Any election is more than a year away, but Gene Maddaus of the LA Weekly has been following the positioning moves of the hopefuls with dreams of replacing DA Steve Cooley (should he decline to run again.) Last week, Maddaus picked up on a nice twist in the story line that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich would be the front-runner with Cooley's blessing.
Trutanich, who became city attorney largely thanks to Cooley’s backing, has told supporters he will run for DA if Cooley steps down. Cooley has other ideas. According to DA insiders, his preferred candidate is Jackie Lacey, his No. 3 administrator, who could make history as L.A.’s first black, and first female, DA....
Shortly after the first of the year, Cooley got a call from John Shallman, the consultant who ran an insurgent campaign [for Cooley] to oust Gil Garcetti in 2000. Shallman, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation, told Cooley that he would be managing Trutanich’s campaign.
Cooley was livid.
Now, Times columnist Jim Newton has a somewhat different take after chatting with Nuch over lunch at Ciro's in Boyle Heights. He enjoyed being asked about the DA's race, Newton writes.
Today, Trutanich — "Nuch" to his friends and just about everyone else — is the subject of much City Hall chatter, as he's considered a potential successor to L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who has served in that office since 2000 and, having just lost a close race for attorney general, may step down after his current term. A handful of relative unknowns are circling, but Trutanich, a close friend of Cooley, would be the front-runner. (This despite Trutanich once pledging to serve out his term if elected city attorney. His novel campaign promise was that if either he or Weiss jumped to another office, the jumper would be obligated to donate $100,000 to a charity and take out a full-page ad admitting "I AM A LIAR." Weiss refused to agree, so Trutanich doesn't consider the deal binding)....
"As far as I'm concerned, Cooley's the D.A.," he said between bites of chile relleno and enchilada, a flour tortilla in hand to scoop up the beans and rice. Unlike most elected officials in the city and county, the district attorney is not subject to term limits, so Cooley could seek another term. But what if Cooley doesn't run? "If my mom had wheels, she'd be a Buick," he said, dodging and chortling.
Another nugget from Newton's Tuesday column: Trutanich's budget has been cut by Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council more than any other department, "a fact that annoys Trutanich no end."