Monday, April 18, 2011
Trutanich Forms Committe to Explore D.A. Campaign
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has formed an exploratory campaign committee to run for Los Angeles County district attorney after being actively recruited by law enforcement officials, including Sheriff Lee Baca, an advisor to Trutanich said Friday.
Senior advisor John Shallman said that the city attorney has been “deluged by leaders in law enforcement” urging him to run in the event incumbent Steve Cooley doesn’t. A “Draft Trutanich” website run by a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer has drawn substantial interest, particularly from people who worked with Trutanich when he was a deputy district attorney or in his current capacity, Shallman told the MetNews.
“He is honored to have their encouragement, but right now he is singularly focused on his job fighting and preventing gang violence as city attorney,” Shallman said. Forming an exploratory committee gives him an opportunity to “do some thinking,” while permitting him to get started on the task of raising enough money for what will likely be a bruising campaign involving several current members of the District Attorney’s Office.
Cooley said in a news conference last year that he would consider running for a fourth term if there are no qualified candidates or if some “undeserving and unworrthy’ person seemed likely to win.
Without naming names, he suggested that there were several capable successors within his own office.
Five deputy district attorneys—Alan Jackson, Bobby Grace, Jacquelyn Lacey, Danette Meyers and Mario Trujillo—have entered the race or taken steps towards running.
John S. Thomas, who was Trutanich’s campaign spokesman in 2009 but is now working for Jackson, said Trutanich violated a pledge he made in his race against then-Councilman Jack Weiss to serve a full term.
Trutanich in that race offered, in writing, to join Weiss in a pledge “to serve out our elected terms in their entirety.” The pledge stipulated that if the signer did not serve out his term, he would pay $100,000 of personal funds to the Best Afterschool Program for Kids and place a full-page ad in every major daily paper with a picture of himself and text stating “I AM A LIAR.”
Trutanich signed the document, dated Nov. 24, 2008, even though Weiss did not join. Trutanich won the election with 55 percent of the vote.
Thomas, who was the press contact on the Trutanich release announcing the offer, acknowledged Friday that he was now in an awkward position raising the issue on behalf of another candidate. But he was put in that position, he said, because he joined Jackson’s campaign after the city attorney “told me point blank to my face that he wasn’t running for district attorney.”
Not only did Trutanich sign the pledge, Thomas emphasized, he stated on numerous occasions, before and after the election, that he intended not only to serve out his term, but to serve out a second term if reelected.
“Carmen gave his word, one way or another,” Thomas said.
Shallman responded that circumstances have changed and that Trutanich “can address that issue” if he decides to run. Many candidates for various offices, he noted, have promised to serve full terms or to limit the number of terms they would seek, only to change their position later.
Shallman was a consultant to Cooley in his 2000 campaign against then-District Attorney Gil Garcetti, when the then-challenger said he would only serve two terms.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company