The Los Angeles city attorney’s race spilled into City Council chambers Tuesday when nearly a dozen speakers used the public comment period to complain about Westside Councilman Jack Weiss. Hours later, Weiss’ campaign consultant called on his rival in the race, defense attorney Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich, to pull a TV ad, saying it included “demonstrably false charges.”
The effort to humiliate Weiss unfolded at the beginning of Tuesday’s council meeting. As an aide to Trutanich videotaped from the audience, the parade of speakers lodged complaints that have dogged Weiss for years -- including his council chamber absences and the allegation that he has sided with developers who have contributed to his campaigns.
Some of the speakers were also involved in a failed 2007 attempt to recall Weiss.
Weiss dryly told reporters they were watching democracy in action.
On Tuesday, Trutanich began airing a television advertisement cataloging council votes missed by Weiss. The ad accuses Weiss of skipping votes on “tougher crime laws like child abuse prevention, gang violence and Internet crimes against children.” But Weiss’ campaign noted that none of the votes referenced were laws. The vote on child abuse prevention was a measure to approve a $40,000 donation to purchase equipment and software for such prevention programs. Weiss was absent.
The Trutanich ad also targets a 2003 vote on a task force for Internet crimes against children. No vote occurred on the issue that day, according to the council’s electronic record-keeping system, but Weiss did miss a 2008 vote on extending a federal grant for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.
Weiss campaign consultant Ace Smith said “the number of glaring legal errors and intentionally misleading statements” in the Trutanich ad were “astonishing.”
Trutanich consultant John Shallman said Smith was quibbling with a date citation: “The reality is he [Weiss] missed the vote,” Shallman said.
Though Trutanich’s campaign said earlier that he would no longer appear at public forums with Weiss because of “staged antics,” aides said Tuesday that Trutanich would attend a debate sponsored by Westside neighborhood councils Thursday at the Skirball Cultural Center. Shallman said organizers guaranteed a “fair debate.”