Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trutanich'a ACE Program Hides Power-Grab and Cash Stash

Carmen Trutanich has a plan to save the City's budget problems, as well as his own. It's called the "ACE" Program, aka Administrative Citation Enforcement Program, aka Carmen's Revenge. Just like just about everything else from Carmen the Clown, it ain't what it seems, and it stinks.

Carmen Trutanich's "ACE" Program looks like another power-grab to give the
City Attorney more power, money and influence.
As previously reported, City Attorney Trutanich has a secret plan to gain more power, more money, and greater influence as a "judge-maker." It's all dressed up as an innocent administrative ordinance designed to make code enforcement more efficient. In reality, it gives Trutanich the power to fine city residents and create an alternative "TRU-Justice System" where pesky details like the constitution, separation of powers, due process, and basic notions of fairness won't get in his way.

Council File 10-0085 contains the thinly disguised details of Trutanich's revenge on the City Council for killing his previous power-grab; The TRU Grand Jury. 

After you read the unctuously worded introductory letter, check the text of the proposed ordinances for the following ways Trutanich is making his power-grab:

"I OWN THE STINKIN' JUDGES!" The ACE Program will work for Trutanich because he's designed it to give him the power to chose the judges and tell them what to do. Take a look at Section 11.2.09 "The City Attorney shall create an administrative hearing and appeals process..." and you won't find the word "Judge" mentioned anywhere. That's because Trutanich calls them "Administrative Hearing Officers," but they are judges and they will sit in Trutanich's Kangaroo Courts.

You also won't find any mention of where these "Administrative Hearing Officers" are supposed to come from either. That's because Trutanich already controls the Dispute Resolution Program and guess what? it already has Hearing Officers who currently hear minor disputes. But in order for Trutanich to "make it happen," he will probably use his existing Deputy City Attorneys to sit as Judges. "It's a great way of saving money." he will probably explain. But what he won't tell you is that not only does this give him the power to exert undue influence over his judges, but it also gives him real power; he can be a "judge-maker."

Just imagine the bargaining power Trutanich will have if he can "make" judges. It's probably everything he's ever dreamed of, and everyone else's nightmare.

"GIMME MY GRAND JURY POWERS!" One of the reasons Trutanich gave for wanting his own Grand Jury was the ability to issue subpoenas - legal commands to haul persons into court, and order the production of documents. Trutanich probably still believes he could have proven his crass 'criminal aspects' investigation into the Michael Jackson memorial if he had a Grand Jury that could have ordered the production of AEG CEO Tim Leiwecke's personal records.

Thankfully, our civil liberties were protected when the Council squashed Trutanich's plan. So it's Plan B for Trutanich, and that's why Section 11.2.09(B)(6) gives Trutanich's Judges the power to "... subpoena witnesses, documents and other evidence in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the City Attorney." Nice try, but if you want to be a modern day McCarthy, find a bunch of less well-informed people to empower you.

"SHOW ME THE MONEY!" Section 5.121.11 creates the "Code Compliance Fund." This is where all the money collected by Trutanich's Kangaroo Courts will go. And guess who is in charge of the fund? That's right, according to Section 5.121.11(a) "The fund shall be administered by the City Attorney's Office." Of course, the money collected by Trutanich's Judges will be passed on to the responsible departments and any surplus goes to the General Fund. But, course, Trutanich gets to take his piece of the action; the vig, such as the costs of running the program, his judges' salaries, and any other costs he can tack-on to free himself from the budget control the Mayor and City Council has placed on Trutanich.

This is another one of Trutanich's Secret Weapons that needs to be nixed. Quickly.

The full text of Trutanich's plan is available for download from the City Clerk's file management system which can be accessed using this link:

The text of Trutanich's ACE Program can be found by using the link above to
take you to this screen. Then click the .pdf icon to download the entire file.
Why should anyone care if Trutanich gets these new powers? You might think that the ACE program is  sensible solution to an age-old problem of finding more efficient ways to enforce minor violations of the code. You would be right. Other cities have come up with similar programs, but there are two major differences between what other cities have done, and what Trutanich wants to do.

First, other cities don't give their City Attorney as much power as Trutanich's ACE plan.

Second, other cities don't have a City Attorney who has already demonstrated ample reasons to believe that he cannot be trusted with any more power that he already, regrettably, has.


Anonymous said...

Trutanich must be nuts to think anyone would agree to let him pick and choose judges and also have control of the money they collect. You don't use the term "Kangroo Courts" enough, this is insane on steroids.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of cities in California that have programs like this, but I haven't heard of any where the city attorney has so much control. We live in a part of LA where there are literally thousands of code violations such as over occupied houses and apartments, live animals being kept in yards, people holding yard sales on a regular basis and selling food from shopping carts one the streets. It's a real mess - just like a third world country. I hope Trutanich not only fines these people but partners with immigration to deport the ones that don't pay the fines. If he gets rid of the illegals it's fine with me.