Yesterday, I met with local writer Joseph Mailander to do my first interview as the Republican Nominee for Congress from the 28th District. The interview had a lot of depth to it, and went on for quite some time. We touched on a variety of subjects, including the recent defeat of Carmen Trutanich in the District Attorney election.
I mentioned to Mailander my shock at the result. I told him that never in a million years could I have imagined a situation where I would still be in the November election, and Nuch would be out! We briefly covered some of the reasons. I explained to Mailander that I had nothing against Alan Jackson -- and I suspect I would agree with him more closely on ideological matters -- but my support for Carmen Trutanich was based on a personal friendship that evolved on the campaign trail for City Elections back in 2008-9.
It is difficult for some people to remember now, but Nuch was practically a hero in that election. Jack Weiss was widely despised by many of his own voters in the 5th Council District. Neighborhood activists were desperate for a good guy to take out the black-hearted Weiss.
If you look at the above video, it is from one of Ron Kayes SLAP meetings in 2008. A politically-driven community activist get-together that had a large influence on the 2009 election. It was small meetings like this that let the voters get to know these candidates on an up-close and personal basis. And it helped mobilize public opinion against Measure B, a solar-energy scam which went down to defeat at the polls.
The very same Ron Kaye who eventually became a big critic and detractor of Carmen Trutanich can't say enough good things about him back in this 2008 video. The irony that Ron Kaye is listed in many media sources as one of the contributing factors to his defeat should not be lost on Carmen Trutanich.
Mailander seemed pleased that Trutanich was out. He asked me if I thought Nuch could recover. I said he could, as long as he followed a better path. Politics is filled with second acts and recoveries from near-death experiences. Yes, Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich can recover and be re-elected as City Attorney.... if he follows better advice. He needs to rehabilitate his political image. I will give him the following consulting advice for free.
STEP 1: FIRE JOHN SHALLMAN
Sorry, Nuch, but John Shallman needs to go. He gives bad advice, takes way too much money, and loses elections for people. Why he is even considered a good consultant is beyond me. He got lucky with the first Nuch campaign in 2009 because Jack Weiss was so hated by his own voters. He also got lucky with Wendy Greuel because she ran against underfunded opponents that were not well known. The next Titanic-like campaign of Shallmans was his sinking of the U.S.S. Christine Essel in the city special election for Council District 2.
Shallman somehow got Essel to blow over one million dollars on a City Council race ...and lose! Essel is a charming lady with a sparkling personality. She was a hundred times better than The Dark Lord, Paul Krekorian. If Essel had spent her time calling voters instead of donors, she wouldn't have lost that election by a few thousand votes. Christine Essel should have been knocking on doors and knocking voters out with her charm. Instead, Shallman had her chained to a desk, calling people from outside the district and asking for big money donations.
Shallman then went on an idiotic tirade of sending 157 mailers to each voting household. Shallman doesn't understand that there is a pain threshold with political campaigning that starts to produce diminishing results. If voters weren't voting for Christine Essel after the 10th mailer, they sure as hell weren't voting for her after the 100th mailer.
(Memo to Wendy Greuel: You need to dump Shallman, too. You will not be lucky enough to run against Nick and Suzy in 2013. You will face heavy hitters like Eric Garcetti and maybe Zev Yaroslavsky. Shallman will bankrupt you, and make sure that you lose)
STEP 2: A LISTENING TOUR
Nuch needs to go on a "listening tour" -- as Hillary Clinton likes to call it. He needs to start going back to these small local meetings with only 50 people in the room. He needs to address where he went wrong. He needs to ask for criticism, and let voters yell at him a little bit...to address their frustrations. He needs to be humble.
More than anything ...he needs to show up! I heard from Mailander that Nuch had skipped many of these small local events and forums during the election! This was news to me! This was a multi-candidate race in a low-turnout election. What type of idiot would advise their candidate to offend voters and pull a no-show?
Oh, yeah ...John Shallman. That's right. I forgot.
For those of you out there celebrating Nuchs defeat in the DA race, he only fell behind Alan Jackson by a 1% margin. If he had shown up at some of these forums, the lack of respect for the voters he showed would not have been a factor in the election. That 1% suddenly looks very troubling to me when I hear about these events. It is much more difficult for your opponents to call you "a liar", "a cheat", and "an animal" if they have to be in the same room as you.
It was an unbelievable tactical error to not show up. It offended voters.
STEP 3: BRING BACK THE OLD NUCH
Yeah... the rising rock star that beat Jack Weiss. He is still in there somewhere, and he can come back out again. After a few months of mea culpas to the local community members, Nuch needs to bring back out the old Rock Star Nuch. The guy who people couldn't wait to vote for back in 2009. Remind voters of who he is and how hard he is fighting for this city. Show them the results he has achieved. Make a big splash in the media.
(I'm personally rooting for an arrest of Jan Perry, Tony Cardenas, or Richard Alarcon.... but first things first)
Remind voters of why they picked you in 2009. Some of the voting constituencies are probably not recoverable. The marijuana crowd only wants to bury the hatchet if they can plant it in Nuchs back. But that is the price tag of being in law enforcement. You ruffle a few feathers.
Nuch has no reason to fear Mike Feuer.
Hell, Mike Feuer lost to Rocky Delgadillo.
Nuch can recover from this loss and be re-elected, but he needs to make an effort to rehabilitate himself, politically. It won't be easy, but it can be done.
I'd be happy to help him out.