Los Angeles City Hall politics revealed from an insider's point of view.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Kevin James promises to clean up corruption

Hot on the heels of his announcement that he has qualified for matching funds in his bid to become LA's next Mayor, Kevin James released this advertisement:

Kevin James is a former Assistant United States Attorney and hosted the Kevin James talk radio show on KRLA 870AM until he resigned to concentrate on his campaign.

More about Kevin James at his website: http://kevinjamesformayor.com/


Saturday, January 7, 2012

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich responds to critics; blames 'poor paperwork' by LAPD

Carmen Trutanich, the Los Angeles City Attorney, responded to criticism arising from the dismissal of 'many cases' against the Occupy LA protesters by pointing the finger of blame fairly and squarely at the Los Angeles Police Department.

In an interview with the Daily News, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office made it clear that their  inability to move forward aggressively with the prosecution of the Occupy LA protesters was due to "paperwork errors made by police officers during the Nov. 30 raid." the Daily News reported.

According to Trutanich, "Los Angeles Police Department officers listed the wrong arresting officer on the arrest sheet" and that City Attorney's Office was "frustrated with the LAPD's handling of the Occupy L.A. arrests." 

The problem appears to be due to the City Attorney's Office not being given enough time to prepare the cases for trial. State law requires arrested persons charged with minor misdemeanors such as trespassing to be brought to trial within 30 days, which apparently was not enough time for the City Attorney's Office. Had the Occupy LA protesters been issued tickets instead of being arrested, the City Attorney would have an extra 15 days to prepare for trial.

The problems faced by the City Attorney's Office were, perhaps, complicated by the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays, which may have robbed the prosecutors of critical time, "With more time, the City Attorney's office could have researched and corrected the arresting officers' name," Trutanich said of  the shoddy paperwork given to him by LAPD.

Additionally, Trutanich was working flat out on his campaign to become District Attorney and had to attend many fundraisers in order to meet his self-imposed $1M campaign war chest target by the December 31, 2011 deadline. Simply put, he may not have had enough time to check the paperwork supplied by LAPD because he had more pressing concerns.

Despite being so badly let down by the LAPD, the City Attorney clearly does not believe that the mistakes made by LAPD officers will pose any problems for future prosecutions as "a second batch of 24 cases will be heading to court later this month," he said. "It's a teachable moment" one prosecutor opined, "The City Attorney's Office is taking this as an opportunity to teach the Occupy LA protesters a lesson about the First Amendment, and LAPD can also learn a lesson about how to prepare their cases."

Trutanich's harsh criticism of the LAPD was not warmly received by everyone. District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson's campaign strategist, John S. Thomas, told the Los Angeles Dragnet that "The next District Attorney needs to stand with law enforcement, not throw them under the bus when it is politically convenient. Mr. Trutanich appears to be too busy collecting special interest cash and exploiting his elected position with city contractors to run the City Attorney's office. Not only did Trutanich throw the police under the bus, he backed up and ran over them again."

The Los Angeles City Council was expected to consider the City Attorney's proposal to sue the Occupy LA protesters for the costs of the clean-up operation. It is unclear whether consideration of that proposal will be taken any further given the paperwork problems identified by the collapse of these criminal cases.

LAPD officers did an outstanding job in bringing the Occupy LA protests to an effective and peaceful end. While they can be proud of their commitment to protect and serve all the people of Los Angeles, there are "a few wrinkles that the LAPD needs to work out," Trutanich said. The LAPD should be grateful for the sound advice and opportunity to educate themselves that they are being given. Contributions to the Draft Trutanich for District Attorney movement can be made at his campaign website.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kevin James Mayoral campaign boosted by matching funds

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Kevin James took a giant leap forward in his campaign to become the next Mayor of Los Angeles with the news that he has raised enough money to qualify for matching funds.

Qualifying for matching funds means that not only will James receive a dollar for dollar doubling of his fundraising, but even more importantly, it means that he will be a participant in the next Mayoral candidates' debate on February 2, 2101 at UCLA.

All eyes will be on James in the debates. The former Assistant US Attorney and talk show host is bound to raise the bar in the debates, challenging the policies of the Villaraigosa administration and the business as usual brigade that have brought the nation's second largest city to the brink of bankruptcy.

To learn more about Kevin James, visit his campaign website: www.KevinJamesForMayor.com

Trutanich faced with major setback in District Attorney campaign

The LA Weekly's exclusive report of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's shock defeat in what should have been slam-dunk convictions of OccupyLA protesters, shows just how ill-suited the former plaintiff's attorney is to the serious business of law enforcement, according to the Los Angeles Dragnet.

Trutanich was unable to proceed with prosecutions against the Occupy LA protesters because his attorneys were unprepared to go forward with trials, missing witnesses, paperwork and evidence.

It's a shocking indictment of Trutanich's management ability and will harm Trutanich's credibility as a candidate for District Attorney; if he cannot manage a simple misdemeanor prosecution for failing to disperse and trespass, how can he possibly be capable of managing the serious business of prosecuting felons as District Attorney?

Ironically, on the same day that news of Trutanich's monumental failure was revealed, his former supporter Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley sat calmly in Department 30 of the Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles  while a 37 count felony complaint was presented against the Hollywood serial arsonist, Harry Burkhart.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley looks calmly at the face of
alleged serial arsonist Harry Burkhart while Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney
outlines the well-prepared case against the defendant
Trutanich had over a month to be prepared to prosecute the Occupy LA protesters for minor crimes that barely warrant a slap on the wrist, but Trutanich could not handle the pressure. In contrast, the District Attorney's Office had 48 hours to prepare and successfully present the 37 count complaint against the worst arsonist in Los Angeles history.

The contrast between the two former friends couldn't be greater. While Trutanich appears to prefer trying his cases in the press without being able to follow through, Cooley shuns the media and gets on with doing the job. Cooley has made it clear that he does not support Trutanich to replace him as District Attorney when he retires in 2013. Now Los Angelenos can see why; he cannot do the job.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mayor Villaraigosa accused of 'ENRON' accounting

Shocking revelations in the Los Angeles Times regarding the way Mayor Villaraigosa has 'deferred' around $100M in labor costs to be the problem of whoever succeeds him may explain why former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner resigned.

The LA Times reports that Beutner, an investment banker and mayoral hopeful, said Villaraigosa's $100M deferment will leave the city with fewer dollars for services in coming years. Beutner was more blunt three months ago, telling a room full of real estate executives that City Hall's budget practices resemble an infamous case of corporate financial abuse. "That's Enron," he told the audience. "That's actually fraud, right?"

Los Angeles Arsonist Arrested 
The arrest of 24 year old Harry Burkhart in the early hours of Monday morning appears to have brought an end to the spate of fires plaguing the Hollywood area.

The arrest, by sharp-eyed reserve Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Shervin Lalezary, was apparently based on information supplied by federal immigration authorities who identified the 24 year old suspect following an incident at a deportation hearing.

Although a number of arson fires allegedly started by Burkhart occurred the City of West Hollywood, the three-day firestorm started in the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department was the lead agency in the investigation. 

Burkhart was being held in the County Jail without bail pending a hearing at the Van Nuys Superior Court on January 4, 2012. Any criminal charges filed in this case will be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office as Arson, a violation of Penal Code Section 451, is a felony.

Rumors on the internet suggesting that Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich would prosecute the case "to the maximum extent of the law" were likely made to parody Trutanich's reputation for "grandstanding." Trutanich recently claimed he was "moving forward" with the prosecution of those responsible for the brutal Dodgers Stadium opening day beating of Brian Stowe, however, that too was a serious felony and Trutanich is not allowed to prosecute such serious crimes.

Trutanich is believed to make false claims to the prosecution of serious crimes in order to enhance his image as a 'tough on crime' candidate for District Attorney, and is likely keen to make himself relevant to the arson case for that reason. His options appear to be the same as with the Occupy LA protesters and AEG's handling of the Michael Jackson memorial; he could claim to be 'investigating' Burkhart with a view to filing a lawsuit to recover the costs of the arson investigation. "It's an election year, so don't be surprised by any cheap publicity stunts from the City Attorney," a political consultant commented on condition of anonymity.