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Los Angeles City Attorney Primary: Absentee Ballot Results Show Carmen Trutanich Well Behind Mike Feuer

Mike Feuer and Carmen Trutanich

Mike Feuer and Carmen Trutanich

Carmen Trutanich is well behind Mike Feuer in the early vote results for Los Angeles city attorney, with Feuer getting 41,248 votes or 40.6 percent and Trutanich 34,330 votes or 33.8 percent. Trailing well behind is Noel Weiss at 9,326 votes or 9 percent and Greg Smith at 16,751 or 16.5 percent.

These early election results may not be a bellwether for what happens later tonight when polling place votes are fully counted.

Trutanich came in third in his bid for Los Angeles County District Attorney last year, after raising a huge sum of money and enjoying the highest name recognition.

There's fairly widespread agreement that Trutanich fell out of favor with voters after getting embroiled in too many controversies as city attorney, and angered the city's more watchful voters by promising, back when he ran for city attorney, that he would not try to jump jobs early to run for D.A. -- then doing the opposite.

Greg Smith

Greg Smith

Trutanich has become a popular media target and earned rare slams in public from two noteworthy civic figures, former Controller Laura Chick and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg.

As L.A. Weekly's Gene Maddaus reported last year:

Earlier this week, former controller Laura Chick went after City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for being "a liar and a demagogue." Today, it's Bob Hertzberg's turn to take a few swings.

In an interview with the Weekly, Hertzberg accused Trutanich of "thuggery" for filing a lawsuit against his former campaign strategist, John Shallman (posted below). Hertzberg, the former Assembly speaker and onetime co-chair of Trutanich's transition team, had been trying to mediate a billing dispute arising from Trutanich's failed D.A. campaign. He said he was shocked that Trutanich went behind his back and filed suit without telling him.

"It's unethical behavior. It sickens me," Hertzberg said. "This is as low as it gets. It's all for gamesmanship. It's just not honest."

Feuer, a former Los Angeles City Council member representing the Westside from 1995 to 2001, ran for the city attorney job 11 years ago. But the somewhat stiff Feuer lost to the more folksy Rocky Delgadillo.

The key criticism of Feuer has long been that he thinks he is smarter than most people and it shows. Fair or not, in the 1990s the criticism left him less than popular with numerous members of the City Council, and as a result Feuer did not emerge as a top leader of that body.

Now he's hoping to move from ex-legislator to city attorney. He's been drawn into an ugly and increasingly bitter series of back and forth slams with Trutanich, who derides Feuer's lack of courtroom experience.

Greg Smith, who has been confused by many with former Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith, is a wealthy attorney who got rich by suing small and large cities and other government bodies after cops or firefighters alleged workplace injuries, workplace discrimination or whistle-blower violations.

Smith has made his name attacking government. If he won, it would be an even more dramatic ascent to Los Angeles City Attorney than was outsider Trutanich's four years ago, when he moved from private San Pedro attorney to politician.

Smith has spent a small fortune buying pricey TV advertising to jump from an unknown in a huge metropolitan area to a viable candidate.

He's got a somewhat feisty slogan on his campaign website: "We must suffocate the gangs in our city."