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Old 06-08-2010, 05:06 PM
Ole Glory's Avatar
Ole Glory Ole Glory is offline
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Default LA vs AZ, not!

By Walter Moore

June 8, 2010

VIA FAX TO 213.978.8312 (Two Pages)
Hon. Carmen Trutanich
Los Angeles City Attorney
200 North Main Street, 8th Floor
Los Angeles, Ca. 90012

Re: Arizona Amicus Brief
City Council File No. 10-0932

Dear Mr. Trutanich:

This is to request that you advise the Mayor and City Council that you
cannot prepare and file an amicus brief in litigation in Arizona
regarding the validity of that state's new statute on illegal

I make the request because the City Council passed a motion this
morning that would purportedly require your office to file an amicus
brief in support of the plaintiffs in Friendly House v. Whiting, an
action pending in the United States District Court for the District of
Arizona. (The plaintiffs in that case, by the way, already have at
least 14 attorneys of record.)

The City Council can and should simply reverse its vote, pursuant to
Rule 51 of the City Council Rules. However, if the City Council
refuses to do so, you should refuse to prepare and file an amicus
brief in the Arizona litigation, because doing so would violate the
City Charter, the State Constitution and the Rules of Professional

Nothing in the City Charter authorizes the City Council, the City
Attorney or any other City Officer to spend taxpayer funds preparing
and filing legal briefs in out-of-state lawsuits to which the City is
not even a party.

Section 254 of the Charter authorizes the City Council, "by
resolution, to establish the official position of the City with
respect to legislation proposed to or pending before the state or
federal government." Neither that section nor any other, however,
authorizes the Council to pass resolutions -- much less file briefs or
initiate other legal proceedings -- regarding legislation in other
states, regarding the validity of those states' laws.

Section 271 of the Charter authorizes the City Attorney to "represent
the City in all legal proceedings against the City," and to "initiate
appropriate legal proceedings on behalf of the City." Section 271
does not authorize the City Attorney to defend or prosecute actions
for or against third parties, in litigation to which the City is not
even a party.

Even if the Charter gave the City Council a license to butt into other
people's lawsuits in other states -- which it does not -- the State
Constitution would still prohibit the Council from doing so. Article
11, Section 5(a) of the California Constitution allows charter cities
like Los Angeles only to "make and enforce all ordinances and
regulations in respect to municipal affairs."

Charter cities, in other words, do not have carte blanche to involve
themselves in whatever happens to interest the politicians running
them on any particular day. Rather, the beginning and end of their
jurisdiction is municipal affairs.

The City of Los Angeles has exceeded the limited scope of its
Constitutional authority before, when the California Supreme Court
struck down the City's tax on savings and loan institutions in the
1990s. California Federal Savings and Loan v. City Of Los Angeles
(1991) 54 Cal. 3rd 1. The City should not exceed its Constitutional
authority again -- especially not by something as flagrantly
non-"municipal" as attempting to insinuate itself into a legal
proceeding in another state to which it is not even a party.

Nor can the City Council require you or your staff, as members of the
California Bar, to violate the City Charter or the California
Constitution. Section 272 of the Charter makes it crystal clear that
your client "is the municipal corporation, the City of Los Angeles,"
not the City Council Members or the Mayor. Furthermore, Rule 3-700(C)
of the Rules of Professional Conduct makes it clear that clients
cannot in any event insist that their lawyers proceed with groundless
claims or pursue an illegal course of conduct.

Accordingly, please tell the the City Council that the Charter and the
California Constitution preclude your staff from spending scarce tax
dollars to file briefs in other people's lawsuits in other states. I
have absolutely zero desire to file a taxpayer lawsuit against the
City of Los Angeles, but if we don't nip this kind of ultra vires
misuse of taxpayer funds in the bud, I can only imagine how many more
amicus briefs the City Council would direct you to file in coming
months and years.


Walter Moore
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:26 PM
Rim05 Rim05 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: So CA
Posts: 1,222

I am so glad you posted that. Now I hope we will find out how Trutanich will respond.

Good to see you posting again, young lady.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:13 PM
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ilbegone ilbegone is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,068

Not to detract from Walter Moore's appropriate correspondence to the LA City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich:

The municipal government of the city of Los Angeles reminds me of someone who is tragically dysfunctional: a person who has tremendous blindness to one's own faults yet has pushy, abrasive solutions for everyone else's problems but one's neglected own.
Freibier gab's gestern

Hay burros en el maiz


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