The March 3, 2009 Primary Campaign for Los Angeles City Attorney
My assignment is to write a column on the campaign for City Attorney. To do that properly, I must first provide a bit of background information—from the current City Budget and from the Los Angeles City Charter. First, a budget-related observation
Under the City’s current budget, the outgoing City Attorney is authorized to maintain a workforce of 791 full-time employees, and to spend $99,000,194. Yet, he is effectively accountable to no one. Angelenos must, therefore, elect a City Attorney whose character fully warrants their trust!
Now, consider this comment related to the Los Angeles City Charter: On June 6, 1999, the voters of Los Angeles approved a Charter which provides for three City-wide elective offices—Mayor, City Controller, and City Attorney. While each of those three offices is vested with its own set of powers and duties, each office is designed to act as something of a brake on the other two. Thus, Charter Section 271(c) provides that “The City Attorney shall prosecute on behalf of the people all criminal cases and related proceedings arising from violation of the provisions of the Charter and City ordinances…”
In the coming election, a termed-out City Attorney—Rockard J. Delgadillo, will be replaced by one of the six candidates who filed their intention to run for that office. Listed in order of their filing dates, those six candidates are: Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich, Gregory W. Smith, Jack Weiss, Michael Richard Amerian, Noel Weiss, and David Berger.
I’ve tried to talk with all six of the original filers. One of them, Gregory W. Smith, has not returned my calls. The other five candidates are still clearly in the race; they’re still campaigning. But it seems they have not all gathered sufficient support (including money) to have a realistic chance of winning. Of course, the situation could change, but at this point it would appear that three candidates—Carmen Trutanich, David Berger and Jack Weiss—appear to be locked in a fairly tight race, with Jack Weiss thought to be slightly ahead of the other two.
I am very favorably impressed with two of those three candidates, but I have no respect for Jack Weiss, and will end this report by explaining why I think his candidacy should go down in flames.
First, Weiss has not served his constituents in the Fifth Council District. For the last two years, he’s missed more than one-third of his Council meetings! That neglect almost got him recalled.
Second, for the past four years Weiss has sat and watched while Mayor Villaraigosa trampled the City Charter, handcuffed the Board of Civil Service Commissioners and grabbed for himself the enforcement, investigative and oversight powers legally vested in the Board. If Weiss the Councilman sits and watches while the Charter is abused, why should anyone think Weiss the City Attorney would act any differently? No, Jack Weiss is clearly unfit to be the City Attorney in L.A!
My next report will name the candidate I think is best qualified to be Los Angeles City Attorney!