The Dalmatian-American Club of San Pedro has a strict rule against political speeches at its fish lunches. So it was a bit surprising last Friday when L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was invited up to the podium to say a few words.
"I guess we're breaking the rules," he said, seeming at a rare loss for words. "Guys, I love San Pedro."
Trutanich spent a lot of Fridays at the fish lunches during his successful run for city attorney in 2009. At last Friday's event, he shook hands like he was running for office again.
In an interview afterward, Trutanich talked his way around the 2012 D.A.'s race and his rift with D.A. Steve Cooley, which he says does not exist.
"He's my buddy," he said. "Cooley and I will be friends forever. I love him. He's like a brother to me."
Perhaps, but there's been a bit of sibling rivalry lately. If Cooley retires, Trutanich would be a strong candidate to replace him. But Cooley is said to favor his lieutenant, Jackie Lacey, and believes Trutanich should stay in the city attorney's office.
Trutanich is 59, and if he passes up this chance to run for D.A., he probably won't get another one. So he's telling supporters that he'll run if Cooley retires.
But he is playing coy in public. (His campaign slogan might as well be "D.A.: Who me?")
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"I haven't considered it," he said with a straight face. "I got plenty of dragons to fight, you included."
If you listened to Trutanich, you'd think Cooley was raring to go for a fourth term.
"I just don't think he's gonna quit," he said.
He may be the only person who thinks that, but who knows. At this point, Cooley may have to run just to keep Trutanich out of his chair.