Friday, July 1, 2011

Trutanich Tells Tales To Tout ACE Program

Reports that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich lied about his ACE Program have raised questions as to whether  the man the LA Daily News once called "The People's Lawyer" should be re-named "The People's Liar."

Reports accuse Trutanich of plagiarism, noting that his statement on the Kevin James Show that the ACE Program was something that he came up with when he became City Attorney was false, because it was actually based on a plan that Rocky Delgadillo's former Chief Deputy, Richard Llewellyn had initiated.  Furthermore, Trutanich lied when he said that he had shared his ACE Program with the cities of San Diego and Santa Monica; both already had their versions of the ACE Program before Trutanich became City Attorney. The following was published on Monday, June 27, 2011:

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has been selling his "ACE" program to pretty much anyone and everyone who will listen.

Usually Trutanich has a captive audience to pitch his ideas, right wingers who won't ask too many questions of LA's 'Tough Guy,' as long as he's their 'Tough Guy.'
Trutanich has been doing the rounds of the Neighborhood Councils and Rotary Clubs selling his ACE Program (an acronym for Administrative Citation Program) like snake oil, and of course giving them the fast-sell on how he is being besieged to run for District Attorney.

He gets the applause and adulation he so desperately craves from audiences who don't know how to question the fast talking former plaintiff's attorney. But when Trutanich's claims are examined in the detail that he dodges, his claims about his ACE are coming apart faster than the king's new clothes. 

On Sunday, June 5, 2011, Trutanich spent an hour as the guest of KRLA 870AM's talk show host Kevin James. Trutanich launched into a series of serious misstatements and omissions regarding the ACE Program. Misstatements so egregious that 'lie' is the only word that fairly characterizes much of what Trutanich said. Here is a short segment from the Kevin James Show (you can listen to the whole program at the KRLA 870AM website), but pay attention to what Trutanich says about his ACE:

When Kevin James asked Trutanich to explain his ACE Program, virtually the first words out the City Attorney's mouth were false.

"This is an idea that I came up with, uhm, early, er, er, when I became, er, City Attorney." Trutanich said.

Really? That would be news to Richard Llewellyn, Chief of Staff to Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz. Not only was the idea for the program based on a January 15, 2010 motion by CM Koretz, but sources at the City Attorney's Office insist that the origins of the program came from Llewellyn himself, when he was Chief Deputy City Attorney under Rocky Delgadillo, long before Trutanich "... became, er, City Attorney."

The history of the ACE Program can be traced back through the City Clerk's website, under file number 10-0085, where CM Kortz's motion can be downloaded.

Perhaps Trutanich simply misspoke? But no. There was no mistake. Scarcely had he stumbled through his plagiaristic opening lie, than he repeated the lie, and of course, embellished it a little more.

"This is, er, er, er, a program that when I came up with it, I shared it with other cities, and now San Diego has it, and it's working just fine, Santa Monica has it and it's working just fine, and there are other cities up north, up in northern California that have employed the same administrative code enforcement program." Trutanich said.

How extremely generous of Trutanich to share his idea with other cities. Unfortunately, the truth is somewhat different. San Diego already had it's program in place, in force, up and running, long before Trutanich became City Attorney. In fact, early in 2010, Trutanich sent three of his senior Assistant City Attorneys to San Diego to meet with representatives from the San Diego City Attorney's Office to find out how the program worked.

Trutanich also left out a few inconvenient truths about his program, such as the identity of the so-called "administrative law judges" who will impose fines and penalties on the homeowners and small business owners who will likely top the list of ACE citations. The judges will be chosen by him.

They will also very likely be Deputy City Attorneys who Trutanich will select to act as his judges. That's certainly not part of San Diego's program, in fact the jaws of the San Diego City Attorneys dropped in astonishment when they heard of how Trutanich is planning on giving his version of Due Process to the unlucky recipients of ACE citations.

Trutanich did let a couple of truths slip past his lips when he was selling ACE.  One was that his ACE Program is really all about raising money on the backs of residents. The other is that the ACE Program will work "just like a traffic ticket." Yes, we all know how easy it is to fight a traffic ticket and how much money is raised that way.

The last lie Trutanich was questioned over concerned the claims made that he had "busted" the 38th St. Gang. Sheriff Baca explained that Trutanich was a member of an anti-gang task force, and that gave the lie credibility.

So far as we are aware, Sheriff Baca is not involved with the ACE Program, so it will be interesting to see if anyone would care to offer some equally lame excuse for more shameful grandstanding, lies and half-truths from Trutanich.

Interestingly, Trutanich's lies about his ACE Program were made on the very same broadcast where Trutanich stated that one of the reasons for his hesitancy over deciding whether or not to run for District Attorney, was that his son had just come back from Iraq, injured:

It appears that, again, Trutanich was being economical with the truth. It certainly is a fact that his son was in Iraq, but not as a military combatant; he is an Assistant US Attorney. It is also rumored that the injury was a sports injury, although Trutanich has been silent as to that.

Trutanich's ACE Program looks like it really should be given a big thumbs down when it finally comes before the City Council. After all, if you cannot trust the City Attorney to be truthful about where it came from, how can you trust him when he tells you where it's going?


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