Greg Smith is a smart guy and a tough lawyer — that’s how come he was able to make a fortune whipping the lawyers for L.A. and other cities in the region when they botched the treatment of firefighters and cops.
But can you really trust a shark like Smith in the fish bowl of City Hall.
Noel Weiss is a great guy who really cares but he doesn’t have any money or a campaign so he’s not the right guy to be City Attorney.
Then, there’s Mike Feuer, the Assemblyman, former Council member and losing candidate for City Attorney in 2001, a startling upset to be sure. Feuer is the ultimate doctrinaire PC liberal who has campaigned on the idea that taking money from Republicans is borderline criminal but union, developer and other special interest money is just wholesome and clean politics.
He promised to “hit the ground running on day one” if elected to “protect our children and fight to keep guns out of their schools.”
Say what, Mike? How are you going to do that exactly after 40 percent of the City Attorney’s office has been given walking papers and you don’t make policy, you run an office that prosecutes misdemeanors and gives legal advice to the rest of City Hall.
Before Tuesday’s election, Mike, show us the metrics on how we’ll measure your success every year in protecting our children (from child molesting teachers?) and keeping guns out of schools.
That leaves us examining the record of the incumbent, the only outsider to win any office in the city in more than a decade, the clumsy and mistake-prone Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich himself.
Let’s enumerate the faults:
- Like everyone who runs for this office, he promised the world when running he would be the people’s lawyer, ignoring the reality of how limited the power of the City Attorney is and how he can’t speak out honestly because he the political machine’s lawyer and bound by legal ethics to be their mouthpiece and obedient servant.
- Right after taking office, he stood up in public comment at the Council and denounced Mr. Big, AEG’s Tim Leiweke, for ripping off the taxpayers for the costs of Michael Jackson funeral party that earned the firm a fortune and never was able to deliver on his threat to prosecute Leiweke and Councilwoman Jan Perry for getting in his way.
- He spent way too much time whining about how the mayor and Council gutted his office, even hiring their own lawyers to avoid using his, because he wasn’t trustworthy as a stooge of the system.
- He stupidly ran for District Attorney when he had promised he would serve two terms as City Attorney, a miscalculation that humiliated him since he ran third in the primary and cost him a lot of support in the community.
So why is Trutanich the right man for the job?
Because he’s still independent of the corrupt power structure and he runs an efficient and effective office thanks in no small part to surrounding himself with smart and capable and experience people like Bill Carter, Jane Usher and Curt Livesay.
Nuch may be a bull in a china shop but he’s our bullheaded City Attorney who has done a remarkable job of winning an unprecedented number of lawsuits against the city, sharply cutting the cost of settlements, unraveling the city’s completely incompetent — and corrupt — handling of billboards and pot shops.
On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court agreed with Trutanich that the 100 digital billboards owned by Summit Media must come down and its a testament to his leadership that the 800 to 1,000 pot shops in L.A. will be legally reduced in number to 100 to 150 if any of three ballot measures passes in March.
Choices in life are hard, rarely perfect, but you can gamble that Smith will be tough with cops and firefighters who sue over stubbed toes and dog food spaghetti, you can believe Feuer will stand in the schoolhouse door and take away the guns from psychotics or you can accept that what you got is better than what they offer.
My vote goes to Carmen Trutanich.