Friday, June 22, 2012

The Downfall of Carmen Trutanich YouTube parody may save the clown from ruin

On June 5, 2012, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich suffered a personally humiliating and politically devastating defeat when, as the widely perceived 'front-runner' in the election for Los Angeles County District Attorney, Trutanich finished in a lowly third place, losing to a pair of political novices who had less than one-third of the campaign warchest Trutanich had amassed to advance his political career.

Trutanich now joins the ranks of other failed politicians who have had their spectacular defeats parodied to a four minute scene from the 2004 critically acclaimed movie 'The Downfall' documenting the final days of the Third Reich and featuring what has become known as the 'Hitler Rant Scene.'  This scene lends itself to other historically significant failures as an embattled leader reacts badly to news of impending disaster and casts blame on everyone but himself.

The Downfall of Carmen Trutanich, released on YouTube June 14, 2012, focuses on Trutanich's failed attempt to avoid a barrage of questions from the media arising from accusations that he had lied about being surrounded and shot at by gangmembers. The avoidance technique, believed to have been the brainchild of John Shallman (Trutanich's chief political strategist), was for Trutanich to 'partially suspend' the media portion of his campaign because his mother was ill.

Although Trutanich did successfully duck the media using this pretext, Shallman incredibly decided to agree to be interviewed by FOX 11 News Anchor Jeff Michael instead of Trutanich. Most observers agree that Shallman's failure to respond to Michael's pin-pointed questions put the final nail in the coffin of Trutanich's political career. Shallman's interview was described as so 'weaselly' that it defied belief.

In addition to Trutanch's anger at Shallman for messing up on Fox News, the embattled leader also lashes out at Shallman's failure to defend him from attacks on his reputation by the media. The ranting Trutanich bemoans KFI AM640's John and Ken labeling Trutanich 'a lying boob,' KABC 790AM's Doug McIntyre calling Trutanich 'Truth Challenged,' and LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus front-pager entitled 'Carmen the Barbarian.' After cataloguing the many media character attacks, Trutanich rhetorically asks his inner circle 'Where was Shallman when my reputation was getting jail raped?' leaving little doubt that Trutanich blames Shallman for his downfall.

Trutanich, having realized that 'the campaign is over,' nevertheless vows to battle on to the end, reminding all that he still holds power for another year. Although the Downfall of Carmen Trutanich is a parody, and clearly intended to be satyrical, recent events suggest that the makers had informed sources. Since the Downfall of Carmen Trutanich was released, Trutanich has now indicated that he will 'fight on' and run for reelection in 2013. Also, not surprisingly, Trutanich has split with Shallman who he now blames for his downfall.

Although some may be offended by analogizing Carmen Trutanich's downfall to that of the despised mass-murdering leader of Nazi Germany, Trutanich is but one of the latest of a long series of failed politicians, including Hillary Clinton and John McCain, who have had their downfalls parodied to the last days of Adolf Hitler.

Trutanich may even benefit from the being associated with larger political failures, perhaps keeping his name in the press as he reinvents himself in preparation for his 2013 campaign. Others , however, may find the ranting, screaming and blame-shifting in the parody chillingly reminiscent of real events in the Executive Offices on the 8th floor of City Hall East.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Trutanich's 'Jackboot' ban on Medical Marijuana is a 'Goose Step' in the wrong direction

An op-ed article published today at the Los Angeles Dragnet mocked Carmen the Clown Trutanich for calling his proposal to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries a 'Gentle Ban.' In reality it's a 'Jackbooted goose step in the wrong direction,' opines the Dragnet's blogger, 'Joe Friday,' believed to be a former top executive in the Trutanich regime.

If adopted, the Trutanich ban would take Los Angeles back to the law that prevailed in 1996 under Prop 215 which allowed patients to grown their own medical marijuana.

Although Prop 215 was a step in the right direction, the reality was that AIDS sufferers and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy were simply too unwell to "grow their own." The unworkability of the restrictive 1996 law resulted in SB420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act which paved the way for dispensaries where patients could obtain the only relief from the awful side effects of traditional medication.

Friday may have an axe to grind when it comes to Trutanich generally, but there is support for the view that this latest proposal is indeed, a Jackbooted goose step in the wrong direction.

The Los Angles Dragnet op-ed can be read by clicking here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's been an Annus Horribilis for City Attorney Carmen Trutanich

The Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has much he would rather forget about 2011.

Making the top ten blunders of 2011, as reported by Los Angeles Dragnet blog, is probably top of his list of things Trutanich would hope you forget.

Perhaps the word 'lie' appears a little too often in the Dragnet's review of Trutanich's Annus Horribilis (which is not a 'fat ass' or a communicable disease), however the use of such strong language appears to be justified. Trutanich does have a hard time telling the truth, perhaps a legacy of his years as an "ambulance chaser plaintiff's attorney" as the Dragnet often calls him.

The Dragnet's Top Ten Trutanich Blunders makes for an entertaining read and reminds us all what a monumental disappointment the City Attorney is.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

OccupyLA uncovers inconvenient truths about Trutanich

From the Los Angeles Dragnet: Carmen Trutanich’s plan to use his position as Los Angeles City Attorney to sue OccupyLA protesters and bolster his campaign to become District Attorney, may have backfired even before it has started.

In what appears to be a response from the OccupyLA movement to Trutanich’s threat to bankrupt the protesters over the costs of the clean-up at City Hall, the OccupyLA website has started taking a look at where Trutanich is raising money, and why.

OccupyLA discovered that Trutanich is taking campaign donations from big money interests who rival to AEG’s plans to establish a world-class convention center and football stadium in downtown LA. AEG’s Farmers Field development would bring thousands of jobs to LA, but it seems Trutanich ‘likes the money’ of rival developers who want to locate the football stadium outside the City of Los Angeles in the City of Industry.

According to the OccupyLA website: “Among the many names listed, I found several executives (and one spouse) of real estate development and construction firms that made individual contributions to Trutanich’s campaign.”

John BurroughsConstruction Manager, Commerce Construction Co.
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee

Jakob AckermannDirector and Chairman of Commerce Construction Co LP, Majestic Realty Co.
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee

Gayle Garner RoskiArtist, Wife of Edward P. Roski Jr
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee

Edward P. RoskiPresident of Majestic Realty; Rated #163 on The Forbes’s 400 Richest Americans with a net worth of approximately $2.5 billion
Trutanich For District Attorney 2012 Exploratory Committee
“It so happens that Edward P. Roski’s Majestic Realty Co. (along with Commerce Construction Co.) is also at work on its own stadium project in the City of Industry.” OccupyLA reports.
Trutanich has a long and bitter history with AEG. In 2009, Trutanich publicly accused AEG of ‘criminal aspects’ to their handling of the Michael Jackson memorial. The fiasco over Trutanich’s year-long ‘criminal aspects’ investigation has been well documented; it appears to have been nothing more than a cheap political stunt.

But the bad blood between AEG and Trutanich may well explain why the former 
ambulance chaser
plaintiff’s attorney turned career politician is so keen make friends with AEG’s enemies, even if it costs the City of LA much needed jobs and sales tax revenue.

One thing does appear to be certain. Trutanich’s attempt to generate publicity for his DA campaign by persecuting the OccupyLA protesters has caused them to turn their attention on him. In the process, the OccupyLA movement could well turn into his worst nightmare as they fuel the awkward questions about who is willing to pay Trutanich to become District Attorney, and why.

Trutanich might not like the ballot designation 'The 1% Candidate' that OccupyLA may award him, but he certainly looks like earning it.


Monday, December 19, 2011

'Criminal Aspects' threat made by City Attorney Trutanich challenged

The Los Angeles Dragnet has published an article condemning City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for using the public arena to allege that there were 'criminal aspects' to AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial.

A humorously crafted picture pulls together the 'criminal aspects' and sets the tone for an insightful and informative discussion on the way Trutanich apparently tried to manipulate the media into believing that there was a crime connected to the costs of the memorial service at the Staples Center.

The Dragnet suggests that Trutanich 'channeled' Joe McCarthy in his pursuit of media attention, basically concluding that Trutanich had no real evidence of any crime, but was willing to use innuendo and rumor to try to bully AEG into submission.

The article is the second in a series entitled "The Trutanich Scandals"which promises to be a regular feature on the Dragnet blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extortion for Dummies - Trutanich denies extortion accusation as ACE Program comes under fire

The Los Angeles Dragnet reports on the latest developments in the Trutanich extortion case:

Trutanich 'extortion' accusation raises community concerns about ACE Program.

Last week's hearing on accusations that Carmen Trutanich and the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office had used 'extortion' in order to settle civil lawsuits in return for dropping criminal prosecutions has been continued to November 14, 2011.

According to the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise, Judge Georgina Torres Rizk ordered the continuance so that the District Attorney's Office can take over the case in the event that she rules that Trutanich has to be disqualified for using the threat of criminal "charges and the threat of jail to obtain an advantage in a corresponding civil suit." a  Met News Staff Writer reported.

The 'extortion' accusation was originally contained in a 17-page motion to disqualify Trutanich from the prosecution of MD Graphic Installers Inc., a Los Alamitos-based outdoor advertising installation company.

It seems that MD Graphics is not alone in accusing Trutanich of 'extortion.' The Met News reported that several other defendants have now joined in the accusation. Trutanich filed a response to the 'extortion' accusation contending that "the motion is without foundation," asserting that he has done nothing wrong.

Although Trutanich has a well-documented record of using threats of jail as a 'first response' to hot button issues, this appears to be the first time that victims of Trutanich's threats have used judicial proceedings to challenge the lawfulness of his conduct.

Billboard hypocrisy
The apparent freedom Trutanich feels he has to use the treats of criminal prosecutions to obtain cash settlements in parallel civil cases may have pleased residents angered by billboard blight. Few have sympathy for illegal billboards, indeed Trutanich himself was forced to remove his own illegal billboards after his apparent hypocrisy prompted Dennis Hathaway, president of the Ban Billboard Blight Coalition, to categorically require Trutanich to remove the illegal billboards.

Trutanich's 'extortion' plans extend beyond billboards
However, when the target shifts from using jail threats with illegal billboards to other violations of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, homeowners, renters and small businesses are now beginning to fear that Trutanich will use the same modus operandi with his much-vaunted Administrative Citation Enforcement Program (known as the 'ACE Program') to bludgeon and extort them into 'paying up or going to jail' for having an over-height yard fence, untidy front yard, cracked sidewalk paving, over-sized mailbox, or a neon store sign that is too bright, too big or just too tempting to resist for an eager code enforcement officer with a quota.

In fact the list of cash-rich targets for Trutanich's ACE Program is seemingly endless, a fact that Trutanich has doubtless boasted to Coucilmembers to gain their support. Trutanich has been desperately pitching his ACE Program as a revenue stream for the city's general fund, in the hope that their eagerness to balance the books will blind them to the extortion implicit in a program that effectively makes Trutanich the judge, jury, prosecutor and treasurer in 'administrative code enforcement' actions.

It's a very real fear that grassroots community activist Stephen Box has written about on several occasions; 'Bell tolls for Nuch's ACE Program,' and 'LA's ACE Program comes with a big tip jar.' Box seems to have spotted the same problems with Trutanich's approach to law enforcement as many others; it targets those least able to afford to defend themselves, and it uses or abuses the force of law to create a source of revenue. There's a word for that; extortion.

CM Rosendahl condemns Trutanich's ACE as 'Half-Baked'
Community concerns about Trutanich's ACE Program appear to have reached the Los Angeles City Council, with Councilmember Bill Rosendahl calling Trutanich's plan 'Half baked.' Rosendahl was, perhaps, as much incensed by Trutanich delivering a hastily revised version of ACE barely two hours before a vote on ACE was scheduled, as he was outraged by the way that Trutanich had buried, disguised or omitted critical details of how Trutanich intends to administer ACE. Rosendahl drew short of accusing Trutanich of lying about ACE, but others have been more outspoken.

Others fear 'extortion' by Trutanich
The Fair Housing Coalition recently urged stong opposition to Trutanich's ACE, accusing Trutanich of lying about his ACE Program, saying that 'A tactic the City Attorney’s office is using is saying that this Ordinance will replace Criminal Prosecution. This is a lie. In fact it will be used in addition to Criminal Prosecution.' Sounds strikingly similar to the 'extortion' accusation being made by lawyers for MD Graphics, doesn't it?

Trutanich lied about ACE during talk show interview
The Fair Housing Coalition's accusation that Trutanich lied about his ACE Program is not the first time that Trutanich has spoken falsely about ACE. Trutanich's staff were forced to admit that Trutanich had lied about ACE during an interview on the Kevin James radio show. Trutanich made several claims about ACE that were patently false; perhaps the most audacious being that he had the idea for 'ACE' when he first became City Attorney and had 'shared' the ACE Program idea with the cities of San Diego and Santa Monica. Trutanich stated that they now had the program and it was 'working just fine.'

City Attorney staff admit Trutanich lied about ACE
In reality, both cities already had their own administrative citation programs in force before Trutanich became City Attorney. Indeed, Trutanich's Chief Deputy, William Carter, admitted to the Met News that when he looked into Trutanich's 'idea' he found that 'other cities were already doing it,' Carter said. That's about as close as an admission by Carter that Trutanich lied as you'll ever get, but even Carter couldn't deny provable facts, even if his boss has no problem lying on broadcast radio.

What else has Trutanich lied about?
It's a logical question. It's a reasonable question. One who has been proven to have lied on a previous occasion, can be assumed to be lying on another occasion. One who was been hypocritical about his enforcing the law when it comes to his own billboards, can be assumed to be a hypocrite when it comes to the enforcement of the law as it relates to others. It is these questions about Trutanich's veracity and his motives that should be sending shivers up the spines of all Los Angelenos.

When the City Council finally gets to vote on the ACE Program, let's hope they have these thoughts in mind and that they balance the need of the city to be able to enforce its laws, with the need to ensure that the enforcement is fair and balanced. From the evidence presented, Trutanich seems to be the least trustworthy to be entrusted with that task. The Council can easily remove the City Attorney's Office from having any role in ACE and instead use the framework of ACE to create an independent commission to administer ACE free from any undue influence that Trutanich may chose to use.

When Judge Rizk finally rules on the accusation that Trutanich used 'extortion' to obtain multi-million dollar settlements to bankroll his cash-strapped office, let's hope that sufficient competent evidence leads her to understand the very real dangers of allowing financial expediency to overrule due process and fundamentally basic concepts of fairness and transparency. The DA's Office or the Attorney General's Office can fairly take over the prosecution of these cases free from the apparent fiscal motives displayed by Trutanich, like the way he recently tried to misappropriate a $2M settlement check from another billboard case.

'Extortion for Dummies' should not be the standard by which law is enforced in the second largest city in the nation.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Extortion accusation against City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to be heard in court Thursday

Observers are likely to cram Dept 72 of the Los Angeles Superior Court at 1945 S. Hill St., in downtown Los Angeles tomorrow, Thursday October 20, 2011 to see whether City Attorney Carmen Trutanich will appear personally to answer the accusation that he used 'extortion' to obtain cash settlements to civil cases by using the threat of criminal prosecution.

Full details of the 'extortion' accusation, contained in a 17-page motion to disqualify Trutanich and his office from continued prosecution of the case against a contractor who installed billboards and super graphic signs without permits, can be found on the following blogs.

Politics Without Pity: Extortion accusation against City Attorney Trutanich to be heard in Superior Court

Los Angeles Dragnet: Trutanich accused of 'extortion' - prosecutorial misconduct alleged over threats of jail to obtain cash settlements

Response to the 'extortion' accusation from Trutanich's office has so far been limited to a statement to the Met News Enterprise from an unnamed spokesperson that 'our office believes this is a specious motion and we anticipate filing a response soon.'