Friday, December 10, 2010
Councilman Endorses Jackson to Succeed Cooley
By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer
Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine yesterday endorsed Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, who is running in 2012 to succeed District Attorney Steve Cooley.
Zine, however, said that his endorsement was conditioned on Cooley not seeking a fourth term, and he confirmed that Jackson has indicated he will bow out of the race if Cooley runs.
Cooley, who last month lost his bid to become California attorney general, declined in a news conference last week to rule out seeking another term. He indicated that he would run if no “qualified person” steps forward to succeed him.
He told the MetNews yesterday that he has received “encouragement all over the place” to run, but he said that he expected to wait to make a decision until next fall. Noting that the primary election for the post is still 18 months away, he commented that he wanted “to see how the respective campaigns shake out.”
No ‘Political Types’
That decision, he reiterated, would be motivated by the desire to keep any “disreputable, dishonorable political types” from the post, and would be measured by whether “any worthy candidates arise that can win.”
Jackson, a 16-year veteran of the District Attorney’s Office who serves in its Major Crimes Division and gained attention prosecuting music producer Phil Spector for murder last year, announced his campaign on Monday. He is the first candidate to declare that he is running for Cooley’s seat.
Cooley said Jackson first approached him about running for the post a year ago, and that he encouraged Jackson to pursue the idea.
“It’s very healthy for democracy,” he said.
But Cooley cautioned that his support was not an endorsement, noting that there are a number of “good people,” including “three to four in the office,” reportedly considering a run.
Names floated include City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, Assistant District Attorney Jacquelyn Lacey, and Deputy District Attorneys Bobby Grace and Steve Ipsen. The latter formerly headed the prosecutors’ union and ran unsuccessfully against Cooley in 2008.
Lacey was rumored to be Cooley’s choice to succeed him if he had defeated San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris in the attorney general contest. Cooley said yesterday that he “would have strongly recommended” Lacey to the Board of Supervisors, but was declining to endorse anyone—or lock in his own plans—so far out from the next election.
“When I ran against [then-District Attorney] Gil Garcetti [in 2000], I opened my campaign account 18 months out, but I didn’t announce that I was running until 10 months later,” he said.
Both Cooley and Zine indicated that they understood Jackson announced his candidacy so far out from the election in order to position himself against potential rivals in case Cooley does not run.
Zine said that he made it clear to Jackson that he would back Cooley in a re-election bid, but the former Los Angeles Police Department sergeant and three-term city councilman extolled Jackson’s qualifications for the office.
“If you look at his career, he’s handled very difficult cases, he has a very good reputation, he’s very effective and very successful,” Zine said. The councilman also praised Jackson for “not grandstanding” when prosecuting high-profile cases.
In addition to the Spector trial, Jackson successfully prosecuted the murder of auto-racing legend Mickey Thompson, who was shot and killed with his wife, Trudy, in front of their home in 1988 by two men hired by an embittered former business partner. He also helped to put behind bars the murderer of Lily Burk, the 17-year-old daughter of attorney Deborah Drooz, who was kidnapped and later killed inside her car last year in downtown Los Angeles.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company