Is it just me or is it getting hotter in here with the City Attorney's race on fire? Wednesday evening, candidates Jack Weiss and Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich squared off once more in candidate-forum mode, at the Westside Jewish Community Center. According to the L.A. Times, the Earth Day event, sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters, quickly turned away from the two men's visions of the office they seek to the kind of I Know You Are But What Am I? tauntfest that has come to define their campaign.

The reductive exchanges between the two men repeated tropes from the scripts they've been following since the inconclusive March election that forced them into a May 19 runoff. City Councilman Weiss accuses Trutanich, who once worked in the District Attorney's office before moving into private practice, of being a lawyer in the pocket of oil companies, polluters and gun enthusiasts. Trutanich paints Weiss, a former federal prosecutor, as the familiar of developers who has no experience as a private lawyer.

Neither candidate appears particularly likable to voters. Weiss, the

prickly and truant City Hall Mandarin who doesn't seem to share his Westside constituents' panic about gridlock and high-density construction projects; Trutanich, the San Pedro legal fixer without

any elective experience who appears as a kind of better-dressed Rudy

Svorinich. Not surprisingly, the candidates' respective fan bases seem less in love with each man than they simply dislike the other guy. Labor, for example, is backing Weiss because unions see Trutanich as helping to break a Torrance trash-hauler's strike in 2004; Laura Chick supports Trutanich because of Weiss' absence in the council when she brought business before it.

Last week's L.A. Times featured a full-page ad in the form of an


letter” to Weiss. It was signed by Cary Brazeman and complained of

Weiss' indifference to pleas from a homeowners association that is

fighting a new condo development in its Cedars Sinai neighborhood.

Brazeman signed the letter in his capacity as president of the

Clark-Swall Homeowners Association, although L.A. Observed helpfully noted that “he is better known as a $2000 donor to Carmen Trutanich.”

Last week Jack Weiss, using his City Councilman's privilege to hold

press conferences on the steps of City Hall,  demanded that Trutanich disclose his law firm's client list. The

night before, at yet another candidate's forum, according to the L.A. Times,

Weiss had labeled said client list  a “moral sinkhole” of

special interests that ranged from the NRA to oil companies.


has lined up the District Attorney and Sheriff behind him, along with

the cop unions. On the other hand, Weiss has the backing of the mayor,

most left-of-center local pols and individuals affiliated with

environmental groups. And so the name-calling continues, with no end in

site other than election day.

One question that hasn't been

answered: If Trutanich wins, will the “Nuch” nickname he includes in

all his literature have to be used every time his name comes up in the


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