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Update: Trutanich may conduct criminal probe of Michael Jackson/AEG memorial costs

UPDATE: I missed this really funny Los Angeles City Council agenda list published today by Mayor Sam blog's Petra Fried, showing the council's time today is being dominated by post-Jackson explanations, probes and studies. One interesting agenda item: trying to explain how the city spent a fortune on 3,500 boxed lunches for the LAPD. The food was trucked in from Wrightwood, where the city "boxed lunch" contractor is based.

What on earth is going on at Los Angeles City Hall, a place that seems to reel further out of control each day? Newly elected City Controller Carmen Trutanich is raising the possibility that criminal actions were committed  when unnamed people at City Hall spent millions of dollars on the Michael Jackson memorial. It was thrown at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles by AEG (owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz). The LA Weekly has already clearly shown AEG to be a heavily subsidized corporate welfare recipient of the first order.

It has been amusing and appalling to watch council members Dennis Zine and Jan Perry, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, haltingly try to explain who, exactly, authorized spending $2 million to $4 million in L.A. residents' money, drawn from the municipal treasury. Naturally, we in the media are going a bit nuts with all this juicy news. One key point, however:

Trutanich promised to shake things up and be utterly different from recently departed City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo (or the previous city attorney who went on to become mayor, James Hahn). While there has been some tut-tutting of the outspoken Trutanich, he's clearly not worried about causing a splash.

Although he represents the city (he is the attorney for the various city departments and chieftains), Trutanich is in fact independent, elected by the voters and answerable to the voters. He can't be fired by the City Council or pressured out by AEG or its top boss, Tim Leweike. Trutanich is going to give my friend Ron Kaye endless material.

Beyond supplying us with headlines, is it possible Trutanich might actually fix some things?   


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