CITY ATTORNEY

In campaigning around the city, the one question that is almost always asked is “What exactly does the City Attorney do?”

The short answer is that the City Attorney is the highest legal authority in our city government

The responsibilities of the City Attorney’s Office include:

* Handling misdemeanor crimes, which do include graffiti and illegal billboards;

* Handling the many costly and sometimes frivolous lawsuits against the city which all of our tax dollars pay for;

* Guiding the city council in determining which of their proposed laws and policies are legal, which conflict with the City Charter or state laws, and how as a practical matter, various proposed policy initiatives can be effectuated;

* Providing policy and legal guidance to each of the various City Departments on matters relating to housing, transportation. This includes acting as a bridge between various City Departments to ensure that the laws are enforced and City Council policy is carried out. This is not done well now (for example, the link between Planning and Transportation – It is the City Attorney who can provide the bridge to identify the divergence and reconcile the differences);

* Providing policy guidance on the City’s risk liabilty exposure in all facets of the City’s operations, including, but not limited to the area of worker’s compensation where the City is likely losing a great deal of money, but everyone is City Government (except the Controller) is silent;

* Prosecuting and pursuing the City’s rights under its commercial agreements with vendors and enforce the City’s right to collect the monies it is owed;

* Working with communities to ensure they are safe in creative ways which go beyond the enforcement of the criminal laws (since we cannot arrest our way out of the gang problem). This includes pro-active intervention, prevention, and preemption programs for kids in elementary and middle schools (including programs which teach the kids about the law and their responsibilities under the law);

* Properly advising the public on important laws by publishing formal legal opinions;

* Assisting Neighborhood Councils in being able to fulfill their function of providing advice to the City Council and service to their communities;

*  Helping mediate commercial and other disputes between citizens so that the burden on our court system is lessened and people learn how to resolve their disputes and differences;

* Explaining state laws, such as the “density bonus” SB1818 law, to the Council and to the public from the beginning.  When all members of the Council have a clear understanding of laws like this, and when the public also has a clear understanding, we can cut to the chase, and avoid the quagmire in which the City now finds itself regarding this vague and poorly implemented (by the City of Los Angeles) state statute.

When the City Attorney doesn’t do this job correctly, your money and time are again wasted!

The CITY ATTORNEY may just be the most pivotal position in Los Angeles city government. When the bureaucracy fails, it is the City Attorney who provides the Council with the opinion on whether or not the enforcement of specific laws is in the city’s interest.

 A City Attorney who is concerned with the interests of all Angelenos is key to the City Council’s ability to set clear policy in the public interest. Enforcement of any law – civil or criminal – resides with the City Attorney’s judgment as the highest legal authority in our municipal government.

In the City Charter, Sec. 103 defines the delivery of services of the city to the citizens.

“Every City office and department, and every City official and employee, is expected to perform their functions with diligence and dedication on behalf of the people of the City of Los Angeles. In the delivery of City services and in the performance of its tasks, the government shall endeavor to perform at the highest levels of achievement, including efficiency, accessibility, accountability, quality, use of technologically advanced methods, and responsiveness to public concerns within budgetary limitations. Every analysis and review of the performance of the government and its officers shall seek to ascertain whether these high standards are being met, and if not, shall recommend methods of improvement…”

We need a City Attorney that unwaveringly adheres to the Charter, and who will stand up to the foibles of people in power when they succumb to the rewards of serving special interests at the cost of public interest.

We need a City Attorney who has been an outsider adept to working within City Hall environment to get meaningful legislation passed – i.e., the 9&17 Rent Stabilization Ordinance Relocations Fee Increases.

We need a City Attorney that is interested in considering ALL Angelenos – the special interests, the elected officials, the appointees on boards and commissions, the bureaucrats, and the CITIZENS.

We need to vote for NOEL Weiss City Attorney – the Public Interest City Attorney who will end the “political malpractice” that plagues the halls our great city.

From the Charter:

As defined in the City of Los Angeles Charter (City of Los Angeles Charter) adopted by voters June 1999 and effective July 1, 2000, the City Attorney is defined (excerpted) as follows:

“…CITY ATTORNEY…

Sec. 271. Powers and Duties.

The powers and duties of the City Attorney shall be as follows:

(a) The City Attorney shall represent the City in all legal proceedings against the City.  The City Attorney shall initiate appropriate legal proceedings on behalf of the City.

b) The City Attorney shall be the legal advisor to the City, and to all City boards, departments, officers and entities…

c) The City Attorney shall prosecute on behalf of the people all criminal cases and related proceedings arising from violation of the provisions of the Charter and City ordinances, and all misdemeanor offenses arising from violation of the laws of the state occurring in the City.

(d) The City Attorney shall approve in writing the form of all surety or other bonds required by the Charter, or by ordinance…

Sec. 272. Control of Litigation.

The civil client of the City Attorney is the municipal corporation, the City of Los Angeles. The City Attorney shall defend the City in litigation, as well as its officers and employees as provided by ordinance. The City Attorney may initiate civil litigation on behalf of the City or the People of the State of California, and shall initiate civil litigation on behalf of the City when requested to do so by the authority having control over the litigation as set forth below…”

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