Sunday, February 26, 2012

Carmen the Barbarian? What happened to Trutanich; the man who promised so much and failed to deliver?

The cover of this week's LA Weekly paints an ugly picture of Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich. The ten-page feature entitled 'Carmen the Barbarian' may seem humorous at first, but sadly there is little to laugh about concerning Trutanich. He has let us down, made fools of us, and can no longer be trusted to hold public office.

LA Weekly reporter Gene Maddaus does an excellent job of condensing a catalogue of complaints and criticisms of the man who once promised us that he was only interested in serving as City Attorney and that, if elected, he would not use the City Attorney's Office as a political springboard to the District Attorney's Office. But that is precisely what Trutanich is doing, and he isn't ashamed of it, and that's because he has no shame. And that's why he is unfit for public office, and unfit to be District Attorney.

Trutanich conned many people into believing he was different; he was not a career politician like Rocky Delgadillo or his opponent Jack Weiss. It is fair to say that most people, myself included, were too willing to believe what Trutanich was saying simply because he was bucking the trend; he was an outsider, he was not part of the downtown Los Angeles political machine. He could be trusted. We were wrong. But as the old adage goes, 'Make a fool of me once, that's your fault. Make a fool of me twice, that's my fault.' I am not going to let Trutanich make a fool of me twice, and neither should you.

Before I go further, please take a moment to see and hear what Trutanich promised us back in 2009 when he was doing such a brilliant job of conning us into believing in him:

Powerful words and forceful statements from a man who really, really, really wants you to buy what he is selling.

Let's face it, there are plenty of politicians who promise one thing and then do another, but Trutanich sought to bootstrap his false claims by signing a 'Pledge to Serve.' A solemn, sworn written statement to show us precisely, exactly and definitively how different he was.

It took Trutanich less than a year to renege on his sworn promise. He had been City Attorney for a few months, had already reneged on the City Controller's right to audit his office, and was busy threatening to arrest people over non-existent crimes - like the so-called 'criminal aspects'  investigation into the Michael Jackson memorial.

In short, Trutanich realized that he could get away with lying, misrepresenting the truth, and reneging on promises. He realized that nobody seemed to care, few called him on it, and if they did, he could bullshit and bluster his way out of it. He was drunk with power and obsessed with seeing his name in the headlines.

Trutanich's disregard for his promises to those who trusted him with elected office is eclipsed only by his disregard for laws that don't suit him. Trutanich claims to be the 'enforcer' when it comes to illegal billboards, but his own illegal billboards blighted Ventura Blvd. for over two years after he closed his campaign office.

Trutanich's illegal billboards were up for two years before he was forced to remove them, but
two days was too much for the 'How to Train Your Dragon' billboard at the 2010 Oscars
Violating his own billboard laws may seem trivial when judging Trutanich's hypocrisy, of course it was anything but trivial for Keyvan Setareh, who was arrested and held in jail on $1M bail for violating Trutanich's law. But Trutanich, so far, has gotten away with abusing excessive bail demands to bully and bludgeon his way into the headlines.

And that is a very large part of the reason why Trutanich is utterly unfit to be District Attorney; each time he is able to get away with abusing his power he becomes more emboldened and less accountable. His threats to arrest political protesters, threats to arrest council members, screaming abuse at cancer patients, and lies about police endorsements; all show a pattern of an increasing disregard for the law, disregard for principles of decency and worse of all, an alarming tendency towards an 'ends justify the means' approach to law enforcement.

No better example exists as to just how far Trutanich believes he is above the law, than the way he broke the law relating to law enforcement endorsements. Days before Trutanich officially launched his campaign to become District Attorney, he made the headlines when it was discovered that he had lied about being endorsed by police agencies.

Trutanich lied about endorsements from police unions.
Trutanich, in a desperate move to deflect attention from the embarrassing revelation that he had lied about being endorsed by several police agencies, released a glitzy 13 minute long video advertisement which culminated in an impassioned endorsement by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Trutanich's use of Sheriff Lee Baca's endorsement violated state law.
The video was removed when the crime was discovered, but Trutanich has refused to
take responsibility for his misconduct.
Sheriff Baca put his credibility and reputation on the line saying Trutanich is "the best qualified to serve as District Attorney for Los Angeles County." But what Sheriff Baca didn't say is that state law forbids him from making that endorsement while he is in uniform. That same law also forbids Sheriff Baca from making an endorsement while on duty. But Trutanich set-up Sheriff Baca to break the law because he needed the credibility and respectability that the Office of the Sheriff would bring to his campaign - regardless of the cost. The ends justify the means.

Sheriff Baca first told the LA Times that he believed was 'exempt' from the law. No doubt he said that based on 'advice' he was given by Trutanich. However, after checking with real lawyers, the Sheriff found out that the law applied to him just like it applies to you, to me, to everyone. Only then did Sheriff Baca do the decent thing; he admitted to the LA Times that he was wrong and had broken the law. There was no innocent explanation. I'll give Sheriff Baca credit for admitting that much.

But Trutanich? What did he do? A big 'mea culpa' moment? A press release admitting responsibility? No. Trutanich made no statement, offered no explanation, and simply removed the illegal endorsement from his video as if it never happened. Trutanich has since refused to answer questions about his complicity in breaking the law, because, according to his warped ethical and moral compass, it was no big deal. So he's 'taking the Fifth,' saying nothing that might 'tend to implicate him in criminal conduct.' Nice.

What Trutanich did to Sheriff Baca is what he has done time and time again to other otherwise decent people who find themselves trapped into doing Trutanich's bidding. He is a dangerous leader because he encourages misconduct in others to further his ends, and then he summarily throws them under the bus when it suits him to do so.

His is a culture of corruption and abuse that, as LA Times columnist Steve Lopez today said, is "catching up to Chicago in sleaze." That is why Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich, the man I voted for, the man I worked for, and the man I dumped when I could not tolerate the culture of corruption a moment longer, is unfit to be District Attorney.

Sheriff Baca needs to take a step back from campaigning for this blatant law-breaker, and realize that if Trutanich is so willing to engage in unlawful conduct at the start of his campaign, just imagine how much worse it will become if he is elected as District Attorney.

It is not too late Sheriff Baca, as Edmund Burke said, 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' You are a good man Sheriff Baca, so do something while you still can. Withdraw your endorsement and support for Trutanich. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to the people of Los Angeles.

For those of you wondering who else is running for District Attorney, the Los Angeles Dragnet has a review of the candidates. Each and every one of them has more integrity in their little fingers than Trutanich has in his entire body.

David Berger
Los Angeles, February 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kevin James Announces Half A Million Dollars Pledged In Race To Be LA's Next Mayor

Barely a day after a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece deliberately omitted to mention Mayoral candidate Kevin James in what appeared to be a biased review of Mayoral hopefuls, Kevin James responded with the only news that really matters; he has already received campaign contribution commitments which "Exceed $500,000".

Kevin James announced his candidacy on March 16, 2011. In slightly less
than 2 and a half weeks, James has $500k in campaign commitments.
In a statement released on his campaign website,, James stated:

“I am honored and humbled to have earned such strong early support from all across the community. I am encouraged and motivated by their commitment to this campaign and promise to do my best to put Los Angeles back on track to prosperity. We can do better. We must do better.”

James’ political consultant, John S. Thomas, noted: “This early show of support clearly demonstrates Kevin James’ strength as a candidate. Our campaign fully intends to garner the resources necessary to run a winning campaign. This is precisely the kind of momentum an outsider requires to topple the status quo and break through the barrage of special interest money that will be flooding our opponent’s bank accounts.”

What is interesting is how James has been able to raise so much money, so soon. Some clue as to James' remarkable success might be found in something else that Thomas said; "a select list of early contributors will be available by request. These donors have committed to serve as Co-Chairmen ($25k) and Finance Committee ($10k)."

It 's a very smart approach to fundraising, the kind of financial smarts this City will need in its next Mayor who will take over the eight years of fiscal irresponsibility that will be Mayor Villaraigosa's legacy.

Thus far, James has set himself ahead of the pack of Mayoral hopefuls which is said to include L.A. City Council members Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel, First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and real estate developer Rick Caruso.

On June 30, 2011 all campaigns have to file reports of their fundraising, so it will be interesting to see which of the others will be in second place to James.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kevin James for Mayor 2013

A refreshing breath of  fresh air swept across the south lawn of Los Angeles City Hall this morning; Kevin James announced his candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles.

Retired LA Daily News editor Ron Kaye introduced James, a 47 year-old former Assistant US Attorney who currently hosts a late night talk show on KRLA 870.

James gave a short speech outlining his vision for America's second largest city. “LA must become more business friendly across the board. Bringing jobs back is one of my top priorities.” James stated,“Given the wide range of industries based in the Los Angeles region, coupled with the diverse and far reaching pool of talent in our city, there is no city in the country better situated for a major recovery than ours.”

I'm sure it was purely coincidental that the City of Los Angeles decided to cut off the electricity powering the public address system, nevertheless, James's message was clearly heard, leaving little doubt that James means business; business for Los Angeles.

James's business friendly message received enthusiastic applause from the small but influential crown of supporters, and the strong presence of local media showed that James's candidacy is one to be taken seriously.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley was amongst the spectators cheering James's candidacy. LA's 'Top Cop' stopped short of an official endorsement, simply describing James as "a very good friend" of many years.

Underlining that James means business, Gary Aminoff a respected businessman and President of the San Fernando Valley Republican Club, showed his support of James's candidacy with hearty congratulations  and encouragement on the launch of the campaign website,

James stated that he expected to raise between $2M to $3M for his campaign, and indicated that he had received commitments for "over a hundred thousand dollars" since word of his candidacy spread yesterday.

Good luck Kevin James, Los Angeles needs you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kevin James to run for Mayor of Los Angeles

Kevin James will officially announce his candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles at 10AM, Wednesday, March 16, 2011 on the South Lawn at City Hall. It's a welcome piece of good news after the doom, gloom and disaster that we've witnessed in the past week - and of course I'm not just referring to the results of the 2011 City elections.

Kevin James, former Assistant US Attorney and current KRLA Talk Show host
led a brave and honorable call to investigate fundraising irregularities in 2009
According to the Los Angeles Times, "Another contender for the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral race is throwing his hat into the ring.

Radio personality Kevin James, who broadcasts on KRLA-AM (870) weekdays from midnight to 3 a.m., plans to announce his candidacy on Wednesday on the steps of City Hall.

Campaign spokesman John Thomas said James, 47, wants to make Los Angeles more business-friendly and believes that "we desperately need new leadership in L.A." James already has working relationships with union leaders, business officials and nonprofit groups, Thomas said.

"One of the secrets to his candidacy is he brings a broad-based coalition to the table," Thomas said.

A radio broadcaster since 2003, James lives in Laurel Canyon and has practiced law for such firms as Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. He was a prosecutor for the U.S. attorney's office and spent six years on the board of directors of AIDS Project L.A."

Fittingly, the last time James was on the City Hall steps at the South Lawn was in May of 2009 when he was one of a few good men and women brave enough to join me in demanding an investigation into election irregularities by a City Hall insider.

In having the courage then to stand up to the "business as usual brigade," James demonstrated the kind of no-nonsense leadership and commitment to transparency that this City desperately needs after six years of catch-phrases and photo-op failures.

I hope you will join me on City Hall's South Lawn tomorrow to cheer "Kevin James for Mayor!"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wondering How To Vote on Tuesday, March 8 2011?

Tuesday, March 8, 2012 is Election Day in LA, although if you don't live in one of the City's 8 even-numbered Council Districts, you might not know it. If you don't know where to vote, CLICK HERE.

In case you are undecided about which way to vote, or whether to vote at all, I have some suggestions for you, as well as some links to others with different recommendations. Although we may differ on our recommendations, the one thing I know we all agree upon, is that you have to vote. Our democracy fails when voters allow elected officials to get a pass because of voter apathy.

So here goes:

No question, vote to re-elect Paul Krekorian. Regardless of the fact that he is the odds on favorite, go and vote for him anyway. The bigger his majority in votes cast, the stronger message it sends to other Councilmembers that they need to be as accountable and accessible as Krekorian in order to justify holding on to office. Vote Krekorian.

This is a hard choice. Incumbent Tom LaBonge is facing credible challenges from Stephen Box and Thomas O'Grady, making the likelihood of a runoff between LaBonge and one of the challengers increasingly likely.

LaBonge is one of the politest people you will meet in City Hall, but many wonder if being a nice guy is enough to justify a third term. My recommendation is a vote for LaBonge if you like the way he has represented your district and respect his 35 years of public service.

But if you want to make a change in Los Angeles, vote for Stephen Box, he endorsed by LA Clean Sweep, and has the wit, desire and will to be an accountable representative in City Hall. Vote Box for CD4.

This is an easy one for me. David Barron is a Los Angeles City Code Enforcement Officer who has a keen interest in the City he lives and works in. Like Stephen Box, David Baron is endorsed by LA Clean Sweep, the movement to oust lackluster incumbents like Tony Cardenas who seem more concerned with special interests than the needs of LA. Vote Barron.

Another easy one. Incumbent Bernard Parks has been the target of a nasty and well funded campaign by Forescee Hogan-Rowles, mostly because he is the most fiscally prudent Councilmember in City Hall. Parks is also endorsed by Los Angeles Clean Sweep. Vote Parks.

If incumbent Herb Wesson Jr. can be beaten by anyone, then Althea Raw Shaw is the person to vote for. I can do no better than to repeat what Higby at the Mayor Sam blog says "Herb Wesson is a joke with his animal shows in Council. He's another recycled politician from Sacramento. Althea Shaw however would bring the sensibilities of a regular person and would be an impassioned advocate for public safety and victims. Shaw was thrust into the spotlight when tragedy befell her family much in the same way Carolyn McCarthy became a respected member of Congress following the shooting death of her family members. Vote for Shaw."

Brad Smith (another Los Angeles Clean Sweep endorsee) could well surprise favorite Mitch Englander with voters associating the name Smith with that of outgoing Councilmember Smith. Vote Smith.

Rudy Martinez. There is no other choice given the way the incumbent has conducted his campaign. Vote Martinez.

Easy. No on everything. The City's problems will not be solved by propositions, but by sound and prudent fiscal management. If we had a Council where the elected officials care more about balancing a budget than pandering to the special interests who line their pockets at our expense, we wouldn't need propositions to solve revenue shortfalls. Say 'No' to everything, and kick out those who got us into this mess, and install candidates who will run the City responsibly.

Seat 1: Essavi
Seat 3: Write in "Mark Isler"

District 1: Lee
District 3: Pugliese
District 5: Fernandez
District 7: Love

Check out what others think:

Walter Moore - Walter has a handy-dandy concise voter guide.

Mayor Sam Blog - Very detailed analysis and endorsements from Higby and Joe B.
CD2 Paul Krekorian
CD4 Stephen Box
CD6 Anyone But Cardenas
CD8 Split Decision
CD10 Anyone But Wesson
CD12 Anyone But Englander
CD14 Split Decision

Street-Hassle - Tons of analysis from Mulholland Terrace

Whatever you do, please, please, please, GET OUT AND VOTE!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Apologies - Site Updates In Progress

As many of you know I  have not been active on this Blog since June 2009, due to potential conflicts of interest while serving at the City Attorney's Office. I left the City Attorney's Office in March 2010 and returned to the District Attorney's Office.

I decided to reactivate this Blog yesterday and, in the process, many of you may have received an email with nothing but a list of old posts. I apologize for this unintended intrusion, and assure you that in future there will be something worth reading.


David Berger

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Polling Place at 8:30AM
Yes, it's that time again, and this time the voter turnout looks good, certainly better than the City Elections that were only eighteen months ago. Judging by the number of voters I saw coming and going this morning, I think there will be a higher number of voters than expected.

So, if you haven't already voted, please do.

If you're not sure how to vote on the nine propositions, here's a link to my suggestions.

If you don't care for my suggestions, check out Walter Moore's, and Mayor Sam's.

And if you're not sure where to vote, this link will help you to find your polling place.

The most important thing, of course, is that you do get out and vote.