitment to justice' department, Trutanich scores no points either. There's a long list of abuses of prosecutorial discretion that rules Trutanich out here, starting with the Joe McCarthy-like way he grandstanded the 'criminal aspects' investigation into AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson Memorial, then his deceptive plan to sneak secret Grand Jury powers into his stalled ACE Program (remember that hummer) and, of course, his double standards when it comes to illegal billboards.

The Times considers having the ability to 'multitask' to be a prerequisite for the job of City Attorney. Women seem to have the upper hand when it comes to multitasking, at least that's what Mrs. Friday says. Carmen, of course, ain't no lady. However, if multitasking means being able to screw everything up, then Trutanich might score a point there...

Clearly the Times is dropping some fairly heavy hints that Trutanich should not bother showing up late to pick up an endorsement, neither from them nor anyone else. The real question will be whether they endorse Greg Smith of Mike Feuer? It would seem odd that the Times would endorse Feuer given his lack of legal experience. He was an Executive Director for Bet Tzedek Legal Services, but that was almost twenty years ago and he never set foot in a courtroom the entire time. He then served as Councilman for CD5 for two terms before losing out to Rocky Delgadillo for City Attorney in 2001. a five year gap followed where nobody knows exactly what he did before running for State Assembly. Notably, Feuer did not challenge Delgadillo in 2005, something that may cause the Times to wonder whether Feuer is really committed to being City Attorney, or merely committed to landing another political gig?

Greg Smith, on the other hand, could have what it takes to land the Times endorsement. In terms of 'commitment to justice,' his work fighting corruption and discrimination is not only unquestioned, but unparallelled among the other candidates. His 'common sense' has led to numerous victories for those who have suffered injustice because he knows how to present a case in a common sense way that judges and juries understand. As for 'creativity,' Smith has some ideas up his sleeve to streamline the way fraud, abuse and corruption can be reported, and he supports the medical marijuana initiative that will finally allow the City of Los Angeles to get a grip on the explosion of unlawful pot shops, while protecting those dispensaries who follow the law. It's creative because it relieves the politicians in the horseshoe from having to pick sides on the issue of medical marijuana, and leaves the decision up to the voters.

So will the Times back Greg Smith, an outsider, or will they be shy of backing an outsider because they were so badly let down by the last outsider they backed - Carmen Trutanich.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Feuer, Trutanich reported to City Ethics Commission

Embattled City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and termed out Sacramento Assemblyman Mike Feuer may have more in common with each other then both being a pair of political insiders vying for the second highest paid elected position in the City of Los Angeles. Documents received by the Dragnet shows that both have been the subject of complaints filed with the City Ethics Commission.

The City Ethics Commission has been asked to investigate Trutanich's billboard
The complaint about Trutanich relates to the gargantuan billboard that anonymously 'popped up' alongside the I-5 freeway. It not only lacks the required disclaimer statement indicating who paid for it, but the graphics used in its production look suspiciously like they were supplied by the Trutanich campaign, which would violate it's apparent 'Independent Expenditure' status and make it an illegal campaign contribution in excess of the $1,300 limit on individual contributions. The LA Times reports that 'A commercial sign along such a highly traveled freeway could command anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 a month in rent, said a member of the billboard industry, who spoke on condition that he not be identified because his firm does business in the city.' The LA Times said.

As for Mike Feuer, the ethics complaint appears to be the result of an exclusive report at the Mayor Sam blog.
The Mayor Sam blog's report on contributions received by Mike Feuer from Bet Tzedek resulted in an ethics complaint.

Feuer's complaint relates to concerns first voiced at the Mayor Sam blog that Feuer has received campaign contributions from executives at city contractor Bet Tzedek Legal Services, seemingly in violation of Measure 'H' which prohibits those who contract with the City for sums in excess of $100,000, from making campaign contributions.

The Mayor Sam report is understood to have led to the ethics complaint appearing below to be filed with the City Ethics Commission. The Mayor Sam blog subsequently reported that additional contributions from Bet Tzedek 'associates' had been identified, bringing the total sum received by Feuer to a sum in excess of $30,000.00.

The Feuer campaign responded to questions from the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise regarding the Bet Tzedek contributions by disputing that the contributions Feuer received were illegal. 'The donations identified in the blog are lawful. Although not addressed in the [Mayor Sam] blog, one contribution was made in error and returned. Anyone who tries to score cheap political points at the expense of the poor, the elderly, Holocaust survivors and disabled people who are Bet Tzedek’s clients should be ashamed.' A campaign spokesperson declined to answer MetNews questions about the donations.

The ethics complaints were filed after the candidates for City Attorney completed a pair of debates on January 14, and 17 and were not mentioned. However, the candidates will face each other in debates a third and fourth time next week, and it is likely that Trutanich and Feuer will face questions about these complaints.

Trutanich is, perhaps, the most vulnerable of the candidates, with his fundraising stalled and lagging far behind frontrunners Greg Smith and Mike Feuer. His reelection changes are likely irreparably damaged after his humiliating defeat in the June 2012 District Attorney race. Trutanich now admits that his failed run for higher office was a 'mistake,' however he has not apologized to voters for violating his 2009 'Pledge to Serve' under which he swore a written promise not to use the City Attorney's office as a springboard to the DA's Office. Trutanich also recently failed to secure an endorsement from his former supporters, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, and an attempt to wow the Firefighters' Union into endorsing him also failed despite an hour long pitch.

Trutanich has been touting his record of 'achievements' as City Attorney to anyone forced to listen to him, however, as he remains the sole source of information in support of that so-called record, his credibility is increasingly called into question. As rival candidate Greg Smith best put it, 'How can we believe anything you say?' after listing many of the instances where Trutanich was found to have made false claims such as his Pledge to Serve, his non-existent police endorsements, his paid for YouTube views, his false and misleading ballot designation, and of course, the now laughable claim that he was 'surrounded and shot at by gangmembers.' 

When defeated, Truanich will set a record for being the first incumbent City Attorney to fail at reelection since the position of an independent City Attorney was established under Charter Reform. He will also set a record for losing two elections in less than a year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's bigger - Trutanich's illegal billboard, or the lie that he doesn't know who paid for it?

The LA Times did a great job breaking the story about Carmen Trutanich's illegal billboard, currently violating Los Angeles Municipal Code Section alongside the southbound I-5 at the Glendale Blvd. exit, but they didn't do such a great job in showing just how big the billboard actually is.

It is huge, probably 40 feet long and 6 feet tall.

So what is bigger, the billboard or the lie that Trutanich does not know who produced it and paid for it? Well the billboard is big, but the 'I know nothing' lie is bigger.

Given the lack of a disclaimer statement required by LAMC, we have no ideal who paid for it, and why. What's in it for whoever paid to put this eyesore alongside the freeway? The public has the right to know, and that's why LAMC was enacted.

The requirement for a disclaimer on campaign communications applies to independent expenditures
according to Los Angeles City Charter Section 470(l)
According to LAMC Section 11.00(m), a violation of any section of the LAMC is punishable by the City Attorney as a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum sentence of six months in jail, per occurrence. Trutanich has historically interpreted this to mean a new violation can be alleged for every day the violation continues. That would be $7,000 in fines and three and a half years in jail for every week that the billboard violates the disclaimer requirement.

Of course whoever placed this billboard in violation of LAMC is not losing sleep at the thought of Trutanich putting him in jail on $1M bail, or even prosecuting him at all. Trutanich is not likely to prosecute one of his supporters, and there is little doubt that this blot on the landscape is the handy work of one of his supporters who probably could not wait to brag about his 'independent expenditure.'

Another question that remains to be answered is who provided the artwork, particularly the graphics, used in the billboard? Although it is possible to 'grab' graphics from Trutanich's website, they would be unlikely to be large enough to be reproduced on such a large billboard.

This graphic, 'grabbed' from Trutanich's website, is not large enough to be reproduced on the billboard
The globe-shaped logo appearing on Trutanich's website clearly lacks the resolution to be enlarged to the size seen on the billboard, so where did it come from? In order to qualify as an independent expenditure, Trutanich cannot supply the graphic, nor assist in providing it.

Trutanich should come clean and not only reveal the identity of his secret benefactor and explain how the graphics were provided, but also refer the matter to the District Attorney's Office or the Attorney General's Office for prosecution as he clearly has a conflict of interest. However, given everything the public has come to know of all things Trutanich, the last thing they can expect is for him to come clean; it's not in his DNA.


Monday, January 28, 2013

It’s déjà vu all over again with Trutanich’s illegal billboards

Embattled Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen ‘I am a Liar’ Trutanich’s response to the LA Times’ questions about a campaign billboard that ‘popped up’ alongside the I-5 freeway, was a line straight out of Hogan’s Heroes; ‘I know nothing’ Trutanich said, denying any knowledge of, or connection to whoever is responsible for the billboard.

Trutanich’s denial may seem not only a little too convenient, but also lacking in candor. It does not take a genius to work out that whoever is responsible for the billboard is a major supporter of the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician. As such, it is highly likely that he has told Trutanich what he has done. This makes the ‘denial’ just about as credible as everything else on Trutanich’s rap sheet.

But perhaps the biggest indicator of all not being what it seems when it comes to this ‘popped up’ billboard, is that it is not the first time that illegal billboards have ‘popped up’ for Trutanich.

In April 2009, during Trutanich's runoff campaign against Jack Weiss, a number of trailer billboards 'popped up' in the San Fernando Valley. Then, just as now, Trutanich denied all knowledge of the trailer billboards. Then, just as now, the trailer billboards did not have the requisite disclosure statements on them, so it was not possible to know who had paid for them.

Rumors suggest that the person responsible for the 2009 trailer  billboards was a former client of Trutanich, who had successfully represented him in his unhitched trailer advertising business before becoming City Attorney. Trutanich, of course, subsequently changed his position on unhitched trailer billboards, another theme common to Trutanich; he changed his position on  the Controller's right to audit programs administered by elected officials, changed his position on the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries, and of course, changed his position on not seeking higher office.

Perhaps it was City Attorney candidate Greg Smith who best summed up the situation when it comes to Trutanich's credibility at the recent Temple Israel of Hollywood City Attorney debate. Smith challenged Trutanich over his record of untruthfulness including; lying about non-existent police endorsements, use of a false and misleading ballot designation and the false claims about being surrounded and shot at by gangmembers. 'How can we believe anything you say?' asked Smith.

Trutanich achieved his much craved for nationwide media attention when he jailed a businessman on $1M bail for an illegal billboard, yet he seems perfectly content to sit back and play dumb when it comes to his own illegal billboards. Is this another example of the kind of 'do as I say, not as I do' doublespeak that we have come to expect from Trutanich?

The LA Times noted that the latest 'popped up' billboard appears to violate at least two campaign finance laws; one requiring independent expenditures over $1000 to be reported, the other requires a disclosure statement to appear on the billboard identifying who paid for it. Trutanich did not make any comment about the illegality of the billboard. 

Given Trutanich's heavy handed treatment directed towards billboard violators, should we expect him to be pounding the table, waving papers and alleging 'criminal aspects' in respect of this latest billboard? Or is it the case that Trutanich knows that it is one of his supporters who has violated the law, and so they get preferential treatment? Either way, the lack of candor from Trutanich is very troubling, and provides no clearer example of why he is unfit to be City Attorney.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ethics Commission asked to Investigate Trutanich

The Los Angeles Times followed up on their article questioning the legality of a billboard pimping failed DA wannabe Carmen Trutanich's desperate bid to be reelected, with a new report indicating that rival City Attorney candidate Greg Smith has filed a complaint with the City Ethics Commission calling for an investigation.

In a letter addressed to the Ethics Commission, Smith urges the Commission to investigate Trutanich noting that 'Ironically, illegal billboards have been a bedrock issue featured often and prominently among Mr. Trutanich’s prosecutorial priorities as City Attorney, even as gang injunctions have declined under his watch.'

Smith also took the opportunity to remind the Ethics Commission that this is not exactly Trutanich's first rodeo where a lack of integrity, truthfulness, and transparency are concerned, adding 'Further, Mr. Trutanich has a history of using his political campaigns to disseminate false and questionable information to voters, causing a Superior Court judge to take the extraordinary action of labeling his tactics “misleading” during the course of his ill-fated run for District Attorney in 2012. I urge the Ethics Commission to investigate this matter to ensure transparency, accuracy of information, and a fair election.' 

The Times contacted the City Ethics Commission for comment, however, they declined to either confirm or deny the action they were taking as a result of this complaint.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trutanich breaking billboard law?

The LA Times reports that the failing reelection campaign of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich might be in hot water over a 'mystery' billboard that has popped up, allegedly without the knowledge of the former (?) billboard bully.

Although the billboard location has a permit, it might violate campaign finance laws because it lacks the requisite disclosure statement to indicate who paid for it. If Trutanich is to be believed, and that's never an easy leap, the campaign did not pay for it. If the owners of the location paid for it, then its estimated value, 'anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 a month in rent' according to the Times, exceeds the $1,300 maximum contribution limit, unless the owners were making an 'Independent Expenditure.' However, such an expenditure requires a campaign finance statement, and no such statement can be found. Also, the billboard must have been created independent of any assistance from the campaign, and the graphics appear to be too similar to Trutanich's graphics to have been created independently.

Questions over the legality of the billboard are likely to continue and could lead to some awkward questions for Trutanich, who looks increasingly likely to fail in his reelection bid.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trutanich trashed in press over false 'outsider' claims, Smith wows Venice Neighborhood Council meeting

Daily News Editorial blasts Trutanich over false 'outsider' claim

A Los Angeles Daily News Editorial blasted Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich's most recent false claim; his pathetic characterization of himself as the 'outsider' at a recent City Attorney debate.

Proving that LA's second most widely read newspaper still believes that LA's next City Attorney should be A.B.C. - Anyone But Carmen Trutanich, the Daily News wasted no time in debunking Trutanich's latest in a long list of campaign lies.  Trutanich told his tall tale at last weeks City Attorney debate at Temple Israel of Hollywood, and it was a lie quickly caught by rival City Attorney candidate Greg Smith who swiftly ridiculed the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer's claim.

Trutanich has a long 'rap sheet' of campaign falsehoods, and it is not without considerable significance that the latest was not only caught by Smith, but also by the Daily News Editorial Board. Smith pointed out that Trutanich's failed DA campaign was imbued with political insider endorsements from top to bottom. The only endorsement Trutanich lacked was that of LA voters, who are likely to repeat the humiliating drubbing he earned for his repeated 'truth challenged' statements in the upcoming March 5, primary election.

Thus far in his reelection campaign, Trutanich has falsely claimed to be unable to take the same pay cut as the rest of his staff because his family 'lives on my salary,' despite the fact that they are all gainfully employed. He is equally spuriously hailing himself as the savior of LA's treasury with his voodoo math claim to have 'saved' the city $280M in 'favorable' trial verdicts, despite the fact that he has set a record for $37.4M in trial losses as a result of the failure of his 'Porcupine Defense.' The latest 'outsider' claim surely provides the best evidence of how desperate Trutanich is to hold on to the job he did not want when he was busy eying up the DA's office as the next rung on his political ladder.

Met News gives Trutanich, Feuer poor reviews on debate performances

There's no sign of an endorsement for City Attorney from LA's legal newspaper, the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise, yet, but if their review of the candidates' performances at the second of three scheduled debates is anything to go by, neither Trutanich nor Feuer should be holding their breath.

Trutanich emerges as the desperate driver of a slow motion train wreck, hailing his self-proclaimed achievements while forced to run from a record that impresses nobody. Feuer, bedeviled by campaign finance questions and a lack of courtroom experience, probably has the edge on Trutanich, but that is no achievement given the level of voter resistance to another Sacramento politician looking for safe harbor in LA. Smith is snapping at the heels of the two politicians and clearly has them worried. As he ramps up his well funded campaign in the final weeks of the race, it won't surprise anyone to see him in the runoff.

Smith is sole City Attorney candidate at Venice Neighborhood Council meeting

City Attorney candidate Greg Smith delivered a short introductory speech to a large crowd at Tuesday night's Venice Neighborhood Council meeting.

Smith's speech was short, to the point and seemed to resonate well with the crowd, judging by the applause and comments made while he spoke individually to members of the audience. Timing is everything, and Smith was fortunate to have selected this month's meeting to introduce himself to Venice residents as the audience was unusually large due to concerns over the neighborhood's growing homeless person problems. Smith related that many of those he spoke to were unaware of the other candidates despite their prior appearances. He certainly seemed to have chosen the right night to visit Venice.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Smith closes strong in second City Attorney debate

Los Angeles City Attorney candidate Greg Smith delivered a powerful and polished presentation at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce City Attorney debate Thursday night.

City Attorney candidate Greg Smith clearly enjoyed having the opportunity to
inform voters of his candidacy, while Mike Feuer appears intrigued by Smith's rising stock.
Although a political novice, Smith was easily the most comfortable of the candidates in delivering his message, and he certainly looked like he was enjoying the cut and thrust of debate. His apparent ease and clarity likely gave incumbent Carmen Trutanich pause for thought. Trutanich spent the bulk of the debate forced to defending his record, something that Mike Feuer reminded the audience included setting a record $37.4M in trial losses in the last quarter of 2012. 'That money could have paid for 370 more police officers,' Feuer said.

Trutanich's record losses has been blamed on the failure of his 'Porcupine Defense,' an inane strategy  that has resulted in a string of high dollar value losses in cases that could, and should have been either prevented by risk management, or settled for sums far less than the jury verdict. Such is the level of concern at Trutanich's mismanagement of his civil litigation cases, that one of moderator Robert Kovacik's four questions challenged the candidates to state whether they favored defending the city from lawsuits at all costs, or would prefer to settle cases. All candidates but Trutanich said that they believed the answer was a combined approach, settle the cases that need to be settled while defending others. Trutanich's answer was to claim to have 'saved' $250M in 'favorable verdicts' in 134 cases out of 147. The problem, of course, is that Trutanich's 'savings' are illusory; there is no $250M stash of cash that Trutanich can point to, however, there is a $37.4M hole in the budget that Trutanich is responsible for.

NBC4 News anchor Robert Kovacik moderated the second City Attorney debate
One question that all candidates did agree on was that the position of Los Angeles City Attorney should not become an appointed one. The question was doubtless prompted by concerns expressed by the City Council that Trutanich was not able to adequately fulfill the needs of the Council. Feuer pointed out that Councilmember Paul Krekorian had recently complained of a one year delay in getting an ordinance written by Trutanich. Such is the level of concern over Trutanich's administration, that the Council will likely start using private law firms to write ordinances, something that will put further strain on the budget.

At the end of the debate, the limelight was noticeably on Smith and Feuer who seem to be leading the debates.
For Trutanich, the debates are clearly a painful experience where his poor record constantly comes home to remind the audience that his is a failed administration. His desperate claims to have miraculously re-staffed the Neighborhood Prosecutor Program with 41 attorneys, should have been met with a cheer from the audience. Instead, there was a silence that was very telling. They didn't believe it.

If the trend in the debates continues, Smith will become the man to watch. He has surpassed Trutanich in fundraising, and as his ability to deliver a message that clearly resonates increases, He will likely surpass Trutanich in the polls. Feuer, despite accusations of fundraising improprieties and a new allegation from Trutanich that he violated ethics rules at a Neighborhood Council meeting, looks unperturbed. Trutanich, who only has incumbency in his favor, but insufficient funds to reach voters, is widely thought of as likely to repeat his monumental failure in the DA primary.

With no candidate even close to obtaining the necessary 50% plus one vote to win the election in the primary, a Smith-Feuer runoff seems likely.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

City Second City Attorney debate tonight, ABC Poll shows rising trend for Smith, Feuer disputes accepting illegal campaign contributions, says they were 'returned'

Second City Attorney candidates' debate tonight

The Taglyan Cultural Complex at 1201 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028 will see the candidates for Los Angeles City debate from 6pm to 8pm. If Monday night's debate is anything to go by, the audience can expect a to hear more from the candidates about what makes them the voter's best choice for our next City Attorney, as well as some well-placed barbs about what makes their opponents unsuitable.

ABC7 Poll shows rising trend for Greg Smith

According to the latest poll conducted by ABC7/Survey USA, Mike Feuer goes into the debate leading in fundraising, but lagging in the polls, six points behind incumbent Carmen Trutanich. He  lags far behind Feuer and Smith in fundraising but seems to be right around the same place in the polls as he was six months ago when his doomed DA campaign ended his political career.

Greg Smith appears to be closing the gap to Feuer and Trutanich rapidly. He is now 7 points behind Feuer, a gain of 8 points from where he was before Christmas and a sign that as voters learn more about Smith, the more he appears to be their choice. Smith has just launched his media campaign targeting high propensity voters, so he can expect further gains in the remaining seven weeks to election day. 

Noel Weiss, in fourth place, also got a slight (2 point) bump in his polling, a sign that voters are keen to break the cycle held by career politicians and embrace new candidates who don't carry political baggage. 

With many voters still undecided, expect the positions to change as the candidates start getting their messages out. Only Feuer and Smith have campaign warchests sufficient to mount viable citywide campaigns. Trutanich's campaign suffers from his late start as well as his overall lack of credibility, and will likely end up in third place as rivals remind voters of all the reasons why they rejected him in June 2012.

Feuer disputes receiving illegal campaign contributions, but admits returning contribution made 'in error.'

The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that Feuer gave a statement concerning the 'Bet Tzedekgate' scandal first reported at the Mayor Sam blog. The denial

A brief statement accredited to Feuer states 'The donations identified in the blog are lawful. Although not addressed in the blog, one contribution was made in error and returned.'

Feuer, who Monday night falsely accused Greg Smith of 'endorsing' a right wing tea party candidate for Los Angeles Mayor,' continued his misinformation campaign by trying to deflect the fact that he had received 'one contribution' which was returned, adding 'Anyone who tries to score cheap political points at the expense of the poor, the elderly, Holocaust survivors and disabled people who are Bet Tzedek’s clients should be ashamed.' Perhaps it is Feuer who should be ashamed at using the poor, elderly and Holocaust survivors as a shield from questions about his fundraising?

Notably, when attempts were made to verify Feuer's claims, the Met News reports that 'A campaign spokesperson declined to answer MetNews questions about the donations.'

The $30,036 that the Mayor Sam blog asserts Feuer accepted from associates of Bet Tzedek certainly appear to violate Measure 'H,' and the public deserves more than a 'No comment' answer from him when asked about the donations.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

City Attorney candidate Greg Smith cited by Mayor Sam as source of Mike Feuer's Bet Tzedekgate scandal

The folks at the Mayor Sam political blog must have had their own reporter at Monday night's City Attorney debate at Temple Israel of Hollywood. They have credited Greg Smith as the source of what they are calling 'Bet Tzedekgate,' allegations that rival candidate Mike Feuer accepted over $30,000 in campaign contributions from Bet Tzedek 'associates.' The Mayor Sam blog asserts that those contributions seemingly violate Los Angeles City campaign finance laws, specifically Measure 'H,' the voter initiative that prohibits principals of organizations who contract with the City from contributing to candidates for elected office.

The first reports of 'Bet Tzedekgate' appeared on the Mayor Sam blog late on Saturday night. At that time they reported Feuer accepting $18,950 from Bet Tzedek 'associates.' However, at Monday night's debate Smith stated that Feuer had taken $30,000 from the city contractor for his campaign. That prompted Mayor Sam to re-check their figures, and Mayor Sam now reports that Feuer received a total of $30,036 from Bet Tzedek 'associates.'

While the rest of the mainstream media are likely fact-checking the Bet Tzedekgate scandal, the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise wasted no time in contacting the Feuer campaign for comment. Not surprisingly, Feuer's people were not talking.  The Met News also reported that in addition to Bet Tzedek's current President and C.E.O., Sandor 'Sandy' Samuels, other high level executives also made contributions to Feuer's campaign.

'The named donors were Bet Tzedek President and CEO Sandor Samuels, Fujie, attorney Gary D. Roberts, developer Luis Lainer, attorney John A. Schulman, SunAmerican Financial Services Group executive Jay S. Wintrob, and consultant Jerome L. Coben. The blogger asserted that Roberts and Fujie held the title of chairperson of Bet Tzedek, Lainer chairperson emeritus, and Wintrob, Schulman, and Coben members of the President’s Council. The city law applies to the “chair, president, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, or the functional equivalent of those positions” of a bidder or contractor.' the Met News reported.

Whether Smith was the source of the Bet Tzedekgate scandal, or merely verified and repeated what he read in the Mayor Sam blog, he likely scored a major plus mark in the eyes of Los Angelenos who voted overwhelmingly to pass Measure 'H' and end the campaign contribution gravy train that smacks of pay to play.

The four candidates will face each other again on Thursday night at the next debate co-hosted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Hollywood Chamber PAC at the Taglyan Cultural Complex 1201 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028 from 6pm to 8pm. It is highly likely that Feuer will be called on to explain his role in the Bet Tzedekgate scandal, and perhaps more importantly, why he apparently did not know that the Bet Tzedek contributions violated Measure 'H.'


First City Attorney debate of 2013 sets scene for spirited campaign

Temple Israel of Hollywood and Hollywood United Methodist Church co-hosted the first City Attorney debate of 2013 Monday night, and the audience were treated to a spirited debate as all four candidates traded barbs to greater or lesser effect, while extolling their qualifications.

Although far from a capacity crowd, the first City Attorney debate of 2013 was well attended.
The debate was skillfully moderated by LA Times Editor-at-Large and Columnist Jim Newton who posed a series of questions to the candidates aimed at focusing on their strengths and weaknesses.

All candidates but Trutanich (far right) appeared to be engaged and enthusiastic at the opportunity to debate their rivals.
As Newton introduced the candidates and set the ground rules for the debate, candidates Mike Feuer, Greg Smith and Noel Weiss looked like they were engaged and prepared for the debate. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, seated at the far end of the table, looked anything but happy to be forced to face his record.

As moderator Jim Newton laid down the rules for the debate, Trutanich (far right) looked like he would rather be elsewhere.
So insecure was Trutanich, that he felt the need to remind the audience that he was 'the incumbent,' during his characteristically rambling opening statement. It was, perhaps, an allusion to the desperate hope that he must cling to, that the power of incumbency will miraculously delay his all but inevitable defeat; if not in the March 5, 2013 primary election, then surely in the equally inevitable run-off.

Greg Smith (center) surprised the audience with his opening statement, hailing his family history of fighting racism.
 Greg Smith delivered one of the evenings many surprises during his opening statement, telling the audience that he was Jewish and that his grandparents, who settled in Los Angeles, had to change their name from Goldman to Coleman to shake off discrimination. Smith's legal career has been focused on fighting discrimination at all levels, something he promises to fight if elected as City Attorney.

Mike Feuer's opening statement summarized his long career in politics as well as his tenure as Executive Director of Bet Tzedek. Feuer declined to comment on the reports that he had received campaign contributions from that organization which appear to be in violation of campaign finance laws.

Once the opening statements had been made the debate moved forward with a series of questions where each candidate was given a minute to respond. Newton had also ingeniously, if not devilishly, assigned a series of questions to the candidates whereby each candidate was tasked with asking a question of a designated opponent.

Greg Smith was tasked with asking a question of Trutanich. It was, perhaps, the highpoint of the evening. In summary, Smith said 'Mr. Trutanich, you've been the City Attorney for almost four years, but you've spent half that time running for District Attorney, and the during that time almost every media outlet has found you to have been untruthful, whether it was going back on your pledge to serve, false claims to endorsements, or false claims about being surrounded by and shot at by gang members. How can we now believe anything you say?'

Greg Smith's question, exposing Trutanich's record of untruthfulness, put the 'incumbent' on the defensive
where he remained for the remainder of the debate as other candidates took the lead established by Smith.
If Smith's question was the 'gotcha' moment that Trutanich had dreaded, his response showed how ill-prepared he was to answer questions about his reputation for being a liar. Trutanich rambled in his response, blaming his campaign for the mistakes that lead to the LA Times branding him 'Carmen Trutanich, I am a Liar.' Smith made a bold move in identifying the only issue that really defines Trutanich; he has no credibility. It was a blow that the 'incumbent' never recovered from during the remainder of the debate. It was a blow that marked Smith as a force to be reckoned with during the remainder of the campaign.

When it was Trutanich's turn to ask a question of Noel Weiss, Trutanich wasted no time in letting his anger at Smith's question become clear. Trutanich asked Weiss to 'Punch Smith!' If the question was supposed to be humorous, if failed to draw but a muted laugh from his supporters, and  simply reinforced his reputation as a bully.

If the first City Attorney debate of 2013 is anything to go by, then the second debate on Thursday night is sure to see Trutanich faced with further attacks and audiences reminded of all the reasons why they so roundly rejected him six months ago.

Trutanich now lags far behind Smith and Feuer in fundraising, and his performance on Monday night seems certain to keep him in a distant third place as Smith and Feuer emerge as the likely runoff candidates.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Mayor Sam blog accuses City Attorney candidate Mike Feuer of accepting illegal campaign contributions

The Mayor Sam Blog has exclusively revealed that termed-out State Assemblyman Mike Feuer has accepted seemingly illegal campaign contributions from executives at Bet Tzedek for his campaign to become City Attorney.

Those contributions are apparently in violation of campaign finance laws prohibiting organizations who contract with the City of Los Angeles from making campaign contributions to elected officials and candidates for elected office. Bet Tzedek currently contracts with the City of Los Angeles to provide over $800,000 in  legal services to the Department of Aging.

Bet Tzedek currently has two contracts with the City of Los Angeles
well in excess of the $100,000 limit established by Measure 'H'
In March 2011, voters overwhelmingly passed Measure 'H' in an effort to end the perception of 'pay to play' paybacks. Measure 'H' bans organizations who benefit from city contracts in excess of $100,000 from making contributions to elected officials. It also bans candidates for elected offices, such as the Mayor, City Attorney and Controller, from accepting such contributions.

After passing by 75%, Measure 'H' became part of the City Charter at Section 470(c)(12). The Mayor Sam Blog has identified contributions from '19 Bet Tzedek associates' who 'have donated a collective sum of roughly $18,950' to Feuer's campaign to become City Attorney.

The '19 Bet Tzedek associates' who have been identified by Mayor Sam as contributing to Feuer, include Sandor Samuels, Bet Tzedek's President and C.E.O.

Samuels appears to be a 'principal' of Bet Tzedek, specifically banned from making contributions under City Charter Section 470(c)(12)(F) which provides that 'For purposes of this subdivision, a principal of a person who is a bidder, proposer, or subcontractor means the person's board chair, president, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, or the functional equivalent of those positions... '

The remainder of the Bet Tzedek 'associates' appear to be Board Members who may not be specifically prohibited from making contributions, unless those contributions where solicited by Bet Tzedek, which is prohibited under City Charter Section 470(c)(12)(C) which provides that 'The following persons shall not engage in prohibited fundraising for any elected City official, candidate for elected City office, or City committee controlled by an elected City official or candidate as further provided by ordinance: (i) A person who bids on or submits a proposal or other response to a contract solicitation that has an anticipated value of at least $100,000 and requires approval by the City Council; (ii) Subcontractors that are expected to receive at least $100,000 as a result of performing a portion of the contract obligations of a person defined in subparagraph (i); and (iii) Principals of persons defined in subparagraphs (i) and (ii).' 

Whether some sort of fundraising event took place to solicit contributions based on Feuer's past association with Bet Tzedek (Feuer is a former Executive Director of Bet Tzedek) is a matter that will doubtless have to be investigated. Any investigation might be assisted by evidence supplied by Feuer himself. Feuer recently posted this picture of himself on his Facebook page where he appears with other Bet Tzedek executives, including current President and C.E.O. Sandor 'Sandy' Samuels.

In a comment to the photograph, Feuer say that 'it was great getting together last week,' a reference, perhaps, to some sort of event organized by Bet Tzedek. If that 'getting together' was organized by Bet Tzedek to solicit support for Feuer from Board Members or other Bet Tzedek 'associates,' then that would appear to violate the City Charter Section 470(c)(12)(C).

The Mayor Sam exclusive is particularly timely. Monday night sees the candidates for City Attorney debating at Temple Israel of Hollywood. The topic, 'How do Values and Ethics Inform the Job of City Attorney,' will likely lead to some awkward questions for Feuer based on the perception that he has accepted campaign contributions which appear to directly violate Measure 'H'.

It will likely take an investigation by the City Ethics Commission to determine whether any or all of the Bet Tzedek contributions are illegal. However, based on the spirit of Measure 'H,' Feuer's acceptance of so much money from Bet Tzedek clearly creates the appearance of impropriety. That is surely something a prospective City Attorney should avoid at all costs. However, Feuer's understanding of ethics may be subject to some question. Last week Feuer accepted an endorsement from Mayor Villaraigosa, the man who holds the dubious record of having been fined the largest amount ever LA's history for ethics violations. That may well lead to questions being asked as to why a candidate for City Attorney would ever want an endorsement from someone with a 'rap sheet' for ethics violations?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Free For All

City Attorney debates expected to narrow issues in race

Two debates are scheduled to take place next week, and all candidates are expected to attend. Mike Feuer, freshly fueled with his endorsement by soon to be former Mayor Villaraigosa, has recently laid claim the be the 'front-runner,' a precarious position considering that the previous holder of that dubious title got his ass handed to him on a plate. That would be Carmen 'the Clown' Trutanich, who went down in flames a la Hindenberg in the DA primary. Trutanich will likely be on the defensive, facing a barrage of questions about his string of broken promises. The debates will also be the first time voters get to see and hear from Greg Smith, the only outsider in the race with a campaign warchest that spells trouble for both Feuer and Trutanich who likely expected to have the field to themselves. The fourth candidate, Noel Weiss, despite running a grass roots campaign, is nevertheless well regarded and likely to pose challenging questions to the candidates.

The first debate, co-hosted by Temple Israel of Hollywood and Hollywood United Methodist Church, will be moderated by LA Times Editor-at-Large Jim Newton, and focuses on ethics; something that should give Trutanich good reason to dodge the debate on a pretext of family illness, and one that might trouble Feuer too, in the light of his recent endorsement my the Mayor of LA who holds the dubious record of the largest ever ethics violation fine.  

Trutanich lags behind in fundraising - as predicted

The LA Weekly reports that raising money seems to be more of a problem for Carmen Trutanich than raising false hopes with bogus push polls. After his disastrous DA campaign, people don't seem too willing to back the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician.

With only $313,000 cash in the bank, Trutanich lags far behind rivals Greg Smith and Mike Feuer and is unlikely to be able to change that position in the remaining eight weeks before the election. Gone are the days when glitzy campaign videos showed Trutanich surviving an assassination attempt from gang members who surrounded and shot at him in Green Meadows Park. That lie proved very expensive for him, and while he might hope that voters have forgotten the way he mislead and misrepresented himself at every turn, it seems the people who cough up campaign contributions have other plans for their money. Fundraisers, it seems, are not going to be keeping him too busy. How times change...

Villaraigosa endorses Feuer - as predicted

A weak and frail looking Mike Feuer grasped the podium at a press event in Boyle Heights to accept the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa.

The termed out State Assemblyman's acceptance of an endorsement from the man who holds the record for the largest ever ethics violation fine in Los Angeles history may be seen by some as a sign of either poor judgment or desperation.

For the most part the media have focused more on the fact that Villaraigosa chose not to support incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, a sign that the media still relishes in reporting the slow motion train wreck that is the essence of all things Trutanich. The Los Angeles Daily News reported that 'Villaraigosa snubbed City Attorney Carmen Trutanich on Thursday and endorsed his opponent, Mike Feuer, in the city's March primary election.'

But while the endorsement is a slap in the face to the self-proclaimed 'poll leader,' it was never on the cards that Trutanich would attract any endorsements for his re-election campaign. He burned the credibility of every politician and civic leader who endorsed him in the past, and that appears to be a mistake they won't make again.

With Trutanich lagging behind in fundraising and support, it won't be too much of a surprise to see Greg Smith and Mike Feuer facing each other in the runoff, while Trutanich busies himself with the shredder in the final days of his administration.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mayoral race heats up, Trutanich reported to State Bar, Feuer endorsed by LA's Biggest Loser, Mayor Sam blog in hot water?

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Kevin James blasts Wendy Greuel for campaigning on city dime time

Proving that he's the only 'outsider' in the race to become LA's next Mayor, Kevin James released a salvo of complaints against rival candidate Wendy Greuel for allegedly abusing her position as City Controller to further her mayoral campaign.

James, a former Assistant US Attorney and talk show host, was outraged when he received copies of Greuel's calendars showing countless campaign-related activities taking place during times when Greuel was supposed to be working as City Controller. Intriguingly, the LA Times gave James' complaint considerable coverage, a sign too that the lone outsider's campaign now represents a viable alternative for voters.

James also appeared on KFI AM640's midday Bill Carroll Show and announced that he had called for an investigation into possible violations of LA's campaign ethics laws "If you review the city ethics code, you can find any number of violations as a result of these activities." James told reporters outside City Hall."She should be doing the work of the City Controller, not campaigning," James told KFI's listeners, noting that at one political event, Greuel had dispatched her Chief Deputy to attend a meeting that had nothing to do with the work of the Controller's Office.

Greuel, however, denied wrongdoing, saying nobody on her city staff works on her campaign except as volunteers after hours. "This is campaign silly season," she said.

Evidence of Greuel's activities came to light as a result of an investigation by Randy Economy, a reporter at the Los Cerritos Community News. Economy burst onto LA's political news scene by outing corruption in the County Assessor's Office, as a result of which John Noguez is currently facing criminal charges. His latest exclusive drew stinging criticism from Greuel's campaign, who attacked Economy by releasing documents showing his arrest six years ago for possession of controlled substances. “I acknowledge the fact that I had a substance abuse issue, all my friends and acquaintances know it. I have successfully recovered, I have been clean for six years, and I am now a devout catholic working very closely with the L.A. Archdiocese,” said Economy.

 “I am extremely angry”, said LCCN Publisher Brian Hews. “This is reprehensible and as desperate as it gets. Randy’s article was based on what we found in the calendar, and obviously hit a nerve. We published 640 pages of Greuel’s calendar showing meetings that only advanced her mayoral campaign and these meetings took place during regular business hours, in possible violation of the Los Angeles Governmental Ethics Commission Ordinance No. 172891 Section 49.5.5, section B.”

Despite the bests efforts of the Greuel campaign to dismiss and discredit the story, it has been picked up by almost every local media source. Greuel is not the first elected official to face accusations of  using city resources in political campaigns. Current City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is well known for using his city supplied SUV and LAPD security detail to ferry himself to and from campaign events, unrelated to the work of the City Attorney's Office.

With four well-funded candidates vying to be LA's next Mayor; Kevin James, Wendy Greuel, Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti, no candidate is expected to win the election outright in the March 5, 2013 primary and the two top candidates will face each other in a runoff election. James is the only Republican in the race, and with the Democrat vote fairly well divided between Greuel, Perry and Garcetti, James looks likely to secure a place in the runoff.

Fire Commission reports Trutanich to State Bar

Embattled Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's re-election hopes dimmed further with news reported in the Los Angeles Daily News that the Fire Commission has filed a complaint with the State Bar over the legal advice they received from Trutanich.

Fire Commissioner Stephen Miller accused Trutanich of failing to assist in investigating allegations of misconduct, and instead blocking access to records and failing to provide advice. The Dragnet has previously reported on complaints by the Fire Commission regarding Trutanich, however, this appears to be the first time that the State Bar has been involved. 

Feuer to be endorsed by Failure 

The LA Times reports news that probably provides City Attorney candidates Greg Smith and Carmen Trutanich cause to celebrate; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will endorse Mike Feuer for City Attorney.

Feuer's fundraising seems to have stalled, despite claims to be the 'front-runner' and the Villaraigosa endorsement looks like a desperate attempt to keep Feuer's name in the news whatever the cost. The irony of the Villaraigosa endorsement will not be lost on Feuer's ever-growing opponents; how can someone who aspires to be the City's top law enforcement officer, willingly accept an endorsement from the man who set a record for ethics violations fines?

Mayor Sam Blog threatened with 'cease and desist' letter from Shallman's lawyers

Mayor Sam's Sister City, the Blogfather of Los Angeles political commentary has been threatened with a cease and desist letter from attorneys acting for longtime political guru John Shallman. More at the Mayor Sam blog.

The folks at Mayor Sam do not appear to be backing down. Long live the First Amendment!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Feuer feigns front-runner status, LA Downtown News predicts slugfest in CIty Attorney race

Feuer the frontrunner?

The LA Weekly reports that the Feuer campaign has claimed 'Front-Runner Status' in the City Attorney race, based on the termed-out State Assemblyman raising 'about $96,000' in campaign contributions in the final reporting period of 2012.

If Feuer's fundraising claim is to be believed, and who would doubt anything that stems from his campaign guru John Shallman, then Feuer raised $50,000 less than in the previous quarter. The fundraising deficit is attributed to Feuer's serious automobile accident, however, Feuer's shortfall may have more to do with the rising stock of Public Safety Attorney Greg Smith. In the same period that Feuer fell short of the mark, Smith raised the stakes with an massive infusion of $500k in campaign cash, and scooped the prestigious 'Line of Duty' award from the LAPD's protective league.

Incumbent Carmen Trutanich was strangely silent about his fundraising success, or lack thereof. 'When we're ready, we'll release our documents,' said spokesman John Schwada. Trutanich's silence may be very telling. Those who may have been expected to back the biggest loser in the June 2012 District Attorney election, may have thought they had little choice but to back Trutanich again, if only to prevent Feuer from becoming City Attorney. But again, the emergence of Greg Smith as a well-funded viable candidate is likely hurting Trutanich more than he cares to mention.

Feuer's claim to 'Front-runner status' may be tempered by the not too distant memory of the last career politician to make that same claim; non other than Carmen Trutanich who, in the run up to his humiliating defeat in the District Attorney race, also claimed to be the 'front-runner.'  

LA Downtown News forecasts a lively election for City Attorney

The Los Angeles Downtown News reports on the 'Political Battles, Races and Moves to Watch in 2013,' and intriguingly showcases the three leading candidates for City Attorney over the Mayoral race.

Just as with the LA Weekly, Greg Smith is now mentioned pari passu with Feuer and Trutanich, another sign of his candidacy being seen as a serious threat to the political careers of the 'front runners.' With a round of City Attorney debates set to kick off Monday night at Temple Israel of Hollywood, The LA Downtown News suggests that there will likely be some serious mudslinging in the debates with Trutanich desperate to hang onto the job he didn't want six months ago, Feuer facing political oblivion if he doesn't land another political paycheck, and Smith set to wow the audience with a the notion that a real attorney with real courtroom experience might make for the kind of City Attorney Los Angeles needs.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hertzberg shafts Trutanich - Karma's a bitch Nuch

The LA Times reports that former California Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg has shafted Trutanich and endorsed Mike Feuer for City Attorney.

Four years ago, Hertzberg co-chaired Trutanich's Transition Team; a Blue Ribbon group who spent two months generating copious volumes of recommendations and suggestions to help rehabilitate the City Attorney's Office in the wake of the dysfunctional and disappointing Rocky Delgadillo administration. 

Ultimately few, if any, of Hertzberg's suggestions were adopted by Trutanich, who instead of getting down to the task of rebuilding the City Attorney's Office, concentrated his attention on a foolish and ill-founded witch hunt of A.E.G. over the Michael Jackson Memorial, followed by a succession of empty threats and broken promises.

If Hertzberg was personally offended by Trutanich's speedy dismissal of his effort to reform the City Attorney's Office in favor a the crass and clownish headline-grabbing self-aggrandizing leadership that has become the hallmark of the Trutanich era, he kept it to himself. Indeed, the first word from Hertzberg on Trutanich came some three years later, when Hertzberg accused his political protegee of 'Thuggery' when Trutanich filed a lawsuit against his former campaign guru John Shallman.

No surprise then, that when Hertzberg was asked to weigh in on Trutanich's performance as City Attorney, he had no hesitation in giving the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician the thumbs down..

What is surprising is that Hertzberg's condemnation of Trutanich the Terrible prompted the LA Times to publish a report on it. Feuer has no shortage of political endorsements, with Hertzberg's joining a long laundry list of current and former Sacraemento politicians keen to support one of their own. The fact that the Times decided to give the story 'ink' is, perhaps, a sign that LA's media has not forgotten that it has unfinished business with Trutanich, and that he can expect to be fully and wholly repaid for his betrayal of the public trust.

As they say, karma's a bitch Nuch.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Los Angeles City Attorney candidates

With eight weeks to go before the March 5, 2013 Primary Election to decide on LA's next City Attorney, the three leading campaigns are locked and loaded in preparation for a round of pre-election debates where the differences between the candidates will come more sharply into focus.

In many ways the choice for voters has been defined not so much by the efforts of the campaigns, but rather by the records of the candidates. The candidates have previously been described as 'An Empty Suit, an Empty Head, and a Guy called Smith,' we prefer to boil it down to a choice between a Liar, a Lobbyist and a Lawman.

Carmen Trutanich - 'Liar'

If the current City Attorney had done as much to live up to his promises as he has done to break them, then he might have a chance at hanging on to the job he was so willing to forsake barely six months ago. However, his political career path came to a dead end with the collapse of his Hindenberg-like campaign to become District Attorney.

If there is one thing that voters will remember about Carmen Trutanich when they see his name on the ballot, it will be they reason why they so soundly rejected him; he is a liar. His false statements about his 'Pledge to Serve,' support for the Controllers right to audit elected officials, Police endorsements, Ballot Designation, Campaign video YouTube hits, his claim to have been the victim of a gang assassination attempt, or any number of other 'Truth Challenged' claims, his is a woeful record that no amount of campaign cash can overcome.

Faced with a target-rich environment to attack his candidacy for District Attorney, the local media made short work of the man the LA Times called 'Liar,' they look poised to repeat the compliment as the ghosts of campaigns past return to ensure that there will be one more ambulance chaser, slip and fall lawyer hanging a shingle in San Pedro.

Mike Feuer - 'Lobbyist'

Feuer returns to the Los Angeles political scene as a termed-out State Assemblyman. He comes to the armed with the armful of special-interest campaign cash he expected to have, but faced with a couple of opponents he did not expect. When Feuer first launched his campaign, it bore all the appearances of a backroom political deal. At that time City Attorney Trutanich was hell bent on becoming District Attorney and widely considered to be the front-runner, if not heir apparent. Such was the coziness between Trutanich and Feuer that they initially shared the same campaign manager; the ubiquitous John Shallman.

But after Trutanich detonated in the DA primary, the honeymoon was over. Any nightmarish scenario under which Feuer would have endorsed Trutanich for DA, and Trutanich as DA would endorse Feuer for City Attorney vanished even before Nuch took the first step of his walk of shame at his San Pedro victory party.

Now Feuer not only lacks the support he expected from 'his' DA, but faces a significant hurdle in his bid to be City Attorney; he has no courtroom experience and has not practiced law as an attorney for over twenty years. Instead, Feuer had been the consummate Sacramento career politician with a record of support from, and support for, questionable causes. When Governor Brown needed support for his crime-wave stimulus package, better known as AB109 're-alignment,' it was Feuer who lobbied tirelessly among the Sacramento politicians to foist this budget driven havoc on Los Angelenos.

Feuer has since attempted to distance himself from AB109, instead hailing his authorship of public safety laws. Unfortunately, however, while Feuer has record of making laws, he has no record of enforcing laws.  His is a record of putting in work for 'the party,' and is the 'go to guy' for political insiders. While he can claim the highest number of endorsements, they come almost exclusively from the ranks of fellow career politicians. With the low regard that voters have for Sacramento politicians, Feuer's hopes of making it through the primary would seem to depend heavily on voter disgust for the incumbent and party-line support. March 6, 2013 could be a rude awakening for Feuer, but at least he has a career as a lobbyist.

Greg Smith - 'Lawman'

Most people associate the name Greg Smith with former City Councilman Greig Smith. It's the kind of name recognition that could well enure to Greg Smith's advantage; the CD12 Councilman was popular and well-regarded, virtually guaranteeing Greg Smith a handy 'bump' on election day. But in order for Smith to inform the majority of voters of his qualifications, he's going to need a healthy campaign warchest.

Fortunately, Smith has a healthy campaign warchest having injected over $650k into his campaign, with the expectation of raising $1M by election day. That should be more than enough to get his message out; he is the only candidate with hands-on courtroom experience in police litigation cases where he has shown that he understands not only how to effectively prosecute a case, but as more important corollary, how to defend a case; an area where the current City Attorney has failed spectacularly.

Smith's legal experience can perhaps be best characterized as standing up for the downtrodden, outing corruption and unfair practices; a theme that should resonate well with Los Angelenos who have seen the way many of their elected officials have swiftly abandoned their interests and concerns for membership of the business as usual brigade. Smith can also expect to draw support from law enforcement as the only candidate who did not support AB109, he perhaps, more than any candidate, understands what law enforcement needs to keep the city safe given his close ties to both LAPD and the Sheriff's Dept.

In making his decision to enter public service, Smith leaves behind a successful private law practice which has undeniably made him a wealthy man. It is a rare event when someone enters the political arena poised to give the the public the benefit of his experience and success, rather than use and abuse the privilege of public office to further their own interests; something distinguishes Smith from his main rivals. Smith will likely do well in the debates as he has a record to run on, rather than one to run away from.