Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Baca Withdraws Endorsement of City Attorney Candidate
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca yesterday formally withdrew his co-endorsement of City Councilman Jack Weiss in Weiss’ bid to become city attorney.
Steve Whitmore, a spokesperson for Baca, said that the sheriff, who had endorsed both Weiss and opponent Carmen Trutanich, had never before withdrawn an endorsement.
He explained that the sheriff “has certain admonitions when it comes to his endorsement,” and “the most important one to him” is that the candidate “cannot engage in negative campaigning.”
Whitmore said that Baca saw a television advertisement for the Weiss campaign Friday night “that was unacceptable to him.”
Although sniping between Weiss and Trutanich has been commonplace as the two battle for the post being vacated by City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Whitmore said Weiss’ latest television advertisement “went to a new level.”
The blow to the Weiss campaign was not completely unforeseen though, as Whitmore said Baca had talked with Weiss “over the last several weeks about how negative campaigning could prove problematic for the sheriff’s endorsement to continue.”
A press release from the Trutanich campaign quoted Baca as calling the commercial “desperate” and “an insult to the principles of the American legal system, our Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.”
Trutanich campaign manager John Thomas told the METNEWS that “Jack Weiss has run a campaign based on smears, lies, and dirty campaign tactics,” and that Baca “just had enough.”
Weiss’ campaign yesterday sent out a press release offering Baca “an opportunity to debate Councilman Jack Weiss on Carmen Trutanich’s record as a the paid representative for polluters, criminals and pro-gun groups.”
In the release, the Weiss camp noted that Trutanich has backed out of several debates, and accused the candidate of having “gone into hiding,” rather than “confronting the disqualifying details about his record of support for polluters and gun groups.”
Campaign manager Ace Smith insisted that Weiss “isn’t afraid to debate anyone,” adding that if Trutanich “doesn’t have the courage to defend his deplorable record on polluters and guns, we will meet Sheriff Baca at high noon.”
Thomas said that Trutanich has opted to pull out of all future debates with Weiss because “we won’t subject ourselves, or the voters for that matter, to his smear tactics.”
At the last several debates, Thomas said the Weiss campaign has erected a 25-foot inflatable rat in front of the debate venues. “The message didn’t even come across,” Thomas said, explaining that he was unsure what the rat meant, but it was “offensive and not necessary.”
He also claimed that the Weiss campaign has been bringing in “unruly and rowdy, just overly disrespectful” supporters to debates, which disrupts the events. Thomas insisted “we want to have a civil discussion, and Jack Weiss’ campaigning doesn’t let us do that…. We’ve had enough.”
As the May 19 election draws nearer, Thomas said “it’s time to get serious…and address the legitimate concerns of voters.”
While the Weiss television advertisements may have cost Weiss the support of Baca, they drew a favorable reaction from a pro-gun control group that supports Weiss.
Paul Helmke, whose group bills itself as the nation’s largest advocate against gun violence, released a statement yesterday on behalf of the Brady organization and its California Brady Chapters backing Weiss and praising the commercials.
Helmke noted that Trutanich is a name partner of Trutanich Michel LLP, which has represented the National Rifle Association in California.
Helmke quoted the NRA’s chief executive officer as having said “the people with the guns make all the rules,” and maintained “it should be the voters who make the rules and elect the candidate—like Jack Weiss—who will serve the people, not the special interests. Supporters of Mr. Trutanich apparently don’t like Jack Weiss’ new television ad that spells this out.”
Weiss’ campaign also announced yesterday that he has secured the endorsement of former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who represented the 11th District from 1997 to 2005.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company