Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trutanich ContractGate Scandal Fallout - Oath Picture Trashed - Dragnet Goes Rogue

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen the Clown Trutanich is probably feeling like his political enemies are gaining the upper hand in the wake of the ContractGate scandal revealed by FishBowl LA, the TRU is False blog says that it appears that the contract search tool was not the only item removed from the City Attorney Website. Worse yet, the Los Angeles Dragnet, a longtime sycophantic supporter, appears to be going rogue.

(Credit: Los Angeles Dragnet)
 The LA Dragnet published this hilarious cartoon depiction of the wheels coming off the Trutanich bandwagon, in reference to the slew of negative comments at Ron Kaye L.A. at the prospect of spending an hour with Trutanich. It seems the Dragnet is done with Trutanich.

But even as the ink was drying on that story, and the ContractGate scandal threatened to focus attention on the reasons why Trutanich's staff hobbled the searchability of the City Attorney website, the TRU is False blog revealed that City Attorney Trutanich had removed a photograph of him swearing the oath of office from the City Attorney's website. 

(Credit: TRU is False)
TRU is False speculates that the reason for the removal of the photo might be to prevent it being used by his rivals to cast doubt on how seriously Trutanich takes his own words. Trutanich recently told Jack Leonard at the LA Times that he did not consider himself bound by his sworn solemn campaign promise not to run for Los Angeles District Attorney.

All indications point to Trutanich joining the race to replace Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley with an announcement sometime after the current crop of candidates reveal their latest fundraising figures. Currently five members of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office are running to replace Cooley; Democrats Jackie Lacey, Danette Meyers, Mario Trujillo and Robert "Bobby" Grace, and the sole Republican, Alan Jackson.

Trutanich, a 'decline to state Republican,' will face a tough time from his all his opponents as there is so much to dislike about the man who his either called a 'thug' or a 'clown' depending on which particular foot is in his mouth.

It is rumored that Trutanich will bow out of a run for re-election as City Attorney in 2013 in the face of a challenge by California Assembleyman Mike Feuer. Feuer, a well respected Democrat with long and well-rooted ties to LA's wealthy westside community who would most likely flock to fund his campaign. Feuer served as a councilmember to the westside before running for City Attorney in 2001. Ominously for Trutanich, Feuer was narrowly beaten by Rocky Delgadillo for the City's Top Cop slot, but held on to a powerful base of supporters.

Few believe that Trutanich has any chance in a race against Feuer, who will be termed out of the Assembly in 2012 with more than enough momentum, name-recognition and fund raising power to demolish Trutanich, who can no longer count on Steve Cooley's rolodex to be available to him.

Trutanich's popularity in his own office is likely to be significantly below the depths reached by Rocky Delgadillo, as many believe Trutanich's foolhardy allegation of 'criminal aspects' regarding AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial, and his wild threats to arrest Councilmember Jan Perry over the AEG billboards issue, destroyed the credibility of the Office.

Trutanich, however, may believe he has an "ACE" up his sleeve, with a ordinance on the books that will restore his flagging fortunes. The Trutanich ACE Program, if passed, will give Trutanich the power to appoint his own judges to hear cases he would otherwise have to prosecute in criminal courts. It would also give him control over the fine monies collected and enable him to use those fines to pay his office costs. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the ACE Program will give Trutanich Grand Jury-like subpoena powers to investigate those he believes have something to hide.

If the City Council passes Trutanich's ACE Program, they will effectively be appointing the wolf as gatekeeper of the hen house. Let's hope the Council decides to amend Trutanich's ACE Program and give control to an independent body like the City Ethics Commission. That might at least make the ACE Program constitutional, unlike Trutanich's recent medical marijuana ordinance.

The City Councilmembers are unlikely to be convinced by Trutanich's assertions that his ACE program is constitutional once they realize the potential violation of Separation of Powers and Conflict of Interest that Trutanich's ACE poses. Trutanich had the ACE Program written to put himself in control of the selection of judges, instructing his judges on how to apply the law, and then collecting and spending the fine monies his judges extract from Los Angelenos.

Trutanich's own grasp of the meaning of Separation of Powers came under fire recently when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr told the City Attorney that responding to his "request for guidance would violate the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches." according to the LA Times.

Let's hope the City Council does the right thing with Trutanich's ACE.

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