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.