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Trutanich, Feuer step up attacks in L.A. city attorney race

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, seeking reelection in the March 5 Los Angeles primary, on Friday criticizes a challenger's tactics while a campaign aid stands by with copies of the mailers Trutanich seeks to discredit.  Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

 Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich on Friday blasted a challenger to his reelection bid as a “hypocrite” and a “career politician” looking for his next job.

Mike Feuer’s campaign got Trutanich’s dander up when it sent mail to Democratic voters that accused Trutanich, who is not affiliated with a political party, of courting Republican voters and said he contributed to “some of the most extreme, right-wing Republicans in America.”  

The mailer cites former Rep. Dan Lungren and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), among others. Trutanich did not dispute he had given to their campaigns. [Update at 4:45 p.m.: Later in the day, the Trutanich campaign said he had given only to Issa and that was five years ago.]

Another candidate, private attorney Greg Smith, a Democrat, also is singled out in the Feuer mailer for donating to GOP campaigns.

At the same time, Trutanich said at a news conference outside City Hall, Feuer has spent three times as much money as Trutanich courting GOP voters. He brought copies of a Feuer flier and endorsement mailers and called on local Democratic Party leaders to rescind their endorsements of Feuer.

Trutanich, who is facing three challengers in the March 5 primary election, said he called the news conference “to let the people know [Feuer] is lying.”  He repeated a campaign theme that Feuer, who led a legal aid organization before being elected to the City Council and state Assembly, has no courtroom experience. That makes Feuer poorly qualified to “protect the city treasury” from claims and lawsuits, he said.

The Feuer campaign defended its mailers, saying Feuer was “proud to have the support of prominent Democrats” as wells as Republicans and independents. Campaign spokesman Dave Jacobson said voters ought to “be aware that the divisive Trutanich--a Republican until he decided to run for office in L.A.--has a long history of giving to some of the most right-wing candidates and causes in America."

Trutanich also criticized a Feuer radio ad that has begun airing, which attacks Trutanich and Smith, who has won judgments for police officers and firefighters who sued their government employers in discrimination and whistle-blower cases. Smith has put a lot of his own money into his campaign in hopes of getting into an expected runoff election in May.  

Feuer's radio ad says Trutanich refused to take a pay cut when his staff and other city employees were forced to take unpaid days off to help ease a city budget crisis. Trutanich said Feuer was part of the Assembly leadership that sought a court ruling to prevent legislators’ pay from being stopped when lawmakers could not agree on a state budget.

Trutanich has not been able to keep up with Feuer's fundraising and reported having only $55,000 left to spend in the final days of the campaign. Feuer had $355,000 in his treasury as of mid-February and is spending it on a blitz of mail to voters, including another attack on Trutanich that started arriving in mailboxes on Friday.  Smith reported having $36,000 on hand.

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--Jean Merl

Photo: City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, seeking reelection in the March 5 Los Angeles primary, on Friday criticizes a challenger's tactics while a campaign aid stands by with copies of the mailers Trutanich seeks to discredit.  Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times 

 
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