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Let’s Talk About Carmen Trutanich: 8 a.m. Thursday on KPFK with Sonali Kolhatkar

Carmen Trutanich: From ‘People’s Lawyer’

To ’Enemy of the People in Just Three Years’

KPFK (90.7 FM) news and talk host Sonali Kolhatkar invited me to talk about the District Attorney’s race at 8 a.m. Thursday, specifically about the record of Carmen Trutanich as LA City Attorney and the District Attorney’s race. (LISTEN HERE)

Just to check up on on all the details of why I turned from being an early and ardent supporter of Trutanich and now feel he has betrayed his private and public promises to stand up for the “people” while becoming nothing but a tool of LA’s failing political machine, I spent half an hour googling around.

Here’s what I found about a man who is your classic bully-coward (why else would he have a sign in his office reading: “The strong do as they will, the weak do as they must.”? He would be a dangerous District Attorney, trashing the law and civil liberties on whims and fancies:

Conservative commentator Larry Elder put the former Republican down this way this week:  ’‘No one should run for higher office if they’re going to make stuff up – you get found out!”

Lying is one of the main charges leveled against “Nuch” by his challengers Jackie Lacey, Alan Jackson,

In 2009, Trutanich campaigned against the widely despised Councilman Jack Weiss with a promise “to prosecute misdemeanor ethics violations by politicians,” as he told Sherman Oaks homeowners as reported here. “We’re going to change the way politics is played in the City of Los Angeles.”

To date, he has not prosecuted a single City Hall corruption case and is now little more than a rubber stamp for just about everything the mayor and City Council want to do.

He challenged Weiss to sign his pledge that they would both serve the full two terms as City Attorney, vowing to take out a full page ad in the Times and donate $100,000 to LA’s Best after-school program if he broke his promise. Challenger Alan Jackson called him a “liar” — a label that has stuck.

To date, he has not taken out the ad or donated the money.

In January, Trutanich falsely claimed several law enforcement organizations as supporters and was forced to apologize and remove the groups.

In February, Trutanich claimed “broad support…from a vast online and grass-roots audience” based on 700,000 hits on his “Tru Stories” video on youtube but was forced to admit he paid a marketing firm to generate many of those views.

Another promotional video told the story of how he was a shooting victim as a young county prosecutor cracking down on gangs — a story that has no backing in remembrances of others involved. He pleaded for Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate why his personnel files were missing — a demand that was dismissed as laughable.

He claimed a ballot designation of “Los Angeles chief prosecutor” but a judge ruled that was false and misleading.

From his bull-in-the-china-shop feeble threats to jail AEG’s Tim Leiweke over costs of the Michael Jackson funeral and Councilwoman Jan Perry over his assault on advertising signs, Trutanich got off to a clumsy start.

The mayor and Council were enemies and tore into his budget and tripped him up at every turn. He response eventually came to beg for mercy and surrender any pretext at independence even as he continued to assault civil liberties wherever he saw them — mostly without success.

The best story did on Trutanich was in the LA Weekly in February by Gene Maddaus under this headline and key paragraphs:

Carmen Trutanich, L.A. City Attorney, Tramples the Rights of Pot Smokers, Street Artists and Protesters

Carmen Trutanich came into office vowing to “throw politics out the front door.” But in almost three years as city attorney, he has repeatedly sought jail time for minor offenses that align with his political crusades. He’s pursued sign installers like Mark Denny. He’s tried to jail people who sell medical marijuana. He’s gone after street artists and political demonstrators. At a time when most policymakers are trying to reduce the jail population, Trutanich’s impulse is to lock ‘em up.

Such high-profile crusades have become part of his sales pitch now that the 60-year-old Trutanich is running for district attorney. But the truth is that he has largely failed in his efforts to lock people up for these nuisance crimes — even as the manpower he’s devoted to them has left fewer resources for more important cases. Records show, for example, that the City Attorney’s Office under Trutanich has cut back on pursuing gang injunctions — a critical component of public safety — and has prosecuted far fewer gang cases than his predecessor

Trutanich’s critics point out that, while his office is limited to prosecuting misdemeanors, he’s been obsessed with enhancing his powers. He launched a Bureau of Investigation to pursue his own cases, rather than wait for local law enforcement to bring him its handiwork. He tried to get the Legislature to give him control of a criminal grand jury. And, in a little-noticed move, he got state law rewritten to let his investigators eavesdrop electronically.

Acting like Elliot Ness of the “Untouchable” he has tried to “eradicate” medical marijuana dispensaries, jailed a Hollywood property owner on $1 million bail for allowing a supergraphics sign on his building, persecuted graffiti artists even as the Geffen Contemporary had long lines at its “Art in the Streets” exhibition, sought one-year jail sentences for non-violent political protesters in 2010 and charged 50 Occupy LA demonstrators criminally while demanding a couple hundred others pay $375 to watch a video on their First Amendment rights to avoid jail.

The result is the mainstream media and the blogosphere are unanimously opposed to Trutanich as District Attorney, preferring Chief Deputy DA Jackie Lacey (DA Steve Cooley’s choice) and Deputy DA Alan Jackson while other county prosecutors — John Breault, Bobby Grace and Danette Myers — all have their supporters.

Still, with more money from special interests, more name recognition and endorsements from Sheriff Lee Baca (presumably looking for cover over criminal investigations of his department) and Gov. Jerry Brown (presumably because of some really bad advice), Trutanich could win it all on Tuesday.

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22 Responses to Let’s Talk About Carmen Trutanich: 8 a.m. Thursday on KPFK with Sonali Kolhatkar

  1. Noel Weiss says:


    Why don’t you tell Sonali Kolhatkar and share with the people the story of how Nuch ran ‘South’ back in 2009 when you and Jack Humphreville asked him to back and defend the “Solar 8″ after the Mayor and his minions sued you and Jack Humphreville over what the Mayor (falsely and arrogantly) claimed were erroneous ballot arguments in support of your (and the other members of the Solar 8) Opposition to Measure B (where the people won both in Court and at the ballot box).

    Nuch had not a clue what to do. . . He was not there for the people when it really counted. . . Clearly a harbinger of the personal and political failures Nuch was to come to experience after his election.

    Nuch is dangerous. . . He is incompetent. . . . His ‘ego’ was (and remains) way, way out of balance with his imagination. . . He has undermined people’s faith in government, which is his real ‘sin’. . . . .

    You don’t reward people like this with power. . . You fire them. . . .

    I don’t know what happens when individuals are given the privilege of serving the public by being elected to office. . . . Maybe it is something in the air conditioning system at City Hall. . . . . But whatever it is, it needs to cease.

    Fortunately, the people are stronger than their leaders. . and the people of this City deserve and will receive far better from these mediocre politicians than they are getting come the 2013 elections. . As we learned with Measure B, it takes just an extra 2%-4% of the vote to turn things around (because so few people vote). . . .

    Character, commitment, courage, and competence will be rewarded.

    We must maintain faith in the power of the people and the power of ideas. . . . .

    We can and will turn things around. . . . Just as soon as Nuch is fired and retired from his incredibly incompetent, indistinguishable, irreverent and (thankfully) short-lived political career.

    Noel Weiss

  2. Wayne from Corruptopia (aka L.A. City) says:

    I will listen to the COMMUNISTs on KPFK to hear this! Yes, all the following are 110% in AGREEMENT that the 2012 “Anti-Nuch” movement must result in the Whore of San Pedro (of couse there are 3 of them: Buscaino, Nuch, and Chicken-Head Hahn.) But this is a unanimous NO on NUCH vote:
    The 99%
    The 1/2 of the 1%
    Jews who own buildings
    Jews who own businesses
    Goyam who own anything
    All of Talk Radio
    Every Newspaper
    Here’s the list of Nuch Supporters:
    DENNIS ZINE (Likes to use alot of FREE gas for his own fleet of cars)
    DIRT (yes if Dirt could speak, absolutely)
    FELONS on the City’s books
    Tricky-Dicky Alarcon
    Every thief, burglar, killer, and scumbag loose on the streets.
    Many “Secret Santas” (you know the ones who get all those City Freebees.)
    22%—JACKSON (most people think he’s the white one of the Jack0-clan)
    9%—Kenneth Hahn (many believe he’s alive and well?)
    9%—Kevin James (not on the ballot, write ins)
    8%–David “the burger” Berger (honorable mention.)
    GET THOSE BALLOTS IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Send the Carmen TURNCOAT back to his City Job—and into retirement come
    July 2013!!!!!! Then maybe his PARENTS and brother ANDY (who I’ve met and are totally GREAT PEOPLE, SERIOUSLY) can talk some sense into this FAILURE and LIAR and get him off his ego trip.
    NO NUCH 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Sierra says:


    You and the LA Weekly have hit the nail on the head.

    Seeing and speaking with the corrupt whore Jack Weiss who openly worked for Developers and others paying the highest bid, Trutanich was originally a breath of fresh air. Your summary was perfect – Trutanich gave up on his initial push, waved the white flag and then, instead of “walking softly and carrying a big stick” he did a 180 and became a two-face abandoning any sort of principles or integrity.

    His double-talk started with the “kick-off” meeting in the evening at Council Chambers with neighborhood group members. He talked about being independent and looking out for the City and its residents. But then he said that he can’t do anything about City Council members or Department managers since they are his clients.

    He became a criminal defense lawyer for them working against the good, hard working taxpayers and voters of Los Angeles.

    Trutanich also went out of his way to kiss Developer AEG’s Tim Leiweke’s ring and became Jack Weiss on steroids.

    Trutanich does not deserve to hold any office in California – He does not have any level of trust.

  4. Joe says:

    Ron, you’re one of the reasons why Nuch is in office. A year later, while all the other bloggers were realizing what a liar he was, you were still supporting him, framing every issue as Nuch vs City Hall, writing about how Nuch is dangerous because he’s gonna prosecute the City Council for their crimes. All his mistakes, from gridlocking the city controller’s office to accepting free tickets to going back on his pledge to server, you stayed quiet on or supported. You’re about 2 years too late on calling it for what it is.

    Unless you can get rid of the extreme hero worship, don’t tell people how to vote.

  5. Anonymous says:

    At his budget hearing last month, Trutanich revealed that his ACE Program would be a huge revenue generator for the General Fund. He along with Koretz is out to rip-off the middle class to keep the over-paid bureaucrats in power and money. Don’t give more power to this egomaniac.

    • Not Anonymous says:

      Your quote: “At his budget hearing last month, Trutanich revealed that his ACE Program would be a huge revenue generator for the General Fund”

      Which makes Jane Usher a liar – She publicly said that ACE is not to generate revenue.

  6. anonymous says:

    ok…duplicitous, incompetent, dysfunctional, unstable, unethical,
    low-life-creepy characters with no redeeming attributes…
    are neither qualified nor worthy of representing the people…..agreed…so…
    stop enabling/empowering these characters…for examples:
    el Villaraigosa, Ricardo Alarcon, Antonio Cardenas, no, no, no mas…basta!
    Trutanich and Zine, please, just go away….
    J.Hahn, M. Waters, Berman/Sherman, please stop the nonsense, stop…..
    please, do not vote for rotten apples….they are destructive and dangerous…

    • ex valley says:

      You are wasting your time. Clueless LA voters will vote for everybody on your list. I’d not hold my breath expecting a change.

  7. MissAnthrope says:

    Caught you on KPFK this a.m. Good show! Although I thought you’d have more time.

  8. In Eagle Rock says:

    “Anybody But Carmen” would be a good guideline for county voters to follow. I went over to the KPCC Pasadena studio for their “DA forum” Tuesday evening – Each of the 5 candidates present would be better choices that Nuch, the only missing candidate. I am one who favors keeping the death penalty as an option, Alan Jackson and Jackie Lacey were on that side. Danette Meyers was a strong speaker, experienced and more in tune with the line troops of the office- but disturbing to hear a comment about not being in bed with law enforcement, if I heard her correctly. Meyers recited the cost for death row residence and said most of not all would die of old age before any would be executed.

    Breault, the oldest and longest with the office, summed up the idea that death penalty appeals and processes should be done in a more expeditious way for justice to be served. No one mentioned the corrections officers pay and benefits as one reason for such high maintenaince costs in California relative to other states, but ruffling union members’ feathers is dangerous during an election.

    Jackie Lacey’s “mistake” on her 2009 testimony inconsistencies was just not clear to me but seemed more defensive in terms of suggestions that her health was an issue for that, as she clearly impressed her daily 5am to 12 midnight active schedule.

    It’s on KPPC’s podcast less than an hour. I commented there but unlike here, that comment disappeared twice, even after I emailed suggestions of being censored. Carmen was supported strongly by many of us and he did a complete abandonement of his campaign persona almost immediately as he dug in his heels against City Controller Wendy Greuel. What happened to the “all the books will be open” promise? Nuch has been compromised.

    The only redeeming feature to Carment’s election was that Jack Weiss did not win. It would have been an “All Antonio agenda, All day, Every day” had Weiss become the rubberstamp for Antonio’s failed visions.

    You can see Greuel gradually forgetting her loyalty to Antonio as 2013 nears, especially after the Gold Card Desk revelation backfired with Antonio’s office reminding Wendy that her staff was in attendance for that training.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “The only redeeming feature to Carment’s election was that Jack Weiss did not win. It would have been an “All Antonio agenda, All day, Every day” had Weiss become the rubberstamp for Antonio’s failed visions”.

    And what is Carmen’s agenda? No different than what it would have been with Weiss. We gave Carmen a choice and instead of rising up to the occasion he turned into the clueless and ignorant person he was. His ego, however, is greater than his abilities.

  10. Fair Elections law would allow candidates to run for office on a blend of small contributions from individuals and limited public funds.

    Candidates would qualify by raising a certain number of contributions of $100 or less from individuals in their home state. They would then receive a grant of Fair Elections funds for the primary and general election, and could continue raising unlimited small contributions. Each additional $1 raised would be matched by $4 from a new Fair Elections Fund, ensuring that candidates who use the system could compete even against well-financed opponents. It will bring a new class of candidates who have the peoples interests at heart.
    YJ Draiman

    • Vote blindly, then complain says:

      This is LA; keep your thoughtful ideas about improvement to yourself. Los Angeles is a “Thinking Free Zone.” We specialize in emoting based on gross ignorance.

  11. Ricardo says:

    What I find shocking is our local media’s less then mediocre coverage of Los Angeles politics. They would rather cover the sleazy balls of Linsay Lohan and the Kardashians rather than give the people facts and stories of the upcoming elections. I haven’t seen one story from any of the local TV stations at all. Shame on us all for putting up with that and not calling them on it or boycotting them. Trutanich lost my vote a long time ago. When I read he was with Timmy Lieweke at an AEG community meeting selling his corrupt stadium deal I thought what a sleaze bag. Trutanich had no business at that meeting.

  12. anonymous says:

    these 2 simple “fair elections” rules would immediately cull the herd:
    (1) Require every elected official must live in
    the poorest &/or highest crime zip code of the area they represent
    (2) Require every elected official must submit to
    random, routine drug testing

  13. Wayne from Corruptopia (aka L.A. City) says:

    TRUTANICH FOR D.A.??????
    NO! NO! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Vote blindly, then complain says:

    If Angelenos elect Trutanich, they deserve him.

    Don’t blame the media. If Channel 7 does a real story, Angelenos will look for cartoons. Give them the ball scores and Entertainment soap opera stuff. That’s all Angelenos can handle.

    Of course, when they get screwed, they holler like stuck pigs without a thought that maybe they’re the real reason LA is screwed. Garcetti, Wesson, LaBonge — they didn’t elect themselves.

  15. Anonymous says:

    @Noel Weisss—-”Character, commitment, courage, and competence will be rewarded”. Not in LA.

  16. Anonymous says:

    “As the City increasingly eats its own inhabitants, Berger reminds readers about Trutanich’s hopes to re-make the recently disgraced Department of Building and Safety, currently under Federal investigation, into one of the City’s top kleptocratic bureaus:

    Let us not forget that if Trutanich succeeds in forcing his Administrative Code Enforcement (“ACE”) Program through Council, the Department of Building and Safety will be the lead agency issuing the revenue-generating “Administrative Citations” that Trutanich has promised will solve the city’s budget problems. Trutanich has touted the ACE Program as a self-funding scheme whereby residents can be swiftly fined for code violations without using the criminal court system, “just like a traffic ticket” he told Kevin James in a recent interview”.——-Street Hassle blog.

  17. Wayne from Ventura (aka my new homesite) says:

    Sunday, 870 KRLA had Antonovich’s chief of staff interviewed on Larry Marino’s Sunday show say “The L.A. City Council just voted to shift sidewalk repair to homeowners—they don’t care about homeowners in L.A…”
    Look at what I’m facing (you too dummies–wake up!):
    20% DWP rate hike, 18% DWP water rate hike, liability for sidewalk maintenance, New homeowner assessments on future ballots to pay for the Unions, The “ACE” instant screw the homeowner fine program, Mayor Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Controller Zine, Congressman Cardenas, D.A. Trutanich, Councilman Blumenfuck, $930/year trash fees that will be raised, $6.50/hr parking meter prices, $2.00 a mile on the new ‘freeway toll zone lanes, and a 8.75% sales tax, 12.5% utility tax, and cops everywhere writing tickets for everything on the roads…”
    I’ve made my ballot out—I’m going to vote Tues to just say “fuck em.” BUT I’M GOING TO VOTE WITH THE LEFT AND RIGHT FOOT—that’s the vote THAT WILL REALLY COUNT!
    Good luck to all the challengers to the disgusting PIG TRUTANICH.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Amusing clip of Trutanich yelling at his constituent at an LA City Council meeting in 2009: Trutanich Loses Temper

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