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Big players -- union money and Shaq -- jump into hot L.A. city attorney race

April 30, 2009 | 11:35 am

ShaqTrutanich Don’t expect the Los Angeles city attorney’s runoff to get any more civil before voters go to the polls May 19.

The political action committee of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor -- closely allied with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who chairs the election committee of City Councilman and candidate Jack Weiss -- notified the Ethics Commission this week it was spending $335,309 on a media buy to oppose Weiss' opponent, Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich.

No script has been posted yet for the ads, but the move sets up dueling independent expenditures between the federation and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which is backing Trutanich. Independent committees are exempt from normal fundraising limits as long as they don't coordinate with the candidates they support.

The LAPPL's political action committee has spent $252,000 on positive radio spots noting the endorsements of the San Pedro defense attorney by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and praising Trutanich as “law enforcement's choice.”

Weiss, in turn, has been endorsed by Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, the Los Angeles Police Command Officers Assn. and La Ley, the Latin American Law Enforcement Assn.

Meanwhile Weiss’s campaign scrambled to put on a noon news conference to denounce a flier on the website of the California Rifle and Pistol Assn. that asks voters to support Trutanich and denounces Weiss as a threat to 2nd Amendment rights who wants to take away “your right to self-defense.”

And former Laker Shaquille O’Neal endorsed Trutanich this morning as “the only man I trust to work with our kids to keep them safe at school and away from gangs.” Previously, Laker legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson endorsed Weiss.

-- Maeve Reston

Photo: Trutanich campaign