Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Trutanich Declines Comment on Reports He Will Not Run for D.A.
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich yesterday declined to confirm whether he has decided to quit the race for District Attorney.
When reached on his personal cell phone during business hours, Trutanich said “I am at my desk, and I don’t talk politics at my desk.”
He deferred any inquiries into the matter to his consultant, John Shallman, who did not return a call seeking comment.
City News Service and the Los Angeles Dragnet blog both reported unsubstantiated rumors yesterday that Trutanich is withdrawing from the race after the City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to look into the possibility of separating the role of legal adviser to the council from the office of city attorney.
Trutanich has never publicly declared himself a candidate, but he formed an “exploratory” committee to begin the process of fundraising for a campaign in April.
District Attorney Steve Cooley backed Trutanich’s bid for city attorney, but he has given his endorsement to Jacquelyn Lacey, his chief deputy, in what, without Trutanich, would be a six-way contest to be his successor. Deputy District Attorneys Bobby Grace, Alan Jackson, Danette Meyers, Mario Trujillo and Steve Ipsen have all formally entered the race, along with Lacey.
Political consultant John S. Thomas, who was Trutanich’s campaign spokesman during the 2009 city attorney election but is now working with Jackson, said he still thinks Trutanich is running, and would be a formidable contender by virtue of his name recognition and established fundraising skills.
If Trutanich were to make the race, Thomas said, this would evolve the contest into a two-person race between Trutanich and “the other guy.” As Jackson’s representative, Thomas said, he needs “to make sure we’re the other guy.”
Thomas also reported yesterday that Jackson has raised over $230,000 from over 350 donors so far, a sufficient haul for Thomas to predict next year’s ballot contest will come down to “Jackson versus Trutanich.”
Thomas also noted that Trutanich is handicapped, not only by the city council’s action, but also by being the incumbent politician subject to the same criticisms Trutanich had levied against his opponent in the city attorney race, then-Councilman Jack Weiss.
Trutanich would also violate a pledge he made in that race, Thomas said, referencing an offer Trutanich extended in writing in 2008, to join Weiss in a pledge “to serve out our elected terms [as city attorney] 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.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company