The Los Angeles Times editorial board delivered a slap to the mayor's pick, Jack Weiss, and endorsed Carmen Trutanich for City Attorney.
Voters could assemble a fairly good city attorney using parts from the five candidates who are running to succeed Rocky Delgadillo in the March 3 election. From Michael Amerian they could pull a knowledge of the office and of the kind of management it might take to get the best work from the lawyers and support staff. From David Berger they could get solid prosecutorial experience in Superior Court and a healthy impatience with politics. From Jack Weiss they could access sharp intelligence and strategic thinking. From Noel Weiss they could glean a much-needed passion and ability to advocate for average Angelenos against the machinations of City Hall.
None of the candidates is perfect, but we believe the best package of civil and criminal know-how, and the right combination of savvy and arm's length distance from City Hall politics, are offered by Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich.
Trutanich presents a strong vision for the office, with tough prosecution of violence tempered by a real-world recognition that gang crime must be answered with alternatives for youth. He supports and would enhance the neighborhood prosecutors program, one of Delgadillo's best ideas. He has the civil practice background to get a handle on Los Angeles' penchant for agreeing too easily to settlements, and impresses us as a man who would be willing to take a risky case to trial -- and suffer the political consequences if he loses -- in order to serve notice that the city will not roll over at the merest threat of a lawsuit by a billboard company or a disaffected employee.
As for the apparent front-runner, the Times says: "The impatience with constituent service that Weiss has often displayed does raise doubt about how carefully and how long he would focus on his duties as city attorney." Ouch.
After the jump: Wendy Greuel or Nick Patsaouras?
In the Controller race, the Times editorial writers conclude, "the city controller candidate of our dreams is not running. Perhaps such a person doesn't exist...The Times, with some trepidation, endorses [Wendy] Greuel."
We believe Greuel has within her the discernment to continue in Chick's tradition. Her work on reforming the city's business taxes was impressive. Her constituent service is peerless. But her ability to work within the system sometimes veers into a fear of alienating others in power and a willingness to take cheap shots at those she knows won't retaliate.
We're unimpressed, to say the least, with Greuel's campaign commercial, in which she takes on a program at the Housing Department and rails against "the city" for its failure to track loans.
As for rival candidate Nick Patsaouras, the Times says he "has been instrumental in moving the region's transportation plans forward, as attested to by the plaza at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters that bears his name. He went against the grain as a member of the board that oversees the Department of Water and Power, and played a constructive role in curbing some of the department's unwise practices. But broad vision and the snap of a bulldog commissioner aren't necessarily the best traits for a controller, who must not merely uncover waste but do something about it."