I hate defense attorneys who talk poorly about public defenders. Some of the BEST attorneys I know are, or were, attorneys with the public defender's office. All of the best cross-examiners I know were PDs. Citizens always ask me, "Should I get rid of my public defender?" and my answer is always the same: "it depends."
I think the most important factor in any professional/non-professional relationship is how you get along with each other. As a client, you don't need a professional who will be your best friend, but you do need someone who you can communicate with in a healthy way. If a potential lawyer makes you feel ignored or confused, that's not a good think. If someone is rude to you or disrespectful to you, i don't think that is a good thing! Bad people exist in every industry, private and public.
Here are some things that you should understand about public defenders and criminal cases in Los Angeles generally:
1) PDs know how to fight your case... they were friggin trained on how to do it (unlike most private attorneys)
2) PDs have a big case load - so they dont have as much time to explain things or get to know you. ( Although, I know plenty of private attorneys who spend even less time talking to the client.) But PDs know how to read a case and see the problems and call the prosecutors out on it! They do it ALL THE TIME! They do it damn well!
3) The prosecutor must work with the PD on your case, and most (if not all) of his other cases.
4) Most PDs will do the jury trial in addition to the pre-trial appearances so you will likely have the same attorney through most of the process. In the court that I know best, this is different then how it is handled by the prosecutor's office. I often see the prosecutor's office use volunteers or new hires for the actual jury trials, and sometimes these lawyers are in over their head.
5) PDs, unlike a private, but unknown attorney, will be very familiar with the court its staff and the bench officer.
Factor the person, skill, and cost, and find what works for you.