In the final days of the contentious contest for Los Angeles city attorney, some of the area's political leaders, once reticent to make endorsements, are choosing sides.
Former lawmaker Mike Feuer picked up a big endorsement Tuesday from Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, who also slammed Feuer's opponent, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, for what she called a false campaign mailer.
At a news conference outside City Hall East, which houses the offices of the city's top lawyer, Lacey said she needed a city partner, especially in helping the county implement the state's controversial prison realignment plan, which transfers certain types of felons to local jails to relieve overcrowding in state facilities.
"Realignment is the biggest challenge facing public safety in 30 years," Lacey said. "Managing this change requires a thorough understanding of the law and a willingness to work with others in the criminal justice system. ... I believe that person is without question Mike Feuer."
Lacey, who defeated Trutanich in last year's D.A. primary election, took issue with a recent Trutanich campaign ad that she said falsely blamed Feuer for a heinous crime. Feuer supported the realignment legislation when he was in the state Assembly, saying it was the only alternative to releasing prisoners without any supervision. Lacey noted that Trutanich, when running for D.A., supported the realignment program he now criticizes Feuer for.
"Misrepresenting the facts surrounding the violent sexual assault of a child for political purposes is intellectually dishonest and counterproductive to finding solutions to the challenges brought on by realignment," Lacey said.
Trutanich campaign strategist Rick Taylor said he stood by the mailer and called Lacey's endorsement "really nothing more than Democratic Party politics." Feuer is a Democrat. Trutanich is a former Republican who is now a registered independent.
Over the weekend, Trutanich added two more city officials to his list of supporters, City Council members Jan Perry and Bernard C. Parks, both African Americans who were upset at a recent redrawing of council districts that they said diluted black representation.
The Perry endorsement was somewhat surprising, given that she and Trutanich were very combative early in city attorney's term, fighting over billboards and whether entertainment giant AEG should be compelled to pick up the city's costs related to the public memorial for Michael Jackson.
But in a statement released by the Trutanich campaign, Perry said his "independence, his passion, his strength of character are qualities sorely needed in the corridors of power. Mr. Trutanich also showed he valued our community and its concerns when he respected the integrity of his appointee to the Redistricting Commission when she dared to stand up for what she believed was right."
Parks, a former LAPD chief, praised Trutanich as an independent thinker, particularly when it comes to redistricting.
"City Atty. Trutanich has kept the city safe through his partnership with the LAPD and he has protected the city's taxpayers by his forceful defense of the city's interests in civil litigation," Parks said in a statement released by the campaign.