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Analyzing the facts in city attorney's race ads [Updated]


Los Angeles city attorney candidate Jack Weiss aired a provocative new television ad this week that again attempts to brand opponent Carmen Trutanich with the gun clients represented by Trutanich's Long Beach law firm, Trutanich-Michel.

 But Trutanich’s campaign has cried foul, saying a number of the claims in Weiss’ ad take Trutanich’s comments out of context. Here’s a look at the claims and the candidates’ positions:

Weiss ad: “Trutanich proudly claims the National Rifle Assn. is his client." [Updated, 2:32 p.m.: The Weiss ad cites an Aug. 15, 2008 Daily News article in which Trutanich is quoted as saying, “The NRA is one of my clients.” Trutanich has said he was misquoted.]

Analysis: Trutanich says that he has never represented the NRA -- this was confirmed by the group’s spokesman -- and that he disagrees with many of the group’s positions. His law partner, Chuck Michel, is an attorney for the NRA. Trutanich and Michel share their firm’s profits. Weiss has said one reason he is running for city attorney is to fight the NRA.

Weiss ad: “He [Trutanich] says we don’t need more laws to control guns."

Analysis: Trutanich has said that because California has some of the most pervasive gun laws in the country, prosecutors need to be more vigorous in enforcing current laws: “We need to enforce the gun laws that exist and then we need to be surgical in regards to those gun laws that need to passed to stop the proliferation of illegal weapons in California,” Trutanich said. Weiss has argued that Los Angeles needs more gun control laws to fight gun violence.

Weiss ad: “Trutanich even called the ban against murderous .50-caliber ammunition 'ridiculous.' "

Analysis: During a Hollywood debate in April, Trutanich was actually making the argument that state laws are more effective in addressing gun violence than a patchwork of local laws that vary city to city. As an example, he brought up the city’s ban on .50-caliber ammunition, which was proposed by Weiss. Here’s Trutanich’s full quote at that debate: “I am for gun control. I am for gun laws. I am for putting people in jail who violate those laws. I’m not for window dressing. There are 80 cities surrounding Los Angeles. To pass a .50-caliber [ammunition] ordinance in the city of Los Angeles when you can walk across to Torrance and get the same piece of ammo is ridiculous. You want to do something? Go to Sacramento and get a pervasive law – do it statewide. Don’t window dress. Don’t run for office on the backs of what you say you’re doing. Go to Sacramento. Politic for the state to change the law. That’s how it’s done. And ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to gun laws, I will go to Sacramento.”

-- Maeve Reston

Comments () | Archives (10)

Clearly it seems Mr. Weiss is out of touch with reality I have no interest in the race, but it appears from those false ad's and answers that is the case.

I also will not vote to continue someones hanging around in city hall because they are afraid of the private sector.

One positive for both candidates, they both have auto insurance.

When you come onto the political scene out of nowhere with a campaign based on lies and nasty smears from the start like Trutanich, you can't cry "foul." Starting before the primary his mailers, ads and his own site are full of lies about Weiss, even trying to turn Weiss's own sites into attack sites. Trutanich IS endorsed by the NRA and fact that he has turned some work over to his partner in a 2-man firm to run doesn't fool anyone but maybe his supporters on this paper who might want to lobby for their guy.

Far MORE insidious and bothersome are his lies about Weiss AND claiming he's a prosecutor and "environmental attorney" when he hasn't done that in some 25 years, since before Heavy Metal was hip. Since then Trutanich is refusing to tell us who his clients are and would bring potentially tens of millions or hundreds of millions in conflict of interest with him.

When called out by Dean of UC Law School Erwin Chemerinsky for deliberately misconstruing and downright just making up out of thin are "legal code" to allegedly support his stonewalling, Trutanich sputtered on Ch. 7 to John North (May 4th episode, "Trutanich declines to disclose his clients") that he was just plain smarter than Chemrinsky and the heads of L A County Bar Assn., Ethics Commission and community activists who insist that a candidate must come clean about who he is and what he does.

Even more amateurish and unethically, Trutanich told reporter North that he WAS in fact following the advice of Chemerisnky as told him by his spokeswoman/ Chief of Staff-designee Jane Usher. BUT North said that Cherminsky in fact told Usher the OPPOSITE of what Trutanich claims, so either Usher got it wrong or Trutanich did. AND Chemerinsky was dismayed that Usher never told him she worked for Trutanich when she tried to distort his analysis on Trutanich's behalf.

Fact is that Trutanich is WAY over his head, would be a huge disaster and Team Trutanich has been nasty from the start and has no business crying "foul" at this point in the game.

Weiss has spent millions of dollars on his campaign for City Attorney. He has been bombarding my cable television system with his advertisements. One interesting aspect I find in the Weiss’ ads I have seen is that they do not discuss any significant, cost-effective accomplishments by Weiss during his seven-plus years as a City Councilperson. Perhaps that is why so many of Weiss’ ads are attack ads against Carmen Trutanich and the clients Trutanich has represented as a defense attorney.

Some of us may not care for some of Trutanich's clients. However, Trutanich apparently represents his clients well. As a resident of City Council District 5, which Weiss was elected to serve, I am not convinced that Weiss has represented this District or the City in general in an acceptable manner.

For a person running for the City Attorney position, Weiss and/or his campaigns have displayed a troubling lack of respect for applicable laws. When Weiss ran for the District 5 Councilmember position in 2001, his campaign received thousands of dollars in laundered campaign funds from Casden Properties. Eight years later, Weiss has yet to reimburse the City or any other governmental entity with respect to these illegal contributions. For other violations in his 2001 City Council campaign, Weiss’s campaign was fined thousands of dollars by the City’s Ethics Commission.

Within the past month, Weiss participated in a fundraiser that violated City ethical provisions that were adopted by the City Council while Weiss was a councilmember. Only after the Los Angeles Times inquiried into this matter, did the Weiss campaign agree to return the funds–allegedly around $20,000–Weiss collected at this fundraiser–cohosted by Kelly Candaele. Candaele later resigned as a City pension board member after the Times raised questions.

Even more recently, the local broadcast television station, Channel 11, reported that Weiss chose to attend a fundraiser hosted by convicted felon who had engaged in massive amounts of fraud. Although going to felons for campaign funds may not constitute a violation, some might find it questionable for a City Attorney candidate to do so. Also troubling regarding this felon campaign solicitation matter is that, when Weiss was questioned on camera, he made a statement later contradicted by his own campaign, according to Channel 11.

Channel 11 also reported that the Weiss campaign stated that it would return funds collected from the felon fundraiser. I have seen no media verification that the Weiss campaign has kept its word in this matter–or that the Weiss campaign actually returned the Candaele-related contributions.

Earlier this week, at a press conference outside City Hall calling for a governmental investigation into the illegal Candaele fundraiser, Weiss’ campaign manager attended the event, accompanied at by a prominent criminal defense attorney–Steven G. Madison, who offered his opinions on the propriety of such a proposed governmental investigation. The Times and its subscribers would be well served by the Times reporting on what relationship Weiss, his campaign, and criminal defense attorney Madison have.

Excellant analysis of the tru facts. Next to Anita Busch, Maeve Reston is the best political reporter in the business, coming from a famous family of journalists. Responding to memory jogger, the Trutancih-Michel law firm is 18 attorneys with a support staff of 25 people. Last Tuesday Carmen received, for the 10th year, the Martindale-Hubbard AV Rating, the highest honor for excellance and ethics. Jack Weiss is not even rated. Jane Usher is not the chief-of-staff elect or the campaign spokesperson. Jane is an active volunteer and is one of the most respected land use attorneys in California. Talk about credentials, before being President of the Planning Commission, Jane was Dean of the Annenberg school of communications at USC, prior to that she was Mayor Bradleys lawyer and speech writer, and before that was the legal counsel for the 1984 Olympics. The question for memory jogger, AKA Ace Smith, is why is every newspaper, law enforcement agency, and almost every neighborhood association supporting Trutanich. Nuch was born in San Pedro, worked his way through USC and Law School, being a night watchman at Starkist Tunda, being a prize fighter on Saturdays, and tending bar at the 901 Bar & Grill on weekend nights, and 2 years ago moved into a home he bought for $700,000 in Harbor City. How does Weiss maintain his $3 Million home in Bellaire, have servants, has children in private school, and have $5 Million worth of paintings and antiques, on his city council salary? LA Magazine made a mistake not putting a Weiss picture next to Antonio on the June edition. The best thing in Nuch's favor is that Weiss can't find anything else but the NRA lies against Nuch. Just wait and see the "first 100 days report" from the new City Attorney.

Trutanich's law firm represents the NRA. Trutanich told the Daily News he represents the NRA...isnt he ENDORSED by the NRA?

I think an ad that draws a contrast on guns is important and totally fair...The ad dosent mislead... unlike Trutanich's ads which cite nonexistent votes and unanimous resolutions to make it look like Jack Weiss missed key votes

I'd like to see the LATimes write something about Trutanich's attack ads where they cite votes that dont even exist....

Thank you, Maeve Reston, for exposing the lack of ethics that has been a hallmark of all Jack Weiss' election campaigns.

Another example that has not been reported anywhere: when the Recall Jack Weiss campaign started in 2006, it hired a "Campaign Treasurer". Campaign Treasurers are accountants that specialize in elections, and help campaigns avoid violating the laws and regulations that limit fundraising, expenditures, reporting, etc. They provide technical support and do not provide political advise. All campaigns hire them, and this is how they earn a living.

After two weeks on the job, the Campaign Treasurer working for the Recall Jack Weiss campaign received phone calls, threatening that if she did not drop the Recall Jack Weiss campaign as a client, she would "never work in a campaign in Los Angeles again." The threat must have come from a source powerful enough to scare this Treasurer into dropping the Recall Jack Weiss campaign.

The Recall campaign then interviewed a second Campaign Treasurer, and gave him the complete details of what had transpired with the first Treasurer. This second treasurer agreed to take the recall campaign. One week later, the second Treasurer announced that he had also received threatening calls "from people in high places", and would be dropping the Recall campaign.

Later on, the Recall campaign attempted to hire a Signature Gathering firm, to assist in collecting signatures to qualify the recall. Again, Signature Gathering firms are also highly specialized, and depend for their business on the political establishment. All the Signature gathering firms contacted declined to take the job, because they had also been warned that if they did so, they "would never work in the City of Los Angeles again".

These are tactics one would expect from Tony Soprano. Not from the man who wants to be the City Attorney.

“Trutanich even called the ban against murderous .50-caliber ammunition 'ridiculous." It seems that both candidates have missed the real reason why such a ban is ridiculous. "Murderous .50 caliber"? Criminals do not use .50 cal rifles. They weigh 30lbs or more and have barrels longer than a yard stick. And even then they kick like 2 mules. These rifles are used by long range target shooters, not criminals. There has never been a documented case of one of these rifles being used in a crime, let alone a murder. Just another example of "feel good" laws being passed by liberals to make the public feel that they are somehow being made safer, and playing on their fears to gain votes. And all the while slowly eroding the Bill of Rights.

I'm watching the debate right now and I had no idea who to vote for but now I can vote for Weiss in confidence. This article is heavily biased. Look who its written by, FOX NEWS! Its a joke to read about politics or hear about it on their network. Of course this article is going to make Trutanich look better hes republican so is FOX News.

This paper has been stunningly biased against Weiss all along but this is really too much. There is NO analysis of Trutanich's lies and just a very hesitant attempt to expose that he's running on "just a sliver" of his expeience from the early 80's before he went to work for the other side with no public service work at all. Combined with the Editorial page's Tom Greene campaigning for Trutanich with no integrity at all, I'm finally canceling this paper in protest.

Trutanich's campaign has been nasty in print, tv ads and on his own website with gratuitous sections attacking Weiss from day one.

I read the L A Downtown News' analysis last week that correctly noted that Trutanich came out with "a campaign staff who make Karl Rove look like they're attending a cupcake party" and notes the nasty sections about Weiss on Trutanich's site while his trite claims about himself are painful to watch. Clearly the Times' staff is so obsessed with shallow if detailed and untested "plans" and "change" at any cost it wants to foist a phony down our throats by misusing the authority of the pen. For shame.

In the debates today Trutanich said again "I've been a prosecutor for the past thirty years," a LIE. He attacked Weiss in despicably personal terms utterly unsuited for a City Attorney and repeated lies about his record, libelous allegations about being "bought" and propaganda his backers drummed-up as PR stunts (like the "D"-rating by your constituents." A sham political anti-Weiss/ pro-Trutanich lobby! This paper slamming Weiss over and over just because the Trutanich campaign asks it to "crying foul" and abrogating its duty to objectivity by lobbying for Trutanich has turned this into an organ for Fox 11, no longer a big-city paper worthy of its name. (Let's see if you censor this comment because it hits too close to home.)


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