Tuesday, November 25, 2008
City Attorney Candidate Issues Full-Term Challenge
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Los Angeles city attorney candidate Carmen Trutanich said yesterday he will serve his full term if elected, and challenged Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss, seen by many as the frontrunner in the race, to do the same.
Trutanich, a partner in the law firm of Trutanich Michel, proposed that the candidates sign a document declaring that the if the pledge is violated, the offending candidate be required to purchase one full-page newspaper advertisement in every daily newspaper in Los Angeles to be run on the first Sunday following the breach of the pledge, including a large headshot of the candidate, a copy of the pledge and the words, “I AM A LIAR,” in large block print.
In addition, the pledge document called for a penalty of $100,000 be paid from the violator’s personal funds to LA’s Best After School Program.
A spokesman for Trutanich’s campaign said that the pledge would be enforced by citizen watchdog groups or the media and “operate on ‘kind of an honor system.’” But he said “we’ll have our eyes out,” and if the prevailing candidate violated the pledge and does not voluntarily donate the money and take out the adds, he pledged “we will use it as a legally binding document…and we’ll bring them to court.”
He explained the motivation behind the pledge was Trutanich’s concern that people “just use the office as a political stepping stone,” and Trutanich was quoted in the accompanying release as proclaiming”[i]t’s time for a prosecutor, not a politician” to serve as the city’s chief prosecutor.
Trutanich’s campaign said that the pledge was directed at Weiss because he is the only “career politician” in the race, although it said it is “arranging” for the other four candidates to sign the pledge as well.
Another candidate, Beverly Hills attorney Gregory W. Smith, opined that “everybody else that put their name in the race did intend to run for the office of City Attorney for the purpose of being City Attorney,” and that the pledge was “meaningless to the rest of us.”
Although Smith said he plans to file papers withdrawing from the race today because he did not think he had adequate time to fundraise and prepare for the election, he said that if he were going to remain in the race, “of course I would have signed it.”
The remaining candidates, Deputy City Attorney Michael Amerian, Marina Del Rey attorney Noel Weiss, and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Berger could not be reached for comment.
The spokesman for Trutanich’s campaign said that the candidate’s decision to sign the pledge was “a no-brainer,” because he does not aspire for any other political office.
“He wants to serve two terms as the city attorney, and that’s that,” the spokesman said. “Then he wants to go back to his civilian life,” which is his Long Beach practice, specializing in environmental law.
In contrast, Trutanich’s campaign called Weiss a “typical politician” who “doesn’t really care to be a city attorney,” and will likely begin campaigning for his next office if he is elected. “We suspect he won’t sign [the pledge]” Trutanich’s campaign said.
The city councilman cannot run for re-election due to term limits, began making overtures at the City Attorney position in 2007, and had announced an intention to run if current City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo had been successful in his bid for Attorney General that year. Delgadillo is currently ineligible for another term due to term limits.
Weiss was elected to represent the Fifth District, which includes parts of west Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, in 2001 and re-elected in 2005. Last year Weiss was the subject of an unsuccessful recall attempt.
He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, where he was assigned to the Public Corruption and Government Fraud Section, and as an attorney with Irell & Manella LLP.
His campaign could not be reached for comment.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company