Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has absolutely gone off on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa over the city leader's proposed budget cuts to Trutanich's office for the fiscal year starting in July. Trutanich says he's been targeted for an 18 percent cut worth about $17 million -- the equivalent of 100 staff members, including some prosecutors. At the same time, he says, the mayor only slated 2.6 percent in cuts for his own office.
"I am deeply disappointed in your proposal, which displays a remarkable lack of leadership and imagination, and further demonstrates a fundamental failure of management on the part of the mayor's office," Trutanich wrote in a letter (PDF) to Villaraigosa.
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The letter follows an email from special assistant City Attorney Jane Usher expressing some of the same sentiments about the mayor's cuts for her office.
Trutanich says this fiscal year's 16 percent cut for his office means nearly a third of his budget will be pared by next year. He argues that the City Attorney's office has saved L.A. money by winning 32 out of 32 civil suits and defending it against billions in liability claims. Trutanich also says that Villaraigosa, while bending over backward to maintain Los Angeles police staffing, is doing public safety a disservice by slashing Trutanich's law enforcement-related operations.
Are the mayor's cuts political? Trutanich is a onetime Republican who was elected independently of Villaraigosa's Democratic urban machine, and he's never been one to step in line with the mayor's initiatives. (He has essentially defied the council by going after medical marijuana dispensaries for selling pot even before the council firmed up its own ordinance; and he threatened to take criminal action against the council-friendly Anschutz Entertainment Group over policing costs related to its Michael Jackson memorial at its Staples Center venue).
The City Attorney said he'll take his argument over the mayor's head, to the City Council.