LA city attorney election: Mike Feuer holds slight lead over Carmen Trutanich
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES -- City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is in a tight race to keep his job.
The results of an exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by SurveyUSA show Mike Feuer with a slight lead of 28 percent to Trutanich's 26 percent. Greg Smith has the support of 16 percent of likely voters, while lawyer Noel Weiss has 7 percent. Twenty-two percent are not yet decided.
If no candidate wins with a majority, the top two go to a runoff in May.
Trutanich is a lawyer and former prosecutor who has served one term as city attorney. He was elected in 2009. He ran for Los Angeles County district attorney last year and lost. Now the 61 year old is working to keep the city's top legal job.
"Crime is down, we've saved the city over $285 million in litigation verdicts," Trutanich said. "We've done it, we've performed. The city of Los Angeles is not a pushover anymore."
Trutanich faces two viable challengers. Among them is Feuer, a former Los Angeles city councilman and former member of the state assembly. Feuer, 54, says his experience crafting policy for the city and state makes up for his lack of experience in a courtroom.
"I'm going to be focused on neighborhood crime prevention. I'm going to work closely with neighborhood councils, parents, schools, small businesses to be sure that we keep guns and gangs away from our kids and schools," Feuer said. "The city attorney needs to be a champion on preventing gun violence. I'm the only candidate in this race with a plan on how to do that and how to make our schools and our pathways to schools safer."
But that's where Smith begs to differ.
"The job of the city attorney is to consult, not to set policy," he said.
Smith, 59, says his background as a private attorney gives him an edge over his opponents.
"Do I go to court on this? Do I settle it? Do I fight it? You can't make those decisions unless you've been in a court room," Smith said. "I've spent 25 years in a court room fighting discrimination, fighting corruption. I know how to make those decisions."
Both challengers say Trutanich has failed to provide sound legal advice to city leaders.
"Mr. Trutanich has been a very divisive and contentious force within City Hall," Feuer said.
"Carmen spent almost three years of his time in the city attorney's office campaigning," Smith said. "That's all he did."
Trutanich, however, says his office has a proven track record of cost-cutting and efficiency, despite huge budget cuts.
"Do you want somebody who's strong in this office, who defends the tax payers, who defends the vulnerable in the city, who's keeping crime down, who's handling the cases? Or do you want people who talk about hypothetically what they are going to do?" Trutanich said.
Voters in the city of Los Angeles will make their choice on Tuesday.
election, politics, robert holguin
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