Tim Whyte | The New Maytag Repairman of L.A. County

Tim Whyte

Remember those old “Maytag Repairman” commercials?

For those too young to remember, the premise of the commercials was that Maytag appliances — washing machines and the like — were SO reliable, the Maytag Repairman was the least busy guy in town.

They even called him, “Ol’ Lonely.”

“At ease men!” he told some young Maytag recruits in one of the spots. “Now, you men have all volunteered to be Maytag Repairmen and so I’m gonna give it to you straight. Maytag washers and dryers are built to last. That makes the Maytag Repairman the loneliest guy in town.”

It got me thinking. Who’s the modern-day Maytag Repairman?

It’s gotta be a deputy DA in District Attorney George Gascón’s office, right?

I mean, with all of Gascón’s directives and decrees about crimes he won’t allow to be prosecuted anymore, and prohibiting his deputies from attending parole hearings to protect victims’ rights, what does a typical day look like for a deputy “prosecutor,” which I know is in danger of becoming a misnomer under Gascón?

Could the daily diary look something like this?

8 a.m.: Get to work early. Bring bagels to symbolize the number of convictions we’ll seek today. (Get it?? A bagel looks like a zero! Dark humor is the BEST!)

9 a.m.: Go online to order 50 “Monopoly” board games so we can get those extra “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. (50 Chance + 50 Community Chest = 100) 

10 a.m.: Court appearance on latest motion for dismissal. Asking judge to let felony defendant go with a promise to “be better.” Defense attorney looks confused…

11 a.m.: Back to the office, log on to Amazon to order more ink for the “Decline to Prosecute” rubber stamp. Thank God for Amazon Prime, it gets here FAST.

12 noon: Lunch. Sushi and deep thoughts about my life. Sigh.

1:30 p.m.: Back to the office. Set up Nerf basketball hoop over waste basket, which is full of cases we’ve tossed out. Note to self: Call custodial staff, ask for larger waste basket.

2 p.m.: Brush up resume. Wonder if I can get away with omitting “L.A. County District Attorney’s Office” on employment history. How would I explain the gap? “Joined the Peace Corps for mid-career break”?

2:30 p.m.: Tackle backlog of cases in which we are seeking sentence reductions. This is where the real work actually begins….

2:45 p.m.: Afternoon break. Wonder why all my cop friends won’t talk to me anymore.

3 p.m.: Answer phone call. Crime victim looking for help. Log it as, “Wrong number,” because I know doing anything else will be… problematic.

3:15 p.m.: More sentence reductions. There’s a stack of files. Won’t hit them all today. 

4:30 p.m.: George called. Said something about me being “too aggressive.” Replied, “Yes sir.” Took another look at resume and logged into jobs.com. 

4:45 p.m.: Social media. Take anti-depressant.

5 p.m.: What else? Sentence reduction files. Wow, there are a lot of these. 

6 p.m.: Already ran out of ink for the “Decline to Prosecute” rubber stamp. Order more and call it a night. Try to avoid the “bad parts” of town on drive home, knowing there are more “bad parts” now.

None of this, of course, is meant to demean any of the hard-working men and women of the District Attorney’s Office — of course I KNOW this isn’t how they REALLY spend their days. 

But the fact is, under Gascón, the DA’s office spends a lot less time and energy doing things like putting bad guys in jail, or protecting the public from dangerous people. The deputy DA’s are stuck. It’s not their fault that their boss is a soft-on-crime “reformer” who cares more about criminals than crime victims.

To all those deputy DA’s who really care about public safety, you have my sympathy. But, you will have to forgive the new nickname:

Ol’ Lonely.

Tim Whyte is the editor of The Signal.

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