Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, October 29, 2012


Page 11



Trutanich, Feuer Agree That Villaraigosa Proposal Is Faulty


The top candidates for Los Angeles city attorney—incumbent  Carmen Trutanich and Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles—are in agreement that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s call to yank civil functions from the Office of City Attorney is a bad idea.

Trutanich’s campaign said in an e-mail to “Friends and Supporters”:

“The Trutanich campaign got an unexpected lift this week when Mayor Villaraigosa made a powerful argument for reelecting Trutanich.

“It all came about when Villaraigosa proposed to strip the City Attorney’s office of its role as an independent legal adviser to city officials and critical participant in the city’s historic system of checks and balances. Villaraigosa wants to appoint a private attorney to provide these services – more than half of what the City Attorney now does! Put another way, Villaraigosa is dreaming of an elected city attorney who only prosecutes criminal cases. Nothing more.

“If Villaraigosa got his way, this non-elected city attorney would be a lapdog, not a watchdog, beholden to his political paymasters, not to voters and taxpayers. And we’ve seen how well that works! In scandal-ridden cities like Bell and Vernon appointed city attorneys take their marching orders from their mayors and councils, not from the voters. Now their leaders are going to jail and their finances are in chaos.”

Feuer said in a “Dear Friend” e-mail:

“Leaders have grown so frustrated with incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and his failed leadership that they’ve brought forward a proposal to dramatically restructure the entire office. They want to strip the City Attorney’s office of one of its key responsibilities—representing the City in civil matters.

“Clearly it’s time for change, but I oppose this specific proposal because I know how great this office can be for the people—as L.A.’s chief problem solver. The City Attorney can bring people together to tackle our challenges and restore honesty, transparency and dignity to government.

“Voters deserve to hold the power to hire and fire their City Attorney.  When you have a bad employee, you replace them.  You don’t eliminate the position—particularly when the office is critical to the safety, security and economic well-being of the city.”

One prominent political observer reacted to Feuer’s statement by saying, in an e-mail to the MetNews:

“Mike Feuer has spent as much time in a courtroom as Cal Worthington’s dog Spot and knows as much about lawyering as Osama bin Laden’s third wife. I supported Rocky in his first City Attorney election only because he was not Mike Feuer. Not much of a choice. Now Feuer wants another government job because he is incapable of working in the private sector. Recycling incompetent politicians is just another form of welfare. It’s time to get them off the dole and let them find jobs in the private sector or starve. They screw up Sacramento then come back and screw up L.A. At least Carmen had real legal experience before being elected.”, Deputy District Attorney David Berger’s anti-Trutanich blog, says of Villaraigosa’s proposal:

“The idea is not a new one, it’s been discussed on several occasions in the past. However, the current budgetary crisis and perhaps more importantly, Trutanich’s crippled political position, makes the chances of this becoming a reality more than just a hypothetical debate topic.”

Thomas Patrick Beck on Wednesday night was handed the Irish American Bar Association’s Daniel O’Connell Award by Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

It was Beck who, as president of the group, presented the award to Cooley in 2003.

The district attorney revealed that Beck makes sizeable anonymous charitable contributions.

Hailing his skills as a lawyer, Cooley said:

“He’s one of the best in our profession.”

Cooley noted that Beck is also a “lecturer and writer on legal topics.”

Beck’s law firm, Thon, Beck, Vanni Callahan & Powell, on Aug. 3 held a reception at the Pacific Asia Museum to celebrate its 30th anniversary and to honor Beck on the occasion of his retirement. Beck related Wednesday that he will remain as a partner until the end of the year, then become of counsel to the firm.

The lawyer told of his introduction to the Irish American Bar Association. He said that Tom Byrne, since deceased, asked him if he wanted to join the group and come on its Board of Directors.

“I said, ‘Sure,’” he recounted.

There was a gathering of members at the bar in McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant, Beck said. As he was walking in, Beck recalled, Byrne greeted him and advised: “Just wait there for a moment, Tom.”

He continued:

“And there was a circle of lawyers, with drinks, and they were having a meeting.”

Beck said that Byrne came over to him and announced, “Come on over, Tom, you’re on the board now.”

Hugh Biele, the former Los Angeles County Bar Association Senior Lawyers Section chair whose Oct. 15 death became known to members of the section Wednesday, was saluted by members in an exchange of e-mails.

Retired U.S. District Court Judge George Schiavelli said this:

“I was devastated by Hugh’s passing. I know that he was in pain often, yet he never showed it or complained. He was a model of friendship, goodwill, enthusiasm and energy. I think the best thing I can say is that, while I did not know him long, I feel that I have lost one of my best friends.”

Members of the section met for dinner Thursday night at the Magic Castle. Before the meal, chair Lola McAlpin-Grant asked that Biele be remembered during a moment of silence. Three members then spoke praise of Biele, who died at age 70.

Daviann Mitchell Braun, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge who raises Rottweilers, provides the following:

Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company