Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weiss Dodges Campaign Contribution Question

It's a simple enough question;
"Have you received money for your upcoming campaign from the Buckley Schools, and if so, how much?"

Well, click on the 'Play' button bellow to see if Jack Weiss answers the question...

When pressed for a simple "Yes or No," Weiss said "I don't know," and "Go look it up on the internet."

Some might say that it's perfectly reasonable for Jack Weiss not to know the identity of all the people who give him money. However, the issue here was that Weiss approved the expansion of the Buckley private school over the objection of local residents. It is highly likely that parents and supporters of the school contributed to his campaign, so why try to avoid the question?

Is this what you want from your next City Attorney? Evasiveness? Arrogance? A total lack of accountability?

This short piece of video provides an interesting glimpse into the disdain, contempt, and disregard that Jack Weiss holds for "ordinary" people.

I am running for City Attorney because I do not believe any elected official should be allowed to act like this. Fair questions deserve open, honest and frank answers. If Jack Weiss is ashamed of accepting campaign donations from special interests, then why doesn't he return them?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Legal File Interviews David Berger

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by The Legal File host, Charles B. Parselle, Esq., an accomplished attorney and experienced mediator.

I hope you enjoy the show.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weiss Silent on $24M Gang Program Secrecy

As reported in the L.A. Weekly this week, the City Council will not reveal the names or credentials of the 50 people who will decide how $24M will be spent on the City's anti-gang program. It's a fait accompli according to the Mayor and Rev. Jeff Carr, the City's new "Gang Tzar," and the public are not to be told who will decide how to dole out the money. What does Jack Weiss say about that? Nothing.

Given the City's appalling record of doling out money to questionable anti-gang programs - remember the $1.6M given to self-proclaimed "former" 18th Street gang member Hector Marroquin for his "No Guns" program? Well Marroquin turned out to be not so much of a "former" gang member, and more of an active gang member supplying guns to gangs. After recovering from a gang drive-by shooting, Hector Marroquin was sentenced to prison for his illegal arms dealing.

The City's last anti-gang program doled out funds to 49 "non-profits" and half of those 49 non-profits were also run by former gang members. With no oversight, it was hardly a surprise that the program failed. This time, the City wants to "do it right" but with no oversight from you, the People. They don't want pesky probing questions from you.

* Don't you think that you have the right to know how our money is being spent?

* Don't you think the person running for City Attorney should be challenging the Mayor over this secrecy?

Jack Weiss has made no comment on this whatsoever, presumably because he'll upset Mayor if he does. Perhaps Jack Weiss knows better than the rest of us ordinary folks, so we should trust his judgment.

As your City Attorney I would not resort to secrecy and backroom dealings when it comes to how public funds are spent. I don't trust Jack Weiss's judgment, and I do not believe secrecy is justified when spending Millions of dollars. Neither should you.

On March 3, 2009, you can decide if Jack knows best.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

My opponents, Jack Weiss and Carmine Trutanich spent Wednesday squabbling over the merits of a new Los Angeles City Council laws that, amongst other things, will ban the sale of large caliber ammunition in the City.

After a typical press conference photo opportunity for Mayor Villaraigosa, Chief Bratton, and of course Jack Weiss, who has to be seen to be doing something, but actually does nothing, spokespersons for Weiss and Trutanich traded barbs. Trutanich made the point that the laws will not prevent the sale of such ammunition in other cities or over the internet, while Weiss slurred Trutanich over his law firm's alleged ties to the National Rifle Association.

Much ado about nothing.

The law itself is showboating;
I've never seen a gang-gun case where the gangmember possessed lawfully obtained firearms or ammunition.
I've never heard of a gang-gun case that was prevented by anti-gun laws, gangs by their very definition defy laws.

So what's this all about? Well in an election cycle the old school career politicians dig out the old tripe and serve it up again.

What we need is more cops to arrest gang members. In CIty that currently pays lip service to fighting gangs, where the Mayor spends the scarce budget on increasing his personal staff from 70 to 93 (yes he gets 23 more aides) instead of spending it on 23 more cops, it's a telling that people like Weiss and Trutanich are squabbling over the law, instead of tackling the Mayor over increasing his personal staff, rather than increasing LAPD's ranks.

Last week, Weiss said he supported Chief Bratton's plan to cut police on the Westside because their were not enough officers to staff two new stations. Perhaps if Weiss even knew that the Mayor was spending OUR money on his personal staff instead of on putting more cops on the street, he might have challenged the Mayor. But, wait, this is an election cycle, and Weiss needs the Mayor's support, and Trutanich needs publicity. So it's much ado about nothing, business as usual, photo ops and slurs.

Wake up Los Angeles. Weiss and Trutanich are the "old school" and it's time for some leadership and personal responsibility in City Hall. If either candidate reallly cared about public safety, their press conferences should have been held outside the Mayor's office, and they should be condemning the Mayor for wasting our money on his vanity. They should be screaming about the need for more cops, not relishing in more photo ops.

David Berger
Candidate for Los Angeles City Attorney 2009

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More on Thursday's Town Hall Meeting

When I spoke to Chief Braton at the Town Hall meeting on the planned reduction in police services to the Westside, I told him I was a huge fan of his, but that after he heard what I had to say, he might not be a fan of mine!

The Chief took it well, but would not budge from his position; he will not delay opening the new police stations, and that means 26 less police officers on the Westside.

I was not alone in condemning the politicians who have allowed this potentially disastrous state of affairs to exist. Richard G. Cohen, chair of the Pacific Palisades Community Council spoke passionately and directly to the Chief, demanding a change in this plan, pointing out that valuable Westside property was being put at risk, and challenging the "7 minute response time" claimed by Chief Bratton.

Another critic of Bratton's plan was Jay Handal of the West LA Chamber of Commerce, and owner of the San Gennaro Cafe. Jay's had first hand experience of the risks faced by Westside residents; he was robbed at gunpoint at his Brentwood restaurant. Jay also disputed LAPD's "7 minute response time," and was one of many in the crowded meeting to condemn Jack Weiss and other elected officials for spending $50M on two new police stations while lacking the foresight to provide funding to staff them.

The hero of the evening? My vote goes to Bill Rosendahl, Councilmember for City District 11, who had the guts to face the public and let them have their say.

Needless to say, Jack Weiss, Councilmember for City District 5, who has spoken in favor of the planned reduction in police services, and whose residents are equally at risk, was not at the meeting. He was too busy fundraising with Ron Galperin, who hopes to take over from Weiss in the March election.

Anyone who thinks Jack Weiss is suitable for the Office of City Attorney needs to listen to the outright public condemnation of his imperious, unaccountable and out of touch style of candidacy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Look for Campaign!'s Nigel Skeet told me that I better do something with my campaign cards and website to send a clear message. Here's his suggestion. I like it.

Poor City Leadership Causes Westside To Lose 26 Cops

Last night (Thursday, December 11, 2008) I attended a Town Hall meeting hosted by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (CD11) where guest speaker LAPD Chief William Bratton tried his best to justify his reasons for pulling 26 officers away from the Westside to staff 2 new police stations, set to open in January 2009.

I won't bore you with the details, but the following facts were established:

1) The City Council approved the construction of two new police stations, but did not even think about how they would staff those police stations.

2) The only way that Chief Bratton can staff those new police stations is to take officers away ("harvesting" as he described it) from existing duties. In chosing where to "harvest" cops, Bratton selected areas of Los Angeles where violent crime is lower than other areas, i.e. the Westside.

3) LAPD is in the process of hiring the 1,000 extra cops that are supposed to be funded by the City as as a result of the trash tax. As of December 2009, 550 have been hired, but all are still in training. Bratton expects the new cops to be available for deployment in "3 to 6 months."

Given the above, wouldn't it be sensible to postpone opening these two police stations until the newly trained cops can fill the void?

I asked Chief Bratton that very question, and his response boils down to this:

a) He's not goinging to mothball these two stations, and

b) If he did mothball them, he believes that the City Council will keep them closed so as to avoid having to hire more cops.

c) He's going ahead and cutting police services to the Westside, and if you want to blame anyone, blame the City's elected officials.

Now that's a fine state of affairs, isn't it?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

British American Bar Association Endorses Me!

At their annual Christmas Luncheon (sorry if you're PC "Holiday" Luncheon) members of the British American Bar Association ("BABA") enthusiastically endorsed my candidacy for Los Angeles City Attorney.

"It's about time Los Angeles had someone in office who actually wants to do the job," was a frequently heard comment from members.

The BABA Xmas Luncheon was held on Saturday, December 8, 2008 at the White Hart pub in Woodland Hills. The White Harte is run by BABA member Doug Turner, he really is a member of the Bar!

Thank you, BABA members, for you support and belief in my ability to do the job.

Thanks also to our guest speaker, the Hon. Judge Charles W. McCoy, Jr., Assistant Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Judge McCoy gave us all an informative, if somewhat alarming insight into the trials and tribulations of running the largest court system in the State, if not the Nation.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Los Angeles Times

Well, news of my candidacy reached the Los Angeles Times today ...

In a 20 minute interview I tried my best to explain my position on;

The threat that the growth of gangs in Los Angeles means in terms of what Los Angelenos should expect in fighting crime from their next City Attorney, and

How alternatives to jail for low risk convicts could be used to make sure gang members serve their full sentences, and

How it should not be necessary for the City Attorney's Office to have spent $35M on hiring private attorney's to handle "special cases" when the 500 plus deputy city attorneys who work for the Office should be able to do the job, and

How training and cross assignments with other agencies will improve morale and performance in the Office, and

How Jack Weiss' ridiculous plan to cut police services on the Westside is a formula for disaster,

Click here for what they reported.

In all fairness, Maeve Reston, the LA Times reporter who interviewed me was thorough and meticulous. I suspect the problem lies with an editor...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thank You - City Clerk's Election Division!

Of course I'm overjoyed at having qualified to have my name on the ballot for the March 2009 Primary Election, and full of thanks and gratitude to the 771 registered voters who signed my nominating petition, as well as the many unpaid volunteers who helped with the thankless task of trying to persuade people to sign my petition.

There is another group of people who deserve a huge vote of thanks, namely, the excellent staff at the City Clerk's Office, Elections Division.

Here you see them as one of my opponents, Noel Weiss, files his petition. They were as kind, courteous, and professional to him as they were to me. We were both rather like expectant fathers, anxiously waiting to hear 'good news' on the birth of our campaigns, and safe delivery of our candidacy.

The City Clerk's Election Division staff handled us with just the right amount of good humor, graciousness and efficiency that makes me wish that all government offices were as pleasant as this.

Noel and I had a good chat while the Elections Division took care of our 'babies' and thankfully we both qualified to be placed on the ballot for the March 2009 Election.

I'm now looking forward to getting down to the serious business of campaigning.


The Los Angeles Police Department is about to cut police services to the Westside. This is foolish in the extreme when crime is rising because of the economic recession. Jack Weiss, the man who wants to be City Attorney, is in favor of this ridiculous plan.

Please read my letter to the Editor of the LA Times.

Weiss has an appalling record on crime, and his chairmanship of the Public Safety Commission is a disgrace - he thinks red light traffic cameras are the priority, while he ignores the uncomfortable realities of fighting crime. It's a pity Weiss isn't more concerned about protecting decent honest people, instead of pandering to special interests and campaign endorsers in his bid to be be the City's next chief law enforcement executive.

Weiss is wrong on crime, and wrong for Los Angeles.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Hot off the press...

I turned in my signed petitions at lunchtime today, and just checked the City Clerk's website, I've qualified to have my name on the March 3, 2009 Ballot.

Thank you all those who circulated and signed my petition and have made this possible.

More to follow...

Signatures Are In


Thank you, all those who patiently signed my petition, and thank you to my friends and family members who helped me with the laborious task of trying to get people to believe in the democratic process.

I will be taking the 765 signatures to the City Clerk's Office later today, and hopefully, if they're not too busy, I'll be a confirmed candidate for the March 3, 2009 election.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Final Furlong

Today was a good day for signature hunting. I need 500 qualified signatures and my total now stands at 663, just over the 650 I wanted, and that should give me a decent buffer should the City Clerk's office disqualify signatures for any reason.

Once again I was really encouraged by the kind words of support that so many of today's signatories gave me. It's only the early stages of my campaign, but I'm getting the impression that voters are hungry for a candidate that offers something different, honest and practical.

On the lighter side of things, Dennis Woodruff, a documentarian who has finally 'made it' stopped by my local Starbucks aka "temporary campaign HQ," and stuck a videocam in my face and interviewed me. Fame at last!

Dennis Woodruff is a familiar sight on the Hollywood trail, he used to drive around in bright red Cadillac plastered with signs, photos and Oscar statues as he brazenly promoted his movies. Seems like his determination has paid off.

My determination to be the next Los Angeles City Attorney is stronger than ever.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting Closer...

Yes! I'm now past the magic 500 signatures needed on my Petition to place my name on the Ballot for the March election. With four days left to submit my signed Petition to the City Clerk's Office, I'm planning on submitting around 650 to be safe.

You may wonder why it is necessary to 'overshoot' by so much? The answer is that despite the best intentions of those who enthusiastically sign my Petition, some signatories lack the penmanship necessary to pass the City Clerk's standards, while others don't print their name exactly as it appears on the Register of Electors.

Although I initially found the signature gathering process somewhat burdensome, I have come to enjoy the process. Some signatories simply sign because it's part of the democratic process, while others enjoy the opportunity to engage me in conversation about my policies. It is really encouraging to hear people get so enthusiastic about my candidacy when they hear what I have to say.

The goodwill and good wishes of so many people have strengthened my belief that Los Angelenos are ready for a change in the way their City has been run, and strengthened my resolve to be the person to bring that change.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today there are many things for which I am truly thankful;

In no particular order:

(o) Thank you to all the people who have been gracious enough to listen to me as I passionately explain my reasons for wanting to be your next City Attorney.

(o) Thank you Walter Moore for encouraging me to take this huge step towards my commitment to public service. You truly are a man with a vision and a plan for Los Angeles, and that plan resonated with me, as well as many other Los Angelenos who want to see the best city in the world live up to its potential.

(o) Thank you to the 517 registered Los Angeles voters who have already signed my petition. Thank you for your comments, positive and negative. I have listened and I have learnt. I know what you want and are entitled to expect from your City Attorney, and I intend to deliver.

(o) Thank you to the remaining Los Angelenos who I will be pestering for signatures over the next 5 days. I want to submit well over the minimum 500 signatures on my petition, because I not only want to be safe, but I actually enjoy listening to you and hearing your words of encouragement.

(o) Thank you Nigel Skeet at the CaliforniaLeader for documenting the birth of my campaign, and to Doug McIntyre, Bill Handel, Jon & Ken, Al Rantel, Leo Terell, and the many other talk radio hosts who have allowed me a forum to air my views over the years.

(o) Thank you to the United State of America, the greatest country in the world. Thank you for welcoming me here 19 years ago when I was an immigrant arriving at JFK in New York having finally been given Resident Alien status. Thank you for showing me hope and spirit of America - offering immigrants the chance of a better way of life; a chance to live free from oppression, snobbery and a class culture designed to preserve elitism. Most of all, thank you for giving me a chance to give something back to the community.

God Bless America, my home sweet home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

California Leader Covers Campaign

The online news magazine has been covering my campaign.

Photo courtesy of Nigel Skeet, California Leader's ubiquitous photo journalist. The full article "Birth of a Campaign" makes for good reading, even if I say so myself!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crime Fighter of The Year

Unlike every candidate for the Office of Los Angeles City Attorney, I'm the ONLY one who has actually prosecuted violent felons in the past 20 years.

Not only have I sent dangerous criminals to prison for lengthy terms, but I have introduced, passed and implemented laws designed to make communities safer.

My accomplishments as a prosector earned me a US Congressional "Crime Buster of the Year" Award - that's something NO OTHER CANDIDATE has ever even come close to achieving, and that's because they might talk the talk, but they've never walked the walk.

The Campaign Has Started

I'm meeting lots of interesting people who seem to like what I have to say.

In order for you, the voters of the City of Los Angeles, to get the chance to decide whether you want me to be your City Attorney, I have to get 500 signatures on my ballot petition by December 3, 2009.

Easy? Well, those 500 signatures have to be from people who live in the City of Los Angeles, and are registered voters. Those signatures also have to be legible, and backed up with a residential address and date of birth, otherwise the City Clerk will not count them.

Most people don't understand that what I'm doing in asking them for their signature, is simply part of the process demanded by the City Clerk's Office to get a candidate's name on the ballot.

"Why are you doing this?" is a question I'm constantly asked.

The answer is that I don't have a mega-dollar budget to pay people to do the work for me.

Neither do I have a hard core of party faithful, like my Democratic and Republican Party opponents, who will sign anything for "their" candidate.

All I have is my ability to connect with you, the voters, and get a few minutes of your time to convince you that signing the petition is essential f you want to get the chance to decide who is best suited for the Office of City Attorney.

Today is day 10 of my campaign. I have almost 500 signatures, but to be safe, I want to submit at least 700 to the City Clerk. So, if you do happen to see me campaigning outside a local Starbucks, I do hope you will sign my petition and ask me about what I will do as your City Attorney, and also please, please, please, ask me what I've done as a crime fighter.