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Carmen at the Crossroads


Two potentially big stories, rough mixes of citizen reportage and civic rumor, involving Carmen Trutanich, are emerging this week: one, that he may have tried to sell an unfortunate injury to his son in Iraq as a veritable purple heart, when it may have come on a soccer field; two, that he's dragging his feet on the Arizona boycott, a would-be ordinance now a year in the making. The latter has made the LA Times, the former is still tweet and comment fodder, unconfirmed. Whatever is true, all are wishing the son a speedy and complete recovery--while also noting that Carmen has also used military-suggestive language regarding his son, an Assistant US Attorney, "shipping out to Iraq" before--perhaps adding to the confusion. Nonetheless, it's important also for the skeptical to remind themselves until more details are known that an injury sustained on a soccer field in a war zone may not be a sports injury.

[UPDATE: Still not sure of the extent of the injury. Trutanich has commented on it briefly. On Kevin James' show Monday night, answering James's question about making a run for DA, Carmen said, "There's a lot of things going on in my life, you know, I just got a son that came back from Iraq with an injury and I'm working with him." From elsewhere, initial reports are that Nick Trutanich "hurt his Achilles."]

LEFT: Zuma Dogg tweet; anonymous MayorSam comments

Whatever the veracity of the stories, the broader concern for Team Trutanich is that Nuch is becoming a guy who won a fairly close one once upon a time but now--now that the political chattering class has seen what he has to offer, and generally balked--has reached critical mass and is perplexed about how to grow without compromising his core.

Nuch expects loyalty, and he has remained loyal to his core--to date. There's a broader reason for that than mere devotion: the broader City Attorney's office is still, even after nearly two years, terra incognita to him. His arrogant management style and ceaseless self-serving community jaunts have continued to alienate his own career staffers in the City Attorney's office, where there are still dozens of powerful people who got on very well with James Hahn, endured Rocky, and shake their head at Carmen, wondering why, why, why. His closest aides continue to make the longtimers and most local scribes smirk. He's not winning anyone in media, and he's lost quite a few, and he's won over almost nobody in the City Attorney's office who had doubts on 7.1.09.

[As a matter of fact, those people were probably lost for good anyway, or at least as long as Jane Usher hangs around, and were lost right after Usher sent out the cringe-worthy happy dance letter to supporters saying that she "owed Steve Cooley lunch at Water Grill" because she had become such an important fabster after Nuch's accidental election.]

While Nuch continues to fundraise and strut to pitchfork people in the Valley and the foothills, he has yet to win over anyone in his expanded sphere downtown. He really has nowhere to go that he hasn't been before--and his would-be rivals for District Attorney in 2012 are sensing it, and grabbing at bucks that may once have gone to Nuch but now be out of his grasp. Unlike most quarterly fundraising statements, the next one will be telling.