David Berger (attorney)
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From 2002 to 2004, Berger was assigned to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in Lancaster, California where he introduced and coordinated a controversial anti-crime program called "LAN-CAP," an acronym derived from the program's formal title; Lancaster Community Appreciation Project.
Aspects of LAN-CAP attracted national attention as wells as both praise and criticism. One of Berger's proposals banned parolees and probationers from a particular drug-infested neighborhood. The novel nature of this approach to crime prevention prompted CNN's American Morning to broadcast a debate between Berger and a representative from the ACLU in which Berger admitted being primarily concerned with protecting his city, and less concerned if criminals simply moved to other cities. Lou Dobbs interviewed liberal democrat and then-USC Law Professor, Erwin Chemerinsky on Berger's plan. Chemerinsky expressed concern that criminals might not be able go to their jobs or visit restaurants in the area under the proposed ordinance, however, that concern was answered by Berger stating that the area concerned contained no restaurants or other commercial enterprises, apart from the illegal sale of narcotics.
Despite the civil liberties concerns raised by opponents, LAN-CAP was passed by the Lancaster City Council and implemented. To date, no civil liberties complaints have been made.
In May 2004, with LAN-CAP firmly established, funding for Berger's position lapsed and he was transferred to the Major Fraud Division of the Office, however, the LAN-CAP project continued unabated thanks to local support. Lancaster Sheriff's Station continues to fulfill the goals of LAN-CAP with eight deputies and a sergeant permanently assigned to LAN-CAP.
In 2008, David Berger campaigned for the position of Los Angeles City Attorney as an independent for the 2009 Los Angeles City Elections. Berger's principal opponent was Democrat Jack Weiss, then-councilman for Los Angeles Council District 5 and widely seen as the candidate most likely to win in the March primary. Weiss became the target of frequent attacks from Berger for failing to appear at candidates debates, as well as failing to return illegally obtained campaign contributions, a problem that had been covered by NBC's EMMY-winning investigative report Laundered Elections. In the week before the election, Berger was a guest of Doug McIntyre on KABC 790AM's morning talk show. During the interview Berger launched a blistering attack on Weiss, claiming that Weiss, who described himself as "the experienced prosecutor," had only conducted two jury trials in his brief career as an Assistant US Attorney. At Berger's urging, McIntyre played the Ray Charles hit "Hit the Road Jack" at the beginning of the interview.
Berger failed to attract more than 14% of the vote in the March primary election; however, Weiss also failed to capture sufficient votes to secure the election, and was forced to face a run-off election with second placed political novice, Carmen Trutanich. Berger immediately endorsed Trutanich and continued to campaign on his behalf. Weiss's negative campaign against Trutanich played perfectly into the hands of Berger, who seized on every opportunity to hit back. Perhaps the most damage to Weiss was caused by Weiss himself, who attended an illegal campaign fundraiser hosted by an appointed Los Angeles City commissioner in violation of Los Angeles Municipal Code 49.7.8. In the days before the May 19, 2009 election, Berger took full advantage of Weiss's poor choices and deception, culminating in a call for an investigation into Jack Weiss on the steps of City Hall.
Ultimately, Weiss lost the election to Carmen Trutanich by over 12.5%. Berger has since joined Trutanich's Transition Team to make recommendations into better enforcement of Los Angeles' Ethics laws.
Berger had not announced whether he will seek further elected office.